The Last Days
This is such a vast topic yet I am thinking at this moment it is also very simple. Jesus said to the disciples as He departed, “It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has determined.” This resurrected man Jesus, fully God’s first-born Son, did not know the details of the Father’s plan. He learned, or experienced, in His earthly life and ministry, a dependence on our Father to bring Him to the right place at the right time. I have seen this work in my own life. After many years of spiritual growth, of hearing the Lord’s voice, and being led by His Spirit, I have experienced this, and, in the last few years this has increased. If we follow the Lamb wherever He leads us, we will be positioned for His return.
With the increased awareness of the Lord’s presence and guidance, we find greater rest. While understanding the times in which we live is important, it is most important that we are growing in our experiential knowledge of Him. Equally important is that we understand the goal that God is after. More and more, the cry that John expressed is heard from my own spirit as with many others. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come Lord Jesus.” He responds to that call by His Spirit bringing fresh revelations of Himself. Yet there remains a final, cathartic appearing. I use that word because it is a heart cry that also recognizes the catastrophes that precede His appearing. The time of trouble will be hard. Jesus spoke to one church that she would be spared the time of trouble. We all have known personal trouble. Some will be spared the most intense.
I could continue this theme but I encourage you to read those messages to the seven churches. They all apply today. If the message fits hear it. If the shoe fits, put it on and walk it out. For Jesus’ sake, please. As Paul wrote, I beseech us all to keep ourselves as living sacrifices. Jesus still walks through His churches, His lampstands to cleanse them, to set them in a heavenly order. He is so patient.
Now to our reference from Matthew’s gospel account. The passage starts with the words that Jesus left the temple. That temple was of an old order which is near to passing away. The Greek word (search it out in Hebrews 8) can be translated “decrepit.” The Lord Himself left it behind. Where some are weak in faith and cleave to buildings, we are to be patient and not cause them to stumble. See Romans 14 and 15. Love is patient and kind never demanding. Jesus goes on to say, “It will be as in the days of Noah.” Noah prepared a place for himself, his extended family, and even the animals. God preserved the animals. Obviously, the sons and their families trusted Noah. Jesus said life will be going on as always. Two at the grinding mill and two in the field. People will be at work. To the unbelieving, it will be like a thief in the night but not for us, if we continue as children of the day.
An understanding persists that we will experience some sort of intermediate kingdom where for 1000 years Jesus will reign on the earth and mete out justice. Peter wrote 1000 years is as a day and a day as 1000 years. The concept of an intermediate 1000-year reign does not compute to me. By this I mean the thoughts that the church will be removed, and Jesus will then come down with them and rule for a literal, earth-time thousand years before some final event. The entire body of writings of the apostles, what we call the New Testament, does not support this expectation. The entire concept hangs on one passage, one chapter, of John’s Revelation. When He appears fully we will be like Him. This corruptible will be transformed and have a body like His glorious body. John had an awesome revelation of Christ that put him on his face. But he was not fully changed at that time. This final, coming appearance will be more glorious than the one John saw.
Before I knew Jesus, I heard interpretation, or we might say understanding, that as the present world in the days of Noah was destroyed, or cleansed, by a flood, the final cleansing would be by fire. Peter wrote that the elements will burn with intense heat. He repeats the phrase twice. God’s holy fire will transform this world into the new heavens and new earth He promised. Jesus said, the sun will be darkened, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven will be shaken. It will be more tumultuous than the flood. To be continued.