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When you hear of wars and rumors of war what do you think of? When you see TV news of images of the horrors of evil what do you think? Most of us turn to others for comfort and others turn to the bible for answers but the real question is do you believe in your heart that God is your Father? Matthew tells us of the concerns of the disciples as they heard of Jesus speaking of the end times. The disciples are much like you and I for they asked Jesus and He told them plainly but did they really believe? So are you hearing and believing or are you believing what you think you want to hear? Think about it.
For 2,000 years the church has awaited the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. For 2,000 years men have tried to predict the exact moment of His return. Though no man knows the exact hour or even the day He will come back, there are signs to indicate His coming is near. In the teaching series Rumblings of War and the Prince of Peace, Skip Heitzig thoroughly expounds upon Matthew 24, explaining prophecy of what must take place and encouraging the church to always be ready.
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The world is in a tempest of conflict and turmoil but more so at this present time. We see in the middle east the war of Israel and Lebanon and for what? That's the question we ask but the answer has been known for years as all of these things have been foretold. Matthew has things to say by the Holy Spirit as we read how Jesus tells the disciples of a truth and prophetic saying, concerning the end of times and the wars to come.
Questions, questions and more questions have been asked over the end times but you know we don't have to be in fear over these things for God is on the throne and in control. The Bible has many things to say about the end times and the conflict to come. All of these things are the setting of the stage for the return of Christ for His church.
The disciples asked a question of Jesus that was sparked by the words of Jesus, 2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Then the disciples asked, when shall these things be and what shall the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world? You see the disciples are really no different than you and I in the thought process they bring forth to the Lord. Notice that Jesus answers the question with many warnings of signs of the end times and what is to come.
Let's look at three things, facts, concerning verses 1-3:
The place: This was the place where Jesus gave the Olivet discourse on the Mount of Olives. For the mountain, hill if you will, overlooks Jerusalem and Jesus talks to His disciples about His second coming. If we look at the conflict in the Middle East it is in the same place that Jesus was speaking about, it's amazing, but no surprise that we are seeing many things come to life from the words of Jesus. Many times Jesus spoke of things that were easy for the people to understand when it came to the commonplace things in life. We understand things in our culture more easily when we use commonplace things and issues. Jesus wants us to understand and not to be confounded. Jerusalem is really, geographically, the center of the planet concerning nations in biblical terms. Much conflict over the city of Jerusalem over the centuries has been seen for that is the center of true religion, not as repetitious chants or rituals, but as the fellowship of the believers of Christ. Revelation speaks about Jerusalem as the place that Jesus will set up His throne and we see this as King David ruled. But right now there is a Kingless throne on Earth. But that all will change forever for Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah will come and set up His Kingdom throne for a thousand years and then Jesus will rule from Heaven in the new city of Jerusalem as it comes out of heaven.
The jaw dropper: The verse in which Jesus predicts that the temple will be thrown down and not one stone will be left upon another stunned the disciples because they thought that the temple of stone was the very place that God was going to come back and reign in the temple. But Jesus was trying to tell them that the temple was not in the things made by hand, as they saw as they left from the temple, but of the body of Christ that was to be broken for them and all who believe in Him. It was also true that the temple would be cast down for history tells of it by the Roman Empire tearing down each massive block of stone to get at the gold that had melted into the stones due to the hot fire that burned within the temple. The temple mount in Jerusalem is the hot spot of the east and the world for this piece of real estate is the most desired by all the Middle East religions. Why? The word of God tells us that in the end times the temple mount would be the center of conflict but all for the wrong reasons for they who wish to destroy the temple mount do it for their beliefs but our belief's apart from God is worthless. God tells us by His word what we are to believe. So, you can see how the thoughts of the disciples where in conflict with Jesus' thoughts of what He was trying to tell them.
The problem: The disciples wanted Jesus to tell them when these things shall be, speaking to the answer that Jesus gave them that the stones of this temple would be cast down. You see, the time from the point when they came out of the temple in Jerusalem until they sat down to listen to Jesus on the Mount of Olives was about one hour. So during this time you can imagine, just as you and I would, they pondered in their mind and hearts and between each other about the temple being torn down. Why? Well since these knew either by the scriptures that they knew and heard or by the teachings of Jesus that He was the prince of peace the messiah that would set up the kingdom of God. So the disciples where not getting it when Jesus tells them that the temple would be destroyed. They thought Jesus was here to really set up the kingdom now but that was not the focus of Jesus or the Father for reconciliation must be first by the death (Jesus' sacrifice) and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So you can see how these disciples could be misguided by their own thoughts and ideas. As we think about the times of this world we are in and the conflicts we see and hear about, it all causes us to want the kingdom of God to come right now. We who are abiding in Christ desire to depart this world just as the apostle Paul spoke saying, I am torn between the two, whether to depart from this world, which is far better or to stay in this world which is needful for you, as he spoke to his beloved followers.
So we need to keep our mind on Christ but our understanding of the things of God to those who know not the Lord and the great God of our faith. So don't be afraid or moved from your walk with God for our salvation is closer now than it was when we first believed.