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2012… just four little numbers that in the past few years have become a BIG DEAL! What used to be simply a descriptor, for a 12 month segment of time on coming calendars, has become synonymous with the end of all mankind. How did this happen? Well, to tell you the truth, I think it takes a Mayan scholar and historian to really get the answer straight; there is much controversy over the whole theory. I can’t read the Mayan language, nor do I understand how the Mayans went about creating their calendar; so to be fair to supporters of this theory, I think I’ll leave the explanation of all this to them. If you are interested this link may help you… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon
As far as I’m concerned, the only area of interest for me is … “What does God’s Word say about the world ending in 2012?” From my perspective, God’s Word (made up of 66 separate books, Genesis – Revelation) is the only reliable authority on this whole issue. Therefore, if God’s Word teaches that the world ends in 2012… so be it, then that proves to me that the Mayan’s had it right all along; but, if God’s Word proves the 2012 theory is baloney…. that settles it for me… I’m placing my faith in my Lord, and His Word, and I’m delegating the 2012 theory to my trash can (file 13). (If anyone is interested in why I count God’s Word as the ultimate authority in matters like this, please refer to my previous blog entry on the Bible and Science: http://bit.ly/bYDWbZ for more info)
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? … But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only… Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (Mat 24:3, 36, 42; see also Matt 25:13, 2 Pet 3:10)
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1Th 5:1-11)
Matthew chapter 24 is a record of the teachings of Christ on the subject of His second coming and the events surrounding the end of the world:
If you notice, the question that initiated the Lord’s teachings of Matthew 24 is found in verse 3 …” Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
So clearly, the context of this chapter is the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. To say otherwise is to deny the context of this chapter.
(Please note, the “things” being referenced in verse 3 was the destruction of the temple by Rome a few years later in 70 AD by Roman general Titus. This brought an end to the Hebrew worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem and began the time period we call the “latter days”.)
In these verses, the Lord describes the different events leading up to His second coming. An in-depth look at these signs will be presented in Part #2 of this blog series.
The coming of Christ is described as he takes His followers to heaven to be with Him. A closer look at these verses will follow in Part #3 of this blog series.
Here our responsibility to look for the signs and to be ready for His coming is brought into view. These verses we’ll look at in detail in Part #4
Note in verse 36 and verse 42 …
He clearly says in verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
And then in verse 42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
In the context, watching the signs of His coming, He makes it plain that, as we watch, we should not expect the exact time to be revealed to us! In other words, the signs are to help us know the basic time frame of His return, but we will not know exactly when He is coming.
He explicitly states that no man, nor angel would ever know the exact time of His coming. Even Christ, while on earth, as a human, who did not exercise His divine attributes (Phil 2:5-8), did not know the time of His second coming. (Just a note here…. I believe that since Christ is ascended and has begun to exercise His divine attributes and authority, (Phil 2:9-11) He now knows when the second coming will take place.)
This same principle is also brought out in the Scriptures in our other text, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 …
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
In other words, Paul did not need to write to the believers in Thessalonica about the times and seasons of Christ’s second coming because Christ had already addressed the topic. But even though they already had teachings on the signs, there would be no specific announcement of when He would come. In that sense, He would be coming as a thief, unannounced and unexpected by many.
SUMMARY OF OUR STUDY SO FAR:
So for this blog entry, it is important for us to see that Christ gave us signs marking a basic time frame of His coming. However, the coming of Christ and the end of the world, will not be announced with any exact date. He specifically teaches that no man, nor angel will be shown the time of His coming. It is a truth only known by the Triune God.
By the way, good old “2012 theory” is already rattling around in my file 13, and we are only one-fourth finished with our study!
My next blog entry will answer the question, “What are the signs of His second coming?” from Matt 24:4-28.
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