The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat ~ Part 2

In my last post, we began to examine a passage from 1 Corinthians 9 which Sha’ul used the Corinthian Olympics for some timeless insights in the adventure of life.  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 9 that there are four things it takes to win in life.

  1. It takes desire.  We must want to win.
  2. It takes direction.  We must focus on a goal.
  3. It takes discipline.  We must be willing to work.
  4. It takes determination.  We must never give up.

We examined the first two principles in my last post.  In this post, we will tackle the last two principles in creating a winning life.

Sha’ul says: It takes discipline.

We must be willing to work.  In 1 Corinthians 9:25 he says: Now every athlete in training submits himself to strict discipline, and he does it just to win…” Notice he says they use strict discipline.  In other words, they have to practice self-denial.

These two words – discipline and self-denial – are not exactly popular words in the American culture.  How many of you go home and think, “I think I’ll meditate on the word self-denial How about discipline?” Continue reading “The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat ~ Part 2”

The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat ~ Part 1

Given current events, I’ve decided to take a brief break from our series on the END TIMES.  In this and the subsequent post, I want to share some lessons that Rick Warren shared with me four years ago from the London Olympics.

For the last two weeks all the eyes of the world have focused on the Rio 2016 Olympics.  Why is it we’re so interested in this?  It’s because we love to see people excel.  We love to watch winners.  I’m reminded of the old ABC show “Wide World of Sports.”  We would watch that show religiously for the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” 

Click here for a YouTube clip.

I have set my DVR to record ALL that NBC had to offer this year from Rio.  I then fast forward or delete entire shows until I found the events that most interested me.

In 1 Corinthians 9, Sha’ul talks about the Corinthian games which in ancient Greece were second in importance only to the Olympics in Athens.  They were held every three years.  The games including running, leaping, spear throwing, boxing, wrestling, chariot racing and racing in armor (I would have loved to have seen that).  Everyone that competed was required to take an oath that said: “I trained for at least ten months and I will not resort to unfair tricks.”  Maybe the current IOC needs to reinstate that requirement?  Remember, they didn’t have steroids in those days. Continue reading “The Thrill of Victory and The Agony of Defeat ~ Part 1”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 8

In my last post, we learned about the lesson of the fig tree as a sign of Yeshua’s ultimate return to establish His millennial rule.  In this post, we are told flat out that no one knows the day or the hour of when that will occur.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

No One Knows 

“But when that day and hour will come, no one knows — not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father.  For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach.  Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes.  Then there will be two men in a field — one will be taken and the other left behind.  There will be two women grinding flour at the mill — one will be taken and the other left behind.  So stay alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come.  But you do know this: had the owner of the house known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore, you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting Him.  Who is the faithful and sensible servant whose master puts him in charge of the household staff, to give them their food at the proper time?  It will go well with that servant if he is found doing his job when his master comes.  Yes, I tell you that he will put him in charge of all he owns.  But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is taking his time’; and he starts beating up his fellow servants and spends his time eating and drinking with drunkards; then his master will come on a day the servant does not expect, at a time he doesn’t know; and he will cut him in two and put him with the hypocrites, where people will wail and grind their teeth! ~ Matthew 24:36-51

While Yeshua had given general signs to watch for regarding the coming of the end, He clearly explained to the talmidim that the exact day or hour was not known by the angels or Himself.  When Yeshua said that even He did not know the time of the end, He was affirming His limitations as a human (see Philippians 2:5-8).  Of course, God the Father knows the time, and Yeshua and the Father are one.  But when Yeshua became a man, He voluntarily gave up the unlimited use of His divine attributes.  On earth, Yeshua laid aside his divine prerogatives and submitted to the Father’s will.  Thus, only the Father knows exactly when Yeshua will return.  Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 8”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 7

In my last post, we began to unpack Yeshua’s teaching regarding the Coming of the Son of Man. In this post, we continue to explore the signs He shared with His talmidim to identify the beginning of His millennial rule.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

fig tree

“Now let the fig tree teach you its lesson: when its branches begin to sprout and leaves appear, you know that summer is approaching.  In the same way, when you see all these things, you are to know that the time is near, right at the door.  Yes! I tell you that this people will certainly not pass away before all these things happen.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” ~ Matthew 24:32-35

Again, using a parable, Yeshua answered the talmidim’ question regarding Yeshua’s Second Coming (Matthew 24:3).  The talmidim, like anyone living in Israel, knew when summer would come by observing the twigs and leaves of fig trees.  Fig trees lose their leaves in winter (while most of the other trees in Israel do not), and they bloom in late spring (many of the other plants bloom in early spring).  Yeshua chose the fig tree for this peculiarity; since its buds come late, it was a perfect example to picture the delay of the Second Coming.

