“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender,
and putteth force leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye,
when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I
say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be
fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass
away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man,
no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the
Son of man be. For as in the days that
were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in
marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the
flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man
be. Then shall two be in the field; the
one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at
the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth
come. But know this, that if the goodman
of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have
watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son
of man cometh.”
“Turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 24…Now, I’ll mention this to you, because I’ve just had this on my heart. I know some of us, because of where we’re at, you may wonder, ‘Boy, all this radio stuff, all this radio stuff, what about my personal needs, what about the community, what about other things? Are we getting a little out of control?’ Maybe you’re wondering that. If you’ve been with this church long enough, you’ll know that we’ve had a vision for Radio all along. But I will just share this with you, that there are seasons to ministry [i.e. “Strike while the iron is hot.”]. Sometimes we are more focused right here in our town, sometimes we’re more focused toward another country, sometimes it’s Radio, there are seasons. And this is just a season, this isn’t for ever, this is a season right now. It is labor intensive, it’s going to take a lot of my time in the next few months. It’s also financially a huge thing, but it’s a season, and I believe it’s a season God is calling us to, because of the way we can reach the New England area with the Gospel. Jesus gave us a great Commission, and it’s more than just being a happy church- family, it’s about getting the Gospel out to the lost. That’s the Great Commission, ‘Go to the nations.’ We’re told by Jesus himself, ‘Go to the nations, and make them disciples, bring the Gospel to them.’ [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm] We want to be a church where God is working in our midst, and that includes being a church where we go beyond our walls and beyond our community and we go to other areas, and bring the Gospel, whether it be Radio or whatever it is. So I would ask that you’d pray, pray for the church. I’ve had many people just warning me that have been involved with this for quite awhile, of the spiritual battle that may be yet ahead even for this ministry. And I wouldn’t even deny that, that that is a possibility. But we’re going to press on either way. And so just prayer, prayer is key. Nehemiah, Nehemiah if you remember, was walking by faith, doing a radical work in a radical amount of time, a short time, he had all kinds of opposition, battle was there, he heard the enemy was going to attack. And he got ready, and got the people ready, and if you remember the story, the enemy never attacked. And there is a, it’s like a military battle, the spiritual battle that we have, with these principalities and powers in these spiritual places. And I tell you what, you and I and the congregation as a church, when we get focused on the Word and we pray, I believe you can also stop the enemy from attacking, because of our weapons of warfare, which include prayer, and of course faith and things like that. Well there’s a little bit of a word for you, to encourage you. You know, tonight is the night of prayer at Fitchburg Assembly of God, if you could possibly make it, my hope is that we’d even change our schedules at such a time. It will continue to be a time like that, God is doing a work locally. I hear people, pastors in other places note what’s happening here locally with the churches, and it’s because we come together and pray. And it wasn’t like that when I first moved here, and I didn’t even want to do that with other churches when I moved here. I wanted to just do our own little kingdom, you know, and God woke me up and gave me a good view of his Kingdom and his Body of Christ, and His Bride, the Church, not just this local church, but all his Church. And so there’s blessing and power and unity in being with the Body and praying. We’ve had some sweet times, we’re meeting at the Fitchburg Assembly of God at 6pm, there will be multiple churches, I pray we run out of seats. I pray, as we always are, it’s true, we always are represented well as a church, but boy we can pray right now, with all that’s going on. There’s no activities tonight because of that, it’ll all be postponed until next week.
You don’t want to be unprepared spiritually
Now if you weren’t with us last week, which I would say was everybody, should have been every single one of us, except for some radical folks that were here. And because people came, we went to the Word and we had a Bible study. You can get a tape if you missed it. And I will take the opportunity to say this, we should have canceled services last week. Didn’t have the Radio station, I was out of town at the end of the week, some of the key people were also heading out of town, and it just kind of fell apart on us. But next time, just so you know, we’ll have it in the bulletin, if there is a snowstorm that’s somewhat significant, hey, we’re used to an inch or two, no big deal, but if it’s somewhat significant, tune into WBZ, tune into EIM, get into the church website…and you’ll hear whether or not we have services…But anyway, we shouldn’t have been here last week. And there was, I think, about 50 people here! Some of the folks around here are just crazy.
“The Parable of the Fig Tree”---are you unprepared?
