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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Jesus Gives us Signs of the End Times in the Book of Matthew

    Today’s Reading:
  • Matthew 24:1 - 28
  • Matthew 24:29 - 51
Read Bible Passages Online

Matthew 24:1 - 51
I was completely caught off guard today with this reading.  One minute Jesus is telling parables and preaching against hypocrites, and the next he is telling signs of his return.  Until today I thought that the most specific notes about end times were in the book of Revelation, a book I have yet to read.  So when the reading started with Jesus telling the disciples what it would be like in the end times and the signs of the Son's return, I was immediately surprised and interested.  That's why I couldn't stop reading at the end of today's portion.

I must say, however, that I am certainly confused trying to make sense of it all.  Verse 24:36 tells us that not even the Son himself knows when all this will come to pass.  That I knew.  And in these verses Jesus talks about the suffering and sin that will run rampant throughout the Earth before his return.  Again, that I knew.  He talks of famines and earthquakes throughout the world being signs also.  He talks of wars of nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom.

All of those things are very much rampant in our world today and many of us do feel that time is short and the end is near.  But here's the one I didn't yet know.  It is verse 24:9:
Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed.  You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers
Jesus doesn't say that you will be hated, persecuted and killed in many parts of the world, except for the United States where people aren't allowed to persecute you based on religion.  No, Jesus says that we will be "hated all over the world."  All over the world.

I have a LOT of studying left to do, and this is just one small contention.  I could read something tomorrow that will make me feel differently about what I read today (and I DID -- see update below!).  But for what little I know right now, right this moment, I see that this one specific sign is missing from our world right now.

Again, I haven't studied so I don't know, but I wonder if the coming of the antichrist will cause that change to take place.  And the change could come rampantly, so don't get me wrong.  Don't think that I'm saying we are not in the very end of times.  I'm just saying that I don't see that sign right this instant.

Jesus says in verses 24:32-33:
Now learn a lesson from the fig tree.  When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.  In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.
When you see ALL these things.  I don't see all of them yet.  But that doesn't mean that I have any clue what I'm talking about.  That doesn't mean that our world won't turn upside down tomorrow.  That doesn't mean the end isn't near.  That doesn't mean that you shouldn't live your life for Him because you think you have more time.

Whether or not the Lord returns tomorrow we still have a responsibility to live our lives according to the Word of God.  You don't know when the Lord is going to return and you don't know when you are going to die.  So please live accordingly.  It's not a request out of fear of damnation, it's a request made out of love.  Life is truly more fulfilling when you live for the Lord.

UPDATE:  Since I have written this, I have read something else that has changed my perspective on what I wrote about that sign I don't see.  For more information, look up the post that I published about being wary of waiting for signs of the end times.

A Note About Today's Reading
Today I am combining the readings from two different days which is something I haven't done so far.  I really didn't want to split this particular reading up once I got started.  Tomorrow's post will contain only the Psalms that went with these two readings and the two readings after that will be Old Testament readings.  After that the daily format will be back to normal.

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