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Summary: A sermon with a Mission application to the question "when will the end of the world be?"

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The Second coming (or “2006- the end of the world? “)

Matt 24:1-44 WBC 7/12/03pm

BBC Two, Thursday 20 November 2003, 9pm- Horizon

In November of 2003, the BBC carried this report on it’s science show called Horizons: “Michael Drosnin is an American journalist and best selling author. He has written two books claiming that he can see into the future using a 3000 year old code, hidden in the Bible.

It sounds preposterous yet Drosnin claims to have serious scientific backing. Behind his findings lies the work of one of the world’s most brilliant theoretical mathematicians, an Israeli professor called Eliyahu Rips….

Quote Drosnin : "We may have less than three years to save our world"

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2003/biblecode.shtml)

- fascinating… seeing as he ‘predicts’ it will be destroyed

So- will the world end in 2006? This Advent- can we know when it will end?

- what did Jesus say- seeing as He said 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

SIGNS AND SEASONS

Firstly- to not be confused by passages like this, there are a few things you need to know

1) Jesus answers 2 questions, here – v3

a) “when will the temple be destroyed”

b) “what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”

2) He answers with language that WE find hard to understand, and we might apply to the ‘end of the world’ whereas Jesus is in fact applying it to the fall of Jerusalem (& temple destruction of 70AD by Titus)

Pretty much all up to verse 34 describes the build-up to and fall of Jerusalem (after a few years of zealot rebellion AD67 onwards)

- these things Jesus DOES know about, time-wise

o “this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened”

o i.e. if Jesus said this round-about 33 AD (give or take)… and a generation was ’40 years’…. He’s kind of saying:

 “your first question will be answered before 73AD!”

o But he wouldn’t be talking about ‘the BIG end’, as He says nobody knows the time of that

 (he’s hardly gonna say that and then in the same sentence put a time on the end of the world!)

- the ‘end bracket’ of the answer to this first question is “these things” of v 34

He THEN goes on to answer their second question- about ‘the end of the world’, and He introduces the answer in v36 with ‘about THAT day’

- There is a tiny bit about His second coming in the first bit- but I’ll go on to that in a moment.

So- mainly, about ‘signs’: earthquakes, wars, rumours of wars, famines etc… Jesus is saying

- V6 ‘do not be alarmed’

- these things aren’t signs of the end of the world!

o They are normal!

 They aren’t even birth-pangs (showing impending end)

 They are (v8) the BEGINNING of birth pangs

• As such- they remind us that

• ‘there’s something wrong’

• a baby is due

• might even increase in frequency, intensity

But it’s playing down the whole hype and immanency of global catastrophe… even the fall of Jerusalem

And this IS true. It is true that all these global signs have been fulfilled since Jesus’ day. In the region around Israel alone

He’s saying:

When you actually SEE the abomination that causes desolation in the temple:

- maybe the Roman banners/standards actually placed in the Holy Place (as Titus did)

o then ‘leg it!’- get out. Run to the hills

o and many Christians did- and were saved

“Keep your head screwed on. When people say “:

- ‘here’s the end. Buy this book. There’s the Messiah’

o don’t believe them!

And here’s one of the bits in this first chunk that DOES refer to Jesus’ second coming

- (it uses the word ‘parousia’… ‘appearance’ (of a dignitary’)… in v27)

- because it’s saying (v26 onwards) ‘when Jesus shows up it’ll be none of this unclear, hidden stuff (’He’s in this room, here!’)

o … it’ll be OBVIOUS. Visible. Clear. Universal.

o As obvious as lightning

o As obvious as (to you guys) when there’s a flock of vultures, there’s a dead body around

 Visible a long way off

I find this a relief, you know!

- ‘in my non-hype, I might miss Him’

- no you won’t! You can’t miss this!

- and even if you do- he won’t miss YOU. He’s coming back for you!

SPECTACULAR

I wonder what it might be like?

- really don’t know! Of course- the lightning bit is only a metaphor!

- so don’t start trying to nail it down to be like that.

- a meteorite? Maybe, maybe not?

Interestingly enough- we don’t THINK the seemingly dramatic bits of v 29-31 actually refer to Jesus’ second coming!

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