Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PIII

A look at Mathew 28 as it relates to end Times 

Jesus is risen—He is risen indeed—Hallelujah!  

           Jesus has all authority! He proved this by not only being God, but by being willing to come as a man to this earth and live the life we could not, nor would not do. He overcame our sins and our enemies (John 12:31; 16:33; Rom. 6:1-7; Rev. 1:17-18)! He kept His promise that He made to Adam to redeem us, and then He sent the Comforter to lead us on (Acts. 1:3; 2:24-35; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30-32; 13:33-37)! Jesus is risen. This means He conquered death (Acts 2:24; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50-58). We too, in Him, will undergo a similar transformation, as we live for Him, forgive in His name, are justified (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17), and will arise in eternity (John 11:25-26; Rom. 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15; 3:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 1 Pet. 1:3).  

          Without the resurrection, we do not have Christianity—as in saving faith.

We just have some great rules and precepts to live by. Well, so do the Buddhists (1 Cor. 15:1-19)! A dead man, no matter how good and great, cannot save anybody. Buddha has saved no one! The difference is we are transformed, and saved for eternity—not just for here and now (John 10:4; 16:10; 2 Cor. 5:20). We are not called to save souls. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. Rather, we are called to help the “soul bearers” to learn and grow! 

          The people then, as well as now, were confused about the end times and wondered if this was the end of an age or a new beginning.

Jesus did not fit the expectations of the religious leaders or of His disciples. The religious leaders rejected Him. The remaining disciples had to surrender their will to His in order to know who He was and what He was doing in them (John 3:30). We cannot make disciples of others until first we, ourselves, become disciples of Jesus (2 Pet. 1:13)! The disciples bore witness to His call to make disciples of all nations; they were His witnesses and His messengers. What will you do about this today (Acts. 1: 22; 4:2, 10, 33; 2 Cor. 5:20)? The key to implement this is to realize who Jesus is—and His authority! When we have acknowledged His authority, then we can allow His work in us. Then, He can use us in the lives of others. The opportunities and potentials are limitless (Luke 10:17-20; John 15:7; Acts 20:24)!  

Questions to ponder that are more important… 

What can you do to help your church see the veracity of The Great Commission and do a better job of knowing Christ so they can then make Him known? What would your church look like doing this? What would your neighborhood look like? Verses just talking about your favorite end time’s scenario?  

What does Jesus’ statement, all authority, mean to you? How can this get deeper in you so you understand further that He is God, He is all powerful, He is all knowing, and, He is present everywhere? What would that mean to your spiritual walk with Him?  

Jesus tells us He will always be with you. How can this help give you motivation and comfort?  

What does make disciples mean to your church? What has your church done with Christ’s most important call? Why do so few churches and Christians do this? Why is this more important than a ‘correct’ and of course most if not all are not) view of End Times?  

What makes this passage the marching orders for our faith and practice? What have you done? Where are you lacking? What do you need to do?  

Do you believe that if you are committed to your beliefs (those that are not focused on Christ), and refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, you will remain in your sins and be unsaved? Why, or why not? If so, why?  

What are the barriers that keep you from knowing Christ? If your beliefs were untrue, would you want to know?

 

Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PII

When or if someone asks you, “what is more important the Resurrection or the Second Coming,” what would you say? Would it be biblically correct? 

We tend to think that the prime Christian climax is yet to come, a rapture, which will not happen as many people think or the Second Coming which is yet to occur. Yes, the Second Coming will be marvelous beyond expectation or description. But, the prime climax for the Christian, and the Church has already occurred, it is all about Christ, Who He is and What He has done. Thus, the prime climax is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Risen!  

The climax has already come! All of our Lord’s life and mission has reached the culmination.

The history of man, our fallen state, the move of our Lord through history and our lives have interwoven to the finishing point. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God’s wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises back to life, conquering death, and giving us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!  

The passage of Matthew 28: 1- 20, contains the ultimate wonder of the universe—the incredible impossible, and the incredible triumph. Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried. 

The magnitude of Jesus’ resurrection was beyond mere comprehension; without seeing it for themselves, as Thomas asked for and received, many refused to believe. Others truly believed by faith and worshipped Him. For us, although we do not have Jesus physically showing us His hands and feet (John 20:26-28), we do have the Spirit that reveals the truth to us. Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20: 29). Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people, the religious leaders, or, the disciples. A total change in worldview had to occur before He could be accepted fully (Phil. 3:1-14). 

This passage has classically been called, “The Great Commission,” as these are the marching orders for our faith and practice! This is also the hallmark passage for evangelism and missions! Consider Jesus’ Statement here, All authority refers to Jesus being fully God, having all omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; thus, He is the ruler over the entire earth. This is also a reference to Daniel 7:13-14. 

So what is our point, our climax? To ponder theories or move forward in our Christian life?

Our call here, our climax until He returns is simple, Make disciples, that is, take people under our wing and teach them the Scriptures and procedures of the Christian life (Matt. 4:17; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8). (The difference is that rabbis made disciples like themselves, with their traditions and beliefs. We are called to make disciples like Christ, and teach His precepts and ways!) 

