Sermons

Summary: Jesus gives some "scary" pictures of the end of the world. We don’t need to be scared! Jesus will make sure that we are prepared for whatever He asks us to face.

-When Linda saw that there were tornadoes heading this direction on Wednesday night, we cancelled our evening plans, we moved a few valuable and sentimental items to the basement, secured a few items outside and settled down in the basement and let the storm move on through

-Before 31 December 1999, many people were telling us that there would be a massive upheaval in our society and that we should make preparations by buying supplies just in case there were problems. We didn’t really go out and buy a bunch of extra stuff. However, just in case there were any problems, we decided to stay in that New Year’s Eve just to be safe.

-When the economy started to tumble, we made some decisions to try to insulate ourselves from the insecurity of the world around us. We moved on base to increase our physical security but also to decrease our expenses on gas and housing costs, decrease my commute times and decrease the complexity of our lives.

-Usually, when we see changes on the horizon, we react to them and make preparations so that we can make it through the difficulties ahead

-That is what Jesus is doing for His first century disciples and also for us

-Jesus alludes to the prophet Daniel and to “the abomination that causes desolation”

-That is from Daniel 9:24-27, by far one of the most difficult passages in the Bible to interpret

-I won’t get into all the possibilities with that text, if you are interested in looking at it, we’ll be examining it in my millennialism and prophecy bible study on Thursday afternoons in a few weeks

-However, at least one of the fulfillments of the text came when Antiochus Ephiphanes IV, a Seleucid ruler was in charge of Judea

-Onias III was high priest

-His brother Jason bribed Antiochus Epiphanes to be appointed high priest.

-Not long after, Menelaus, a Jew who was not part of the High priestly family, bribed Antiochus to be appointed high priest.

-Menelaus had Onias killed.

-Jason, his brother, ran off Menelaus and took over the job

-This incensed Antiochus who thought of the high priest as a political appointee so he had pigs sacrificed in the temple and ransacked Jerusalem. He banned sacrifices, feasts and festivals. Circumcision was outlawed. Scriptures were banned and statues to Greek gods were placed in the temple.

-This led to the great Maccabean revolt from 167-164 B. C. led by Judah Maccabee and later his brothers Jonathan and Simon

-The revolt was successful. The Maccabees used guerilla tactics to free the city. They ritually cleansed the temple and restored their worship practices.

-However, many of their followers were divided over whether to continue not just for religious freedom but to work for political freedom as well

-This would further divide the Pharisees and Saduccees as we see in the New Testament

-They did continue to fight the Seleucids and gained their complete independence in 142 B.C.

-It would not last long. In 63 B. C. the Roman general Pompey would capture Jerusalem.

-Jesus is here further preparing them for the devastation that would occur in these first century Jewish Christian’s lives – the destruction of the temple and much of the city of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus in 70 A. D.

-Yes, today part of Jerusalem has been rebuilt but the temple has not been rebuilt

-Some believe that it will be and that temple sacrifice will be restored

-Muslims in Palestine and around the Middle East believe that will happen when hell freezes over

-I believe that now that Jesus, the one that the sacrifices have pointed to all along has come, there is no need for the temple and its sacrifices

-Remember this exchange from John 2

-18Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" 19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." 20The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

-Even the religious leaders later got it

-In Matthew 27 it says, “ 62The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63"Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ’After three days I will rise again.’ 64So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."

-However, Jesus was also referring to a time to come when Satan will be released to deceive many and the church will be all but destroyed if God would allow that

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