Matthew 24

Truly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?

Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.

nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].
… they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
… many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.
… many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error.
… the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved.
… this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.

just as the lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened
… the moon will not shed its light
… the stars will fall from the sky
… the powers of the heavens will be shaken
… the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky
… all the tribes of the earth will mourn and beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliancy and splendor].
… He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call
… they will gather His elect (His chosen ones) from the four winds, [even] from one end of the universe to the other.

… when you see these signs, all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors.
… As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
… just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, [men] marrying and [women] being given in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away–so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
… two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
… Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
… Watch therefore [give strict attention, be cautious and active], for you do not know in what kind of a day [whether a near or remote one] your Lord is coming.
… be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.
…Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time?
… Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing. I solemnly declare to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
… But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, My master is delayed and is going to be gone a long time, And begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunken, The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware, And will punish him [cut him up by scourging] and put him with the pretenders (hypocrites); there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.

These are moments of encounter that mark God’s timing. The marks of progress toward the completion of the blueprinted goal of this age. “As in the day of Noah.” Each moment begs the urgent question – Are you inside? Are you safe? Have you heard and obeyed the call to get inside? Have you? Jesus goes through the marks on God’s timetable with the undisguised goal of putting the terror of God into the hearts of the disciples so they would get the fact embeded in their hearts and minds that the Son of Man is coming for them and they must be ready and busy about His business!

Every time you read, “In the beginning…” or “In the year…” or “In the 8th year of Josiah’s reign…” or “Truly I tell you…,” mark it. Not the exact date. Mark and take note of what happened. Who was having the encounter and how did they respond. “In the year that Uziah died,” what happened? Don’t fuss with the exact time on your clock. The scientists say that the Universe is one giant Clock. Discover what makes God’s clock tick, with the full determination to get inside the point of that particular encounter. Just take them one at a time, as they come. God has designed even the sequence so that it will draw you and transform you by the renewal of your mind. That renewal will clearly mean that you may become crazy in the eyes of the world but actually, you will be becoming normal for the first time in your life.

Now, clearly Jesus starts this explanation with what the disciples were personally going to see and experience. The Temple would be literally taken apart, stone by stone. Of this group of twelve, several would live to see that happen in 70 AD. Prior to that, they would go through most people’s worst nightmare, but how did they handle those encounters? They rejoiced when they suffered for the name of their Lord, who they walked with and watched handle the worst the world or the devil could do to Him. They watched Him be tortured and crucified, exactly as he had said He would do. Shrinking behind closed doors they thought the grand idea was crushed and the same people who killed their Leader would be coming for them. But then they saw Him, touched Him and talked with Him after He rose from the dead, just as He had said, and watched Him ascend into Heaven, just as He said.

Though He had told them the horrors that would be inflicted on them, they were no longer afraid. Now, with a completely transformed perspective, they obediently stepped toward the mission that He had trained them for and would, in a few days, empower them for. They knew the worst that could happen to them was not that they might suffer and die, but that they might NOT follow their Lord through the cross to resurrection life. Jesus had led the way on a path that was now open to the whole world and they were going to make sure the whole world knew it.

Then Jesus’ view of the disciples blurred as His focus extended through them as He spoke to us and all the future generations and described the nightmare in store for the planet in future history. That focus transitioned on the admonition to “be ready,” so that is the message to those who hear or read His words. For us to be ready includes all the affect His resurrection had on the disciples which made them rejoice that they were honored to suffer for His name. Our hearts can be just as filled with the reality of our LIVING Savior for the same reason – we have His Spirit, His very person with us, even in us! Knowing the worst the world can do to us and the judgment coming upon this planet and given our utterly transmuted identification – no longer OF this world but completely OF the Cross and our resurrected Lord – we live and walk in His resurrection life. The question – how shall we then live? – is answered. Jesus lives in me. His life is my life. What we are yet to discover is – how shall I die? – I will die daily, surrendering my claim to my right to my self and rejoicing, no matter what the physical or emotional circumstances, in the full, rich joy of my salvation and of my honor to be part of His flesh-and-blood, audible, visible Body walking where He puts me and interacting with the people He wants to interact with. His Body is a beautiful, active filigree net covering the face of Earth, His human flesh-and-blood, holding this planet, calling, wooing it toward its Designer and Creator, our Father, Adonai. Each encounter marking off God’s time. Soon and Very Soon! Maranatha!