Don’t waste your time waiting and longing for large opportunities which may never come. But faithfully handle the little things that are always claiming your attention. F.B. Meyer.
I like that, As we see the day approaching for the rapture of the church-Christ returning to get his bride, we really need to take this quote to heart. Yes we are to be watching for the return of the King to take us home but like the builders in Nehemiah 4:17, as they were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, they did 3 things, They watched, they worked and they were weady (LOL, it ready but it rhymes) They watched out for the enemy with their eyes, they worked rebuilding the walls and they were ready to repel the enemy for with one hand they worked and with the other they held their weapons. We as Christians, when we read and hear the things that are going on around us, our minds are immediately set to an audio frequency that broadcasts Is this it! Is this when the lord returns! And for the most part we are watching for the Lord’s return, But are we working on the wall, Are we doing what the Lord has called us to do with the gifts he has given. Are we really weady (ready)
We can’t be like the tortoise and the hare who had their race to see who was the fastest. The hare was so overconfident that at various times in the race he laid down and fell asleep thinking the tortoise is so slow he can never catch up. But each time he woke up he saw the tortoise passing him by. He continued to do that until he was almost at the finish line but you guessed it the tortoise passed him and won the race. You see the tortoise won because he was diligent and continued doing what he was called to do while the Hare decided he could stop on the side of the road and relax a bit.
The Greeks had a race in their Olympic games that was unique. The winner wasn’t the runner who finished first. It was the runner who finished with his torch still lit. I want to run all the way with the flame of my torch still lit for Him and you should too.
As we get to these final verses of Mark 13, we need to be watching for the return of the King, we need to be working in the ministry that he has called us to do with the gifts he has given us to do it and we need to be Ready to repel the arguments of the enemy, with the word of God, the double edge sword.
Vs 21-24 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.”
Jesus is telling the 4 disciples that another was going to come upon the scene, one who is going to say that he is the messiah, the Christ. But is indeed the Antichrist and he will have those that will pave the way In an attempt to trick the Tribulation saints, some will claim to be, or to have seen, Christ Himself. Even in these last days before the Tribulation, the cults are growing exponentially, saying, “Here is Christ; or, There is the Christ” That’s the basic premise of the Jehovah Witness theology. Its that Jesus already came back in 1898 (later revised to 1914) to the Watchtower Society in Brooklyn, where He shared truth, understanding, and esoteric insights with the leaders of the watchtower society. Their entire theology is based upon a secret return of Jesus.
Even the muslims have their messiah, one who they say is coming in the desert called the “Mahdi ” Even we as christians fall into this way of thinking at times. Our message has been a repellent, unaccepted because we, like the Mormons, like the Jehovah Witnesses, have all too often exalted our goodness, holding up our standard of living that, at best, becomes pharisaic when we look down on others, and, at worst, hypocritical when we don’t live up to our own image. We shouldnt boast of our morality, but of God’s mercy. We shouldnt advertise our flawlessness, but God’s faithfulness.
It would do us well to remember Luke 18—the parable of the religious man saying, “I thank You, God, that I am not like other men,” and the sinner who smote his breast saying, “God have mercy upon me.” Jesus said it was the latter—the one who realized his sinfulness but also believed in God’s graciousness—who went his way justified.Let us be those who say, “It is the mercy and grace and goodness of God alone of which we boast. We are not the Moral Majority. We are the Forgiven Few.”
