THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 3-18-01
LESSON TITLE: THE LORD'S RESPONSE: WHEN WILL THESE THINGS BE AND WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN?
Here we are again on another beautiful Lord's Day! Thank you for choosing to be with us as we together give this time to our creator.
It will be our privilege this morning to again sing praises to our God and to study from His matchless Word. I hope we all will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer!
In this world, doesn't it often seem hard to get any rest? Sometimes we all feel like we just can't take another step, because of this crazy and fast paced society in which we live.
This morning we want to begin with a song that talks about a rest we can have, even today in the busy world. A rest that will give us a better life and which will bring us a great peace as we live from day to day. So, at this time won't you join in with the congregation as we together sing, "There Is A Place Of Quiet Rest."
(SONG # 1)
When was the last time this old world let you down? Probably almost every day we have experiences that remind us of how little faith we can put in this world and the things of it. The Bible tells us that this is just the way the world is! Because it is made up of the things of the flesh, therefore it can not be counted on.
On the other hand, God can be depended on in all areas of life. In fact, in Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Truly with God anything is possible and we can know He is able and will do the things which He says. However, with men, again we are unsure - never knowing whether we can depend on them or not.
Another verse which helps us with the dependability of God is found in Hebrews 6:18. There the writer says, "it is impossible for God to lie." Isn't it great to know that we can have full confidence in God and in what He promises. Everything that He has said and confirmed to us in His word, can be counted on!
Therefore we have the promise of the blessing of this earth and the ultimate promise of the hope of heaven. Again, keeping in mind that with God these things are possible but with men they are not.
So, where should you put your trust today? In the things of man or in the things of God. The problem is, you can't have it both ways. You can't serve God and mammon, as Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. Another verse which helps us with this whole topic is found in 1 John 2:15. There it says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Again the point is we must chose to put God first or the World.
A few verses down we find the reason why we must choose God. In verse 17, we read, "And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
So why not put your full confidence and trust in something you can completely count on - that is the creator of all, our God and Father in Heaven. If we make the right choice, we will receive all those things which God has promised us in His Word. So let me ask you, where does your faith lie today, in Jesus or the World?
Today, we have a guest speaker with us who is the minister for the Sparta Church of Christ. We are glad to have brother Greely Kirkpatrick with us to lead us in our study from God's Word. This morning, our specific topic deals with the question, "When will these things be and what will be the sign?" This is our next lesson in the series called "The Lord's Response." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Kirkpatrick will return with our lesson of the day. Now, let's join in our next hymn together, which is called, "No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Greely Kirkpatrick
Good morning. Someone says, "The end of the world is near. Jesus is coming soon." And you might ask them, "Well, how do you know this?" And they may go on to say, "The signs of the time," and then talk about earthquakes in various places, famines and troubles and wars and rumors of wars. Now these are surely signs they say that the end is near. It's what the Bible teaches, you know. They say. But is it? Does the Bible say that we will be able to discern the signs of the time when it comes to the end of the world, when it comes to Jesus' second coming?
I want us to answer this question from Mark chapter 13. I believe Mark 13 in it's parallel chapters, Matthew 24 and Luke 21, are some of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted chapters in the New Testament. When you think about Jesus' coming again, He talks about two comings in this chapter. He talks for example about His coming in judgment on Jerusalem and then later on in the chapter, He talks about His coming in the final judgment at the end of the world. That's what I want us to think about this morning. I've heard people use a verse that's talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and they used that to talk about something that's going to take place, they say, at the end of the world, which is to take the verse out of context.
So let's begin first of all with the disciple's questions. This is Mark 13 verses 1 through 4. And He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here." Jesus answered and said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down. And as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him privately, "Tell us. When will these things be and what shall be the signs when all these things will be fulfilled?"
Let's think about these questions. The historian, Josephus, who wrote during the first century talked about the temple in his writings, and he talked about some of the massive stones, not all of the stones, but he said, "Some of the stones were so huge. They were forty feet long, 18 feet high and 12 feet wide." Therefore when this disciple sees the massive size, the beautiful temple and the buildings surrounding it, he wants to know. Look at this. It's as if he were saying, "Such a massive, solid structure surely it will last forever." They must have been tremendously amazed when Jesus said, "Listen, you see these buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another." Naturally, the disciples wanted to know when will this take place? What will be the sign that these things will be fulfilled. And in answering the disciple's questions, Jesus talks about those two comings and those two ends. And that's what I want us to think about as we continue in Mark chapter 13.
Let's notice now, second, the Jerusalem coming. This is Jesus' coming in judgment on the city of Jerusalem bringing to an end the Jewish economy. Beginning now in verse 5, And Jesus answering them began to say, "Take heed that no one deceives you for many will come in my name saying, 'I am He' and will deceive many. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled for such things must happen but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there will be earthquakes in various places and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. But watch out for yourselves for they will deliver you up to counsels and you will be beaten in the synagogues and you will be brought before rulers and kings for my sake for a testimony to them and the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand or premeditate what you will speak, but whatever is given you in that hour speak that, for it is not you who speaks, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death. And a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death and you will be hated by all men for my namesake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."