The dry, brittle twigs getting tender with rising sap and the leaves coming out were certain signs that summer was near.  Inherent in this process is patient waiting.  There is no hurrying the natural cycle of the fig tree.  So all believers must patiently await the Second Coming.  In the same way that they could interpret the season by the leaves on trees, so the talmidim could know when these significant events would occur.  When they saw all these things (referring to the events described in previous verses), they would know that the destruction of Jerusalem would soon follow.

Some scholars feel that the phrase the time is near refers to the coming desecration of the Temple.  But this interpretation makes too abrupt an interjection in Yeshua’s thought.  Because Yeshua was reassuring the talmidim, it makes more sense that Yeshua was speaking of His Second Coming.  Therefore, this verse means that the second coming of Yeshua is both certain and near.  The fulfillment of Yeshua’s prophecy would assure the talmidim that the other prophecies he had given regarding the end times would also come true.

The solemn phrase yes, I tell you introduces an important truth, an assurance like an oath.  There are three views of the meaning of this verse: (1) It refers only to those alive at the time Yeshua spoke who still would be alive at the destruction of Jerusalem; (2) it refers to the end times only; (3) it refers both to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times, the destruction of Jerusalem containing within itself the elements of the final end times.

Yeshua singled out this people (or generation) using the Greek word genea, which can refer both to those living at a given time as well as to race or lineage (therefore, he would be speaking of the Jewish race).  That makes the third view above most likely.  Yeshua used genea here to mean that the events of 24:1-28 would occur initially within the lifetime of Yeshua’s contemporaries.  Not that all the problems would stop at the end of their lifetimes, but that all these things would be under way, verifying what Yeshua had said.  Yeshua explained that many of those alive at that time would witness the destruction of Jerusalem.  In addition, the Jewish nation would be preserved and remain on earth, so Jews also would witness the end-time events (see also 16:28).

There could be no doubt in the talmidim’ minds about the certainty of these prophecies.  While heaven and earth as we know them would eventually come to an end, Yeshua’s words (including all His teachings during His time on earth) would never pass away into oblivion.  They were true and would remain for all eternity.

This chapter opened with the talmidim admiring the durability and beauty of the Temple.  But Yeshua countered with a different vision of durability:  Only His words endure; only the truth of God survives.  History is the story of change, the rise and fall of empires, the coming and going of societies, which, for a time, happened upon some happiness, then floundered upon some folly.  What survives all this change?  Not temples, not governments, and not even believing saints (who get sick and die like everyone else).  Only God’s Word endures.  On that alone we stake everything.  God’s promises endure forever, and all who belong to Yeshua share in them.  Take hope.  Yeshua alone leads through change to a bright and buoyant future, full of everything good.

In my next post, we will learn that Yeshua warns everyone that no one knows the day or hour of His return.

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What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 6

The Olivet Discourse grew out of some questions the talmidim asked when Yeshua told them that the Temple would one day be destroyed.  First, they wanted to know when.  That answer is not recorded in Matthew but is given in Luke 21:20-24.[1]  Second, they asked about the sign of Yeshua’s return or the sign of the end of the age.  This is answered in Matthew 24:29-44 which we will get today.  It is the period of “Tribulation” that Yeshua described in the Olivet Discourse.  At the end of that period, Yeshua will return to the earth, defeat His foes, and establish the promised kingdom during His millennial rule.

In this post, we will begin to unpack what Matthew reports as the signs of Yeshua’s return to inaugurate His millennial rule.

