Living for Eternity

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), October 27

imagesJesus informs His disciples that the center of Jewish life—the Temple—will be destroyed: “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mk. 13:2). They respond by asking, “When will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (13:4).

Jesus refers to a future time, an unknown day or hour, when great distress will come upon the earth, after which the elect will be gathered from the earth: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven” (13:26-27).

In His answer Jesus provides warnings and instructions regarding that unknown day and hour:

Deception – “Take heed that no one deceives you” (13:5). “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it” (13:21). “Many false prophets will rise up up and deceive many” (Mt. 24:11).

Anxiety and upheaval – “When you hear of wars and rumors of war, do not be troubled . . . for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles” (Mk. 13:7-8).

Persecution – “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to counsels, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them” (13:9).

Betrayal – “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (13:12-13).

Unparalleled suffering – “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be” (13:19).

Unprecedented lawlessness and indifference– “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt. 24:12).

Unusual evangelism – “You will be brought before kings and rules for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony” (Lk. 21:12-13).

Jesus’ teaching about the end times reveal a number of truths regarding those days:

  • A certain day exists on God’s calendar when Christ will come and gather His elect from the face of the earth. Buildings will be left behind. Believers must live for that day.
  • Great distress and carelessness will characterize the earth and its inhabitants before His coming. People will be caught up with the normality of life without God, and suddenly Jesus will come. Believers must be alert.
  • The heart, easily distracted by temporal activities, becomes “weighed down” and never looks up. Believers must focus vertically, on the eternal.
  • Prayer keeps the heart of man alert and engaged in eternal investments.

Only two categories of people exist: those prepared for His coming are rewarded and welcomed while those unprepared are cursed and cast out. Therefore, believers must live intentional lives.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mk. 13:1-31; Mt. 24:1-35; Lk. 21:25-33):
Jesus uses the budding fig tree to illustrate the coming of the kingdom of God. Describe the fig tree. What does this analogy reveal about the coming of the kingdom of God?
Review Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 46:9-10; 48:3-8 in light of Luke 21:22. What do these verses reveal about prophecy and its fulfillment?