December 21st 2012 came and went just like any other day. Nothing happened, and the Mayan’s we proven wrong, like so many before them. So what can be deduced from the nonevent of the 21st of December? Like someone pointed out on Twitter it was a clear case of the boy who cried wolf. Herein lays the danger of us not being ready when the Lord decides to come and fetch His church, and this will be prior to the end of the age.
Read it and decide for yourself where you stand on this topic. This is one of those topics where you decide what you believe or not.
To really get to grips with the question we need to know what Jesus said about it. Matthew 24 is dedicated to the question of when Jesus will return, and how we will know that it’s time for His return. If we look at what Jesus said, and at the signs He mentioned we cannot but realize that events that have taken, and are still taking place, are signs that the time is for His return is closer than ever. Let’s look at Matthew 24 in more detail, and while we do so make up your own mind where you stand.
1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings
. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you
.5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.
The temple of David was destroyed as Jesus said it would be in verse 2, and to this day has not been rebuilt. Keep in mind that this conversation took place 2000 years ago, and during this conversation Jesus told His disciples what the signs would be, and that certain events would have to take place prior to his return.
The second thing Jesus says is that we have to watch out for false Messiahs. Names like Jim Jones and David Koresh, sect leaders, spring to mind. These people lead many to their death as a result of mass suicide and the standoff with the FBI in Waco Texas. There are many more examples, thus another sign Jesus spoke off has been proven accurate.
6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
To date we have witnessed more wars than we care to mention. My late grand-father was a child during the First World War and he fought in Italy during the Second World War. After the second world war there was the Korean war, Vietnam, numerous wars in Africa, the 6 day war between Israel and Egypt, and more recently 9/11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are but a few wars that spring to mind, and to this day Israel is at war with Palestine, and there is no end in sight. All attempts to broker numerous peace deals have come to nothing.
When I read the word famine, Ethiopia in the 1980’s springs to mind. Babies with bloated tummies in the arms of their weeping mothers. Most recently I read reports of a famine in war ravaged Somalia. These are but only two examples. There are many more that can be searched on the internet. But, read verse 8, Jesus says this is only the beginning of birth pains; there are events that have to take place afterwards!
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
We read more and more of people being imprisoned, persecuted and even being executed for simply being Christians. Religious teaching is being outlawed in most countries, and in the USA the government is are being sued regularly to remove religious symbols because they are perceived to infringe on non-believers basic human rights. In a recent survey it was found that only about 45% of Americans proclaim that they are Christian (I posted this survey in a blog post titled “Protestants no longer the majority in US, study says”).
The number of false prophets has increased drastically. I see more and more people calling themselves prophets, and prophesying and people accepting these prophesies over them to their own peril. History has never had more prophets than we have today, and sadly history has never had more false prophets than we have today. Jesus warned us, and yet, sadly we have failed dismally in heeding His warnings regarding this matter.
In my own life I have had to witness loved ones turning from their faith, and the result this decision has had in their lives, and every one of us has felt the pain of betrayal at some time in our lives. This was predicted by Jesus more than 2000 years ago, and sadly this will continue, and increase in severity. Look at the increase in adultery, homosexuality, incest, etc. How many marriages end as a result of this? And yet, people don’t take cognizance of the fact that these are the very reasons that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorra.
However Jesus tells us that those who stand strong will be saved, although He warns us, He promises those that stand firm in their faith will be saved. Maybe you are reading this and feel Him calling you. It isn’t too late yet, heed His call, and tell Jesus that you need Him, ask His forgiveness, and accept Him into your life. It isn’t too late to correct the wrongs that we have done, but time is running out fast, and tomorrow may be too late. Ask Him to help you correct your mistakes, and ask Him to fill you with His spirit in order to have the strength to follow His way, and His light. He will hear you, and He will not turn from you.
In verse 14 Jesus said that only when the gospel had been preached throughout the entire will would He return. As I write this I doubt that there are many places left that has not heard the gospel, thus no one will have an excuse if He were to return at this very moment. Internet, email. Social media, radio, television, printed media, etc. has made information to most, if not virtually everyone, and thus, ignorance will not be an excuse if He returned at this very moment.
15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—
16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Daniel 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’(Or ‘week’) In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple (Septuagint and Theodotion; Hebrew wing) he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Or it).
Daniel 11: 31“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
Daniel 12: 11“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
I am still trying to determine what Daniel was referring to in his prophecy, but I can safely say that much is happening today that is an abomination in the sight of God. However whatever Daniel is referring to will start a countdown of 1290 day or 3.5 years if it hasn’t started yet! Because Jesus predicts that it will be bad enough to encourage people to flee into the mountains.
17Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.
18Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.
19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
24For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29“Immediately after the distress of those days
“ ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’(Isaiah 13:10; 34:4)
Isaiah 13: 10The stars of heaven and their constellations
will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
and the moon will not give its light.
Isaiah 34: 4All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
From the verses above you can see that those days will be terrible. I can’t imagine the suffering, persecution, wars, crimes, natural disasters, that will possibly be occurring. The world’s economy will possibly have collapsed with unemployment of almost 100% and people fighting to survive from day to day. Those who have never been unemployed will never really understand the stress of not knowing where you next meal will come from, how you’ll make you rent payment, en when you’ll at last find work. Now imagine the scenario Jesus is explaining in the verses above.
See how Jesus refers to the prophesies made by Daniel and Isaiah, I have deliberately included the verses Jesus was referring to, so that we can get a clearer picture of what He meant.
30“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth#
Or the tribes of the land
will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.#
See Daniel 7:13-14.
31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it (Or he)
is near, right at the door.
34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
13“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, (The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.) coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
14He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Jesus went to great lengths to warn us, to give us events that we could look at and see that He was not lying, events that would prove His claims, but that would be useful to believers as signs. He told us of the things that would happen prior to His return, and now He tells us what the return would be like, but He also tells us that He will return because His Kingdom cannot and will not be destroyed. Herein is a warning, and the warning is that everyone will be held accountable, both believers and non-believers. Ignorance will not be an excuse because Jesus said He will only return once everyone had heard the gospel. Those that know Him and deliberately live in sin will be held accountable, and they will be judged accordingly.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son.
but only the Father.
37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;
39and 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.
40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?
46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.
47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’
49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.
50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.
51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In the above verse we learn that no one but God knows when Jesus will return, not even Jesus Himself. This explains the reason for the non-event of the 21st of December. Jesus is going to return when we least expect it.
Jesus points to Noah who was mocked for building an ark in some of the driest land and not remotely near the sea. Yet Noah believed God and was being obedient, and Jesus says that believers will be mocked, persecuted, murdered, etc. for being faithful and obedient. Then Jesus makes a statement, and herein also lays a promise, a promise of believers being spared the worst. He promises to rapture His church verses 40-41 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
But Jesus warns His church to be working when He returns. He tells us to be active witnesses, not merely people that give their religion lip service. Those who merely sit waiting for Him will be disappointed, but those who are actively living their life for Him will be saved, and spared. We have to be actively be living witnesses so that our lives and not only our words lead those who have not accepted Him to Him. If we don’t we will be judged according to our lack of service and we will be left to face the penalty of hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.