Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mark: Jesus talks about the temple's end

Mark 13:1-20

Here comes the fun part.  It's Jesus's predictions about when the Jerusalem temple will fall, and these words are associated with the end times.  Many people use this passage to talk about the rapture, the millennium, and compare it to the news today.  I mostly see this passage as about the destruction of the temple as God's judgment on the Jews for not believing in Jesus.  But there are many applications for today.

1) Many people will say, "I'm the Christ," but they aren't the Christ.  Also, they will point to something or someone who is the Christ, but it is not Christ either.  Christ is found in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.  They are his words to you.  His Holy Spirit makes them come alive to apply them to your life.  He also uses the Church to reinforce those words.  So when a popular book that is now a movie puts words in God's mouth and tries to tell you that God is not going to punish sin or sinners but only correct them and preaches a universalistic salvation message, and even the author goes so far as to say that Christ's crucifixion is not needed to save people from sin, then that book/movie is not about Jesus and you need to run far away from it.  You should even keep away from popular devotionals that claim to be the words of Jesus.  No, all people have Jesus's words and all that they need in the Scripture which is closed according to the last words of Revelation.  And all believers have the Holy Spirit and need nothing more.

2) Don't worry about how you will defend yourself when you are on trial.  The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say.  Such a comfort.  This helps me when I teach Sunday School, children's church, and even write blogs like this.  It will help me if I really do have to suffer for being a Christian and standing for truth.

3) God will cut short the days of tribulation as a mercy to his elect.  Now, in reference to AD 70, this really did happen within 40 years of Christ's death and resurrection.  And Christ did not come in his completeness like he will at the Second Coming, but his spirit did come and judge the Jews for not believing him and brought in the age of the Gentiles.  But if this passage is also about the Second Coming, then it does make me believe we will experience some tribulation but not the worst of it.  The end times are going to be nothing like we imagine.  I believe the millennium has already happened and that we are just waiting for Christ to come.  But I do believe there will be tribulation.  Yes, there has been persecution for Christians throughout church history.  Every generation has thought that Christ would return within their times.  But God is merciful and waiting for all nations to hear the Gospel.  But even so, God will shorten the times of tribulation for those who love him, which is very encouraging.  But also don't be surprised if times get worse.  This will happen but keep your eyes on the prize of eternal life.

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