Summary: “And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:3-4)
Theme: Know the signs of the end time
Text: 1 Sam. 1:4-10; Heb. 10:19-25; Mark 13:1-8
The Word of God is filled with prophecies many of which have already been fulfilled. The prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was fulfilled to the tiniest detail in 70 AD when the Roman soldiers completely destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The burning of the Temple melted the gold that was used in its decoration and in the utensils used in worship. The molten gold could be found everywhere even in the crevices of the Temple walls. The Roman soldiers removed the Temple walls stone by stone to retrieve the gold and fulfilled the prophecy that not one stone would be left upon another. We are waiting for the prophecy concerning His return and Jesus Christ has revealed the signs that would herald the end times.
After the destruction the Jews ceased to be a nation. They were expelled from the land and no longer had a homeland. A miracle happened in 1946 when a nation that had ceased to exist for 2000 years was reborn in a day as prophesied in the Scriptures. Israel was born as a nation and the Hebrew language became their means of communication. Never in the history of the world has such a thing happened before. A language that had practically disappeared became the language of Israel. Israel was back in the land speaking the Hebrew language but did not have access to the whole of Jerusalem. In the 1967 war Israel the West bank and the Golan Heights and all of Jerusalem came under Israel’s control.
God has a purpose for everything that is happening. He sees the finished picture when we only see a part of it. Israel has a part to play in the return of Christ and God is preparing the stage for His return. In our first reading we see part of a picture that the Scriptures paint for us concerning Hannah. All that we can see is that she is childless and incapable of having one. We see a woman who has an intimate relationship with God, worships at the appointed times in the Temple, and trusts God to grant her a child. She, like many others, must also have noticed the behaviour of Eli’s children and resented the way they served in the Temple. This is the unfinished picture and there is no beauty to see. We can only see the beauty in the finished picture. In the finished picture Hannah prays for a child at a time God needed a servant to replace the sons of Eli. She pledges to give the son she would bear to serve the Lord and honoured her pledge. God met her need and she responded by bringing her son Samuel to serve the lord in the Temple. Christ has a purpose for each one of us. We need to observe the signs and look beyond our immediate circumstances to focus on Christ. We are living in the end times when all signs are pointing to Christ’s return. Are you ready to meet Him?
We are living in a time of increasing evil. Pornography, child molestation, teenage pregnancy and abortions are common and widespread. Same sex relationships and marriages are even being allowed in some Churches. The sign of increasing evil is seen in the modern slave trade. Women are being trafficked and sold as sex slaves. There is so much violence and maltreatment meted out to human beings by other human beings. ISIS and groups like Boko Haram have taken evil to new unprecedented heights. Human beings are being taken captive and subjected to the worse forms of abuse including beheadings.
The signs of increasing evil will ultimately make the light of Christ shine more brightly to fulfil His purpose. There was a dark cloud of evil over the world when the Nazis sought to rule the world. Six million Jews were murdered many in the gas chambers of Nazi concentration camps. At God’s appointed time the Jews were freed and after 2000 years returned to their homeland. They immediately faced opposition from the surrounding nations with well-trained armies and their victory could only be attributed to God’s intervention on their behalf. These things had to happen before the return of our Lord and the signs are He is returning soon but are we ready to welcome Him. Christ shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin so that all may be saved. His shed blood gives us access to His presence and assures us that we belong to Him. As believers Christ has become our High Priest. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water”. (Heb. 10:22)