DAILY DISCIPLINE #180
By Colleen Donahue
The Bible is a book of future history with 100% accuracy. It's quite unlike many mystics and "prophets" that keep their prophecy so vague as to be meaningless. The Bible is not only up-to-date, it's ahead of its time. The chapter before us (Matthew 24) is known as the Olivet Prophecy and is the most detailed of all Biblical predictions. It was given during the turbulent events of the Lord's last week before going to the cross.
In this prophecy we learn about:
1- The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
2- The perils in the period between Christ's first and second coming
3- The "end of the age"
4- The ultimate fate of earth and
5- Christ's return to earth with the dawn of a new day.
Why should we study all this? Because we are in the midst of it now and ignorance will not be bliss. The Lord gives us this detailed account so that his children will not be fearful. They won't be fearful because they'll be ready. So let's begin looking at ---
End Times - Part 1
Studies continued from Matthew 24:1-14
Day 1- The prophecy opens with the disciples pointing out to Jesus the magnificent temple buildings.
They had been astonished at the Lord's words and actions in
When Jesus left the temple He did so for good -- but not without pronouncing a judgment on it and on all the corrupt worship practiced there.
Day 2- Notice that this judgment had been predicted.
1 Kings 9:6-7 / Jeremiah 22:5
Day 3- While Christ had begun his ministry with eight blessings (Matthew 5:3-11 - the beatitudes), he now was closing it with eight woes.
Matthew 23: 13,15,16,23,25,27,29,33
Day 4- The Lord cleansed the temple two times during His ministry. The first time was at the beginning of his public ministry.
But this time it was at the end -- 3 years later. Here is Mark's description.
Mark 11: 12-19
Day 5- In this last cleansing Jesus shut down two things:
A- The commerce of the temple and
B- The religious rituals outlined in the Old Testament which God had given them.
Jesus refused to acknowledge that temple worship had any further meaning. Those sacrifices pointed the way to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. That Lamb had come and God no longer accepted the temple sacrifices. Jesus was now that reality. Jesus stopped the sacrifices and then pronounced an official rejection.
Matthew 23: 38-39
Day 6- This was all very confusing to the disciples and so they pointed out to Him all the strength and beauty that the temple manifested. But Jesus' reply left them even more dumbfounded.
Day 7- Jesus, in predicting the doom of the temple was presenting His credentials as a prophet. It had become a custom for a prophet to give the people a prediction of something that would happen in the near future. When it came to pass the people would know it was true and therefore that he was an authentic prophet. Jesus predicted the temple's fall as a sign that all else He included in his prophecy was true. Within 40 years the armies of Rome under Titus surrounded the city.
It all happened as the Lord predicted. Only the "Western Wall" stands today from the original structure.
Day 8- The disciples then asked Jesus three tough questions.
1-When will the temple be destroyed?
2- What will be the sign of your coming?
3- What will be the sign at the end of the age?
When the disciples asked these questions they asked out of confusion. They had not faced the fact yet that Jesus was going to die and therefore they weren't clear when He said that He was "coming again". They had in mind a political revolution with Jesus crowned King and Messiah of Israel. There were not asking Jesus about His second coming but they were asking about His political kingship over Israel and when that would be coming.
Day 9- The word "coming" is the Greek word "parousia". It has the meaning of more then just a person arriving. It means that they will also have a continuing presence after their arrival. If you read these verses you'll find the word for coming is "parousia" with the context that the Lord will be coming AND will be a continual presence.
Matthew 24: 3, 27, 37, 39
The disciples' questions were wrong in their assumptions yet Jesus treated their questions as if they were legitimate inquiries about the second advent or coming of Christ. Their question about the close of the age had nothing to do with the end of the world. The disciples clearly felt that the "age" in which they were living was soon to be ending and was immediately ahead of them.
Let this be a reminder to us that the things, places and people that all look so solid today will be gone tomorrow. The man or nation that will not follow the ways of God are headed for doom.
PRE--END OF AGE - Matthew 24: 4-14
Pre - End of Age is the view of the world between the first and second coming of Christ. As Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to them as Jews --i.e. representatives of Israel. But He now also speaks to them as the Christian church. Therefore this prophetic message has truth for both the church and Israel at the end of the age. The "pre-end of age" time is a series of events covering many years.
Day 10- Deception will be the persuasive threat in this time -- steering men's minds from the truth of God's spiritual kingdom to a reliance upon the world systems. Many believers will fall into error because they pay no attention to prophecy.
2 Peter 1:19
Day 11- How do you avoid being deceived?
We are not to let anyone mislead us by keeping our eyes open, testing the claims, and demonstrating Godly skepticism.
Day 12- The Jews, in refusing to believe in the real Christ when he came, will now be open to being deceived by false christs.
Day 13- There are some signs that will NOT signal the end but rather the beginning of the end. What are they?
Matthew 24: 6-8 / Luke 21: 9-11
Since the time of Christ, the world's condition over twenty one centuries has been marked by war, famine, pestilence and earthquakes. These are occurring with increasing intensity so that we are not in "the beginning of the end". Jesus lays out for us 6 perils that will mark this "pre- end of age" time.
