Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Be Ready

Mark 13:28-32

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.  Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.” (Mark 13:28-30)

Jesus had warned the disciples they were not to be concerned about the events that were happening as signs of his return.  He also told them that when the saw the abomination of desolation, then they were to know that the end was close.  Now he uses the illustration that when a tree starts putting out leaves, you know that it is getting close to summer time.  In the same way, when you saw the events Jesus prophesied happening, you will know the Lord’s return is getting very close.  In fact, he said that that generation of people will still be alive when he returns.    

Unfortunately some have translated the leaves on the fig tree as representing Israel being restored to the land in 1948, and based on that and how long a generation lasts, have tried to set a date by which Christ will return.   Jesus referred specifically to when we see the Abomination of Desolation and said nothing about seeing Israel restored.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. “ (Mark 13:31-32)

Even though the heavens and earth we know today will be destroyed, god’s word will abide forever.  His prophecies will surely come to pass just as spoken.   We need to understand, however, that God has not told anyone when his return is going to happen.  Acts 1:7 tells it is none of our business when it will occur.  “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”  Jesus said no human knows nor do the angels, and that he did not know himself.  Clearly, anyone who sets a date has identified himself as a false teacher. 

“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:33-37)

For several years, I served on a volunteer Fire Department.  We rarely fought more than three or fires a year, but because we had no idea when a fire would occur we kept the truck filled with fuel and water, and made sure the battery was charged and the tires were aired up and a dry hoses were loaded so we were ready to roll.  We knew that there would be no time to fill up the truck or load the hoses when a fire call came.   Although we usually had several months between fires, we could not afford to postpone preparing.  We need to have the same attitude about serving the Lord.  

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