“Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? Be strong, for I am with you. My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.”– Haggai 2:3-4, 5
“In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.I will shake all nations and I will fill this house with glory. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. And in this place I will grant peace.” – Haggai 2:6-7, 9
“I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms.” – Haggai 2:22
Diviners see visions that lie. They tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd. – Zechariah 10:2
“On the day Jerusalem is a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling, every prophetwill be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive.” – Zechariah 13:4
“I shepherded the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I shepherded the flock. In one month I got rid of the three shepherds. The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them and said, “I will not be your shepherd. Let the dying die, and the perishing perish. Let those who are left eat one another’s flesh.” – Zechariah 11:7-9
God speaks to us; not by visions and dreams, but by words. – Oswald Chambers
“For as lightning that comes from the earth is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” -Matthew 24:27 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. All the nations will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky.” – Matthew 24:30
Clearly (pun intended), the coming of Christ will be a cataclysmic event witnessed throughout the world–not on screens, but in the heavens, the sky, right above our heads.
“He will send his angels. With a loud trumpet, call his angelswill gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” – Matthew 24:31 “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” – Matthew 24:37-41
Now we come to a passage of conflicting actions. During the time of Noah the flood took those in the fields, grinding at work, eating and drinking. But when Christ comes, he will send his angels to gather his “eklektos” “picked out,” “chosen” people. Perhaps what Jesus is suggesting in this passage is that his angels will gather those in Christ in the same way Noah gathered his family and pairs of animals into the ark, in order that they might be saved from destruction.
This has led many to link these verses with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and conclude those in Christ will be transported into heaven before great destruction comes on the earth.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God. The dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
In one sense the catching, rising, gathering mirrors what Noah and his family experienced. While flood waters covered the earth, those in the ark were lifted towards the heavens. They rode above the destruction below.
“My words will never pass away.” – Matthew 24:35
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. – John 1:3
The law was given through angels but you have not obeyed it. – Acts 7:53
Since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? – Hebrews 2:1-3
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. And Moses wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant — the Ten Commandments. Exodus 34:27-28
“The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the Lord proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. At the end of the forty days and forty nights, the Lord gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant.” – Deuteronomy 9:9-12
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but not my words.” – Matthew 24:35
“Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” – Matthew 24:42
When we preach the Cross, the energy of God is released. – Oswald Chambers
“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. Then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14
Preached as a testimony to all nations. . . a Kingdom Gospel of service, sacrifice, and suffering. A Kingdom Gospel at odds with the kingdom of man message of tyrannical power, senseless revolts, endless violence, and coercion through force.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand.” Matthew 24:15
When Jesus spoke these words to his disciples none of his testimony had been recorded. Only later, through the writings of Mark, Matthew, John, Luke, Peter, James, Paul, and Jude, would Jesus’ brief life make it into print. And yet, Christ knew we would read his words. Now, 2000 years later, he commands us to not only read, but understand what is to come.
“Let those in Judea flee. For there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—never to be equaled again.” – Matthew 24:16
In the book of Christ Revelation Jesus says, “Hail and fire mixed with blood was hurled down on the earth. “A third of the earth was burned up. “A third of the trees were burned up. “All the green grass was burned up.” Revelation 8:7
“Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. “A third of the sea turned into blood. “A third of the living creatures in the sea died. “A third of the ships were destroyed. “And a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. “A third of the waters turned bitter. Many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” Revelation 8: 8-10
“A third of the sun was struck. “A third of the moon and a third of the stars was struck, so that a third of them turned dark. “A third of the day was without light and a third of the night.” Revelation 8:12
“Every island fled away.” Revelation 16:20
“The mountains could not be found.” Revelation 16:20
Some contend the Revelation of Christ is metaphorical imagery that should not be taken literally. Ask yourself: Have any of the events described by Christ ever happened? If not, then was Jesus speaking in hyperbole? Are we merely waiting for him to come and say to us, “It was a joke. I was only kidding?” Is this what we mean by Advent?
“If those days had not been shortened, not one person would survive.” – Matthew 24:22
Notice that Jesus speaks in past tense, as if these events, this time of unequaled distress, has already happened. In the same breathe he then speaks of the same event in future tense.
“But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened.” – Matthew 24:22
Only the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, can speak of history in past, present, and future at the same time.
“False prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. But I have told you all this ahead of time.” – Matthew 24:24-25
Here is our warning. False prophets, false teachers, false preachers will twist the words of Christ and those of his Father. They will do so in order to deceive not just those in Christ, but all men and women. This is the first and favorite attack of Satan. “Did God really say. . . ?” And this will be the Father of Lies last line of offense. But take heart. There is an implied promise for those who are in Christ.
“It that were possible. . . .” When the Spirit of Christ resides within, his Spirit will confirm, illuminate, and cause to come alive his very words. This is as it should be. The author always knows the intent of his words better than the reader.
Praise be to God; Christ has warned us ahead of time to be alert to those who speak falsehoods. Look for the coming of Christ. His arrival is closer today than yesterday.