Coming of the Son of Man

Second Coming Edited

“But immediately following the trouble of those times, the sun will grow dark, the moon will stop shining, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in heaven will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, all the tribes of the Land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with tremendous power and glory.  He will send out His angels with a great shofar; and they will gather together His chosen people from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ~ Matthew 24:29-31 (CJB)

The phrase of those times signaled that Yeshua was talking specifically about the end times (see similar wording in the Prophets: Isaiah 13:10, 34:4; Jeremiah 3:16, 18; 31:29; Joel 3:1; and Zechariah 8:23).  After the time of tribulation, nature itself would experience change.  As taught in Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3, the entire universe had become involved in humanity’s fallen predicament; thus, the entire universe will be changed when humanity is changed. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 6”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 5

In my last post, we began to look at the issue of the Abomination of Desolation.  In this post we will conclude that topic as we continue to explore the Olivet Discourse.

The Abomination of the Desolation (cont.)

“For there will be trouble then [at the time of the abomination] worse than there has ever been from the beginning of the world until now, and there will be nothing like it again!  Indeed, if the length of this time had not been limited, no one would survive; but for the sake of those who have been chosen, its length will be limited.  At that time, if someone says to you, ‘Look! Here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ don’t believe him.  For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles — amazing things! — so as to fool even the chosen, if possible.  There! I have told you in advance!  So if people say to you, ‘Listen! He’s out in the desert!’ don’t go; or, ‘Look! He’s hidden away in a secret room!’ don’t believe it.  For when the Son of Man does come, it will be like lightning that flashes out of the east and fills the sky to the western horizon.  Wherever there’s a dead body, that’s where you find the vultures.” ~ Matthew 24:21-28 (CJB)

The prophet Daniel wrote, “When that time comes, Mikha’el, the great prince who champions your people, will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment.  At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1).

Great suffering is in store for God’s people throughout the years ahead.  This way of describing the future is also used by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:7).  The time would be evil and filled with suffering.  This language may sound like an exaggeration, but it is not unusual in Scripture when describing an impending disaster.  The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that when the Romans sacked Yerushalayim and devastated Judea, one hundred thousand Jews were taken prisoner and another 1.1 million died by slaughter and starvation. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 5”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 4

In my last post, we looked at more warnings of the END TIMES.  In this post, we will begin to learn what we should do as Believers when the signs come to fruition.

Recall that Matthew 24 and 25 are known as the Olivet Discourse since Yeshua was sharing with His talmidim on the Mount of Olives.  We may interpret the Olivet Discourse, as with most Tanakh prophecies, as having a double fulfillment.  Yeshua was predicting the destruction of Yerushalayim and the END TIMES.  The references are interwoven so that themes from both the fall of Yerushalayim and the Second Coming occur as one expression of God’s judgment on unbelievers and deliverance for Believers.  However, in the first part of the prophecy, the destruction of Yerushalayim is more prominent; in the second part, the last days before Yeshua’s return are more prominent.

The Abomination of Desolation

“So when you see the abomination that causes desolation spoken about through the prophet Dani’el standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand the allusion), that will be the time for those in Y’hudah to escape to the hills. If someone is on the roof, he must not go down to gather his belongings from his house; if someone is in the field, he must not turn back to get his coat.  What a terrible time it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on Shabbat.” ~ Matthew 24:15-20

Daniel 9:27 tells of the abomination that causes desolation.  “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” ~ Daniel 9:27 (ESV)

Several times in Jewish history it was thought that Dani’el’s prophecy was being fulfilled – most notably during the days of the Maccabees when Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid king, ordered that an altar to the Greek god Zeus be constructed in the Temple (167 BCE).  He also decreed that swine and other unclean animals were to be sacrificed there, that the Sabbath was to be profaned, and that circumcision was to be abolished.  The cleansing of the restored Temple led to the celebration we now know as Hanukkah.  Interestingly, that celebration is not contained in the canon of the Tanakh, but is mentioned in John 10:22-23 while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 4”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 3

In my last post, we looked at the beginning of the birth pains of the END TIMES.  In this post, we look at more warnings of Yeshua’s revelation of what is to come.

“Your Under Arrest”

“At that time you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and put to death, and all peoples will hate you because of me.  At that time many will be trapped into betraying and hating each other, many false prophets will appear and fool many people; and many people’s love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah.  But whoever holds out till the end will be delivered.  And this Good News about the Kingdom will be announced throughout the whole world as a witness to all the Goyim.  It is then that the end will come.” ~ Matthew 24:9-14

Yeshua personalized His prophecy by explaining that the talmidim themselves would face severe persecution; thus, they must be on their guard in order to stay true to the faith.  Believers have always been hated by the world, but here we have an acceleration of persecutions and murders.  All nations will be involved.  This certainly was not true in the history of the early church.

