Those of us that have been on the planet for awhile, have lived through significant changes in our world.
We can remember life before and life after various events, from the minor personal level to global situations.
Perilous times, a phrase in the Bible, certainly fits the description of our current state of affairs.
After corona craziness, can any of us expect life to go back to normal? We didn't see it coming and many are still coming to grips with losses of loved ones, health and financial well-being.
I have often thought of the return of Lord Jesus. His disciples wanted more intel about this timeframe.
Matthew 24:3 tells us that while Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked him three questions. When will this occur? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the world?
They were concerned about the prophesied destruction of the Temple. The "band of brothers" they had become needed some assurance for the future. After all, they gave up their lifestyles to follow Him.
Jesus responds to their three questions and presents a long list of things that will come to pass in verses 4-7. Then He says that these are just the beginning of sorrows. He continues with another list of difficulties in verses 9-14 which concludes with "the end shall come after the gospel is preached". Verses 15-24 paint a dark picture of the calamities that will befall humanity.
"Behold, I have told you before." This verse reminds the audience they were warned in advance.
Two thousand years later, are we able to grasp clues from this wealth of information about our own future?
Matthew 24:27 answers the question about His coming. "As the lightning from the east flashes to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." Verse 28 is stating the obvious to people in search of a sign.
Verses 29-30 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days...then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven...they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Jesus shifts to the parable of the fig tree, when leaves begin to appear on tender branches, summer is at hand. Verses 33-36 tell us that this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. But of that day and hour only the Father knows.
Matthew 24:37-39 "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." So the people were living a normal life up until the flood came and destroyed them all. For more details about Noah's story, read Genesis Chapters 6 - 9. Know this though, only eight righteous souls were saved from destruction. This remnant spared by the grace of God.
Verses 40-44 tell us to watch and be ready because we don't know the when. Some will be taken and others left. Verses 45-51 recount the good and wise servants being rewarded while the evil servant receives just punishment.
Luke 17:22-27 Then He told His disciples about the future events in parallel to Matthew 24. He says it will happen suddenly, like lightning. Jesus referenced the days of Noah. He adds in verse 28 "Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot..." Again, the picture here is of a normal, everyday life until the day it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
Lot's story, found in Genesis 19, is of importance for two reasons. The first is God intervened on Lot's behalf because of His friendship with Abraham. The second is that Jesus spoke of those days to His disciples.
We find in Genesis 18, Abraham negotiating with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah. Why would Abraham do that and why does he stop at ten righteous people being found? Why does the LORD share with Abraham His intention to wipe out those cities?
God reveals His purposes to Abraham because He chose him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just and to pass on the faith after him. Abraham, for his part, was concerned for his nephew Lot and Lot's family that were living in Sodom.
As in the days of Noah, the people in Lot's time had abandoned God and behaved in horrific ways. Cries and groaning had reached into Heaven and the LORD himself came down to see what was happening. As the righteous Judge and King of the Universe, He had to render the guilty verdict and condemn those cities to judgment. The sentence - the wrath of God came down....but only AFTER the select few escaped.
Friends, I can honestly say I never thought I would see these days. Especially in America. Yet we know God is in control and we trust in Him to guide and guard us through these perilous times. We must truly live out our faith in Jesus Christ by walking the walk and talking the talk. Be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He will provide us opportunities to witness to others about His story. The salvation from sin through the redemption bought for us all through the sacrifice of Jesus, Son of Man AND Son of God.
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Let us be bold in the face of a growing hostility to God and His way. Always sharing the TRUTH in LOVE for that is the desire of God's heart. Our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world risk much. Those of us in the West have had it pretty easy. The heat is turning up and the LORD is sifting hearts and looking for those who will listen and obey His call.
From the resounding Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe "O be swift, my soul, to answer Him, be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!"