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Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Words of Faith 1-16-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 21

    [20] "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. [21] Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. [22] For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. [23] How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. [24] They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

    [25] "There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. [26] Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. [27] At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near."

    [29] He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. [30] When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. [31] Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

    [32] "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. [33] Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    [34] "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. [35] For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. [36] Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

    [37] Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, [38], and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. 

 

       Jesus returned to the disciples' original question about when the Temple would be destroyed.  He told them that there would be a period of Gentile domination that would include the destruction of Jerusalem after it had been surrounded by armies.  This Gentile domination would continue until the "times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."

      The times of the Gentiles' domination over Jerusalem actually began with the Babylonians back in 586 B.C. and the 50 years of captivity that followed.  Prophecy tells us that Jerusalem will again fall under Gentile domination in the Tribulation just before the Messiah returns to restore Jerusalem (Zech. 14:1-2).  It is that restoration of which Jesus spoke next.

        Jesus told the disciples that there would be cosmic signs preceding the coming of the Son of Man and these will cause people to be terrified. The world will seem chaotic, and out of control as the sun, moon, and stars are shaken, and the sea will roar and toss.  Then there will be the coming of the Son of Man Himself. The terminology here is from Daniel, "one like a Son of Man" coming with clouds and glory and receiving the kingdom from the Ancient of Days-- God the Father (Daniel 7:13-14).

        Jesus' big point was that He is coming back!  The Son of Man is coming to receive the kingdom, the same kingdom He had been proclaiming since the beginning of His ministry. When these things begin to occur, His followers will lift up their heads, a symbol of rejoicing, because their redemption, safety in the kingdom, will be drawing near.

        For this reason, we are to be watchful.  The parable of the fig tree taught that one can tell what is coming by watching the signs. By looking at fig leaves sprouting in April, one can know that summer is near. Similarly, when the Great Tribulation comes, people will know that the kingdom of God is near.

        The phrase "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened" is a difficult one.  Some think Jesus was referring only to the destruction of the temple. But there is a larger view here.  

      Jesus also spoke of the coming of the kingdom of God.  It seems that Jesus was referring to the generation living at the time of the cosmological events that will just precede His second coming. That generation will actually see the founding of the kingdom of God-- something every generation of Jewish citizens has longed for throughout the nation's history.

      Jesus warned His disciples to be ready at all times. Though a believer will be able to anticipate the coming of the kingdom by the signs, it is possible to get so entangled with the affairs of life that some will not be ready for the kingdom when it comes unexpectedly and universally.  Some who have followed Jesus will not enter the kingdom because they were not ready.  

         Jesus gave several clear exhortations not matter the time in which we live.  Stand up and lift up your heads.  Don't be weighed down or entangled.  Be on the watch.  And pray.   Pray that you will escape what is about to happen and that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man.  Pray for protection that is now and receive the protection that is eternal.  The only protection is in knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Only then can we stand before the coming of the Son of Man.

 

         Lord Jesus, I pray for Your coming.  I pray that I may complete what You have planned for me.  I pray for Your church as difficult times come.  Keep me watchful.  Keep me from getting entangled in the matters and affairs of the world.  I lift my head up to You with rejoicing and expectation.  In Jesus' name.