Summary: Jesus gave us all warnings about his return. Are these the end times?
As I read this passage, it kept reminding me of something. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something very familiar about it! I know that I have read this somewhere else, other than the bible. But where?
Maybe I read it in a book. Maybe I read it in the Left Behind series? That must have been where I read it! But somehow, that did not seem right. I do not recall this in that book.
Possibly I saw it in a movie? No, that couldn’t be it. I would remember it if it were a movie. Possibly I read it in a magazine article. Or maybe someone told me this story. Then it hit me. This was from the Sunday morning newspaper.
It was bits and pieces though. Different stories about these scriptures. Stories about the false prophets. Jesus said to watch out for those claiming to be the Christ. They will deceive many! People like Charles Manson, that lead so many to such destruction and death. Like Jimmy Jones. There are many who claim to be the way to heaven. The disciples were warned over 2000 years ago, and we are warned today.
In 1849 a wagon train was traveling through Death Valley to follow the gold rush into California. As this particular wagon train trudged through Death Valley, the hottest place in California, they looked ahead and saw a sheet of water they all believed was Owen’s Lake. But it was just a mirage created by the intense heat, and the harder their pressed on to make it to the water, the more frustrated they became. The foundation for many people’s spiritual journey is no more real than that mirage. Some people base their entire spiritual lives on illusions whether it’s the psychic friends network or astrology, whether it’s some strange teacher like David Koresh or some new claim to have special insight into the future .
Jesus said that we would hear about wars. Rumors about wars. That nation will rise up against nation and kingdom will rise up against kingdom! Is that happening today? I would say so! There is war all around us. Not just in the Middle East. There is a war on drugs right here, in the US. Right outside those door in the streets of Tucson.
The disciples ask Jesus for a sign of his return and the end of the age. His first response was “watch out that no one deceives you!” He knew there would be many false prophets.
The simple fact of the matter is that when we look for signs, we become very susceptible to being deceived! There are many false prophets that have counterfeit signs of spiritual power, and spiritual authority!
The only ‘sure-fire method of not being deceived is to focus on Jesus and his words! The word of god has all answers! Do not just look at it in part, as many people do. Take it as a whole. Read the entire chapter and book if possible to discern the true meaning of what you are reading! Otherwise you may be fooled by parts of the scriptures!
Do not look for special signs of his returning. Do not spend time looking at other people and what they have to say about it! Look at Christ! Read his word, he will show you!
A lady of society was gazing upon an image she had never seen before in the city’s art museum. "My dear fellow," she said condescendingly to the Curator, "I have never seen this painting before. I find the image shallow and rather crude in appearance. What do you call this?" The curator answered without giving the slightest expression," That madam, is a mirror." The lady’s vision was not very focused.
Losing focus on the Jesus of Scripture blurs our own view—not only of Christ—but of ourselves, as well. The Bible is also a great mirror. We may go to it to observe its content with a critical eye, but in the end, we are under its criticism.
Then he tells of many famines. He talks of many earthquakes! He called these the beginning of the birth pains! Birth Pains? Why did he choose these words to describe the beginning of the end? Because this is not the beginning of the end, rather the beginning of the beginning! Remember that we shall all be given new bodies to wear! We will either spend an eternity in the kingdom of God, with Jesus, or an eternity in condemnation! But we will all be spending an eternity! Next, we will be handed over and persecuted for our faith in him.
Some will be killed for their faith. And those might be considered the lucky ones! For the rest will endure much pain and suffering he says. He tells us that believers will be hated by all the nations. Just because of their faith in Jesus Christ.