We are called to Baptize, this meant conversion and identification; the person was to become identified as a person of faith and as a follower of Christ. It does not presuppose a ritual, but rather a mindset. The physical act of baptism is essential (not for salvation), as it is a public showing of our faith and commitment. The specifics of how and when are not as important as the faith and obedience to follow Christ (Matt. 4:18-19). 

We are called to Teaching, this means to show what is in the Scriptures, how to understand God’s Word, what is God saying to us, and how to live by God’s Word. Personal instruction helps us understand and then apply His precepts into our lives. We are to live for Him and to serve Him. For the rabbi, this meant the Law, Commandments, and the Prophets. Now, it also means the teachings of our Lord. 

All nations refers to Gentiles, as in people who are pagan and not Jewish. Jesus’ dominion is all people in all places. He is not limited to time and space! This means Christianity is to all people, Jew as well as Gentile, beyond traditions and religions, and regardless of ethnicity or birthright. Isaiah also predicted this event (Isa. 42:6; 43:10; 44:8). Christ is cross-cultural; He is for all peoples in all times. Only pride can keep a person from Him! 

Observe. We are called to learn what to believe and to obey. We do this by observing; it is cemented in us by doing! This passage is called “practical holiness.” Jesus calls us to observe (to learn and grow) and then to do it! 

What is Jesus doing? Wilting to come a second time? NO! He tells us in this Matt 28 passage, He tells us that He is….Always be with you. This is the great comfort and hope we have, we have is that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us! This also refers to Jesus being fully God. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God is with us (Matt. 1:23).”

Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 14-17

Balaam was a Midianite prophet, depicted in the book of Numbers, who knew and served God. However, he chose greed and his own desires over what God had gifted him with, and he used his gifts inappropriately. He lusted after riches and thus became a mercenary of greed who enticed the Jews to sin and compromise their faith and virtue, for which they were judged. His rational was that war could not defeat God’s chosen people, but if his people were subverting them to compromise and dishonor God, God would take away the Jew’s blessing and then they could be defeated. Balaam symbolizes gluttony and the seeking of evil, and was considered worse than an invading army. He was a man who wanted God’s and his. This was just what the church at Pergamum wasit both ways struggling with. Thus, this church, as did Balaam, engaged in what was futile and foolish (Num. 17; 22-25—especially 23:7; 24:5-9; and 31:1 -18; 31:8-16; Deut. 23:4; Josh. 13:22; Micah 6:5; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14).

· To the teaching of refers to following a person and not the Lord, or following human reasoning, pleas, rational, or logic, and not God’s Word. No matter how good or bad a Bible teacher might be, we are always to test the word of people against His Word. We are to follow Christ and not people; we are to learn from people, team up with and honor them, but not venerate them so that we take our purpose and direction from them rather than from God. Here, the Christians were being taught to compromise and placate to the city rules, forsaking God’s precepts and call.

· Balaam was also a Jewish proverbial saying for being foolish, seeking greed, and dishonorable character. He is the archetype of a false or corrupt teacher who deceived people and/or caused others to bow to worldliness.

· Entice means to subvert and manipulate someone to do what is against their values, usually from personal agendas and bad motives that are against God.

· Food sacrificed to idols referred to participating in pagan religious festivals and immorality (Acts 15:20, 29). Whereas, in 1 Corinthians 8:1-8, just eating the food left over from a sacrifice (which was freely given or sold in the public meat market) to avoid starvation was not wrong.

· Sexual immorality was common in paganism, and was reprehensible to pious Jews and Christians. It also refers to spiritual unfaithfulness.

· Otherwise, I will soon come to you refers to if you do not get right with God, you will be judged. It does not refer to the final judgment; rather, it involves chastisement, discipline, or censor. This does not mean if we fail at our churches, God will come back and usher in His Kingdom sooner!

· Sword of my mouth means to fight with the Word of God (Heb. 4:12).

· Who overcomes means to not fall prey to temptations or compromise one’s faith, and to abstain from pagan practices. By forsaking evil feasts, we can participate in heavenly feasts (1 Cor. 10:14-22).

· Hidden manna refers to the contents of the Ark of the Covenant that was lost in 586 B.C. (Jer. 3:16). Jewish tradition says that the jar of manna was hidden by Jeremiah, and in the final days, would be found. (From apocryphal literature, 2 Macc.4; Book of Baruch). This also refers that Jesus is the Bread of Life (Ex. 16:33-35; Psalm 78:24; John 6:32-58; Heb. 9:4).

· White stone means acquittal. In courts, a black stone was used to write out a person’s guilt and a white stone meant the person was innocent. It was also used for medical prescriptions, referring to healing and restoration. This also meant a pass for special festivity like an expensive ticket to a special event. The theme here is that God wants us to repent so He can acquit us and restore us. He does not want to judge us unless that is the only way because we refuse Him and refuse to change our wrong ways and sin (Gen. 17:5-15).

· New name denotes the authority God has over us. By renaming us as He did with Peter, He restores us to being new (Gen. 2:19-20; Isa. 62:2; 65:15; Matt. 1:25).

· Known only to. Knowing a person’s name means we have knowledge of and influence on them. In ancient cultures, it also meant gaining power over a person. It also refers to His protection over us (Mark 5:9).