But anyway, verse 32. Last week, we mentioned that, well, we’ll get there. Let me just pick up with verse 32 and read it. Matthew 24, verses 32-35, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near---at the doors! Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” I remember, when I read what we’re going to read here, I remember back in college, a story I’ve shared before. But I, one semester, some of the engineering classes that I was taking with my friends, we just found them to be pretty hard. And in our engineering degrees, we were also at times able to take other what were called ‘elective classes.’ And so we looked for classes that would be a little easier to take. Ah, we’d have to spend less time on them, anything that would raise our GPA, would be a little easier, we looked for those classes, did some research. Well one of the classes at the university I was at was PS 101, it was Psychology 101. I had heard from some folks, ‘Hey, man, just some memorization, you cram before the mid-term, cram before the final, you’ll do just fine. And everybody I knew, my nerdy friends, all did pretty well. So I figured I ought to sign up one semester, and a couple of my friends did also. Well, because it was an 8 o’clock in the morning class, which at that time in my life was brutal [chuckles], I basically didn’t go to class. I’d study late, getting up at 8, nice chance, you know. My goal was to get up before the cafeteria closed before lunch was over, and sometimes I didn’t even make that, the cafeteria would be closed, and I’d be getting up and getting downstairs in the dorm. But I studied late, as a lot of my friends did, we’d study even until the morning, until the sun came up. Well I hadn’t gone to this PS 101 class for awhile. I had heard from friends, there’s a mid-term, there’s a final, that’s all there is for the grade. So I’m thinking ‘Alright, if I just go a little early, I can find out about the mid-term and study, and that’ll be just fine. Well, I decided to go, it’s been a little while, I need to get up. So I got up and went there one whatever day of the week it was. And I’m sitting there, and it’s a big lecture hall. And there are a lot of students, and I was noticing it was quiet as we were waiting for the professor. And it made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, so there was a gal sitting near me, so I leaned over to her and said “Boy it seems kind of quiet this morning, what’s going on today?”. And she says “What do you mean, the mid-term?”. [laughter] And it turns out, it was the mid-term. [loud laughter] Now, I had not even cracked a book, I don’t even know if I had purchased the book yet. I had never seen the professor in my life. I had nothing, knew nothing about psychology. And here comes this mid-term exam, which is a good chunk of your grade. I walked out of the auditorium, and this sickness came over me, I just felt sick. And then the next day, thinking ‘I’m going to fail this class.’ This is not a class I’m supposed to fail, I need this. Well, my roommates at the time, they were coaching me, ‘Here’s what you do, you go to the professor’, and they were giving me these stories to tell him, ‘This is what you can tell him, this one should work. He’ll buy it, and, you missed class, got in a car accident, train wreck or whatever…[laughter].’ And I’m tempted, I’m really tempted, I’m going to go tell the professor…and I thought about it, I can’t do that, so I’m just going to go see the guy and beg for grace. Some of the engineering professors would have just laughed. But I went, and so there I am, and I’m standing outside and here’s a gal standing next to me, and there’s the grades, and I’m at his office, and there’s the grades posted, and so we get to talking, and I told her I missed the test. And she says “I took it, if he’s kind enough to give you a mid-term, give me a call and I can kind of give you a sense of what was on the test.” Well anyway, I finally get a chance to talk to the professor. I just started to share, ‘Well listen, some unfortunate things have happened,’ and I’m not even putting all my words in, and he cuts in and says “Did you miss the test?” And I said, “Yeah, I missed the test.” And he says “Well when do you want to take it?” And so I thought real quick, you know, ‘How many days do I need to study’, “I’ll take it about how about next Friday.” He goes, “Yeah, no problem.” I’m like, ‘Cool, man.’ [laughter] So I’ll just leave the story there, I won’t tell you whether or not I called that girl [laughter], I know the Lord a little better than I did then. [He failed the mid-term, I heard the story before, and I know you guys, if you’re like me, you don’t like to be left hanging. The final wasn’t based on the book but on the lectures given by the professor in class.] But you know, missing something, not being prepared for an important event in your life, a lot of us have experiences one way or another where there’s an important thing, whether you forgot about it, whether you just weren’t taking it seriously, and here the event comes, and you’re not ready for it. And you have that experience of shame or embarrassment, or maybe it’s even fear because of what is happening. Now, as you see in these verses we read, and as we go on today, that’s what Jesus is also warning us about in our lives, so that we would not have that experience when it comes to very important events that are coming soon in our lives, all of our lives. And that is what’s coming in the world soon, just around the corner. That you and I would not be caught off guard, that we would not be unprepared, and have the most dreadful experience because we’re not ready for it. He shares the things that he does to stir our hearts, so that we indeed would understand, we would be wise, and we would get ready. And I pray as we go through these things, that that would be true in our lives.
Review of what we covered last
Now, last week we noted, in the beginning of the chapter, Jesus you may remember, if you’ve studied this chapter, has left the Temple Mount, it’s was this day of confrontation with him and the religious leaders, just a few days before he’s crucified. He leaves the Temple Mount area after the confrontation really peaks out in chapter 23. As he’s leaving his disciples get his attention, and they draw his attention towards the Temple Mount and the Temple itself. And the Temple is really a Complex, it was incredible. Josephus tells us that to look at the Temple when the sun was upon it, you would have to look away because of the brilliance of the gold and the stones, it was an incredible facility. And the stones were also huge and vast. We talked about that last week. Well Jesus, as they draw his attention towards it, then uses the opportunity to then deal with an issue. You look at something like that, an accomplishment of man, you look at the things and systems of the world, and you can become very secure in the things of the world, in the government, in our nationality, in the strength of America, in our own personal accomplishments, whatever it might be---we can become very secure. But Jesus says, he uses the opportunity as they look at this Temple, as they go up on the Mount of Olives, he warns them, ‘Beware of that false sense of security that you can have in the world, beware of that. Because as he then goes on, he begins to talk about the end times. He’s only with them for a few days, and he knows as the Son of God that in a very short time, that very Temple that they’re looking at, this huge Complex, is not even going to exist in less than 40 years. General Titus comes in. He says one stone will not be left laid upon another. And I’m sure they can’t even fathom that. ‘How could that possibly be? Some of these stones weigh 165 tons, how can they not be stacked up like that?’ General Titus, when they come in, the Romans, he orders that the place not be destroyed, but a torch ends up getting thrown into the Temple, it catches fire, historically, and the gold begins to melt, and the city’s a mess, so Titus says ‘OK, just lay the place waste.’ And in order to get at the gold, those soldiers actually completely dismantled, stone by stone, that Temple, fulfilling what Jesus said. The disciples would never have guessed that that would happen. And it’s less than 40 years away. It took 40 some odd years to build it [Herod’s rebuilding of this Temple, modifying and “improving it.”] and it still wasn’t done. In less than 40 years it would be a pile of rubble. He then goes on with that, and talks about the signs of the end times. They even ask him, maybe you can look back there in verse 3 of chapter 24, they’re sitting down on the Mount of Olives, of course you have a beautiful view down to the Temple Mount, they’re sitting there considering what he said, looking at the Temple. They say “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”. Well Jesus then goes on to share with them. And initially, initially he deals with the last events in the world, as far as in relation to the nations. That’s what you see, and that’s the way I look at it, between verse 3 and verse 14. And then verse 15 to 28 he deals with the final events and the last days, the days of the end in relationship to the nation of Israel, and that continues a little bit. But basically then from verse 36 down he primarily focuses on the latter days, as far as the last events, the end of the age in relation to the Church [Body of Christ]. And so that’s essentially our outline. But he goes on and he talks about, before the end there is going to be what he describes as the beginning of sorrows. This earth is under a curse, this earth we are told in Romans, it wants to be delivered from the curse that goes back to the sin of Adam and Eve. It groans, it waits. And just before the return of Christ, when God comes and sets this place in order, there will be like birth-pains. You know birth-pains are not pleasant. And they grow more and more intense, and Jesus says ‘before the end it’ll be like the beginning of sorrows, like these birth-pains.’ And he describes, in an interesting way, he describes essentially what we see around us today, that we see these same sorts of signs. We see, he says, there will be an increase in war, there will be an increase in deception, there will be an increase in famines and pestilences and earthquakes. There will be an increase in persecution against the Church, and a significant increase in wickedness. And because of that, as he says in verse 12, because of the wickedness, the love [Greek: agapeo ], the love of God will grow cold in many hearts. All the persecution, all the temptation. “But he who endures to the end will be saved.” He says further there also will be a significant increase in the spreading of the Gospel, just before he returns. And it’s interesting that we’re doing the things that even we are doing here with Radio. Well then he goes on to talk about the great Tribulation [World War III], he now is focusing that last week with the nation of Israel, the great Tribulation, this seven year period [Comment: 3.5 years of this seven year peace treaty period have occurred from verse 4-14, when the false prophet and beast personage make this peace treaty between the Israelis and Arab nations, enabling the Israelis to build a temple on the Temple mount. How do I know this? Because a temple has to be built in order for the beast person, the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, to come into that temple, as verse 15 shows, and Daniel shows, and cut off the evening and morning sacrifices, and then start the Tribulation, World War III. That is what Matthew 24:4-15 show us pretty clearly. Christians living now will live into that 3.5 year period of relative peace, this period during the first 3.5 years of that peace treaty. We will use that time, as verse 14 clearly shows, to finish getting the Gospel to the world. Those of us who are with-it spiritually will be aware of that time period in which we have to finish the job Jesus has given us to do (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). Scary times ahead, you bet. Where’s your heart? Is it going to grow cold, as Matthew 24:12-13 show many Christians hearts will, or will you stand firm, helping to get the Gospel out to the world? Now’s the time to make up your mind and prepare yourself mentally and spiritually for the battle ahead.] The great Tribulation, this seven year period, seven years, a week it’s called in Daniel 9. [For an interesting Bible study on this event, which is somewhat of a composite of the Classic Pre-Millennial interpretation and the Dispensational (Rapture) Pre-Millennial interpretation, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm.] And he speaks about the abomination of desolation, which is in the middle of the tribulation period. [Actually it marks the very beginning of the Tribulation, or World War III. The peace treaty made 3.5 years earlier marks the opening of the First Seal of Revelation. But the start of the Tribulation and World War III doesn’t start until the opening of the Second Seal, the Red Horse. This occurs in Matthew 24:15.] This was foreshadowed around 167BC, a time before Christ, where one of the Syrian kings [Antiochus Epiphanes] just defiled the Temple and did a hideous thing [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/festiavloflights.htm]. But there is coming a time, in the future, not long from now, that the Temple is going to be rebuilt in Jerusalem [and that Temple won’t be able to be rebuilt until this “peace treaty” brokered by some charismatic leader (the future beast) in Europe has been accepted by both the Israeli nation and the surrounding Arab nations. When you see that treaty accepted, bringing peace into the Middle East, and that Temple starting to be built, there’s 3.5 years until the actual Tribulation, World War III starts.] And there’ll be this abomination of desolation [the beast personage], and it’s like the last straw, it is so abominable, so hideous before God, that it’s going to unleash the wrath of God, the desolation, where he comes and judges the earth in a tremendous way, as we studied in the Book of Revelation. It’ll be essentially the anti-Christ in the Temple, and he is possessed by Satan himself, and he sits down on the throne in the Temple, and he demands the world to worship him as God. And that’s the last straw. And God’s wrath is poured out [after two years of tribulation, World War]. Well, Jesus goes on to share that. And especially speaking then to the nation of Israel, the Jew, he talks about the Sabbath and things like that. He says ‘Those that are in that area of Jerusalem, just run to the mountains, because it’s time for the wrath of God to be poured out. And if you’re up on the housetop, or you’re working in the field, man, don’t even hesitate, just hit the road.’ Because the wrath of God is going to be unleashed like never, ever before. [He says ‘wrath of God’, but at this point in time it is the wrath of Satan being poured out as World War III, the Tribulation, the Red Horse or 2nd Seal is unleashed on unsuspecting mankind, starting in Jerusalem.] Well, as he shares that, he says ‘Also there will be these powerful false christ’s, a number of times he talks about, over the days and years that will rise up, powerful prophets eventually. The anti-christ, during the tribulation will be revealed. He will be so powerful, the miracles that he will do, could deceive if it’s possible even the elect, but indicating that that’s not possible. But so powerful, he’ll deceive everyone other than the children of God. Well, as he goes on to share, he warns that these guys are coming, and if you hear there’s the Messiah over here or over there, that’s baloney, when Jesus Christ comes he’s coming from the heavens, man. And the heavens are going to open up, and the whole world will see Jesus when he comes. But at the end of the Tribulation there will be this shaking in heaven, radical cosmic things will be going on, and it will be a hard time to be on this planet, and it’s at that point that Christ is going to return and gather his elect.