Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

You Can’t Save the Planet

As we continue our study of Christ’s Olivet Discourse in Luke 21, I want to begin by turning your attention to Hebrews 12:18-29. Please, take time to read that first and then you will have a background for what follows. Note in this Hebrew 12 passage two shakings of the earth. The first shaking, described in Hebrews 12:18-21, took place at Mt. Sinai as Moses was preparing to receive the Law of God from God Himself. Exodus 19 describes the scene. In that chapter all the Israelites were warned to stay away from Mt. Sinai. They were not to even come close to it. Instant death was the penalty for touching that mountain.

 The second shaking of the earth described in Hebrews 12:22-25 is infinitely more severe. It involves not only the shaking of the earth, but also the Heavens. The purpose of this second shaking is given in Hebrews 12:26-29. It is to shake to utter destruction everything in our universe that has been defiled by sin and Satan; so that which cannot be shaken, Christ’s Kingdom, can be revealed. Now turning back to Luke 21:20-28, Jesus describes the final hours of The Great Tribulation, the worst time this earth has ever seen since its creation. This shaking is incomprehensible. Our minds can scarcely grasp it.

 EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE GREAT TRIBULATION

 To keep events in perspective, let’s review what we’ve learned in this chapter. It all began with Jesus’  announcement of the coming destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. His Disciples asked when this would take place and what signs would indicate when it would happen. Jesus could easily have answered, “In about forty more years” (which would be 70 AD); but He didn’t give them that information.

DECEPTION

Jesus did not answer by giving a date. Instead, He warned in verse 8 of the coming deception of those who would claim to be the Christ. He warned His Disciples and us to not fall under their spell and follow false Messiahs. That deception has been going on ever since He returned to Heaven, as people continue to follow false Messiahs.

WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS

 Then in verse 9-10 Jesus warns us of wars and commotions as nations and kingdom rise up against one another. That has been going on for over 2000 years now. World history is a study of wars worldwide. Certainly in the over 75 years I have lived, I have only known wars and rumors of wars.

 NATURAL DISASTERS

This sin-cursed, disintegrating planet headed for destruction has already experienced earthquakes, famines, pestilence, plagues and fearful sights over these past 2000 years, just as Jesus warned in verse 11. In spite of all man’s feeble and costly attempts to “Save the Planet”, he is powerless to do anything about its coming destruction. I am not advocating that we pollute it. I hate pollution. We ought to care about ecology, though we are foolish to be ecological extremists and make it our religion by worshipping planet earth. Saving our earth is a lost cause!

PERSECUTION AND MARTYRDOM FOR CHRIST

Then in verse 12, Jesus looks at His twelve Apostles and says directly to them, “But before any of these events  begin to happen, you Apostles are going to be arrested by the Jewish leaders and taken before the synagogues and imprisoned for the Gospel. Later you and other believers are going to be brought before gentile kings and rulers and suffer for My name’s sake.”

 That’s exactly what happened to the Apostles. They were all eventually martyred for Christ, as was the Apostle Paul who was converted later and became Christ’s Apostle to the Gentiles. Furthermore, that persecution has continued to be the experiences of millions upon millions of Christ’s followers these past 2000 years even to this present day.

Perhaps some of us today will be persecuted and face martyrdom for Christ. He encourages us here in verses13-15 to give no thought as to what we will say when we are arrested and brought before authorities. Christ promises that He will give us the wisdom to know exactly what to say, just as He did for Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Read his inspirational story in Acts 6:9 through 7:60

POST MILLENNIAL POSITION

Now you Post Millennialists are going to tell me that the invasion of Jerusalem in 70 AD was the fulfillment of Luke 21:20-22 and therefore we are now in the Millennial Reign of Christ. (even though it’s been over 2000 years now.) I do not begrudge you your opinion nor believe that you are not a good Christian. But let me show you why I believe Christ’s Millennial Reign is yet future.

Yes, I agree with you that Jerusalem was invaded in 70 AD and that Jesus was referring to this event when He spoke of it in verse 20-22. But that was just a foreshadowing of events to come. Jesus does not stop there in His description of the events leading up to His coming Kingdom. Note what else He says in describing the events that preceded Christ’s coming Kingdom.

OTHER EVENTS PRECEDING THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST

In verse 24 Jesus prophesies that “Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” That’s been going on ever since 700 BC when Assyria conquered and dispersed Israel throughout the world. That continues today, 2700 years later, and will continue until Christ returns to reign. Not only was Jerusalem destroyed by Roman invaders in 70 AD, but verse 25-26 give us an inkling of the cataclysmic events yet to take place in the Heavens. Those same events are described in more detail in Revelation 16:17-21.

No one will deny that these events have not yet taken place. In Revelation 19:1 we learn that it is after these cataclysmic events that Christ returns in glory to reign on this earth, as described in Revelation 19 and 20. Note in chapter 20 that Satan is bound and powerless throughout the 1000 year reign of Christ. Afterwards he is released for a short season and stirs up one last desperate rebellion against Christ and is instantly cast into the Lake of Fire where the Anti-Christ and his false prophet had been cast one thousand years earlier.

Yes, I agree with Post Millennialists that the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in 70 AD is prophesied in Luke 21:20-22, but that passage is also referring to Armageddon, a future invasion of Jerusalem as is also referred to here. Luke 21:20-33 is describing the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem and the world just before Christ returns to inaugurate His Millennial Kingdom.

THIS INFORMATION WAS NOT NEW TO THE APOSTLES

As devout Jews,  they attended the Synagogues weekly and heard the reading of the Scriptures, including the Prophets. As they heard the following Scriptures, they had already learned of the cataclysmic events prophesied of the end times. Here are some of those Scriptures that would be profitable to read at this time. As you read them, remember that this is what Jesus was referring to as He described the events that will usher in Messiah’s glorious Kingdom.

Isaiah 13, 24

Ezekiel 38

Joel 2, 3

Zephaniah 1

Haggai 2

SEALS, TRUMPETS AND BOWL JUDGMENTS

In the Book of Revelation, John the aged Apostle, banished to the Isle of Patmos, writes visions of the future.

Rev. 1-3 The glorified Christ and the Church Age

Rev. 4 The Church caught up into Heaven (The Rapture)

Rev. 5 The Church in Heaven before the Throne of Christ.

Rev. 6-18 The Tribulation unleashed on the world and the cataclysmic judgments prophesied by those Old Testament prophets fulfilled.

Rev. 19-20 Millennial Kingdom of Christ and final judgment of unbelievers.

Rev. 21-22 The eternal state of Christians in Heaven

DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIEND,

Though we may suffer for Christ in this life, you and I will never experience the pouring out of God’s wrath on this earth, for we shall escape all of this in The Rapture. More about this in the next article.

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August 13, 2009 - Posted by | Olivet Discourse

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