August 21

Text: Matthew 24:29-31

 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.  And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”   (NASB)

The events Jesus described occurred “immediately after the tribulation of those days.”   This will be accompanied by major astronomical events, an undefined sign of the Son of Man noticeable worldwide (their known world), universal anxiety, and a universal gathering of the “chosen” by God’s angels.

Is Jesus saying that the judgment is to occur immediately after the fall of Jerusalem?  There are numerous problems with that view.  (a) It has been centuries since ancient Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, and time continues.  (b) The astronomical events are unknown.  (c) The universally accepted sign is still mysterious.  (d) The gospel has not been proclaimed even to all their nations.  (e) A universal gathering has not occurred.  (f) The angels have not performed their task.

Equally unacceptable answers exist.  (1) Jesus’ prediction failed.  (2) The events occurred but are unknown to us.  (3) God changed His mind.

An additional view: More is involved than we understand.  We do not understand Jesus or the chronological order.  The problem: some regard that approach as an evasion, not an answer.

Focus on what we can know.  (1) There is a universal focus.  The anxiety was felt by “all the tribes of the earth.”  Everyone will see the coming of the Son of Man—it will not be a local or national event.  (2) The “elect” will be all over the earth.  This would involve not just the Israelites, but all people on the earth.

The key would be preparedness, not ancestors.  The people we came from will not determine our salvation.  How we behaved will determine our salvation.

Suggestion for reflection: What is the connection between knowledge and preparedness?     (Read Romans 2:26-29; 3:21-26.)

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