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Matthew 24:32-35, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near---at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” Now, with these things we come to verse 32, and he’s giving us an important road map. And when you know a roadmap and you want to stay on the right path, man, you follow the directions. And that’s what we have here. And what he shares from this point on, is it’s so important that you know the path, you know the plan, you know what’s coming on, and that you’re ready and waiting, and you’re watching. I think of the sons of Issachar, noted in 1st Chronicles chapter 12, it says of these sons of Issachar, “Who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”, so that you and I would have understanding, that we would know what we ought to do. He gives a parable here in verse 32 of a fig tree. And a parable is just a story to catch your attention, to draw you to a truth, to illuminate a truth. So he gives a parable. He’s going to give a number of parables by the time we get to the end of chapter 25---all with this sense, of getting your attention about the Last Days, about your heart, and the way you’re living, in preparation for the future. Now he says, the parable of the fig tree, when you see the fig tree, and you see in the springtime the leaves, the buds starting to come out, and then the leaves. And the leaves on the fig tree would be quite large. When you see that in the spring you know that summer’s right around the corner. You know it every year. You see the signs of spring. And as a result, you begin to prepare for the summer. Of course we do the same thing. I was driving with my wife a week and a half ago, we were heading up to Maine, and my wife being a San Diego gal, she loves the warm weather, man. She just prays for winter to pass quickly. And any signs that winter’s going to end, she is thrilled. And this winter she’s probably been the most pleasant, thank God it’s been a mild winter. But as we were driving to Maine, she notes along the road, she says ‘Look, those branches on the trees, man, they’re getting ready,’ and she was telling me about the color. I’m like, ‘You sure that’s what it means?’. And she says, ‘Yeah, I’m telling you, they’re getting ready to bud.’ And she was all excited. And we get excited too, I mean, we plan. Right? Springtime’s coming, it’s time to go to the Mall, gained a little weight, it’s time to get bigger shorts, can’t fit in those shorts from last year, I need to get the bigger shorts. [laughter] And we get the new blouse, she can’t wear that blouse again, people might see it, you wore it last summer, new blouse time [chuckles]. Maybe you make sure the campground reservations are made, because you’re going to go away this summer, or the beach-house, or whatever it is. It’s spring and we know the summer is coming. And Jesus says ‘When you see these signs taking place around you, know that just as you know the summer is coming, know that the end is near, it is at the door.’ And if it’s at the door, if you’re in your house, and there is something at the door, it’s really close, it’s at the door. And that’s the point that he’s making. It’s at the door. And in Luke he mentions specifically, ‘Know that the kingdom of God is near, and that the time for Christ to return to establish his kingdom is right there.’ So, when we see these signs fulfilled, we should know that the end is near, and we should be getting ready. The question to you is, how do you look at life today? How do you look at what’s going on, how do you process that, and how do you look towards the future? Are you preparing in your mind, seeing and understanding that it’s not long from now where you will be with Christ? And if you happen to live to the end of your life, that’s still a short time from now. I was with my father-in-law when I was in California this week, and my father-in-law is in his mid 60s, and he was talking about older people that were in their 70s. And then he admitted, as we were in this restaurant, ‘You know, I used to talk about people in their 70s, and be like, they’re old people.’ He says, ‘I’ve been thinking, they’re not that much older than me. And I’m getting older.’ And then he mentioned, he said, ‘It came so quickly.’ [That is so true. I’ll be 65 in October, and I’m wondering where all the time went!] And he says, ‘Things just speed up so fast now.’ And I mentioned to him, I said, ‘And I just turned 40.’ And I was thinking, I’m exactly the same distance between 20 and 60 now. And 20 just doesn’t seem that long ago, I still think I’m in my twenties. But given that much time, I’ll be 60. It is funny, as you get a little older, time goes faster and faster. So, it’s at the door, it’s at the door. And Jesus then shares these things to encourage us and to exhort us. Now, the parable of the fig tree, some people do believe this, and I think it’s very possible, you know as we’ve studied this too. Matthew 21 very clearly, the fig tree representing the nation of Israel, no doubt about it. And in the Bible the fig tree often does represent the nation of Israel, it’s symbolic. Many times it’s that way. So people often will see that Jesus is also giving a picture, that when the dead tree buds, representing the nation of Israel, when it comes back to life, know that the end is near. It is interesting, AD 70, shortly afterward the nation of Israel was gone, it’s wiped off the map [actually the total wiping of Israel off the map didn’t happen until 132-135AD with the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Romans, which the Romans put down brutally, driving all surviving Jews out of Palestine]. Then in 1948, May 14th, 1948, it had never happened before, 1900 years later the nation of Israel comes back. And it’s honestly a nation again. That’s never happened before. So is he also speaking of that time when the dead, gone, Ezekiel chapters 32, 33, 34, Ezekiel looking at this valley of dead dry bones, and that’s what the nation of Israel became, it was just dead, dried skeletons, bones in that sense speaking of it in a pictorial sense. And God saying, ‘Ezekiel, speak to those bones, and call them forth to life’, and amazingly they come together, and there’s life, representing the nation of Israel, that it would honestly come back. Is Jesus also saying the fig tree, dead, when it comes back with life, know that the time is short? Now Israel, in the Bible, is God’s timepiece when it comes to prophecy. And after AD 70, it’s like prophecy stopped, in the sense of the fulfillment, there were no other prophecies being fulfilled except the Church Age, that was being fulfilled. But that was it. But now that Israel’s back, it is amazing what’s going on, on this planet, when it comes to other prophecies. It’s like the clock is ticking again, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick [Booom!!!], it’s going again!...