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The Last Days Of The World XXIV

 One of the Jesus-approved ways by which we can gauge how close we are to His return as far as a timeline is concerned is that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations before the end could come.

Imagine how fantastical that claim seemed to His disciples, given that they were currently a handful of men following Him, shunned by the religious power base of the time, and rejected by their own families and friends for following after Jesus. They had no clue as to how big the world was, nor did they have the ability to travel by anything other than ship to faraway lands, journeys that weren’t only time-consuming but also fraught with danger and uncertainty.

Paul, the Apostle of Christ, survived no less than four shipwrecks in his life. That’s just one man. So it’s not as though seafaring was a safe form of transport or that those who’d departed for a journey were certain to arrive at their destination, yet Jesus declared the gospel of the kingdom would be preached in all the world.

It’s easy to conclude that the world is a small place when an individual can reach millions with a camera and a Wi-Fi connection, but it was not so during their day. Even as early as the 1900s, when most people were still riding their horses to church or taking carriages if it was a family affair, the notion that the gospel would be preached in all the world seemed like a far-fetched thing. Sure, missionaries were making their way to smaller and smaller nations, discovering new groups of individuals to whom they could preach the gospel, but it still seemed like an impossible task even as little as a hundred years ago.

All the technological advancements we are witnessing today had to happen for the myriad of prophecies regarding the last days to be fulfilled. Those tasked with recording them didn’t try to explain how they thought they might come about. They just knew they were hearing from God, were faithful in recording what they received, and though they might have had questions or certain things didn’t seem probable at the time, they nevertheless did their duty. That’s the difference between true prophecy and what passes for prophecy nowadays. Deductive reasoning is not prophecy. Divine revelation is not required to conclude that a storm is coming if you’re standing on your stoop, watching the sky grow dark and hearing thunder in the distance.

The disciples never asked Jesus how these things could possibly come about. All they asked was when. They took it as a certainty, as yes and amen, not doubting His words but desiring to know when His words would come to pass, both regarding the destruction of the temple and the end of the age.

This is the sort of faith we must aspire to in every area of our lives. If God says He will keep you, shelter you, protect you, and guide you in the coming days, take Him at His word. Believe it as truth and an immutable certainty. The knowledge that God can protect His own and knowing that He promised He would eliminates any anxiousness or fear of what the future holds from our hearts.

We journey through this life and will soon bear witness to the unfolding of the last days of the world, but we do not do so alone or absent of hope. We know our redeemer lives. We know He is able and willing to imbue us with all that is necessary to make us living witnesses and testimonies to His omnipotent power.

That said, ignorance of the days in which we’re living and of what Jesus said they would look like brings about unnecessary tumult in our hearts and a tendency to give heed to the voices speaking things antithetical to His words.

As we compare and contrast Luke’s retelling of the Olivet discourse with Matthew’s, it’s readily apparent when Jesus is speaking about the destruction of the temple and the broader events of the last days before His imminent return.

Luke 21:20-24, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written might be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

The most credible retelling of the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple comes from the writings of Josephus, a historian and military leader who served as Titus’s translator when he led the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. He wrote that 1.1 million Jews were killed during the siege, with another 100,00 or so being enslaved.

What Jesus had prophesied decades prior had come to pass just as He said it would. Those who remembered His words fled as instructed and were spared; those who discounted them fell by the edge of the sword.

While those present during the destruction of the temple were told to flee when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, those who would be around during the last days of the world were commanded to endure to the end. The reason for this is obvious if unpleasant for those who believe that a geographical place of safety will exist during those days.

There will be no safe haven for the children of God when the events Jesus foretold of will begin to unfold during the last days of the world. There will be no mountains we can flee to or nations we can emigrate to, and the only place of refuge will be in Him.

Those who trust God will weather the storm, endure, and persevere. Those who trust in the arm of the flesh will have to contend with watching every plan they’ve engineered fail them as things go from bad to worse, and the just will inevitably have to live by faith. If you’re not working on building up your most holy faith and expending your time and energy elsewhere, sooner or later, the futility of your endeavor will become painfully obvious.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Posted on 18 June 2024 | 11:07 am

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