Verse 24 hits the fast forward button, and describes how this Great Tribulation ends… “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in heaven will be shaken.” Suddenly, outer space becomes Earth’s enemy. The Greek word translated “stars” can refer to any celestial object – a meteorite, or asteroid, or a comet. Stars will fall… It could be the final judgment before Jesus returns, including a cosmic projectile that strikes the planet, and causes geological upheaval… And don’t think the idea is far-fetched. Survey the earth’s surface – craters have peppered our planet. It’s happened. Most astronomers believe it will happen again. It’s only a matter of time. For the last 50 years Hollywood movies like “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon” have exploited this theme. In 2013 a 60 foot meteor exploded over a city in Russia injuring 1500 people, and damaging 7200 buildings in six cities… , a few years ago a 90 feet long asteroid dubbed TC4 buzzed our planet an eighth of the distance between us and the moon… It’s as if God is firing warning shots across our bow… Rolf Densing, head of the European Space Program, said he didn’t lose any sleep over the latest near collision, but, “It makes you wonder what will happen next time.” June 30 each year is Asteroid Day. Astronomers are trying to raise awareness around the world of this very real cosmic threat. Jesus warned us 2000 years ago…
And Jesus tells us, as the earth is reeling from these cataclysmic judgments, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” Messiah follows this meteor. In its aftermath, Jesus returns. Revelation 19 says He’ll be riding a white horse. He’s called Faithful and True. He comes to judge and make war against His enemies. His robe is dipped in blood. His eyes are a flame of fire. His head holds many crowns. And written on His robe and on His thigh is the name, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” Jews driven from Israel will be regathered back to their land. Today, more Jews live in New York City than in Israel. But when Jesus returns the world’s Jewry will be brought home – not on Airplanes – but on wings of angels.
Verse 28, “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 these things happening, know that it is near – at the doors! There are two interpretations… One, a fig tree blossoms and produces in the spring. So when you see a fig tree bud you know winter is almost over, and summer is near. All Jesus is saying is as the fig tree is an indicator of spring – the signs He’s mentioned are indicators of the end of the age.
But there is another more provocative interpretation. In the OT the fig tree was a symbol for Israel. Recall, just the day before, Jesus cursed a fig tree as a symbol of Israel’s spiritual barrenness. It withered and died… Thus, some see this parable, and the budding of the fig tree, as the rebirth of the nation Israel. Jesus may be saying… “When you see the rebirth of Israel, know that My Coming, and the final judgments, are near.” Of course, even if this is not what He means here, it’s taught in other Scriptures. The rebirth of the Jewish nation – after 2000 years in dispersion – is a modern miracle – and a sure sign that Jesus is returning soon. But what’s most provocative is what Jesus says next. 14 Verse 30, “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” In other words, the generation that sees the fig tree bud will be the last generation. And Israel has risen from the ashes in our generation! This could mean that you and I may be the rapture generation! And verse 31 reminds us His promises are sure.
He says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” It’s more likely the sun won’t rise tomorrow, than for Jesus’ promises to fail. Now beware lest we make a common mistake… There’ve been folks who’ve taken this parable as the rebirth of the nation Israel and tried to calculate the day of the Lord’s return. But you can’t do that, for nowhere does the Bible tell us what constitutes a generation… Is it 40 years, 70 years, even 100 years? I could make a case for all three. And when do you start to count? On May 15, 1948 when Israel declared statehood? Or June 6, 1967 when she regained control of Jerusalem? When it comes to Jesus’ return, 1 Thessalonians 5:1 says we can know “the times and the seasons” – but nobody knows the “day and hour.” He says, verse 32, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” While on earth, not even Jesus knew. Jesus was against date setting, but He wants us to be watching, to be working and to be ready. The Bible assures us, before Jesus returns to Earth, He will return for His Church. This is why Jesus says in verse 33, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.” Get ready – get set – for we don’t know the go time!
Remember, Mark 13 records a sermon called, “The Olivet Discourse.” Jesus isn’t laying out a timeline, He preaches a sermon. He discusses the judgments that precede His return – and then gives an invitation. Some people read this chapter as a chronology, and feel forced to place the rapture after His return. They mistake it for the ingathering of the Jews in verse 27. But the text doesn’t give that interpretation. Jesus tells us what will happen, and then He invites us to be ready to escape. You don’t have to endure the Tribulation. He says, get right, and you won’t get left.
In verse 34 Jesus tells a final parable. “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest, coming suddenly, he finds you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Let’s stay awake. Let’s be alert.. Let’s get busy, Let’s be ready to meet Jesus at a moment’s notice… It might be today! Amen
Listen to this dreary inscription on a gravestone in Britain near Windsor Castle: Pause, my friend, as you walk by; As you are now, so once was I, As I am now, so you will be. Prepare, my friend, to follow me! A visitor was overheard adding these lines: To follow you is not my intent, Until I know which way you went!.
We can know where we’re going and live in a joyful anticipation of tomorrow.