Today is 5/15/2014. Let us for a moment say that I know nothing aside from: what the Spirit of the Lord has shown me, what I have read, asked questions about, probed a little deeper into the word than most, I have a burning desire to see God’s people excited about reading God’s word, and I love to teach it. What does that have to do with anything?
Recently, at a bible study I attend, the leader says, we are probably going to close down the bible study for the summer. I responded with, good, because God takes the summer off too. Seriously, get someone to open the door and I will be here. One of the ladies that attend suggested that the leader have me teach while she is gone. I got the look that said no. I have enough wisdom to consider all the weird ramifications, but I if I wanted you to teach, my attitude would be, let me see if I can make it happen. What is it in our heads that makes us think that we are better than others? If that is our attitude then we are wrong, and at that point, we are trying to take control of the throne of God by judging people. Do you not know that you will be judged too, based upon our own standards?
I am wondering why I wrote this, because it seems so random at times, but there is a motivation behind this. People, just trying to make small talk, will ask me how it is going. Those who know me well know that I have been through what seems like a twenty-year battle. I have had not had a decent job since 1994, and once again, I am out of work, and that is only the tip of my iceberg. I know that this last 20 years have contributed greatly to who I am today. As I look back on it now I can tell you that I am keenly aware that the enemy has tried to eliminate me. Why would he feel a need to do that? (I know the answer.)
I was about 23 years old when Jesus appeared to me. This was not expected, but because God had put this burning passion inside of me I had invested serious time in God’s word. As I read the Bible I was drawn to the lives of the prophets, and Elijah was one that always came quickly to my mind. He was a powerful man, and I wanted to know what it was like to have that kind of relationship with God, and to be conscious of that kind of power.
Power is not the purpose of our existence, but there has to be something more than this muddling through life that we do.
Thanks to the earthquake driven Tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, the world has witnessed the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the Fukushima power plant melt down. By now we should all understand that uncontrolled power is extremely dangerous. Just look at people as you pass them on the street, they all want something more, power, even if it is merely the power to control the circumstances around their own lives.
How does this apply to the life of the believer? Jesus told us all that after the Holy Spirit comes on you, you shall receive power. The Greek word is dunamis. This is the base word for our word dynamite.
Yet, it is rare to find a “Christian” that is not afraid of God’s power. They essentially refuse to accept anything and anyone that displays the evidence of power in their lives. Come on, it is power that motivates you to believe, lay your hands on someone in faith, trust that God will do what he says, and moves you forward in the gifts the Holy Spirit gives you.
As Jesus spoke of what was to come, you have the suggestion that multiple persons are performing signs (the evidence of power). Our first assumption is that it is demonically oriented (think fallen angels here), and we would not be far off [Revelation 6:8, 13:2], but the same assumptions are assigned to fellow believers that have the faith to exhibit the peculiarity of the Holy Spirit’s giftings. However, the false prophet is not the only one displaying power, something that Matthew 24 does not tell us.
The series is about Matthew 24, and I am aware of that, but I feel compelled to expound about things related, things we as a body should be repenting of because of our unbelief.
Jesus was asked specific questions about what it would look like when he returned, and so, as an acquaintance said to me, to explain the two witnesses that appear during this time would be going down a rabbit trail.
I address the two witnesses here because they are not only an example of God’s power, but they are also a display of what people operating in the power of God looks like; they are also a testimony of God, in opposition to Israel’s rejections of him, and a testimony against the nations. While this is a scripturally established time of wrath, it is against specified people, and therefore must also be understood to be a revelation of God’s mercy toward those who will come to him.
Revelation 11:3-12 GNB I will send my two witnesses dressed in sackcloth, and they will proclaim God’s message during those 1, 260 days.” The two witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and destroys their enemies; and in this way whoever tries to harm them will be killed. They have authority to shut up the sky so that there will be no rain during the time they proclaim God’s message. They have authority also over the springs of water, to turn them into blood; they have authority also to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish. When they finish proclaiming their message, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will fight against them. He will defeat them and kill them, and their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, where their Lord was crucified. The symbolic name of that city is Sodom, or Egypt. People from all nations, tribes, languages, and races will look at their bodies for three and a half days and will not allow them to be buried. The people of the earth will be happy because of the death of these two. They will celebrate and send presents to each other, because those two prophets brought much suffering upon the whole human race. After three and a half days, a life-giving breath came from God and entered them, and they stood up; and all who saw them were terrified. Then the two prophets heard a loud voice say to them from heaven, “Come up here!” As their enemies watched, they went up into heaven in a cloud.
Rather dramatic wouldn’t you say. Why would God need to show such flare and violent reaction? Maybe it is because we foolish mortals have downplayed the ferocity of the anger against anything that represents God. I, on several occasions, have attempted to show how Islam fits precisely into the characteristics of these biblical peculiarities, not only in my writing, but in discussion as well, and what a shock (I am being facetious) it is to get angry responses back. An example would be, “but they are not all radicals!” and you would be right, but as a Muslim, a follower of the Qur’an and Allah, then you have specific commands that are compelled of each devotee, and in Jihad (the method is prescribed by the Imam), deception is huge tool in their arsenal.
Open your bible to Matthew 24: 25 –
Matthew 24:25 ESV See, I have told you beforehand.
Once again, the context: Jesus is answering a question about what it will look like when he returns to earth as the Messiah, and when. He could not tell them when, merely to give them as many clues as possible, so that they could have a clear understanding. None of those men would ever live to see the time He was describing. I believe that you and I shall.
Matthew 24:26ESVSo, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
The only thing that helps me to comprehend the gullibility of the Jewish nation at this point will be the panic, and the desire for a Messiah. Because Islam makes it clear that there will be a huge, deceptive forgery, performing signs, then it does not surprise me that people will flock to this guy. Keep this clear in your head, this is not about the church, and as a believer, you have nothing to panic about, but if you did not make the rapture, and you are reading this, then the chances of you becoming a martyr for Christ are extremely high.
