893 What Did Jesus Say About the End Pt.2

What Did Jesus Have To Say About...  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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- The Jewish people have endured terrible treatment over the years
- In recent memory we only need think of the Nazi holocaust where 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated by either being shot or gassed
- The Roman Catholic church has been criticised for not challenging, at the time, the Nazi’s antisemitic behaviours
- In 1998, the church issued a formal apology to the Jewish people
- It was welcomed but with mixed feelings from the Jews
- Part of the problem mankind has had for millennias is that we will not treat people as individuals – rather, we see them as belonging to a tribe or group
- This is again becoming especially pronounced today as special favour or preference is shown to people depending on their race, gender or sexuality - once again, a tribal mentality is growing in place of the waning Christian view of individual responsibility
- In the OT, God condemned the proverb: “The fathers eat sour grapes & the children’s teeth are set on edge”
- To put in another way, “the father sneezes & the children catch cold”
- And plainly put, “the father does a bad deed & the children are punished for his deed”
Ezekiel 18:2–4 NASB95
2 “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. 4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.
- The Lord is saying here that the one responsible for the evil deed will be the one held to account for that deed
- I tend to think that with all the divine judgement we see meted out to the Jews because of their disobedience to God, that the church could easily adopt a negative view of that race
- It would be wrong, of course, to do so
- But the teaching of the Lord is very clear throughout the Gospels and Epistles – only individuals who are in Christ, will be saved, no matter what race they belong to
- This goes for every person on planet earth, including the Jew
- Paul repeats the words of Isaiah that only a remnant (a small number) of the Jews will be saved
Romans 9:27 NASB95
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;
- Several times the Babylonians came against Israel & those who obeyed God surrendered & went into captivity to Babylon for 70 yrs
- In 586 BC the remaining who did not obey God & surrender to the Babylonians were destroyed
- Jerusalem & its temple was razed to the ground & Jerusalem became (key word here) a desolation
- Once again, as we read in this passage today, Jerusalem would experience a great desolation
- The reason for this desolation to end all desolation's is quite simple, yet so egregious
Luke 19:41–44 NASB95
41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
- That last verse there nails it – they did not acknowledge their Messiah Jesus!
Q. What a catastrophic blunder – the very One whom God sent to them to grant them everlasting peace & atonement for sin – they crucified
- They discarded Him as a phony & traitor
- Jesus had some important things to say to His disciples about what they were to face after He, literally, ascended to heaven in their presence
- They are important for us to understand too, but we must put ourselves into the world of the disciples when Jesus gave these prophecies
- We will not do His words justice if we try & understand his words in any way other than how He is using them at this time
Q. What can Christians expect, then, in this age & when will Jesus return?

​ 1. Expect False Prophets and Christs

Matthew 24:4–5 NASB95
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.
- In the early church after the days of Christ, there did arise many false prophets
- Paul said to Timothy that some are saying that the resurrection had already come
2 Timothy 2:18 NASB95
18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
- Jesus is saying that the church ought not be disturbed by talk that implies that Jesus will be someone other than the One who comes like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to another
- Mark records Jesus’ warning too as relating to these false Christs with them saying that “the time is near” – something many Christians can also get caught up in
Luke 21:8 NASB95
8 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.
- He may be saying no more here than to watch out for those who say “the time is near, follow me”!
- I remember in the 1990’s how a man by the name of Vernon Howell managed to convince hundreds of people that he was a Messianic figure & that the time was near
- He changed his name to David Koresh - David - to imply that he was a spiritual descendant of King David & - Koresh - being the pronunciation of, in Hebrew, Cyrus the Persian
- King Cyrus was regarded as a messianic figure by the Jews because he saved them from Babylon & let them return to Jerusalem
- Koresh was eventually accused of rape & of child abuse & during an FBI raid, the compound where he & his group of followers were staying caught fire & they mostly perished
- Koresh himself was shot in the head with a number of other people being either shot or stabbed suggesting suicide, but they are not sure
- The important point that Jesus emphasises throughout His teaching is that the time of the end – as in His return – is not known, even by Himself
- He actually encourages His disciples to see that the time may be a way off
Luke 21:9 NASB95
9 “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
Matthew 24:14 NASB95
14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

