DAILY DISCIPLINE #181
By Colleen Donahue
In our last study we began to look at what is called the Olivet Prophecy given by Jesus to his disciples shortly before his death. Jesus speaks to his disciples as Jews or representatives of Israel but 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.
In Matthew 24:4-14 we are going to see a view of the world between the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. This "pre-end of age" time is a series of events covering many years. Jesus lays out for us six perils that will mark this "pre-end of age" time. In our last study we looked at peril #1. This first peril will be marked by false messiahs and prophets who will lead the people astray from the truth of Jesus Christ. These false messiahs will be among the Jews and within the church. An Antichrist will not seem like they are openly against Christ at all. Their language and actions will seem very Christian but at the core of their teaching they reject the basic truths of Jesus Christ.
It's not surprising that the Lord's first words to us are "Watch out!". We are to know what we believe and why we believe it lest we be deceived by these false messiahs. Let's continue in this second study to look at the other five perils that Jesus warms us about in the Olivet prophecy.
Six Perils- End Times - Part 2
Studies continued from Matthew 24:1-14
Day 1- What will occur throughout the world causing horror, misery, fear and death?
Matthew 24: 6-7a / Luke 21: 9-10
At the time of this writing, we in the United States are in two wars with many other conflicts happening or brewing that could erupt into war around the world.
Day 2- Can't God stop these conflicts? Should He stop them? The answer is "No". Man has been given dominion or rulership over the earth and he has power over the self-proclaimed ruler of this world - Satan..... if he chooses to use it. God has given all men the freedom to choose good or evil. War is not what God does to man but rather what man does to each other. In reading these next verses notice that man has the right and ability to choose.
Deuteronomy 30:19 / Joshua 24:15 / 1 Kings 18:21
The fact that man has free will means that he is free to choose evil as well as good.
Day 3- What else besides wars will be happening around the world?
Matthew 24: 7b-8 / Luke 21:11
Day 4- Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, pestilence, and famines -- all are happening now and testing man's faith in God. Blaming God will be one of man's greatest temptations.
Ruth 1:20/ Job 16:12 / Psalm 66:11 / Psalm 90:7
Day 5- But Jesus was straight and up front with His followers from the beginning, that tribulations and trouble would be part of life.
John 16:1-4, 33 / Matthew 24:21 / Acts 14:22 / 1 Thessalonians 3:4 / Revelations 2:9
Day 6- While man's choices in cooperation with Satan (this world's present ruler) are behind these disasters, God is working to turn them into something that will work for our good.
Job 23:10 / Psalm 66:10 / Isaiah 48:10 / 1 Peter 1:7
Day 7- God uses (not causes) the trials and temptations of this life for our welfare, even though they are painful at the time.
Proverbs 3: 11-12 / Hebrews 12: 5-11 / Revelations 3:19
Day 8- When and if we are part of the natural calamities that are predicted -- or other troubles of this life -- what are we to do in the midst of them?
John 14: 1, 27 / Romans 5:3-4 / James 1:2-4 / Revelations 2:10
Day 9- From these verses what do we see is happening to us when we are in the middle of our troubles?
Psalm 29:11 / John 16:33 /2 Corinthians 4:1,11,16 / Philippians 4:7
Day 10- Where must our focus be to survive the troubles that we'll face in this world?
Isaiah 26:3 / 2 Corinthians 4:18 / Colossians 3:1-2 / Hebrews 12:1-3
Day 11- What will be the fourth peril?
Matthew 24:9 / Luke 21: 12, 16-18
Day 12- Notice that persecution will be a relentless enemy of the faith.
But it will also bring opportunity.
Matthew 10:18 / Luke 21:13
Day 13- A true follower of Jesus brings a new standard to the world. Anyone that doesn't want to change, will hate the representative and human clashes are bound to happen.
Matthew 10:16-17 / John 15: 21
Day 14- Jesus is very clear that persecution will come our way. Is he trying to scare us? Why does he want us to know this?
John 16: 1, 4 / 2 Timothy 3: 12-13
Day 15- What instruction are we given to be able to stand firm during times of trouble and persecution?
2 Timothy 3:14-17 / Revelations 2:10
Day 16- What are we commanded to do?