As the early church began to grow, most of the talmidim experienced this kind of persecution.  Luke recorded many of these persecutions in the book of Acts.  Yeshua didn’t say it, but the talmidim would learn that loyalty to Yeshua meant separation from Judaism.  Two of the talmidim listening to Yeshua (Peter and John ~ Mark 13:3) faced the Sanhedrin not long after Yeshua’s resurrection (Acts 4:1-12).  At that time, they certainly remembered these words of Yeshua.  Because of the talmidim’ belief in Yeshua, the Jews would denounce them as traitors or heretics and pass down the sentence right in their synagogue.  They even would condemn Believers to death.

Not only would the talmidim face hatred from religious and civil leaders and their own families, they would be hated by all nations.  For a Jew to believe that Yeshua was indeed the Jewish Messiah would soon become very dangerous because it would lead to hatred and ostracism.  And Yeshua’s words looked forward to a time when hatred of Believers would grow.  As Believers, we should not be shocked or surprised that the world hates us (see John 15:18-21).  On the other hand, we shouldn’t be overly suspicious or totally withdraw from the world (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-11).  To believe in Yeshua and stay strong to the end (v. 13) will take perseverance because our faith will be challenged and opposed.  Severe trials will sift true Believers from phony believers.

Folks it is going to get messy!  If you’re the type who likes harmony in all relationships, you’ve got problems ahead.  Yeshua indicates in many ways how problematic relationships will get before He comes again.

  • People you considered Believers will turn against you.
  • Admiration for your faith will give way to tolerance, then to spite, then to hate.
  • The justice system you believed would protect you will decide to oppress you, and then threaten you, and finally exterminate you.

What’s to be done?  Stay faithful to Yeshua, loyal to all who call him Lord, true to your calling as best you understand it.  Stay alert and focused.  God’s Word is truth, and God will see you through.

Yeshua warned that such severe persecution may lead to the defection or falling away of some members.  It will lead to betraying and hating each otherThe fear and persecution will be so intense that people will betray and hate in order to keep themselves safe.  It will not be popular or respectable to be a Believer.  It will be dangerous.

Not only will Believers face defection and betrayal from within the body, but also false prophets will appear and their teachings will fool many peopleThe Old Testament frequently mentions false prophets (see 2 Kings 3:13; Isaiah 44:25; Jeremiah 23:16; Ezekiel 13:2, 3; Micah 3:5; Zechariah 13:2).  False prophets claimed to receive messages from God, but they said what the people wanted to hear, even when the nation was not following God.  We have false prophets today, popular leaders who tell people what they want to hear – such as: “God wants you to be rich,” “Do whatever your desires tell you,” or “There is no such thing as sin or hell.”  Yeshua said false teachers would come, and He warned His talmidim, as He warns us, not to listen to their dangerous words.  Second Thessalonians 2:3 mentions the day of Apostasy when the Anti-Messiah will use the persecution to influence others to lose hope in the Second Coming or even to abandon their profession of faith.

False teaching and loose morals bring a particularly destructive disease – the loss of true love for God and others.  Many people’s love will grow cold when sin turns our focus on ourselves and our desires.

Only Yeshua’s faithful followers will enter God’s Kingdom.  The stress in this verse is not on endurance, but on salvation; the verse offers both a promise and a warning.  The end refers to the consummation of the Kingdom at Yeshua’s return.  This became a precious promise to Believers who were struggling during intense persecution throughout the history of the kehilah.  Enduring to the end does not earn salvation for us; it marks us as already saved.  The assurance of our salvation will keep us going through times of persecution.  While some will suffer and some will physically die, none of Yeshua’s followers will suffer spiritual or eternal loss.

[Remember that I am not advocating a pre-trib rapture position, although that is currently my position.  What I know for sure is that we currently are going through times of upheaval and those who come to faith as a result of the Great Tribulation will go through even more difficult times.]

