From the Pastors Desk
May17FriMay 17, 2019 Pastor Byron Hand
Ready for The End?
A little-known fact from the life of Christopher Columbus is that he predicted the end of the world. He wrote a volume called The Book of Prophecies, in which he prophesied that the world would end in the year 1656. He even stated very definitely that “there is no doubt that the world must end in one hundred fifty-five years.” He miscalculated!
There is very little in the Church/Christian life that can polarize as quickly as a discussion on eschatology … study of the end times. The end of the world, end of the age, the return of Jesus, the second coming, whatever you call it, a doctrine that was intended to encourage, give hope, motivate holiness and be a call to action has, for many become a point of division and speculation.
Jesus cleansed the temple and took his seat as Teacher. Over the next few days, one group of Jewish leaders after another challenged him. Clearly, the leaders of the nation were rejecting him. In response, Jesus predicted that in a few years the temple would be torn down, not one stone left on another (Luke 21:6). Then His disciples ask a penetrating question in verse 7.
“Teacher,” they asked him, “so when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”[Luke 21:7]
The disciples asked him for signs so they would know when it would happen. Specifically they were asking about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. But that wasn’t all that was on their mind. Jesus told them there would be many tribulations in the world and in the church during the next generation (vv. 8–19). Then he told them to look for specific signs (vv. 20–24).
The first marker Jesus gave was that false christ’s would appear. We know from history that within twenty years after Jesus’ ascension, there were several false messiahs who claimed to be the returning Jesus.
Second, Jesus mentioned wars and revolutions, but he told them that these were not indications of the approaching end. Such things go on all the time, and the disciples were not to be misled into thinking they were signs of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Historian Wil Durant once said There have been only 268 of the past 3,421 years free of war.
Other general pointers Jesus gave were earthquakes, famines, and plagues. In a.d. 61 there was a terrible earthquake in Phrygia. In 63, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum. During the reigns of Claudius and Nero there were serious famines throughout the Roman Empire.
Both Josephus, the Jewish historian, and Tacitus, the Roman historian, tell us of strange signs that appeared between a.d. 66 and 70, the years of the Jewish War against Rome. A comet hovered over Jerusalem for many nights. In the ancient world comets were regarded as terrible signs. These are some of the distresses Jesus predicted would occur before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Every generation has rumors of war and signs of Christ’s return, because each generation needs to be awakened to expect his coming. Believers, as well as nonbelievers, fail to ready themselves for the Lord’s return and judgment. Rather than speculate about when Christ might return, ask yourself the question Jesus asked his generation: “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith?” (Luke 18:8). Your answer will indicate whether you are prepared personally for his return.
Sunday we will be looking primarily at 4 practical principles for living from now until the end of the world. Looking Primarily at Luke 21:5-19.
Hope to see you Sunday