[tape switchover, some text lost]…Yet if you look historically, here is an interesting thing. And there’s no doubt, what happened in May 1948 is setting [things] up for the end time. Because in May 1948, not only was the nation of Israel reborn, because of the holocaust, 6 million Jews were killed, the sympathy of the world, they’re allowed to return and become a nation. Not only that happened, and people have been upset about it, a lot of people are upset about it since then, don’t even recognize the nation of Israel even today for that reason. But also in the same month, the European Federation was formed, which is the European Union. And as we studied in Revelation, I mean, as God talks about this future empire, Daniel, back in Daniel, long ago, prophecied that it seems that the Roman Empire will come back in that one prophecy about the ten toes of clay and iron, it would be a federation, like the old Roman Empire in the sense that it would have that strength, but not quite the same, because there’s the clay, it’s a federation [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htmand http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html]. Same month, 1948 in May, Israel gives birth, European Union, which in many ways is symbolic of the old Roman Empire coming to life. And then in this same month was born the World Council of Churches, it started in the Netherlands, which is a Council which is really moving, seeking to unite all the religions of the world. [That can’t be a good thing.] But when we study in Revelation, we read about this mystery Babylon, this harlot that defiles the whole world, it’s a false religion, encompasses the whole world. And you’d better be a part of it, or it will cost you your life. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm and http://www.biblebelievers.com/babylon/] All these events occurred at the same time, same time. Jesus says when you see these things, as he’s saying that too, see the trees budding, fig tree, trees, the time is near. I tell you, since 1948 wild things have happened. Last week we talked, Jesus said it’s the beginning of sorrows, he talked about that fact that there would be an increase in earthquakes. [Look at all the earthquakes just between 2010 and 2011, the latest one in Japan being a whapping 8.9 on the Richter scale, accompanied by a devastating tsunami.] Now that’s something that you can measure. And I mentioned last week, in 1976 scientists determined that something recently has happened in the crust of this planet, somebody was describing to me, they’ve studied it has to do with the glaciers and the global warming, that they’re melting, and it’s effecting that. [Since 1900, almost all the world’s glaciers on the normal continents have shrunk by 50 percent.] But there has been a significant increase in earthquakes. Not just significant, incredibly significant increase in earthquakes. Somebody was explaining to me that even since the year 2000 it just continues, more and more earthquakes. I mean, we watch them on the news, and much more than there has been historically. And it just continues to happen. He goes on and talks about the beginning of sorrows, all these things. Well that’s since 1948. These other things. We could go on with many things, but we’ll continue to focus, and you can get a tape from last week and consider that, and you can even get the tapes where we went through the Book of Revelation, it’s so fascinating the things that were prophecied, to then see what is happening. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation1.html.] Even the increase of wickedness. I was with my Grandma a couple weeks ago, she was born in 1919 [same year my father was born], she’s pretty old, 87 years old, strong lady, still drives. I’d probably have a second guess about driving with her [my mother, same age, and yeah, none of us kids will drive with her anymore]. But she’s a strong lady, 87. But man, she’s got a great mind. We were talking about the train, the XL-Express, you know, the Amtrak train. I said ‘You know, there’s a super-fast train from Boston to New York’, because she’s considering visiting her son down in Virginia. She says ‘Oh yeah, the XL-Express.’ I’m like, ‘How’d you know that, you’re 87, you’re not supposed to know that.’ But anyway, we were just talking, and she mentioned to me, she says, “You know, the world, man, what’s going on? It didn’t used to be this way. And it’s just getting so evil, what’s going on?” Now she can say that, she’s been around since 1919. It’s different in this world. And Jesus says wickedness in the end would grow and abound (cf. Matthew 24:12), and the love [agapeo] of many would grow cold. Well the fig tree, the time-clock is back, the nation of Israel, and the prophecies are ticking, that’s for sure. And as God even said, in the end times Jerusalem would be a cup of trembling in the world, and it is today, that’s fulfilled prophecy, it is a cup of trembling. Why would a little tiny nation of six, seven million people consume so much of our press, our newspapers, our TV, all the time? It’s a cup of trembling. It dictates a lot of what goes on in this world, even at this very moment. [see “PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE”, for a thought-provoking and fascinating link: http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Fig-Tree]
“This generation will by no means pass away till all
these things take place”---The Terminal Generation
Well, Jesus says this is the deal. So, ‘Know that it’s near,’ “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (verse 34). Now, when he speaks of “this generation,” what generation is he referring to? And that’s a debate. Many people, when they look at this, they look at just AD 70, and we look at Luke chapter 21, which is the same thing, Luke records, has a recording of the teaching of this day, and there is variation. It very clearly, he speaks, Jesus, about AD 70, because he talks to them, he says ‘When you see the armies surrounding Jerusalem, when you see that, guys, get out of here.’ [But that surrounding of Jerusalem could be a type for a later surrounding of Jerusalem when the beast person steps into the Temple, the abomination that makes desolate.] And then he mentions it’s going to be destroyed, and it would be the beginning of the Gentiles, the calling of the Gentiles, the Church will start. So many then look at this whole teaching of Jesus and they only see AD 70, but as I mentioned last week too, I believe Jesus is referring to, you know, as I mentioned last week, when an artist, you’ve maybe seen a picture that an artist has painted, where you see inside the house, the cross cutaway room, and you can see the chairs and the table in the living room, but through the window you can see outside, and you can see maybe some of the landscape through the window, or maybe even around the edge of the house, you can see the sky, and you can look at different viewpoints in the same painting. And I believe that’s what Jesus is doing as he gives this sermon. You’re seeing up close AD 70, then you’re seeing beyond, the Tribulation, you’re seeing also beyond to the return of Christ. And I believe that’s the best way to put these verses together. And so you take the different passages and the different Gospels and you line them up, and we probably have a much longer teaching that Jesus gave, and we get a better sense as we put them all together. Well, “this generation,” because many see AD 70, they say he’s referring to the people in front of him right then. And it is true, that only 40 years later [and then again in 132-135AD] they saw the destruction of the Temple [and the whole Jewish nation later on]. So that generation saw it and experienced it, in a horrible way. Josephus the Jewish historian tells us of over a million Jews that got killed and the starvation that happened in the city where they were even cannibalizing, it was so evil and horrible what happened in AD 70. Well, is that the generation? Or is he referring to what some call “the terminal generation”?---he’s referring to the end of the time? That was the question, when was the end, what’s it going to be like? And he’s talking about that generation, that last group of people that will see and experience the end, “the terminal generation.” And meaning then, the nation of Israel will come back, and when it comes back, that generation is going to see all these things take place. When I was in high school, I went on a missions trip with Teen Missions to Venezuela for a summer, and I brought a book with me that was written by Hal Lindsey, it was called “The Terminal Generation”, I was 15 at the time, and I think my Mom had the book, so I grabbed it. And I read it, and he tried to show that we are that last generation. And people can debate and that’s fine. But I remember thinking about, man, it is wild, even at that age, considering what all the Bible says, and all that’s left to take place. It would seem, I believe that, whether or not this verse means that, I do believe that. We’re in that time, this generation. Now, because of that, some people then say, ‘Well, generation, how long’s a generation? 