Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY JUNE 10, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“Now when the wise men had departed, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child [Jesus] and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ When Joseph arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’”

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were born in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: ‘A Voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachael weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more [are dead].’” Matthew 2.13-18

Something To Consider:
Timing is crucial as it pertains to the furthering work of God’s kingdom. Just shortly before, it was most likely that Joseph and Mary would not have been financially able to have made the costly journey of escaping to Egypt, an unfamiliar far away country. Before the arrival of the wise men bearing gifts of gold, precious spices, and ointments, this family may have been forced to experience the widespread weeping firsthand.

The wise men were sent by God, guided by God, and granted gifts by God, to arrive at their destination at precisely the right and divinely appointed time. It is wise of us to believe that where God guides, God always provides!

I could well imagine we all could tell of similar occasions when God has provided for us, His people, at just the right time. For our family, God has provided boxes of much-needed groceries being left in the back of our pick-up truck. On other occasions we have found envelopes of money on our front porch. Yes, where God guides, He also provides!

And where God does not guide, men many times decide to intervene by way of worldly means such as car washes, yard sales, and a variety of other man-made means. I have always wrestled with these types of gestures of either the lack of faith in God to provide or the refusal to take His not providing as a sign of man venturing into territory uncharted by God’s divine plan. Sometimes our plans simply are not God’s plans and that is when patience must have its perfect work!

Something Else To Consider:
Herod’s bloodshed in Bethlehem and beyond was far-reaching and caused much widespread weeping. His execution orders to eliminate all of the innocent male children two years and younger reached into the region of Ramah nearly ten miles to the north. We are not told how far south this evil edict was carried out.

Is it possible for just a moment, to put ourselves in the place of the mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, who endured this sinister slaughter of so many because of one power-hungry, polluted and corrupt king. John Emerich Edward Dalberg – Acton, in 1887, stated, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Leaders and leaders in training need other leaders like a bank needs checks and balances. Therefore, the written record of the plurality of leaders for accountability is foundational to New Testament leadership teaching. And yet, without the plurality of leaders it is possible to create widespread weeping and unnecessary human suffering. We have been warned!

When Joseph arose from being warned by God in a dream, he did not hesitate to act on the warning. They departed that night. Revelation and warnings from God demand our immediate obedience if we are to be rescued from widespread weeping. God was faithful to warn Joseph and the wise men and He has faithfully warned us of the coming end time widespread weeping to be created by both evil men and the spiritual enemy of our souls. We have all been warned!

The gospels and the epistles are overflowing with warnings from God. And for our generation there is no more complete and detailed warning of future end time events than in Matthew chapters 24 and 25. There Jesus predicts widespread deception, wars and rumors of wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes in many places, much tribulation and the bitter hatred that will be directed at true present tense believing Christians. It is in Matthew 24 that Jesus validates Daniel’s timely prophetic words concerning the abomination of desolation to take place in the last days according to the angel Gabriel.

Something More To Consider:
In Matthew 24 Jesus predicted the rising of many false prophets and the offending of many one-time believers and their betrayal of true enduring to the end believers. It is in Matthew 24 that Jesus predicts the prior events leading up to the coming of the Son of Man and the gathering together of His true elect saints. It is there that Jesus predicts His coming and His gathering His saints immediately after the tribulation of those days. This gathering of His people after the tribulation of those days, and not before, may be what triggers a massive falling away from the faith and an offending of many one-time believers.

The moment the Antichrist is revealed standing in the newly yet to be built Jewish temple in Jerusalem, many will realize they have been lied to by false prophets and lame religious but not spiritual leaders. For some, this will be more than they can handle under the enormous pressure of the ever-changing times in which they find themselves. Many will resort to things such as drugs and drunkenness and begin mistreating true enduring to the end believers!

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, the apostle Paul wrote concerning four end time events. Those events included the coming of Jesus Christ, the gathering together of all true believers in Christ, those living and those who have died in faith from every generation. Paul also wrote concerning a falling away and the revealing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.

Paul, in writing of these four end time events, lists them in the above order, but confirms their taking place in exactly reverse order. And that is what is so revealing concerning these words of warning. It would do us well to look closely at Paul’s teaching here in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 beginning with verses 1-4 as we attempt to close out this lesson of a lifetime.

A Few Final Words:
“Now, brethren, concerning [1] the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [2] our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the Day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the day of Christ’s coming and the gathering together of His saints] will not come unless the [3] falling away comes first, and [4] the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Paul cannot be any clearer on the sequence of these end time events than he has here in this above Scripture to consider.

According to Paul writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the precise order of these four end time events is most crucial to our understanding the truth of these events and their proper sequence. Also, according to Paul, the first end time event in this list of four events is the revealing or the exposing of the man of sin, son of perdition, or Antichrist, who according to Daniel’s prophecy, will enter the yet to be built Jewish temple in Jerusalem approx. 3-1/2 years after an end times peace treaty or covenant has been agreed upon.

In entering into the temple, this end time evil entity sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself to be God. And millions of biblically unknowledgeable end time occupants of earth will be deceived, while many millions of one-time believers will be taken totally by surprise. Therefore, Jesus declared; “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I [Jesus] am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

But this end time event has been falsely proclaimed as happening after the coming of Christ and after the gathering of His saints at what has been highlighted as the rapture in many recent books and Hollywood style movies. And so, at this point in time many will realize they have been lied to by religious hirelings and last day hypocritical professional false preachers peddling their false messages of I’m OK, you’re OK, we’re all OK, when nothing could be further from the truth.

These are the kinds of messages these false pretending religious wolves in sheep’s clothing have been taught to promote while attending ungodly institutions of so-called higher religious education. “Take heed that no one deceives you.” 

But the truth is clear and always liberating! The coming of the foretold abomination of desolation, the son of perdition entering into the temple, according to Scripture, is followed by a mass exodus or departing from the faith or falling away from the faith. These two end time events are then followed by the long-awaited second coming of Jesus Christ in great glory; followed by or at the same time commencing the gathering together of His enduring to the end saints, both living and deceased.

How long after the exposing of the son of perdition, we are not told. But according to Jesus in Matthew 24.29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days… Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven… And He [Jesus] will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [those who have endured] from the four winds [from the farthest part of the earth according to Mark 13.27], from one end of heaven to the other.”

And to be sure, there will be much tribulation after the Antichrist is revealed and the full extent of his end time evil agenda is unleashed at that time! Therefore, we must be among the few faithful who heed the warnings of God as did the wise men, as did Joseph; or we may be taken totally by surprise by the unfolding of end time events according to the Word of God. Will we believe the Word of God, or will we believe the lie of the Antichrist and his puppet-like false prophets?

If we do believe his lie we will experience the widespread weeping that will be initiated at the coming of the Antichrist. All leaders and or leaders in training possess the power to create widespread weeping or overwhelming encouragement and Christ-like peace. Therefore, let us be spiritually constructive by creating an excellent example for others to follow, as Jesus did so gallantly for us!

Our Father in heaven, thank You for the warnings in Your Word. Teach us to hide Your Word in our hearts as buried treasure as we endure to the end. In Him Always, Amen!

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