1 Thessalonians 5: 21-22
Day 17- The pressures on Christians will be enormous. If we are not solidly grounded in Christ we will fall away. How will we be able to hold fast to the truth?
Hebrews 4: 14-16 / Hebrews 10: 23
Day 18- What is our reward for staying true to Christ through persecution?
Luke 21: 18-19
Notice in these verses how divine protection will be our privilege.
2 Chronicles 16:9a / Psalm 34:7 / Psalm 91:4 / Psalm 125:2
Day 19 - What will be the fifth peril?
Christians turning away from their faith is called apostasy and that is the fifth peril.
Day 20- If we don't hold onto our faith and a good conscience, what will be the outcome?
1 Timothy 1: 18-19
Day 21- In order to turn away from faith we must turn to something else. What will this be?
1 Timothy 4:1 / Hebrews 13:9
These teachings might "sound Christian" but they will not be right. Who will be teaching them?
1 Timothy 4:2
Timothy goes on to describe a few examples of what will be taught.
1 Timothy 4:3
What advice does he have for us?
1 Timothy 4:7
1 Timothy 4:4
Day 22- What else will turn a committed Christian away from the faith?
Hebrews 3:12 / 2 Peter 3:17
Day 23- What is strictly forbidden to those who believe in God?
Exodus 20:4 / Deuteronomy 11:16 / 1 John 5:21
Exodus 34:14 / Isaiah 42:8
You might think idols are something in the ancient past and have nothing to do with today but that is not so. An idol is anything we turn to instead of Jesus Christ for security, significance or happiness. Modern idols may include:
-our bank balance
-our political party
When Christians waver in their faith and turn to other people or things besides Christ, definite symptoms start to appear. Let's look at them so we can recognize them in ourselves and others.
Day 24- Symptoms of apostasy or -- falling away from our faith:
Jeremiah 2:36a / 1 Kings 18:21
B. We become unstable in all our ways.
Ephesians 4:14 / James 1:6
C. We become double minded.
D. We become tolerant of sin.
E. Tolerance of sin leads to a deceitful heart.
Isaiah 47:7-9 / Amos 6:1 / Matthew 22: 1-5
Day 25- Symptoms of apostasy (continued)
G. Indifference towards others violates our responsibility to them.
H. Lack of mercy and help
Proverbs 21:13 / Ezekiel 34:4
I. Selfishness takes over and our concerns always come first.
Matthew 25: 43
Day 26 - Symptoms of apostasy (continued)
J. Neglect of service
2 Chronicles 24:5 / Nehemiah 3:5 / Jeremiah 48:10
K. Neglect of duty
Matthew 7: 26 / Matthew 25:27 / Luke 12:47 / James 2:14 / James 4:17
Isaiah 43: 22 / Isaiah 64:7 / Daniel 9:13 / Hosea 7:10
Day 27- A Christian will not be able to remain neutral while part of this world.
Matthew 12: 30 / Luke 11: 23 / Luke 16:13
We will need to rise up and declare ourselves.
Day 28- There will be many Christians that will become half hearted and lukewarm about their relationship with Christ. Others may not see this slip in alliance but it will be evident to God. Read these examples to help you see what God will see.
2 Kings 10:31 / 2 Chronicles 20:33 / 2 Chronicles 25:2 / Jeremiah 3:10
Day 29- Gradually the Christian, as they turn from Christ to the world, becomes like the world rather than setting the standard for godliness and holiness.
A cake that is half baked is inedible. And so a half-hearted Christian will have no appeal to anyone. They will be seen by others as people doing what everyone else is doing, except they have no solutions, and a religion that makes them miserable.
Day 30- Eventually what will be declared?
Day 31- The sixth peril becomes the product of apostasy and is listed in the same verses. It's called cynicism.
Matthew 24: 10-12
A cynic is one who attributes all actions to a selfish motive. It is a fault finding attitude marked by an ill natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections. It manifests itself in the cold and unfeeling indifference that arises out of the increase in wickedness and the teachings of false prophets and teachers.
Day 32- Who are these false prophets and teachers? In the time of ancient Palestine they were the priests, scribes and pharisees (those who deal with the law) and the prophets.
