Friday, March 11, 2016
Devotion for Friday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent - The End Times - 11 March 2016, Anno Domini
14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. (Mark 13:14-23)
Theologians invent terms that limit the understanding to their own closed little circles. This doubtless makes them feel more privileged and informed than the laity. Unfortunately for the theologians, the laity probably have a better spiritual grasp of the meaning of Scripture than the theologians. Take the term 'Eschatology.' There is no hint in the vernacular that would reveal its meaning to the uninformed. It is the branch of theology that relates to the End Times. Perhaps we should simply call it 'End Times' theology instead of Eschatology. At any rate, there are sincere and scholarly men who believe that the prophecies given in today's text to be events that are happening contemporary with the prophecy being declared. (Preterism). There are, as well, good and scholarly men who believe in a historical view of prophecy which believes that events prophesied may be discovered in historical events that have happened in the past, are presently happening, or will be fulfilled in the future. The latter best defines my view of prophecy. Though Jerusalem was trodden underfoot by the gentiles 38 years after our Lord spoke this prophecy, I believe His prophecy of the end has much greater application.
We must regularly remind ourselves that we are in the penitential season of Lent and realize that Christ came into the World as the Light thereof, and as love personified; however, He also came bearing a warning and a Sword. We may prefer to study of the sermons He gave by the Sea of Galilee or on the Mount, but we must also harken to His dire warnings and counsel of evil that is to come upon the earth. We do so knowing that we have a shelter from such evils in the very Ark of our Salvation – the Lord Jesus Christ.
14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. Daniel makes clear reference to this abomination of desolation in two places – Chapters 11 & 12. The prophecy has application, I believe, to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It is a matter of curiosity to me that Daniel also refers to the agency whereby this abomination is set up in the following terms: Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Dan 11:37) When I was a young lad, the sin of homosexuality was never mentioned in my presence. As a matter of fact, I did not come to realize it truly existed until my young adulthood. America was a different nation in those days, but she has gone far afield from the honor of God’s Word and obedience of it. Though it may not relate to this prophecy (which, incidentally has been sealed until the time of the end (Dan 12:4) so that we may not clearly understand it until the very smoke of the world’s destruction begins to rise from the plains and valleys) we certainly can admit that the filthy sin of homosexuality is one that makes desolate, and we have that abomination now standing in the Holy Place (pulpits of Episcopal Churches). But the precise fulfillment, if not in whole than in part, occurred under the siege engines of Titus. For historical purposes, reference may be made to an apocryphal account which is true in its facts: Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side. (1 Macc 1:54 Apocrypha) This event occurred under the dominion of Alexander the Great in the intervening years of the two Testaments.
15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: Perhaps we might quote from the Histories of Josephus to give a notion of how terribly wicked the people of Jerusalem had become prior to the besiegement by Titus Caesar: “……while their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich; and for the murdering of the men, and abusing of the women, it was sport to them. They also devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood, and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance, till they were satiated therewith; while they decked their hair, and put on women's garments, and were besmeared over with ointments; and that they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes, and imitated not only the ornaments, but also the lusts of women, and were guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, that they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort. (Josephus, Book IV, Chapter IX, Section 10) This has a horrific similarity to modern day America! When Titus besieged the walls of Jerusalem, he remained around the city for a short while, but then, for some reason not known, he withdrew his armies for a time and gave the inhabitants a brief pause for escape. Christ warns of the timeliness of the opportunity to escape certain ruin and humiliation.
16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.. The destruction of Jerusalem was the judgment of God and it was far more horrific than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This happened after the ascension of Christ. Do you doubt that such judgment may be decreed against our own unwalled cities and fertile prairies if we continue to rebel against God in our wicked pursuits and evil lifestyles? Christ offers freedom and liberty in His Bosom to us, but it is only granted when we accept His redemption and His Lordship over our lives. Have we so done? Christ speaks again of the urgency to come out of that evil city that practices ungodly religion.
17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. The sorrowful plight of women and children is difficult to fathom. Children were actually stolen, or even sold by desperate mothers, as food for those whose hunger had become unbearable. In our human weakness, we often delay and postpone our intentions to get out of wicked institutions (the modern church comes to mind), and winter was such a reason in the silly minds of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to delay their fleeing the city. The restraints of the Sabbath would also have given excuse for delay (Matt 24:20).
19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. The sufferings of Jerusalem were clearly acute as well as long lasting; however, this prophecy seems to have relevance to an additional period of tribulation since the following verse seems to indicate a far broader destruction than a single city. Eating babies and rats denotes a horrible condition, but it will get even worse once the walls are breached. Have the walls of America yet been breached?
20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. This is evidence that Christ is referring to more than the provincial city of Jerusalem. Clearly, Jerusalem is an example of a wider and more general evil that exists in the hearts of men. In the time of the end, John compares Jerusalem to Sodom in referring to the demise of His two Witnesses: And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Rev 11:8) Has America condoned and given legitimacy to the sodomy of Sodom?
The moment of Christ’s passion and death loom before His eyes. He has dealt with us gently, but now He must issue dire warnings of the pain and guilt of those whose sins are not blotted out by His precious blood and sacrifice. His warnings are dire and MUST be heeded if we are to escape the judgment coming upon the earth. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. We have the same infidels in our day, proliferating by the minute, who claim to have an inside track on Christ and His blessings. Their gospel is a prosperity gospel that results in no other prosperity than their own after they have fleeced the pockets and purses of the gullible. The end times false Christs (there are many) and false prophets will seemingly work great wonders yet deceitfully. Their convincing powers will be sufficient to even deceive the elect were it possible for a believer, knowledgeable of the Word, to be deceived. Of course, if we prove all things by the Holy bible, we are immune to the deception and wiles of the devil. The times are growing more and more troublesome for those who truly believe. We are ridiculed in the media, stomped upon by government, and trivialized by the modern church establishment. But, please, read how these hypocritical wonders fare in the last chapters of Revelation!
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. We have been warned and we have read our General Orders! There can be no excuse for our being deceived. Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:26-28) We have witnessed a number of false prophets who were glaringly so of late. What about men knowing more than the Son when the end shall come. I believe the false prophet declared his return to be slated for last May (revised to October 2011). He, and we, is still here. What happened? I have two books in my library, written by false prophets and culprits bent on filthy lucre, who claimed Christ would return in 1988, and then in 1992 respectively. They made millions on gullible so-called Christians who were deceived. I say ‘so-called’ Christians because I do not believe the Elect of God can be so deceived by false prophets whose claims are so evidently beyond the revealed Word of God. Please know that there is no place in Heaven for ‘casual’ Christians. We are to be diligent in our studies and our faith. What man or woman takes their love for their espoused mate in a casual manner? Love evokes diligence and action! If we are destroyed, either as individuals or as nations, it shall be for lack of sincere knowledge. Heed the words of the prophet Hosea: 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:6)
NOTE: I often receive acclamation of friends when I reveal the love of God and His Son Jesus in my devotional writings, but many are reluctant to read warnings that are dire and have great facility in keeping in the will of God. I must comment where comment is due and vital. I do write of the Love of Christ (and it is beautiful), but I must also reveal those serious warnings that God proclaims so that we may enjoy the beauty of the Word as well. I have always loved my sons and daughters. I love many children today as sons and daughters. But, although I love them mightily, I will not hesitate to warn them of the dangers of playing in the street, or of promiscuous sex, or of drugs and alcohol, or of a thousand other destructive behaviors that beckon to them from the borders of the world. Would we ever say to a child, “O go ahead and play in the street. I do not mind your doing so because I love you?” No!
We must speak the truth in love. God always has!