1948, this generation, how long’s a generation?’ We know in the Old Testament that often a generation is 40 years. [Or it can be, Biblically, a generation is 70 to 80 years, as that link to the Fig Tree article shows. And 1948 + 70 = 2018 or lets say 2019. Now that would be when “the Times of the Gentiles” ends, give or take a few years, the time of the 2nd Coming, when the Times of the Gentiles has to end, because Jesus is back. Subtract 7 years for that peace treaty the beast person makes between the Israelis and the Arab nations, and you get the year 2011 or 2012 when the first Seal of Revelation 6 will be opened, the seal that represents false religion. Be sure and log onto that link and read that article, written by a Messianic Jewish believer in Jesus.] So, some say 40 years, you take 1948, you add 40 years and you get 1988, take the 7 year tribulation [no, the seven year period starts out as a 7 year peace treaty. The Tribulation, World War III, doesn’t start until 3.5 years of that treaty have gone by. Get your facts straight.] and you get 1981. There were many people that were believing, especially in the Jesus movement in the 1970s, that man, right around 1980 it’s gotta come soon. It didn’t, so then, 1967, well that’s when Israel got all of Jerusalem, maybe that’s what this means, 1967 + 40 = 2007, take off 7, you get around the year 2000, so people, there were some saying ‘Maybe year 2000.’ Now the thing with this word “generation”, if he’s referring to “the terminal generation,” you look in the Old Testament, a generation can mean all kinds of lengths of time. In Genesis 15 it’s seems to refer to a hundred years. You take Matthew 1 and you take the genealogies, the 42 generations in Matthew chapter 1, and you take the time-line, you can figure out the dates, it’s 51.4 years. [1967 + 51.4 = 2018.5; 1948 + 70 = 2018, hmmm.] When they were in the wilderness, that generation over and over is referred to as 38 years. Psalm 90 there is a generation noted of 70 years. So the truth is, and I’m sure it’s by God’s design, generation, how long? God knows. But this time, this time. And we could look at many other things too that make the time interesting when it comes to a generation. Now that word “generation” in the Greek is genea, often translated just race, or nation or people. So some take the word “generation” to mean the Jews, the nation of Israel, and that the nation of Israel will always exist, and it’s not going to disappear until these things are fulfilled. And in a sense it’s back today, so that would be true. I’ll leave it for you to determine what you believe there.
The Word Remains
But he says “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” ‘My words will by no means pass away, the earth is going to go.’ You know, seven years ago there was a study of Americans, a pole taken, and they were asked about the end of the world, and according to the study, 59 percent of the people in America believed the world was going to end. 35 percent of the people said it would happen within two decades, 20 years, 49 percent believed that the anti-christ was a literal person. Interesting, we have a Christian heritage in this nation, so, a lot of people just looking around, going, ‘Man, it looks like it could end.’ “But my words will by no means pass away”, the Word of God will endure. We might be in a time that Peter says is full of scoffing and mocking, where the Bible is just scoffed at and mocked at and looked down upon, but the Word of God will remain. I was on a plane on Wednesday night coming back from California, and I was sitting next to a younger guy, and if you compared the two of us, we were pretty different. I’m a nerd, this guy, he’s got the big plastic in his ear, and whole arm, I could tell is a big tattoo, and he was a snow-boarder, and you know, I can’t even skate-board. He had just come back from Wyoming, snow-boarding, he was an artsy kind of guy. And I was just hoping to be able to talk with him, praying for an opportunity maybe to share just my heart, what I believe the Bible says, and just hoping for the opportunity, God willing, just praying for him. If not, I’ll just pray for him. Anyway it turns out in a little bit of time we were able to start to converse. It turns out he actually had went to Fitchburg State. I said, ‘Wow, you went to Fitchburg State?’ and one thing just went to another, and we had a neat conversation. Well I asked him, I said, ‘Hey, what kind of church background do you have?’. He says, ‘Well I was raised Catholic, but I don’t want anything to do with the Catholic Church, or the Church.’ So we started to talk, and I started to tell him about a relationship with God, it’s not about religion, it’s a relationship with God. Well don’t you know, because of the media, because of the books, he started to tell me of these books he’s read and thing’s he’s watched, that just kind of paint the Bible in a certain way, ‘And what about this?’ he was saying. ‘And Jesus, what about that? You know, I’ve seen this in a movie, and all these things?’ And I was hoping for that. Because, as I’ve mentioned before, I used to challenge the engineers I worked with in California. I’d say ‘Man, the Word of God is the Word of God, you test it, man. I dare you, ask any question you want, historically, prophetically, anything man, you test this, this is the Word of God. These other people that just like to scoff have not been serious about the Word of God and about history [real history, not supposed altered history by the winners].’ And so I used to challenge the engineers, and at the end you come to the conclusion, ‘Wow, that’s pretty wild, the history here, and the prophecy.’ Well we started to go in this direction, and I mean, it was pretty cool, and I just shared that, you know, Jesus Christ, there’s never been anyone like him, and you’re forced to a decision with Jesus, whether or not you know it. Either you’re going to deny him, and you can do that, or you’re going to accept him. But he’s not just some wishy washy guy. You’re forced to confront him, either he’s the Son of God and you’re going to follow him, or you’re going to deny him and do your own deal, because that’s who he is. It’s just forced there, historically and in the Bible. It’s not like an alternative, you can make him like a teacher or a nice guy, or a nice prophet. Well as we got into that, the Word of God was working in his heart, and so at the end he says, ‘You know I can’t say getting onto this plane and leaving now I’ve got any different decision that I’ve made, but I can say this, he says, you know what, you’ve really got me thinking.’ And he says, ‘I’m going to go check this stuff out.’ But the Word remains, man. The Word of God remains. And scoffing and mocking, our Radio program that you know called by this name, that’s gone out on our radio station, if it gets back on the air soon here, you’ll notice we’ve switch it, we’ve switched it to this other name, we’ve changed the music and the title to include the Word of God. And the reason why, I was awhile ago just thinking, about this title, I just feel that doesn’t apply anymore, and I want to get a fresh view and vision for the program. And I was thinking of all the scoffing today, just thinking, man, people can scoff, but the Word of God remains. And that’s what Jesus says. “Heaven and earth with pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” And we’ve got a couple minutes, and we’re just going to spend a couple minutes at the end of a few verses here.