Jesus tells them plainly, why they do not need to go looking for him in bizarre and obscure places. This is one of the reasons that I think he said things like Matthew 24:25 records –I have told you before it happens.
Matthew 24:27ESVFor as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
He will show up, and the entire world will know that it is He.
This next one took me a few seconds to figure out.
Matthew 24:28ESV Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
In trying to figure it out you could first start with the general context, and included in that is a tremendous amount of killing of anyone not complying with Islam. That alone could be the corpse he speaks of, but the statement follows on the tale of two conflicting things: people chasing around false Messiah’s, and his real return in a way that all will see. If I allow the corpse to be the false prophet, then the buzzards could easily be Israel.
The Life Application New Testament Commentary explains it like this:
“This verse, probably quoting a well-known proverb of the culture, looks to the Second Coming as a time of judgment. Jesus was telling his audience that, just as you know a carcass must be nearby if you see vultures circling overhead, so his coming will be unmistakably marked by various signs.”
The next string of passages seems to be a culmination of events, happening at the end of the seven years.
Matthew 24:29-30 CEV Right after those days of suffering, “The sun will become dark, and the moon will no longer shine. The stars will fall, and the powers in the sky will be shaken.” Then a sign will appear in the sky. And there will be the Son of Man. All nations on earth will weep when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Those days of suffering, could specifically be talking about:
Matthew 24:21-22 CEV This will be the worst time of suffering since the beginning of the world, and nothing this terrible will ever happen again. If God doesn’t make the time shorter, no one will be left alive. But because of God’s chosen ones, he will make the time shorter.
Every one of these passages speaks of the darkness we see in
- Isaiah 13:6-11 CEV Cry and weep! The day is coming when the mighty LORD will bring destruction. * (7) All people will be terrified. Hands will grow limp; courage will melt away. (8) Everyone will tremble with pain like a woman giving birth; they will stare at each other with horror on their faces. (9) I, the LORD, will show no mercy or pity when that time comes. In my anger, I will destroy the earth and every sinner who lives on it. (10) Light will disappear from the stars in the sky; the dawning sun will turn dark, and the moon will lose its glow. (11) I will punish this evil world and its people because of their sins. I will crush the horrible pride of those who are cruel.
- Isaiah 24:21-23 CEV On that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens and the kings of the earth. (22) He will put them in a pit and keep them prisoner. Then later on, he will punish them. (23) The moon and sun will both be embarrassed and ashamed. The LORD All-Powerful will rule on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where he will show its rulers his wonderful glory.
- Jeremiah 4:22-23 CEV I heard the LORD say, “My people ignore me. They are foolish children who do not understand that they will be punished. All they know is how to sin.” (23) After this, I looked around. The earth was barren, with no form of life. The sun, moon, and stars had disappeared.
- Ezekiel 32:7-8 CEV I will cover the whole sky and every star with thick clouds, so that the sun and moon will stop shining. (8) The heavens will become black, leaving your country in total darkness. I, the LORD, have spoken.
- Joel 2:30-31 CEV I will work wonders in the sky above and on the earth below. There will be blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. (31) The sun will turn dark, and the moon will be as red as blood before that great and terrible day when I appear.
- Amos 5:20 CEV The day when the LORD judges will be dark, very dark, without a ray of light.
- Zephaniah 1:14-15 CEV The great day of the LORD is coming soon, very soon. On that terrible day, fearsome shouts of warriors will be heard everywhere. (15) It will be a time of anger– of trouble and torment, of disaster and destruction, of darkness and despair, of storm clouds and shadows,
- Revelation 6:12-14 CEV When I saw the Lamb open the sixth seal, I looked and saw a great earthquake. The sun turned as dark as sackcloth, and the moon became as red as blood. (13) The stars in the sky fell to earth, just like figs shaken loose by a windstorm. (14)Then the sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all mountains and islands were moved from their places.
Matthew 24:30 NASB “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
Will this change the mind of the atheist, or the nations in general? Will there be a moment when Yashua allows for people to still bow before him? Tradition tells us no, but if you know me at all, then you will understand that this journey life has taken me on, has shown me a God more merciful than anything man has ever tried to tell me. Not having a solid answer to the questions I put forth tells me that waiting and gambling on hope is not the way to treat this scenario.
This is my voice, and it is crying out, as one that cries in the wilderness. John the Baptist had this acclaim primarily because few listened to him. My calling is to the weak and feeble in the Christian body. They are that way because they are unwilling to pick up their bibles and read for themselves. Because they are lax, they are taken captive by the enemy, at his leisure and will, and there is little they can do to stand up to him. They have no support system, because the enemy has clouded their minds to the truth, and they do not believe that there are people out there that will support you, and not judge you.
How do I know that? Because I was one of them, but someone cared enough, and took an extra few minutes to guide me into Celebrate Recovery, and then into a 12-step group. I will tell you that it is in the 12-step group where the real healing begins; this is where, if you will be honest, you pour out your real heart, the one that is busted and does not want to trust anymore, and you allow God to move into the brokenness and begin to heal it all. It happens gradually, but you have to trust and allow it to happen. You will also be prompted to get a sponsor (someone who has been through the 12-steps) and they will aid you as you migrate through some of the tough sections.
Can you make these life-altering changes somewhere other than Celebrate Recovery? Sure, many people have. The main difference between us and AA or other programs, is that in CR we openly and unashamedly declare that all our hope is in Jesus Christ, our higher power.
Many have told how they, at their lowest point in life, cried out and said, Jesus, if you are real show me. He will do that for you if you ask him.