We are continuing on with Jesus on the Mount of Olives as He talks to His disciples about the “end of the age.” As I stated yesterday, I am NOT an expert or in any way qualified to be interpreting Jesus’ words for anyone. What you will find here today is me sharing what comes to my mind and heart when I read this portion of scripture. I honestly never know what is going to come out until the end. So join me today as we see where the Spirit takes us.
Jesus is in the middle of answering the disciples’ question of “When will these things happen and what will be the sings of Your coming and the end of the age?” (verse 3). Yesterday Jesus first shared the political climate as the day approaches. Then He stated the environmental changes to be alert to. Next He clearly shares the personal costs of remaining a believer as the day draws nearer. Then He ends with the overall spiritual state of man. After all these warnings, Jesus then turns to the reward that awaits those who remain true to Him until the end; eternal life.
In the section we are reading today, Jesus will share a specific pivotal event that marks the beginning of the end. He says when you see this take place, RUN! He says at that time there won’t even be time to pack. Just get up and go! This is serious business and will require immediate action to reach safety.
The event Jesus says to be watching for is the fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Daniel. In My bible sites Daniel 9:27 as the words in Daniel dealing with the “Abomination of Desolation”, which is divinely shared by God concerning the end times. This is the famous 70 weeks prophecy. Since I have no insight into this interpretation, I’m going to leave this prophecy to the experts. What I do understand is that each “week” represents seven years and that something pivotal happens in the beginning of the last “week” which sets the stage for the beginning of the end. I believe the precipitating event is the rapture of the church and the event Jesus is specifically referencing is when the Anti-Christ’s inserts himself into God’s place in God’s own temple. As I understand it, that happens in the middle of the “week” during his reign.
At the midpoint in the last week things are going to go from bad to worst! Not worse but worst. Jesus says it will be as bad as it can get, “Such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and will never be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (verses 21-22).
Jesus shows His sympathy for those who will experience this time in history. He especially expresses it for pregnant women and nursing mothers. If you watched the Left Behind series, in the rapture all the young children disappear, regardless of their parent’s beliefs. I don’t know if God is actually going to follow their plot line, but as a mother, I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child like that.
Jesus also expresses the hope that this event doesn’t happen in the winter time or on a Sabbath. I can understand the winter statement, as He told people not to even go back and get their coats when this happens but to simply run for their lives. As for the Sabbath, I am clueless as to why not then, unless He is referencing people getting in trouble with the law for traveling distances greater than the Sabbath laws allow. I think at that point I wouldn’t care about the law.
I’m assuming that the people doing the running are going to be those who come to faith in Jesus after the rapture of the church. These people will be looking for answers and there will be many who step forward pretending to have those answers. Jesus says that many will rise up and say that they are the Christ or that He is in a certain place. They are liars and sent by Satan to trick even the most sincere new believers. The false prophets and christ’s will have some success, but not with those who come to Him in truth.
Jesus says that when all is finished He will return and put an end to Satan’s rule. His coming won’t be done in secret. It will be visible to all. It will also be swift and for the whole Earth. His second coming is not reserved solely for Israel, as His first coming was. It is for all mankind.
Jesus’ last statement in this section is a little strange. Jesus vulture analogy has me wondering what He really means. When I think about it I get a cartoon picture of a man walking through the desert. At first things are going fine, but after a while he uses up all his water. He continues on, hoping to stumble across more water as he keeps walking. Not too much later Vultures start following him. He keeps trying to shoo them away but they won’t leave. They sense his impending death. The more he walks the more vultures gather. By the time He finally succumbs to the desert, there is a HUGE flock with bibs on licking their beaks in anticipation.
That is what it is like as we move towards the end of days. The signs of His returning are as clear to the alert observer as the man’s growing distress was to the vultures. If you know what to watch for, you won’t miss out on the coming event. Be prepared but not afraid. Gather others to join you as the time draws near. There is plenty for any who come, and unlike the vultures, God brings life in the end to those who come to Him.
Father God, thank You that I don’t have to be an expert on the end times. I know You have every ounce of it planned out and know just how long You are going to wait. The sign are coming true now in several areas of Jesus’ description of life in the last days. But they have been moving in this direction for a long time. As far back as the day after You left. Your disciples, turned Apostles, were expecting You back at any moment, just as fervently as we expect You back right away. I know You are not slow like we think of slow, but are waiting for that last person to come to You. I pray my wayward family members are some of those You are delaying for. This would mean that You KNOW that they will make the right choice.
Thank You for those whom You gifted with knowledge and understanding regarding Your word. Help me learn from them the truth only. Guard my heart while I search for answers. I want only what You have to share with me. For now, I will be patient and see where You lead me.