Matthew 24 – A Heavenly Heads Up


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It has been said that the Bible is more relevant than even tomorrow’s newspaper.

Why?

Because in the Bible we get in touch with a “God’s eye view” of life – the past, the present and yes, the future all portrayed in perfect clarity.

And in some places in the Word, we see all three presented at once.

Consider a passage that while written in the past, tells us quite a bit about what is happening in our present, with a sobering, yet ultimately hopeful view of our future.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:3-8)

As we have pointed out before in this space, the term sorrows can also be translated as “birth pains”.

Like the pain that increases in both frequency and intensity as the birth of a child approaches, so Jesus taught that there would be painful world wide catastrophes that would follow the same pattern as the time of His return would draw near.

Just for curiosity sake, lets take a look at this heavenly heads up and compare it with events that have taken place since our last Scott’s Blog post of 9/25.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad peppered his remarks with various references to what he believes will be the Muslim messiah, the Imam Mahdi.

“There will come a time when justice will prevail across the globe and every single human being will enjoy respect and dignity. That will be the time when mankind’s path to moral and spiritual perfection will be opened and his journey to God and the manifestation of God’s Divine Names will come true. Mankind should excel to represent God’s knowledge and wisdom, His compassion and benevolence, His justice and fairness, His power and art, and His kindness and forgiveness. These will all come true under the rule of the Perfect Man, the last Divine source on earth, Hazrat Mahdi (pbuh), an offspring of the Prophet of Islam, who will re-engage, and Jesus Christ (pbuh) and other noble men will accompany him in the accomplishment of this grand universal mission. And this is the belief in Entezar: waiting patiently for the Imam to return, waiting with patience for the rule of goodness and the governance of the best, which is a universal human notion and which is a source of nations’ hope for the betterment of the world.

Faith in a messiah figure so great that Jesus Himself would be merely one of his proteges?

False Christs and false prophets? Check.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

The world being drawn to the brink of war, with each day presenting another prediction of inevitable catastrophe?

Joel Rosenberg provides the following blow by blow description of the rising possibility of nuclear war in the Middle East.

Events are moving so quickly in the epicenter it can be difficult to keep track of, much less understand the big picture. So here it is in a sentence: An apocalpytic storm is forming over the Middle East.

Consider the data points:

  1. Iran has just been caught secretly building a 2nd uranium enrichment facilityon a military base in the religious capital of Iran, a city known as Qom;
  2. A growing number of Western military analysts say the design of this new facility — and its secrecy, and location — clearly indicates it was being built by Iran for the purpose of creating nuclear weapons;
  3. Iran has thus been caught in its third lie since 2002 with regards to building secret nuclear development facilities in Natanz, Arak, and now Qom;
  4. Ahmadinejad refused four times during his NBC News interview last week to rule out the building of nuclear weapons;
  5. A.Q. Khan — the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development program – has just admitted selling advanced nuclear weapons blueprints years ago to Iran for millions of dollars;
  6. The latest IAEA report indicates Iran has enough low-enriched uranium (LEU) to produce enough high-enriched uranium (HEU) by 2010 to produce two nuclear weapons;
  7. Iran has just spent the weekend testing “its most advanced missiles” capable of reaching Israel;

Add to this list another troubling development revealed today:

SAUDIS WILL LET ISRAEL BOMB

IRAN NUCLEAR SITE

Story ImageMossad chief Meir Dagan

INTELLIGENCE chief Sir John Scarlett has been told that Saudi Arabia is ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran’s new nuclear site.

The head of MI6 discussed the issue in London with Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Saudi officials after British intelligence officers helped to uncover the plant, in the side of a mountain near the ancient city of Qom.

The site is seen as a major threat by Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Details of the talks emerged after John Bolton, America’s former UN ambassador, told a meeting of intelligence analysts that “Riyadh certainly approves” of Israel’s use of Saudi airspace.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband acknowledged that the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East was “particularly potent” and refused to rule out military action altogether but he insisted: “We are 100 per cent focused on a diplomatic solution.”

Wars and rumors of wars? Check.

And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

This just in from the South Pacific:

At least 14 dead as tsunami hits Samoas

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – Towering tsunami waves spawned by a powerful earthquake swept ashore on two South Pacific island chains early Tuesday, killing at least 14 people and leaving dozens of others missing at devastated National Park Service facilities.

Hampered by power and communications outages, officials struggled to assess the casualties and damage. The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about midway between Samoa and American Samoa.

Increasingly intense natural disasters? Check.

There is a compelling case to be made that we are right in the middle of a biblical birth pain.

So what do we do?

Jesus also covered that base in Matthew 24:

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:42-44)

Jesus tells us to be ready.

What does that mean?

It doesn’t mean to go the Chicken Little route.

It doesn’t mean to run up your credit cards and hope the Anti-Christ will have to pay them off.

It doesn’t mean to convert all your assets into gold, buy seven years of canned food and hunker down in your basement.

It means to live each day that we’ve been given in a way that honors the love relationship we have been given with God.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

The best response to the signs of the times is to anticipate Jesus’ return like well loved children look forward to the sound of the garage door going up when their Daddy comes home at the end of the day.

If we have that kind of hope within us it will motivate us to say no to our destructive and selfish impulses  because we are saying yes to something, some One better.

Have you said yes to a real relationship with Jesus?

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