We are indeed living in the days Jesus Christ spoke of in Matthew 24. We see the numerous wars and hostilities around the globe, the Nation ofIsrael is being vilified by not only nations but some churches have come out against her. This is fulfillment of prophecy as well. Many christians say they believe in Jesus but don't believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Some believe part of it but not other parts. How can this be?
Still others will reject parts of the Bible saying that their church doesn't teach certain things in God's Word. This is the apostate church. We have been told that this would happen. Those who believe the Bible literally and live by it are a minority these days. We are being told we must reach out to other faiths. But, the Bible does not teach this.
Anything we are told or that someone may teach or say should be tried by the Word of God. I John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
When studying God's Word, we must read in context of "who" is being spoken to or "what" is being discussed. We cannot take particular verses out of context for when we do, we miss the intended message or it becomes perverted for our own beliefs. Many take scriptures in this manner and use them to teach different doctrines regarding the rapture of the church. Some say this is not true, it won't happen. Some say it will, but at mid-tribulation, some say at the end of the tribulation. Yet, neither of the last two can be justified by scripture.
It seems that the churches today are proud of the fact that they are blind. No, we are not to be in darkness, we are children of the light. When we read that our Lord comes as a thief in the night, look at who he is talking to in passages being read.
Many people use the term "for ye know not the day or the hour of the coming of the Son of Man" to say that they shouldn't know when Christ will return. Many use it as an excuse not to study prophecy. Neither of these are true. Let us take the parable of the foolish virgins as an example. "And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord open to us. But he answered, and said Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh."
To whom IS Jesus addressing in this parable? Jesus' coming for His church will NOT be as a "thief in the night" to those who watch for His return. When He says to "watch therefore" Christ is speaking to the foolish virgins. The foolish virgins are those who are not watching, who don't know the season of His return. He is not speaking to His Church in this passage. He will not overtake the faithful "as a thief in the night" for they are watching for His return. The church is commanded to watch for Jesus. If we are not to know, why are we told so often to watch?
"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning" Mark 13:35, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Matt 25:13, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Matt 24:42, "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." Mark 13:33, "Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect."Mat 24:44" We are commanded at least 20 times in the Bible to watch for His coming.
One issue that has hindered many Christians is many are not familiar with Hebrew customs, their calendars, or the Feasts of the Lord. We must remember that Jesus Christ will return on God's calendar, not ours. God gave the feasts to Israel for a purpose. These feasts were given as a way to set aside a time to remember or commemorate certain events. They are, in fact, a type of "dress rehearsal" for things to come. Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts with His birth, death and resurrection. He was the ultimate sacrifice at Passover and, in fact, was crucified at the exact time the priests in the temple were slaughtering the passover lambs. When He uttered, "It is finished," it meant the sacrifice was over. This term, "it is finished" was used by the temple priests when the last Passover lamb was sacrificed. Many have wondered about that phrase and not knowing the traditions of the Hebrew people has caused confusion within the Christian community.
The Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. If He fulfilled the Spring Feasts to the very day and hour, we can be sure that He will fulfill the Fall Feasts as well. By watching the signs and the seasons, we are to know when to expect our Lord. The Hebrew word for "season" means "an appointed time." It is clear that God's Word gives us many clues, timelines as well as signs to guide us.
In Revelation 3, Jesus addressed the church at Sardis. He said, "...I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." Then in Revelation 3:3, Jesus said, "...If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Jesus is speaking here to a "dead" church. In Revelation 3:17-18, He is speaking to the church at Laodicea, the "lukewarm church." Jesus tells this church, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white rainment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and annoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see."
Jesus is speaking in context of the priests in the temple. They wore white garmets. Again, many Christians are not familiar with the Old Testament, the Feasts of the Lord or of Hebrew customs.
In Revelation 16:15, He says, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keep his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. This is exactly what He said to the Laodicean church. The high priest of the temple and the captain of the guard were known as the thief of the night. There were watchposts where they were stationed.They watched the fire on the altar - the fire that fell from heaven, they were commanded by God to never let it go out. If a priest was caught asleep when he was supposed to be watching the flame, the captain of the guard would take fire from the very flame that the priest was supposed to be watching and he would set the priest's garmets afire. What would a person do if their clothing was set on fire? Take it off! Quickly. Therefore, one might consider a priest who is trying to remove flaming garmets and realize that the "nakedness" Jesus speaks of is literal.
Another parable of Jesus that demonstrates there are those who are "asleep" and not watching, and those who are watching, as they are commanded is the Parable of the Good and Faithful Servant. Luke 12:37-41 tells us "Blessed are those servants whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And know this, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."
Peter asked Jesus, Lord, are you speaking this parable to us or to everybody? Jesus replied "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is the servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes."
Jesus was speaking of rewarding his followers who followed His commandments, discerned the seasons and the times and were watching for His return. He was speaking to the fact that some would be watching and some would not. If we are not to know, then why are we commanded to do so by Jesus Himself? Because we are.
Jesus even rebuked the Pharisees for not knowing of His coming, "Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern the time?" We are told in Genesis that God made the heavens for signs, seasons, days and years. "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." So we see that not only can we look at God's Feasts, we also have what He gave us for "signs, and for seasons and for days, and years."
It is interesting to note that Feast of Trumpets (which many call Rosh Hashanah) is a two-day feast. The reason is because no one knows the day or the hour it is to begin. Jesus used this terminology as well when speaking of His return. I am in no way "date setting" but it is intriguing to know that many significant events have occurred on Feast dates or Sabbatical dates. In fact, too many have occurred for us to entertain the idea that it could be a "coincidence." The Jewish day begins at sunset. The Feast of Trumpets is a two day feast because it begins at the first sighting of the moon. One doesn't know if the moon will be visible or when, therefore no one can say the day or the hour.
Not only will "the wise understand at the time of the end", Dan 12:9,10, but scriptural examples show that we are admonished to know, and will be reprimanded as the Pharisees were, if we do not know the signs of the times, and the time of our visitation.Luke 19:41-44 "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
God is not the author of confusion, nor is He a liar. We have been told that nothing is hidden from those who seek to know. Dan 12:9 "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." Dan 12:10 "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Mark 13:23 "But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things." Luke 8:17 "For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad." Mark 4:22 "For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad."
1John 2:20 "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." 1John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." Amos 3:7.17 "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."1Pet 1:5 "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." Isa 46:8-10 "Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors,"Isa 46:9] remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, `My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose," Job 11:6 "And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth." 1Cor 10:11 "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
These signs turn our attention to where we will spend eternity. It is God's will that none should perish. I pray that eyes will be opened and those who don't know Jesus Christ will call upon Him. If you are reading this and don't know Jesus Christ and wish to, you can pray the following simple prayer and accept His gift of forgiveness and salvation freely.
Come into my heart. Be my Savior. Wash me and cleanse me, set me free. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. Fill me with the Holy Spirit, guide me daily. Thank you Jesus, Amen
Congratulations, if you have prayed this prayer! Run to God, not from Him. Look up! Lift up your eyes and see what God has planned for you. Be assured that the days are drawing to a close and soon we will be with Jesus.