Yeshua predicted that His followers would be severely persecuted by those who hated what He stood for.  In terrible persecutions, however, they could have hope, knowing that salvation was theirs.  Times of trial serve to sift true Believers from false ones.  When you are pressured to give up and turn your back on Yeshua, don’t do it.  Remember the benefits of standing firm, and continue to live for Yeshua.

Let me close on a more positive note.

“And this Good News about the Kingdom will be announced throughout the whole world as a witness to all the Goyim.  It is then that the end will come.” ~ Matthew 24:14

Yeshua said that before His return, the Good News of the Kingdom (the message of salvation) would be preached throughout the world.  Some have misconstrued Yeshua’s predictive prophecy; it does not necessarily mean that every last tribe must hear the gospel before Yeshua returns.  But this was the talmidim’ mission – and it is ours.  Yeshua talked about the end times and final judgment to emphasize to His followers the urgency of spreading the Good News of salvation to everyone.

Although persecution is inevitable, we must never give up our mission to preach the Good News to “all the nations to the Jew first and then the goyim.”  (See Romans 1:16.)  We need to start with our family, friends and neighbors.  Yeshua predicted a great missionary expansion to the entire world before He would return.  By the time Matthew’s readers would hear these words, Yeshua’s prediction had already begun to be fulfilled.  Reaching all the nations began at Shavuot (see Acts 2:5-11) and was spreading to the entire world (Romans 1:5, 8; 15:19; Colossians 1:6, 23; 1 Timothy 3:16).

Next week, we will continue in Matthew 24 to learn more about what Yeshua has to say about the END TIMES.

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What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 2

In my last post, we laid the foundation for destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.  In this post, we begin to look at Yeshua’s revelation of what is to come.

Be Alert to the Signs

“When He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the talmidim came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that you are coming, and that the ‘olam hazeh is ending?’  Yeshua replied: ‘Watch out! Don’t let anyone fool you!  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray.  You will hear the noise of wars nearby and the news of wars far off; see to it that you don’t become frightened. Such things must happen, but the end is yet to come. For peoples will fight each other, nations will fight each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various parts of the world; all this is but the beginning of the ‘birth pains.’” ~ Matthew 24:3-8

The Mount of Olives rises above Yerushalayim to the east.  As Yeshua was leaving the city to return to Bethany for the night, He would have crossed the Kidron Valley, and then He would have headed up the slope of the Mount of Olives.  From this slope, He and the talmidim could look down into the city and see the Temple.  The prophet Zechariah predicted that the Messiah would stand on that very mountain when He returned to set up His eternal Kingdom (Zechariah 14:1-4).  This place evoked questions about the future, so it was natural for the talmidim to ask Yeshua when He would come in power and what they could expect at that time.

The talmidim wanted to understand what Yeshua meant and when this terrible destruction would happen.  Their question had two parts.  They wanted to know (1) When will this happen? (referring to the destruction of the Temple) and (2) What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?  The second part of their question referred to the Messiah’s reign in God’s Kingdom.  In their minds, one event would occur immediately after the other.  They expected the Messiah to inaugurate His Kingdom soon, and they wanted to know the sign that it was about to arrive.

Yeshua gave them a prophetic picture of that time, including events leading up to it.  He also talked about far future events connected with the last days and His second coming when He would return to earth to judge all people.  As many of the Old Testament prophets had done, Yeshua predicted both near and distant events without putting them in chronological order.  The coming destruction of Yerushalayim and the Temple only foreshadowed a future destruction that would precede Yeshua’s return.

In order to understand the prophecy, picture yourself standing on a mountaintop looking across a distant mountain range.  The mountain peaks appear to be next to each other, while in reality they are miles apart because of the valleys in between.  Yeshua’s prophecy pictured “mountain peaks” (significant future events), looking to us as though they would occur together, when, in reality, they may be thousands of years apart.  Some of the talmidim lived to see the destruction of Yerushalayim in 70 CE, while some of the events Yeshua spoke of have not yet – to this day – occurred.  But the truth of Yeshua’s prediction regarding Yerushalayim assured the talmidim (and assures us) that everything else He predicted will also happen.