​ 2. Expect Wars and Rumours of Wars

- Jesus told His disciples to also expect wars & the murmurings of war
- I could not count how many times Christians over the last 2000 yrs have used wars as a pretext for the return of Christ
- WW1 or WW2 – Russia. Russia, Russia
- Hitler was the Antichrist; the Pope was the Antichrist… & the list goes on & on
- Wars are par-for-the-course for this age
- This age is the age of sin & death after all
Matthew 24:7–8 NASB95
7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
- Really, they are just indicators that the world in its current fallen state is on its way out – just as birth pangs indicates that a baby is on its way out (crudely put I know, but I think you get the point)

​ 3. Expect Persecutions

- The 3rd thing to expect in the church age are persecutions
- Persecutions Jesus has said, are the norm for believers in Christ
- We ought not expect that the world will love us if we are living the Christian life
- We know & have seen what they did to Jesus so should we not expect the same treatment
- I’ve thought about this & it troubles me
Q. Do the maths – if we are treated well by the world, after Jesus tells us we will be persecuted, what might that indicate?
- It might indicate a time of refreshing & peace for the church – yes, that is quite possible
- The early church faced alot of back lash after the crucifixion of Jesus & were commanded to stop speaking in His name
- Saul was persecuting the too before Jesus confronted Him & He repented
- The formerly Saul, now the apostle Paul was speaking out in Jerusalem & there were many trying to kill him but he escaped & the church sent him to the coast to catch a boat to Tarsus … then we read
Acts 9:31 NASB95
31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
- After that tumultuous time, stretching right back before the trouble for Paul, God granted the church some respite - but only for a time
- On the other hand, if the church enjoys such peace with the world, it might indicate that we are not living & loving each other to the extent that Jesus taught
- It might mean that we have slipped into a comfortable existence with the world
Q. What can we do about that?
- Firstly, I’m not at all suggesting that we go out looking for trouble - that would be silly
- What we should do however, is start obeying Jesus in the way we are living
- This suggests that the love we have for one another ought to transcend normal human experience
- This love we have for one another is divine love & ought to be a marker that alerts the world to the fact that we are Jesus people
John 13:35 NASB95
35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- As we venture through the church age we are going to find that love is something hard to come by outside family ties
- Jesus says in our passage today
Matthew 24:12–13 NASB95
12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
- We live in dangerous times – times where we are tempted to think only of ourselves – our pleasures, our wants, our desires
- The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy from jail, warning him of the times that they & we will be living in
2 Timothy 3:1–5 NASB95
1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
- “they have denied its power” – what power is this – the power to change
- To change into conformity to the likeness of Christ
- This is one of the beefs I have with modern psychology which, by the way, was not a product of the Bible, but of the age of enlightenment
- It may give, at times, give some helpful wisdom, but It’s a product of materialistic, anti-god, social science
- We hear that people cannot help themselves, so you must accept that a person is the way they are – in short, they cannot change & cannot help themselves
- That would be considered rubbish to the apostle Paul who says that God’s presence in our lives by the Holy Spirit does bring change – lasting, Godly change
- Christians fall into these lies & align themselves with the very falsehoods the apostle condemns concerning the self-centred world we live in – those who have a form of godliness, but deny its power to change a life
- If we live the life of Christ, you won’t have to go looking for persecution, it will find us
- It may even come from your own family, as sad & as distressful as that can be
- The dearest of relationships that we depend upon & that we treasure
- They can turn on you if you ruffle their feathers & choose to obey Christ instead
Matthew 10:34–39 NASB95
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
- Jesus is not saying you have to be at war with your family
- He is saying something much plainer – “if it comes to obeying Me or your family – if anyone comes before Me, he is not worthy of Me”
- Jesus comes first, even with the dearest of relationships on earth
- The 4th thing the disciples can expect is a desolation of their generation - called...