Jesus is coming in judgment on Jerusalem. Now, He begins by warning the disciples, "Look, don't be deceived." And history tells us that there were many who were false Christs, many deceivers before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The Lord goes on to talk about wars and rumors of wars and again, history reveals that there were any number of wars and rumors of wars, even though at the time, Jesus spoke this. There was relative peace in the Roman empire. However, soon after this, there were strife's and insurrections in wars, not only in Palestine, but throughout the empire. SO extra Biblical history goes on to record about the earthquakes and famines prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. "But these things," Jesus said, "They were not the end. They would happen rather as signs before the end would come." The end of what? You might be thinking. And the answer is obviously the end of the city of Jerusalem, the Jewish economy. Verse 10 says, The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. Someone might say or might ask, "Has that happened? Did that take place before AD 70?"
And Paul, through inspiration, writing in Colossians chapter 1. Listen to what he says. He's writing to the church in Colossi, to Christians there. In Colossians 1 and verse 23, he says, If indeed you continue grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, notice this, which was preached to every creature unto heaven of which I Paul became a minister. So here the fulfillment of the gospel being preached to everyone before AD 70.
Now having considered various signs that would not be equivalent with the end but would happen before the end, Jesus now continues in verse 14. He says, But when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, let the reader understand, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains and let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house nor enter to take anything out of the house but let him who is in the field not go back to get his garment but whoa to those who are with child and to those with nursing babies in those days and pray that your flight not be in winter, for in those days there will be tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of creation which God created to this time nor ever shall be, and unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh will be saved. But for the elect sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. And then if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ," or "Look, He's 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 foretold all these things.
The abomination of desolation. That would be the sign that would be equivalent to the end. What does that mean? The abomination of desolation. Daniel talked about it in Daniel chapter 11. When you think about an abomination and you return to the Old Testament and you remember that it is associated with idolatry. When the Roman army lead by the General Titus came to the city of Jerusalem, history tells us that the Romans sat up their idols in the Holy Place, that would be the city of Jerusalem. Again, Josephus says, "And now the Romans upon the burning of the Holy house itself, and all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against it's eastern gate and there did they offer sacrifice to them.
Luke says in Luke 21:20 that Jesus says, "But when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand." Now what were the people to do when this sign was evident and when they saw the abomination of desolation? What were they to do? They were to flee. And those who did, those who listened to the Lord, and followed His instructions, they were saved.
It's interesting to read Josephus, an extra Biblical history about the destruction of Jerusalem. Not only is it interesting, but it is very gruesome. Josephus tells a horrible picture about the city, how some ninety-something thousand Jews were taken captive. Over a million died of starvation and by the sword from the onslaught from the Roman army. You've seen that Titus first of all wanted to starve the city into submission. And so Josephus tells about great, great hunger, how men would be seen gnawing on a leather strap or a leather shoe. He would talk about how people would search the very dung heaps of the cattle to find something to eat. He tells a terrible story about a woman who killed her child and roasted it and ate it, and offered food to anybody who came to her door. But then Jesus continues in verse 24 and says, "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened and the moon will not give it's light, the stars of heaven will fall and the powers in heaven will be shaken. And when they will see the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and then He will send His angels and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of heaven.
This is what's called apocalyptic language. It's highly symbolic. It's found in the Old Testament books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah, and the New Testament book of Revelation. Very symbolic. Some believe that since it talks about the Lord coming in the clouds that this is a reference to the second coming. Not necessarily. Sometimes the Bible talks about God coming in the clouds and it's a judgment, not a personal coming, but a coming in judgment. Those angels could be human angels, human messengers, I should have said, and sometimes the context will decide if it's an angelic being or human messenger. To preach the gospel to all who are in the world, the four winds that would come and be gathered into the kingdom. And then Jesus tells a parable. Now learn this parable from the fig tree when it's branches already become tender and put forth it's leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the end is near, even at the door. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away until these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away. And then I believe Jesus concludes His talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and then He ends by talking about His coming in judgment at the end of the world, when He says, But of that day and hour, no one knows, neither the angels who are in heaven, nor the son, but the Father only. Therefore, take heed and watch, Jesus says. You do not know when the time is.
My friends, no one on this earth knows when Jesus is coming again. Those people who talk about the end being near and Jesus coming soon, the scriptures do not say that. But rather Jesus says, No man knows, not even the angels in heaven. When He was on the earth, Jesus said that He Himself did not know, only the Father. Therefore He says you and I are to watch. We are to be ready. We're to be Christians, faithful Christians, following Him, looking to Him and His word for guidance in life, and we hope that you're doing that and we appreciate you watching this morning.
(SONG # 3 - "Paradise Valley!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we all study to have a better understanding of the final things in life, so that we will each have a greater motivation to do as God has told us to !