by David Brenneman
To quote Israel when he spoke to the particular Pharaoh who was over his son Joseph (Genesis 47:9 NASB) "So Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning." The days of my sojourning are fifty-five, few and unpleasant have been the years of my life.
Few and unpleasant? We see what we do, but God sees both us, and the greater picture. The greater plan of God that always is moving towards the ending of sin in this universe. Sin was defeated at the cross of Christ. Sin was defeated but it's impact on lives would yet be felt for at least several thousand years more.
When we read of the moments even after the miraculous salvation of the people of Israel after that particular Pharaoh and his entire army died in the sea...the people yet were not looking with a whole heart towards the Lord as they ought to have been. They had just walked through on the bottom of the sea on dry land. No doubt it wasn't just dry, but probably clear of debris in order to not be a distraction for them on the way through. Some probably did grab something to remember it by. But oh how quickly they forgot. How quickly even when being chased that they would trade what the Lord was doing for them for the familiarity of even the so-called benefits of slavery to the Egyptians.
Are you even looking for the Lord's return? Are you at all looking for those things that, while they might not be seen by the Jews as being a sign to be observed, are a sign to the rest of us Gentiles? There will be people here whom Jesus said WOULD be that yet again will be preparing the way for the Lord. Don't look for these people in the headlines because the god of this world absolutely does not want THAT news to get out. Are they here today? Lord only knows. But what we DO know is that the promise of Jesus is that they WOULD be coming.
"As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead." And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist." - Matthew 17:9-13 NASB
"And while some where talking about the temple, that it was decorated with beautiful stones and vowed gifts, He said, "As for these things which you are observing, the days will come when there will not be left one stone upon the another, which will not be torn down." They asked Him questions, saying "Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?" And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying "I am He', and, 'The time is near." Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and revolts, do not be alarmed; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." Then He continued by saing to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be massive earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and govenors on account of My name. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will provide you elequence and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be able to oppose or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, other relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all people because of My name. And yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are inside the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of punishment, so that all things which have been written will be fulfilled. Woe to those women who are pregnant, and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and waves, people fainting from fear and expectation of the things that are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. And He told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees: as soon as they put forth leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. So you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away." Luke 21:10-33 NASB.
Much of what you read happened, exactly as Jesus said already. Jerusalem was indeed trampled under by the Romans within a few decades of these words being said. I have often wondered at just what those back then saw in the Heavens. What did they see concerning the moon and stars? Were they remembering these words of Jesus? Were they looking for what He said to look for? Are we looking at all today for His return or are we more concerned about what's coming up in the next season of things on Netflix or Hulu? Are we more concerned about whether or not it's pizza tonight or chicken? Are we more concerned about the things in this world than the various things that the Spirit is allowing people to see that are a confirmation of the Word of God?
Are you looking at all for what's to come? Are you at all concerned about being found by Jesus doing what it was He, through the Spirit's placement of you in the body of Christ, what you were intended to be doing for the Kingdom of God? Are you more interested in trinkets and memorabilia than helping those in need?
Are you leading a life that says "Jesus lives here"? Are you at all doing anything that says you are more concerned about how Christ will view your life than the world would view it?
We are still in the part of "the times of the Gentiles". That time is not yet fulfilled. But it's close. We often see references to a cup being filled concerning sin. That cup, upon observation, I would say is getting very close to being filled. There's sins now revealed in this world that it's easy to see from the Bible have never been uttered before by man. Perversion of God's Word on a scale that's possibly unprecidented in the Church. Perversion of the truth of God concerning even the biological gender of an individual in ways never found in history. My thoughts are always in what I call a multi-track state. Several trains at the same time.
While I don't watch the news, I do skim headlines for bits of confirmation of God's Word about the end times. It's there to be had if you know what to look for.
Truth is: Jesus said the things we just read and it HAPPENED. If that much DID happen, you had better bet that the rest WILL take place. For nearly 20 plus years there's been factions ready to build the next Temple in Jerusalem. It won't take decades to do as it did in ages past due to modern construction techniques. If you search you will find that there's groups in Israel teaching a generation of priests what to do in this new Temple when it's built. They've been reproducing what is to be used in the Temple. They've gone from scarely 1 or 2 certified Red heifer's to many. Look at the Heavens....see anything in the news about strange things happening there? Certainly plenty. See of places on this world where it's been kingdom vs kingdom? Nation against nation? See anything about earthquakes and famines? I certainly do.
But what of this Elijah that is to come. Is he here already? Jesus said he would be here before Jesus returns physically. Consider that part well. It's not implying that it will be before Jesus comes SPIRITUALLY, to take the Church that's alive today along with those who have died in Christ. If you read in Revelation there's God's two Witnesses. One is probably Elijah and the other is probably Moses. Nobody will be able to oppose them and their teaching until a specific time. Even then their deaths will not last but 3 days before they are brought back to life to leave this world right in front of full view of the world.
Are you at all looking beyond your 'space'? Are you at all looking beyond the things in your 'world'? Are you at all aware that Jesus COULD return at any moment? Even the early Church didn't know and throughout their generations they were told to be ready. Jesus said that He would come at a time and an hour when we would least expect. My only gut feeling is that I will be driving when it happens. I have had a vision of sorts of that and or of being at a desk much like I have today...heading straight up. Roofs were not a hinderance.
I long for that day to happen....do you? Are you saved in Christ Jesus? Are you sure about your salvation? There are no second shots at it when Jesus DOES come. Those left behind will be in far greater turmoil than what you read here today. Read the last book of the Bible for what those will go through. The millions who have died in the last 200 years alone won't stack up to the billions who will die in those years.
I do not look for an earthly career as the world sees it. I look to be a doer of the Word. I do not care much of what people think of me when it comes to criticism. I want to be what God wants me to be in this world while I am here. I want to look forward to finishing well for my Savior. Do you?
Are you at all looking or are you consumed by the things of this world? Are you at all looking at living a life that's pleasing to the one who saved you, if you are saved? If you are not...my prayer is that you would come to Christ to be saved. Come as you are, Jesus will do the rest. His arms are open wide to all would call upon Him to be saved.
"But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13 NASB
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