Today, they are anyone who claims to speak with authority -- who help shape our society, and influence its thinking. These might include authors, philosophers, professors, false clergy, politicians, statesmen, and scientists.
Day 33- From these verses write down the characteristics found in false prophets and teachers.
Deuteronomy 13:5 / Isaiah 9: 14-16 / Ezekiel 13:2-10 / Micah 3:5 / Micah 3:11 / Matthew 5:19 / Matthew 15:9 / 1 Timothy 1:6-7 / 1 Timothy 6: 3-5
Since the heart of man without Jesus Christ is deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) these same characteristics will be present today.
Day 34- What will be taught? Perhaps it's best to rephrase the question and ask "what won't be taught?" Sin, will be renamed and called: human nature, a disease, or "a tendency toward something" that we can't help. For example:
-divorce will be acceptable because we made a mistake
-we aren't gluttons, we just overeat a little
-an adulterous affair is a "moment of weakness or indiscretion."
-a practicing homosexual can't help it because he was made that way
-an alcoholic drinks because he has a disease.
If we don't recognize that we are sinners in need of a Saviour then what four things are true?
1 John 1: 8, 10
Day 35- When we don't call the sin in our life for what it is, then there is no need for a Saviour. We are then vulnerable to fall in the "self help" trap. We become drawn to self help titles such as .....
-"Ten steps to....."
-"Do this and have that."
-"Three ways to ...."
-"Having trouble with that? Then, try this!"
By trusting in our own knowledge and strength to make ourselves right what do we fall into?
Hosea 10:13 / Obadiah 3a
What does God have to say regarding our looking to man's ten steps instead of to His Son Jesus Christ?
Jeremiah 17: 5-6
Notice the reverse is true when we trust in God rather than self.
Jeremiah 17: 7-8
Day 36- What will be taught by these false prophets and teachers is a "religion of self". We will be taught to seek our dreams and lookout for our own rights and interests. We will talk in terms of "my life" , "my family", "my church", "my community", and "my God". This will all be opposite teaching to what Jesus Christ taught. Read carefully these next verses and compare them with what you may be hearing today.
Matthew 5:29 / Matthew 16:24 / Luke 14:26-27,33 / Romans 8:13 / Romans 13:14 / 1 Corinthians 6:19b / 1 Corinthians 9:27 / Galatians 5:24 / Philippians 3:8 / Colossians 3:5 / 1 Peter 2:11
Day 37- The false teachers of this age will not necessarily be easy to spot. Why?
Isaiah 29:13 / Matthew 7:15 / 2 Timothy 3:5
In other words, they will "sound" very Christian by using some of the language that Christians use. They will be full of good works as they propagate a false social and self-help gospel. They will be passionate and sincere -- albeit sincerely wrong.
Day 38- How are we to distinguish these false teachers and preachers from those that are true?
1 Thessalonians 5:21 / 1 John 4:1
Day 39- God not only wants us to test everything but He commands that we do so. This testing will mean taking something we have heard or read and comparing it to what God has said in his word. God's word is powerful enough to dissect a teaching for errors.
Day 40- By testing what we hear and read what do we become?
Who will be most vulnerable to false teachers?
2 Peter 2:14, 18 / 2 Timothy 3:6-7
Day 41- This onslaught of apostasy and cynicism will be evident within the society. Reread these verses for the two main symptoms.
Matthew 24: 12
This increase in wickedness with the cold indifference of both Christians and non Christians will make society ripe for evil acts against those who are innocent --
-mothers will kill their children
-men will prey on children
-children will be used for pornography
And this only names a few.
Day 42- So these six perils:
1- False messiahs
2-Wars and rumors of wars
3- Natural calamities
will be the voices trying to silence the still small voice of God. What is the secret for you and I to stand against these deceptions and delusions?
Matthew 24:13 / John 15:9 / 2 Timothy 3:14-17 / 1 Peter 1:13 / Revelations 3:11
Without the life of God within us we won't be able to stand against this age of deception. But with the Spirit of Jesus abiding within, we cannot fail. The test of the reality of your faith is endurance.
Day 43- These first two studies of Matthew 24 have concerned a time called the "pre end of age". When will the "end of the age" begin?
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