​ 4. The Abomination of Desolation

Q. What on earth is the abomination of desolation?
Matthew 24:15–16 NASB95
15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
- When we think of something abominable, we might think of the abominable snowman who is looking for victims to devour
- If we are a young child, it would make us cringe with fear
- An abomination is something that is abhorred by God & considered detestable – this included the likes of the magic arts or divination; idolatry, sexual irregularities & moral & ethical failures
- The response to abominations is God’s anger, judgement & punishment
- Desolation often has to do with God’s punishment
- Jeremiah says of Jerusalem & Judah
Jeremiah 25:11 NASB95
11 ‘This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
- The Babylonians razed the temple and Jerusalem to the ground in what Jeremiah calls a desolation
- The phrase here in today’s passage: “abomination of desolation” can also be rendered “the abomination that causes or brings desolation”
- In other words, some abomination takes place that causes a desolation or judgement of God
Q. When? What happens? And what is this desolation that Jesus speaks about?

a. The Temple will be destroyed

Matthew 24:1–2 NASB95
1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
- Historically, the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD as Jesus foretold

b. Jesus says that it will happen to that generation

Matthew 23:36–38 NASB95
36 “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
- Jesus was in His 30’s when He gave this prophecy, so the destruction of Jerusalem took place within that generation
- A generation is considered to be 40 to 50 yrs

c. An Abomination Happened in the Temple

- There are several views about what the abomination actually is
- One view is that some of the Jews called Zealots entered the Temple in 66 AD & treated it in an unholy way
- This is the view of the Jewish historian, Josephus, who lived at this time
- He recalls the words of the high priest Ananus
Ananus stood in the midst of them [Zealots], and casting his eyes frequently at the temple, and having a flood of tears in his eyes he said,—“Certainly, it had been good for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many abominations, or these sacred places that ought not to be trodden upon at random, filled with the feet of these blood-shedding villains - Flavius Josephus
- Three & a half years later in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the temple & Jerusalem & it became a desolation
- However, most people regard the abomination as the Romans entering the temple with their standards raised high
- These standards had idolatrous images of the emperor upon them
- Both of these views may be correct, but the real reason for the desolation seems to lie elsewhere
- Although this abomination occurred & a desolation decreed, it seems that the real reason lie in the Jews rejection of Jesus
Luke 19:41–44 NASB95
41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
- If they had only accepted their Messiah who had come (His visitation), things would have turned out vastly different
- In the love Jesus had for His disciples, He was not going to let them bear the brunt of what would be the wrath of God against unbelieving Israel
Matthew 23:32–36 NASB95
32 “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
- But such would not fall on those who turned to the Lord for forgiveness & reconciliation
- Jesus told His disciples that when they see the armies starting to surround Jerusalem, they were to high-tail it out of there
- The Jews despised the Jewish Christians for doing so thinking them traitors & haters of the Covenant of God
- But they obeyed Jesus & left as He warned – this is history!
Luke 21:20–21 NASB95
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city;
- The early church historian, Eusebius wrote about this event in the 4th Century AD
“But before the war, the people of the Church of Jerusalem were bidden in an oracle given by revelation to men worthy of it to depart from the city and to dwell in a city of Perea called Pella. To it those who believed in Christ migrated from Jerusalem. Once the holy men had completely left the Jews and all Judea, the justice of God at last overtook them, since they had committed such transgressions against Christ and his apostles. Divine justice completely blotted out that impious generation from among men” (Ecclesiastical History III. v. 3). -- Eusebius
- So this was a time of great tribulation for the Jews & unspeakable things happened which I will not go into here
- But Jesus taught that this would be a desolation that came upon those who did not acknowledge His coming
- Yet, prior to His return, there will be all sorts of tribulation that the people of God will encounter
- This age will be a time of evangelism, of tribulation, of distress and wars, rumours of wars, hatred, false prophets & false Christs
- It has been said that more Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than in the entire 19 centuries before that
- Not very encouraging I know

​ 5. The Return of Jesus

- What is encouraging, however, is that Christ will return
- He will make everything right
- He has made it clear that His coming will be unmistakable, but we need to understand that there could be a long delay
Luke 17:22–25 NASB95
22 And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. 24 “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
- It is amazing when we consider the plan of God to save the world from its sin
- That in the plan of God, the Jews reject Jesus & He becomes that atoning sacrifice for sin
- Judas Iscariot was the one, who of his own volition & selfish intent, betrayed Jesus & set in motion those horrible events that led to the death of Christ
- But which also led to Christ’s death being an atoning sacrifice from which He was also raised from the dead
- The challenge for the church going forward is clear
- Be faithful to Jesus; obey Him; live your life for Him; put Him first in everything
- Judas took the approach that the end justified the means (even though it was the plan of God) - but he was condemned for it
- For the disciple of Jesus, the means of how you get to the end is as important as the end itself
- Let’s conclude today with this passage of Scripture...
Matthew 24:38–42 NASB95
38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
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