“But of that day and hour no one knows”
Verses 36-44, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 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.” He says here, the time is near when you see these signs, and know too, yet at the same time, you can see the season, but Jesus is ultimately coming at a time that we do not know, at an hour we do not know. There have been people that have tried to predict the time. In the early 1990s there was Herald Camping, that was his name, October 1994, I remember, National Religious Broadcaster saying “October ’94, Jesus is coming back, I’ve figured it out.” And I remember watching him on TV being interviewed by the secular media, and him saying “October 1994.” Well when we came here, my wife and I moved here in 1994, I learning about radio, getting our station on the air, I discovered that Herald Camping’s ministry had a significant license, radio license for a station in the Metro area, Metro West. Wasn’t on the air yet, but he had the license. And so I figured, ‘Well hey, I ought to call them, you know. He’s leaving, haha.’ And so I call them up and I said ‘Hey listen, I guess you won’t be needing this anymore, hey, we’d like to, you don’t even have to sell it to us, you can just give it to us, what will money do for you…’ I didn’t exactly say that, ‘But hey, how about giving us this license?’ But anyway, they weren’t willing to do that. So [laughter], but Jesus says he will be like a thief, a thief. I remember, brushing my teeth once, coming back from valeying from Boston College, brushing my teeth, and I hear a noise in the room, and I’m like, ‘What was that?’ And I’m just brushing my teeth, you know, it was late at night, I walk into the bedroom, I looked in the closet, looked around the furniture, which I only had a little sofa-bed thing, college student you know, and there was nobody in my room. So I just happen to walk up to the window and I moved the shade and there was a face right there. And I screamed, and he screamed [laughter], and he was standing on the barbeque, and he just jumped off and ran. But he had been cutting through the screen, trying to get into the apartment. And he wasn’t expecting to see me, and I wasn’t expecting to see him. And so I know that you don’t expect a thief, you don’t expect a thief, and we both just screamed. But he says it’s going to be like that, a thief coming at an unexpected time. So how should I be? If you were prepared you’d have the place alarmed, you’d have a guard standing there, you’d be ready. And that’s the point that he’s trying to make. Jesus will return at an unexpected hour, the exact hour he says we do not know, verse 36. In fact, in the NIV if you have the NIV, it says “The angels in heaven don’t know” and he says “nor the Son.” Which is also recorded in Mark chapter 13, verse 32, “nor the Son.” He says “I don’t even know, only the Father knows.” We could do a whole study here, because Jesus is God the Son. But clearly he put aside his glory and became a man, and you see that in that verse there. He says it will be as in the days of Noah, I mean, they were eating, they were drinking, here’s this radical guy Noah, he’s preaching this message, they’re not listening, God has told him to build an ark, it’s never rained before, he’s building this massive ship, it’s bigger than this whole building, the ark was huge, building it for 120 years, preaching ‘The day is coming, the day is coming’, people weren’t listening. They were marrying, they were going to work, they were living life. And then one day the flood came. And some people estimate, given the genealogy and the length of lives of the people who lived at that time, that the population was at least in the billions. There was one family in that boat that was ready [ship, not boat]. Just the other day you saw in the News in the Philippines, I heard a father, a husband share, that a mudslide came into his village. He says “It was two minutes at the most, two minutes and then my wife and my kids are buried under thirty feet of mud.” That’s how fast it happened. And hundreds, if not thousands of people were buried alive under the mud. Jesus said it will be like that, people will be just going around life and not thinking, because with life, you can still go to work, you can still have kids, you can still get married, you can still start businesses, right up to the end. And Peter says they’re going to scoff and say ‘Jesus said a long time ago that he’s going to come, come-on, it’s been forever, man, it’s been forever, really come-on…’ But he says it’s going to come, and you need to be ready. ‘Then two men will be in the field, one will be taken; two women will be grinding, one will be taken’, some people debate, when he says taken, what does he mean? Taken to judgment? Taken like in the flood? What does he mean? Taken to be with him? Maybe the answer is in the Greek here, it’s a bit of a debate. But the Greek word for “took” in verse 39, “it took them away”, the flood, took them away in the sense of judgment, is the word ero, but in verses 40 and 41 the Greek word for taken is parelembano, which often is used to take something to yourself. And I do see verse 40 and verse 41, although it’s debated, as referring to Christ taking his people. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.html for how this might happen] As we know in 2nd Peter, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust to the punishment to the day of judgment.” I do believe the time is coming soon, that Trumpet’s going to sound, and God is going to take his Church, and you need to be ready. “Watch,” he says, verse 42, “Watch.” With all that’s going on, what are we to do? We are to watch. What does it mean to watch? To watch means to watch and pray, Mark chapter 13, Luke chapter 21, “Watch therefore and pray always, that you may be counted worthy.” Paul said to the church in Thessalonica, 1st Thessalonians 5, verse 6, “Therefore let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” Don’t sleep, don’t be numbed out, watch, be alert, be in the Word, be in prayer. Verse 7 of chapter 4, 1st Peter, “But the end of all things is at hand, therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” We’re to pray, we’re to pray, we’re to seek the face of God, be in his Word, we’re to be discerning. I pray that’s true of you and me. He says, ‘Know this, if the guy had been ready, the thief wouldn’t have gone in.’ Verse 44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Considering all the things going on, watch. Considering all the things going on, be ready. Be ready, that’s to be planned and prepared. Turn to Psalm chapter 130, we’ll read this and then we’ll stand together at the end of our time. I love this verse, because I think it gives a sense, Psalm chapter 130, verse 5, we need to watch, we need to be ready, listen to what the Psalmist here says. Psalm 130, verses 5-6, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I do hope. My soul waits for the LORD, more than those who watch for the morning---yes more than those who watch for the morning.” That is a neat two verses, the Psalmist says ‘I wait for the LORD, I watch for him, I do so more than those that wait for the morning.’ And we pretty much wait for the morning, all of us. But he’s so passionate about seeing his God, and he says ‘I wait, I hope in his Word, more than those who wait for the morning, I wait for my LORD. Let’s stand together…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Matthew 24:32-44, given somewhere in New England]
“Who then is the faith and wise servant?”
