Sunday, November 15, 2015

Alert to the times

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 13:14-23

"But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand."Mark 13:23

It is impossible for me to read the list of Jesus' predictions of the end times without feeling a chill of recognition. So many of these things are happening and ramping up right now in our time.

For interest's sake, I've made a list of end-time predictions below, basically repeated in three places: Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. These are parallel passages, reporting on what is commonly called Jesus' Olivet Discourse—His sermon from the Mount of Olives. According to my Bible's "Harmony of the Gospels," Jesus gave this talk on the Tuesday of crucifixion week. So these are some of His crucial and final words.

Here are the things He predicted when His disciples asked: "What will be the signs when all these things will be fulfilled?" - Mark 13:4. He had just predicted the fall of the temple (Mark 13:2):

  • False Christs announcing themselves.
  • Wars and rumors of wars.
  • Earthquakes.
  • Famines.
  • Troubles and pestilences.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Heavenly phenomena.
  • Sea phenomena.
  • Betrayal, even within families.
  • Christians hated, arrested, and brought to trial. Some killed, others preserved.
  • The Gospel preached to all nations.
All these things are leading toward the climax of the Son of man coming visibly in the clouds in power and glory.

Despite the detail, we're cautioned about trying to predict the exact date of Jesus' return - 1 Thessalonians 5:1,2.

Instead, Jesus told His disciples to observe these things and be prepared (Mark 13:28-29, parallel passage Matthew 24:32-33,  p.p. Luke 21:29-31). We can also be like the Sons of Issachar, who studied their times with a view to gaining wisdom about how to live in them - 1Ch 12:32

I appreciate how the Asbury Bible Commentary summarizes prophetic Mark 13:

"In apocalyptic thought ... the present age is a battleground with no neutral territory. The disasters enumerated are manifestations of this battle, birth pangs that give rise to the fullness of God's kingdom. Threading its way through this discourse is the theme of readiness. Disciples are to stay on guard; stand firm; and, with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, serve as witnesses"
- Accessed through, emphasis added.

Dear Jesus. please help me to live alert to the time I am in, preparing for, but not fearing what is ahead. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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