Yeshua first answered the second question about the end of the age and the coming Kingdom.  The talmidim wondered what sign would reveal these things, but Yeshua warned them against false messiahs: Watch out! Don’t let anyone fool you!  Watch out stresses vigilance.  We always have to be on guard of the evil that surrounds us.  Yeshua knew that if the talmidim looked for signs, they would be susceptible to deception.  There would be many false prophets (Matthew 24:24) with counterfeit signs of spiritual power and authority.  Yeshua predicted that before His return, many believers would be misled by false teachers coming in His name – that is, claiming to be Yeshua.

Second Thessalonians 2:3-10, which describes a man of lawlessness who will lead people astray, reflects the teaching of this passage.  Throughout the first century, many such deceivers arose (see Acts 5:36-37; 8:9-11; 2 Timothy 3; 2 Peter 2; 1 John 2:18; 4:1-3).

In every generation since Yeshua’s resurrection, individuals have claimed to be the Messiah or to know exactly when Yeshua would return (remember Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, and David Koresh?).  Obviously, no one else has been Yeshua, and no one has been right about the timing of the Second Coming.  According to Scripture, the one clear sign of Yeshua’s return will be His unmistakable appearance in the clouds, which will be seen by all people (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).  In other words, believers never have to wonder whether a certain person is the Messiah.  When Yeshua returns, believers will know beyond a shadow of a doubt because He will be evident to all.

Yeshua prepared His followers for a difficult passage of time before His return.  A key phrase in this verse comforts all believers: “see to it that you don’t become frightened”.  As political situations worsen, as wars ravage the world, Yeshua’s talmidim and all His followers should not be afraid that somehow God has lost control or that His promises will not come true.  Just as false messiahs and religious frauds come and go, so do political and natural crises.  Even when the world seems to be in chaos, God is in control.  “Such things must happen” are a part of God’s divine plan.  Note that wars are not a sign of the end.  There have always been wars in the world, and will be until the very end.  Wars of themselves do not announce the end of the age or the coming of the Lord.

The talmidim probably assumed that the Temple would only be destroyed at the end of the age as part of God establishing His new Kingdom.  Yeshua taught that horrible events would happen, “but the end is yet to come” The nations at war and the earth’s turmoil, revealed in increased earthquakes and famines, would also not signal the end.  Instead, this will be but “the beginning of birth pains”; in other words, these will be preliminary sufferings.

Yeshua’s words indicated to the eager talmidim that there would be a span of time before the end of the age and the coming Kingdom – it would not come that week, or immediately upon Yeshua’s resurrection, or even right after the destruction of Yerushalayim.  First, much suffering would occur as a part of life on earth, while history would move toward a single, final, God-planned goal – the creation of a new earth and a new Kingdom as later described in Revelation 21:1-3.

The description of sufferings as birth pains is a typical biblical metaphor for the beginning of pre-Kingdom travail and suffering (see Isaiah 13:6-8; 26:16-18; Jeremiah 4:31; 22:20-23; Hosea 13:9-13).  While we must never trivialize suffering, all these troubles must not make Believers alarmed.  Because Yeshua has warned us about them, we know that they must precede the arrival of God’s glorious Kingdom.  Preachers on prophecy who count earthquakes in order to determine when Yeshua will return have not read Yeshua’s words carefully.  Everything will happen according to God’s divine plan.  Our responsibility is to be prepared, to endure, and to continue to preach the Good News to all nations (Matthew 24:14).

In my next post, we will continue Yeshua’s warning about future events leading to the END TIMES.

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A Prayer for Christian Bloggers

This morning during my daily quiet time with the Lord, I was reading a devotion by Frank Martin. [1]  Frank was writing on Daniel 2:19-23 entitled Giving God the Credit.  His main point was that Daniel gave God credit and praise for reveling to him king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of it.

He stated: “The secret to Daniel’s wisdom and strength was that he never forgot where it came from.  He knew that if it weren’t for God he would have no reason to boast.  And because of it, he boasted only in God’s power, never in his own ability.”

He got a personal at the end and shared: “I have a simple prayer that I pray each morning before I write.

“Father, I have no way of knowing who will read the things I write today, but you do. Guide my thoughts and fingers, and speak to that person through me. Make me an instrument of your will.”

I couldn’t help but think that was a great prayer all of us who are bloggers.

 

[1] Embracing Eternity ~ Living Each Day with a Heart Toward Heaven by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins and Frank M. Martin

Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day with a Heart Toward Heaven.