Matthew 24:45-51, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Ok, now, he’s going to give another picture here, a servant, a steward, someone who is watching over something for someone else. “Over the household”, interesting word, it’s therapuo in the Greek, we get therapeutic from it, therapy, it’s translated “household” twice, in Matthew 24 and Luke 12, and it’s translated “healing” twice. Only used four times, Luke 9 and Revelation 22, “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations”, therapuo. It says “Who is that wise servant who the Lord makes steward or ruler over his therapy.” Everyone in this room is part of that. If you’re a mom and you’re raising kids for Christ’s sake, you know they’re on loan, you’re going to give an account some day. You’re not just raising kids, you’re concerned about their moral standards, you’re concerned about what they believe. Anybody in this room that has a prodigal was tortured by that, “Are they unsaved, or are they backslidden?” When the phone rings in the middle of the night is it the police, has there been an accident? In your life you want to have a therapeutic effect in their life, if we’re salt and we’re light we should do that. And the Lord has made us that way. You know, I have a responsibility watching his Bride. When I go away, it comforts me that I can say to my bride, if this breaks down, call this person, we have a list, punch list. If this breaks down…because I know when I go away something crazy always happens. Years ago when I would go to Israel somebody would call the house and say, “I’m demon possessed, I know your husband’s gone, I’m coming over.” It’s funny to you, it was not funny to her at all, and it wasn’t funny to me because I was in Israel. I mean, just enough, there’s enough, you know, warfare and insanity, so it does my heart good to know in the midst of that insanity and warfare that she’s covered, and somebody’s watching my bride until I get back. Now he loves his Bride more than I love mine, (don’t tell her!) [laughter] And more than you love yours. And what a privilege it is to watch and care for his Bride until he comes for her. And she’s not perfect by performance, she’s perfect by blood. Paul said to the Corinthian church, which was famous for fornication, drunk at the Communion table, suing one another, divided, ‘I’m of Paul, I’m of Peter’. He said “I want to present you as a chaste virgin before Christ on that day.” I’d have picked another church to say that to. [chuckles] We’re all, to one degree or another, stewards over his Therapy, we have something to give to this lost world. We are a preservative. If we’re salt, we’re a preservative. Light is not heard, it’s seen. We should be living a certain way, setting a certain example. So we’re all included in this parable. “Who is that faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season?”, to feed, to nourish, to encourage. [That’s what this website is all about, to help feed and nourish the Lord’s Bride.]
“Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say to you, that he shall make him ruler over all of his goods.” And we’re told therefore, that if we’re faithful in little, that he’ll make us faithful in much.
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his
heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming”
“But and if” (he’s putting this out here as a conjecture) “that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;” Now, I don’t know how a post, mid, three quarter Tribulation view can be consistent with the imminent coming of Christ for his Bride, that he could come at any moment. [Easy, we’re not rapture’d to heaven, or maybe not even rapture’d, but taken to a place of safety, up until the “rapture” of the first resurrection to immortality. It can fit. The “one taken in the field” could refer to one being taken into safety, out of harms way somewhere on earth. Anyway, we’ll see when it happens.] It can only be consistent with someone saying the Lord delays his coming, can’t come for 7 years. [Now if that 7-year peace treaty is made in front of all of us, then all this pre-Trib Rapture stuff has just gone by the wayside, and the whole Body of Christ will know it has 3.5 years until the Tribulation, when World War III starts in earnest, and for his Bride to get busy getting the Gospel out, which Matthew 24:9-14 seems to indicate. We’ll also know as a whole body of believers that we should to take a careful look at the post-Trib Rapture scenario, which I have given a link to.] No, that’s not the point the Lord’s making here at all, we’re to be watching and ready, he’s coming at a time when you don’t think that he’s coming. Whose that wicked servant, evil servant that says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming’, what does that produce? “and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;” Now what he’s talking about is this, before you were saved, I’m speaking to some of you, speaking to myself, when your parents were going away, us evil servants understand this perfectly, [chuckles] I remember going to my Dad’s liquor cabinet, and I’m not giving any ideas to anybody here, you’re supposed to be in Sunday school if you’re that young, we would mark a line at the level the whiskey was at in the bottle, then we would pour out good solid glass of his whiskey, and fill it up with water, to where the line was, so he wouldn’t know, you know. But it was, you’re unsaved, you’re a teenager, you’re out of your mind, and your parents leave and it’s party-time. [And my Dad had a Big liquor cabinet, I could make a super-combo drink doing that with all the various bottles, real blockbuster of a boilermaker!] He’s saying it’s like that. A wicked servant, an evil servant who is steward over a master’s goods, a master’s home, if he’s evil and he doesn’t think that the master’s coming, he’s going to be inclined to just beat the other servants and slap them around, to get drunk, to indulge [Comment: You see this a lot in what I call the “toxic churches”, those that tend to “goose-step” and lord it over their members, members who may actually be saved, born-again. If you find yourself in one of these churches, you want to get out as fast as you can, and find a healthy church to attend, one that is both alive spiritually, and yet is non-toxic in how it handle’s its members.] He’s not talking about us, he’s making a parable here. He’s taking a truth and bringing it parabalo, to bring it alongside of what he’s trying to tell us. “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,”---so things are going on as normal in that household---“and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It will be like this, is what Jesus says. There’s enough signs for us not to be surprised. There’s enough to tell us about the day that we live in, between the rebirth of the nation of Israel, between the signs that Christ gave us, the technology that we see, the potential of complete annihilation, we live in an interesting time. Do we know the day or the hour? No. Could it be tonight, yes, or we might as well all go home, there’s no sense reading this. I get the sense, whenever I read about the Lord coming as a thief in the night, he warns in Revelation again, that there’s a pre-emptiveness about that, there’s those that should not be surprised that are surprised. [transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Matthew 24:45-51 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19116]
“PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE”:
Pre-Trib Rapture, Post-Trib Rapture, which is it? see:
Coming Beast Empire:
Great False Church:
Sober look at the last two eras of the Church that run parallel to each other. Getting spiritually ready, some ideas: