Jesus is continuing His answer to Peter, James, John, and Andrew’s question. I have a feeling that they are blown away a LOT by His answer. The picture He is painting for them is a bleak one. But there is hope for the one who remains in Him.
We addressed this topic when we were in Matthew and you can look back at that blog post under “The Abomination of Desolation.” We looked at quite a few things in that post, so I might gloss over those points today and look at the experience of the people in the last days instead.
There are going to be two distinct kinds of people and the dividing line between them will be their willingness to accept that this is divinely from God and they need to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, before it is too late. I believe there will be some very large initial event that signifies the beginning of this period of time. I believe it will be the rapture of the church. I won’t be upset if you don’t agree with me, but I bet you would agree that something big has to happen to mark this phase.
Israel’s release from Egypt just came to my mind. God had been sending plague after plague onto Egypt to make Pharaoh release Israel. Pharaoh was probably used to plagues by now and figured he could handle whatever came next. That is just like us today. We have seen so many changes in our nations and world, we have become deadened to the “pain.” So God used one ENORMOUS attention getting plague to break Israel free. He took the life of EVERY firstborn in Egypt, even in the animals; EXCEPT for the Israelites. This got Pharaoh’s attention. He KNEW Israel’s God was in charge at that point. There was no other explanation. Just as the event we are approaching will make the same kind of impact, unfortunately the majority of people will go looking for the source instead of crediting God for His actions.
So, the person who continues to reject God is the easiest to describe in our comparison. He/She will be the one who buys into the party line that the world will be selling. The world will be looking everywhere BUT to God to try and explain what has happened. I have a feeling that the wild theories will fill the streets! “A comet flew by and vaporized a few people. Nothing to be worry about.” “They were abducted by aliens.” “Excess greenhouse gasses and microwaves collided. We have the situation well in hand and will make sure the count doesn’t go too high again.” Whatever it is, they will be buying or peddling it to others. They will adamantly deny any possibility of it being an act of God. This attitude will continue on through the entire time. One excuse after another, yet they will also scream at God for not interceding and fixing it. “If there really is a God, shouldn’t He have been able to prevent this?” ANYONE who espouses a loving God from this point on will receive the utmost scorn. “How could a loving God allow this? You are a fool for believing such nonsense.”
The other group will most likely be initially made up of those who had heard about God before the precipitating event. They heard the truth but were not ready to hear it or not convinced of its truth. They will have incontrovertible proof through the fulfillment of everything they were warned about, happening right in front of their eyes. They will realize their huge mistake and that they are being given one last chance. God will accept their decision and bring them into the family, but they will have to walk out their new faith in the midst of the fire. And fire there will be.
Halfway through things will really get BAD! This happens when the “Abomination of Desolation standing where he ought not to be” (verse 14). This will be when the ruler of this world proclaims himself god and takes God’s seat in the temple of Israel. I don’t know if this will be him taking God’s physical seat in the physical temple or a spiritual representation. Whichever it is, he will proclaim that he is god and any allegiance to any other god, including the One and Only true God, will be met with death.
The book of Revelation paints this picture very clearly. Those who choose to follow Jesus will be hunted down by the government. They will not be able to buy or sell anything. They will be persecuted at every turn. They will be killed for their faith. But those who endure will receive eternal life with Jesus. The price will be worth the prize.
Father God, in one respect, I wish Jesus would gather His church right now. I would be more than happy to give up this world and its problems. But, on the other hand, I don’t want any of my family left behind to walk through what comes next. Right now, I’m sure some of them would be left. I pray with ALL my heart that they would recognize the truth at that point and join group number two. I’m concerned that some of them might choose group number one anyway. All I can do is put my trust in You and keep praying for them. Help me plant seeds wherever I can and live a life that demonstrates Your love before their eyes. Please Lord, bring them homme!