The First Peril - False messiahs and prophets
Day 14- The first peril will be marked by false messiahs and prophets. There purpose will be to lead people astray. They will be among the Jews....
Hosea 9: 7 -17
Day 15- .....AND they will be in the church.
1 Timothy 4:1 / 2 Timothy 3:13 / 2 Peter 2:1-2
Day 16- An Antichrist will NOT be someone openly against Christ. Rather, they will be someone undermining true Christianity by substituting something false or deceptive. Modern day false cults such as Jehovah's Witness, Mormonism, Christian Science, and the Church of Scientology can all "sound Christian" but at their core they reject the basic truth that Jesus is the begotten (not created) Son of God -- one and the same with God the Father. To make things even more confusing what will these Antichrists do to deceive the faithful?
Antichrists will be found also in many mainstream protestant churches. They will "sound Christian" but as with the false cults they preach a social gospel rather than the truth of Jesus Christ. How can we tell if a preacher or teacher is true to the gospel of Jesus Christ? I believe there are five things we should look for.
#1 - The Reality of Sin
Day 17- A true teacher of Christ won't make us feel good by comforting phrases such as ---
"We are only human and can't help it."
"We all make mistakes."
"We are just forgiven sinners."
What will a true teacher preach?
Psalm 53:3 / Isaiah 53:6 / Isaiah 64:6 / Romans 3:23 / 1 John 1:8
Preaching that all men are sinners is not a happy, comforting topic -- BUT, it's a necessary one. If we don't see that we are sinners deserving of death then we certainly won't see our need of a saviour.
#2 - Christ Crucified
Day 18 - Does the Pastor or teacher acknowledge Jesus Christ as God's son and our sovereign Lord?
1 John 2:22-23
Is the message of the cross central in their preaching? This was the reason Jesus came to earth as a man -- so it must be central.
John 3:16-18 / 1 Corinthians 1: 18-24
The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is what has set us free from the bondage of sin and self. Where it is not preached the alternative is a "work harder, try harder" gospel which can be worse bondage than sin itself.
#3 - The Blood of Christ
Day 19- Does the pastor or teacher share about the blood of Jesus? Jesus's trial and death was a very messy, brutal, bloody event. It's not a clean topic, but it's a powerful one. As you read each verse write down how we benefit from the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
A-Matthew 26:28 / Hebrews 9:22
B- 1 John 1:7 / Revelations 1:5
E-1 Peter 1:18-19
#4 - The Resurrection
Day 20- Does the pastor or teacher share about the resurrection of Jesus and ours as well? If you aren't hearing this then a dead gospel is being preached and you should walk away.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 12-22
Day 21- The Resurrection is the reason we have hope in this life as well as hope for eternity.
1 Peter 1: 3-5, 21
The resurrection completed Christ's mission to reconcile us with His Father. Jesus rose from the dead for our justification (i.e. to make us right for a relationship with God the Father). What results from our justification?
Romans 4: 25 - Romans 5:1
#5 - Holiness
Day 22- Does your pastor or teacher preach holiness? Are lives radically changing because of people coming to Christ? We are called to be a holy people which means we are set aside for God's purposes.
1 Peter 1:14-16
Day 23- Holiness (or right conduct before God) is the fruit of our being crucified with Christ, cleansed by His blood, and resurrected to a new life starting here on this earth. If we claim to belong to God but continue to live in our old ways what will be the sad truth?
Hebrews 12: 14b
Day 24- When we become a Christian and begin to cooperate with God we will see changes. They are not automatic but rather take effort and persistence. Notice in these verses the phrases "make every effort".
2 Peter 3:11, 14
....and in this verse "perfecting holiness".
2 Corinthians 7:1
Day 25- If your church is not preaching these "five basics" as a regular part of their messages, then their teaching may be resting on the shaky foundations of social and good works. This is not the same as faith in Christ and His salvation.
1 Corinthians 3:11
Here are two short sentences that can help you remember the five basic tenets of true Christianity when you are evaluating preaching or teaching.
"My sin sent Jesus to the cross to shed His blood for my atonement. By His death and resurrection I am free from the power of sin and able to live a life of holiness."
Day 26- Some Antichrists will come through political/patriot movements. But whether they are socialism, communism, libertarianism, democratic, conservative or liberal --NONE can save society. This is only one Saviour.
Day 27- There are many now who claim to be Christians because of their social actions. They have substituted this instead of Jesus Christ. It offers a form of peace and help without the cross and forgiveness of sin. At judgment day will Jesus recognize these "social activists" as His own?
Matthew 7: 22-23
Day 28- As we sum up this first peril of false messiahs lets be very clear on this point ---
How do we enter into the salvation of Jesus Christ?
John 1:12 / Ephesians 2: 8-9 / Titus 3: 4-5
What has NOTHING to do with obtaining salvation?
Romans 3:20 / Romans 9:16 / Galatians 2:16
Day 29- But aren't we supposed to love people, help them, and do good works? Yes, but this flows as the fruit of our salvation under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is not what we do to earn salvation. No man or woman can earn it. We are saved so that we can serve. Our service to others demonstrates the reality of our faith.
Ephesians 2:10 / James 2: 17-18
We'll continue in our next study to look at the other perils occurring in the time before the end of the age.
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