3/15/13

From Gary... your BEST BEHAVIOR


I remember being told as a child "Gary, be on your best behavior today"!  I couldn't tell you how often it was, or how old I was, or even one of the circumstances, but I remember being told.  Inwardly, we all know right from wrong; it is something inborn.  But, just knowing isn't enough- we have to act on it!!!  Dr. Seuss' message somehow sticks with me, I guess because its cute, but who knows exactly why we retain some things and forget others?  Speaking of that... all this made me think of Romans chapter 2; it, like the picture- just seemed to fit....

Romans, Chapter 2

  10  But glory, honor, and peace go to every man who works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  11 For there is no partiality with God.  12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without the law. As many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.  13 For it isn’t the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified  14 (for when Gentiles who don’t have the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves,  15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying with them, and their thoughts among themselves accusing or else excusing them)  16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News, by Jesus Christ. 


Be good, do good, love THE GOOD!!!  Which of course will lead to THE ABSOLUTE GOOD!!!  Remember the scripture from the post I did yesterday...?



Luke, Chapter 18

 18  A certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 

  19  Jesus asked him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one—God. 



So, it follows, that if you want to be your very best, follow the best- and that means the ways of God.  Honestly, some days I am very good and other days- not so much.  But God shows the way every day and provides the answers to my problems.  His word is..

Psalm 119
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light for my path.

Have problems always doing what is right?  Pay attention to Dr. Seuss, but do the absolute GOOD found in the Scriptures.  God will lead you, the question is: Will you follow?

From Gary... Bible Reading, Mar. 15




           Please note that the Easy Read Bible Reading Plan that I developed is meant to "ease" your way into reading the Bible through in either one or two years.  At the beginning of the year, only a small amount is read each day.  Gradually, this amount is increased and at the end of the year- what you selected to read will be accomplished.  If you desire to do it two years, then read only the New Testament first; if one year is your goal, read both the Old and New Testaments as they appear on the blog.  May God bless you in your efforts!!!

Mar. 15
Exodus 25

Exo 25:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
Exo 25:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, that they take an offering for me. From everyone whose heart makes him willing you shall take my offering.
Exo 25:3 This is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, brass,
Exo 25:4 blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats' hair,
Exo 25:5 rams' skins dyed red, sea cow hides, acacia wood,
Exo 25:6 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense,
Exo 25:7 onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.
Exo 25:8 Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.
Exo 25:9 According to all that I show you, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all of its furniture, even so you shall make it.
Exo 25:10 "They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Its length shall be two and a half cubits, its breadth a cubit and a half, and a cubit and a half its height.
Exo 25:11 You shall overlay it with pure gold. You shall overlay it inside and outside, and you shall make a gold molding around it.
Exo 25:12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four feet. Two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it.
Exo 25:13 You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
Exo 25:14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark.
Exo 25:15 The poles shall be in the rings of the ark. They shall not be taken from it.
Exo 25:16 You shall put the testimony which I shall give you into the ark.
Exo 25:17 You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two and a half cubits shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth.
Exo 25:18 You shall make two cherubim of hammered gold. You shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat.
Exo 25:19 Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end. You shall make the cherubim on its two ends of one piece with the mercy seat.
Exo 25:20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward one another. The faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.
Exo 25:21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I will give you.
Exo 25:22 There I will meet with you, and I will tell you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the testimony, all that I command you for the children of Israel.
Exo 25:23 "You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth, and one and a half cubits its height.
Exo 25:24 You shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it.
Exo 25:25 You shall make a rim of a handbreadth around it. You shall make a golden molding on its rim around it.
Exo 25:26 You shall make four rings of gold for it, and put the rings in the four corners that are on its four feet.
Exo 25:27 the rings shall be close to the rim, for places for the poles to carry the table.
Exo 25:28 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them.
Exo 25:29 You shall make its dishes, its spoons, its ladles, and its bowls to pour out offerings with. You shall make them of pure gold.
Exo 25:30 You shall set bread of the presence on the table before me always.
Exo 25:31 "You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. Of hammered work shall the lampstand be made, even its base, its shaft, its cups, its buds, and its flowers, shall be of one piece with it.
Exo 25:32 There shall be six branches going out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of its one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of its other side;
Exo 25:33 three cups made like almond blossoms in one branch, a bud and a flower; and three cups made like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bud and a flower, so for the six branches going out of the lampstand;
Exo 25:34 and in the lampstand four cups made like almond blossoms, its buds and its flowers;
Exo 25:35 and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, and a bud under two branches of one piece with it, for the six branches going out of the lampstand.
Exo 25:36 Their buds and their branches shall be of one piece with it, all of it one beaten work of pure gold.
Exo 25:37 You shall make its lamps seven, and they shall light its lamps to give light to the space in front of it.
Exo 25:38 Its snuffers and its snuff dishes shall be of pure gold.
Exo 25:39 It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these accessories.
Exo 25:40 See that you make them after their pattern, which has been shown to you on the mountain.





Mar. 15, 16
Mark 10

Mar 10:1 He arose from there and came into the borders of Judea and beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came together to him again. As he usually did, he was again teaching them.
Mar 10:2 Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
Mar 10:3 He answered, "What did Moses command you?"
Mar 10:4 They said, "Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her."
Mar 10:5 But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment.
Mar 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.
Mar 10:7 For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife,
Mar 10:8 and the two will become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Mar 10:9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
Mar 10:10 In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter.
Mar 10:11 He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her.
Mar 10:12 If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery."
Mar 10:13 They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them.
Mar 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, "Allow the little children to come to me! Don't forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mar 10:15 Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it."
Mar 10:16 He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Mar 10:17 As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
Mar 10:18 Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except one-God.
Mar 10:19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder,' 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not give false testimony,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and mother.' "
Mar 10:20 He said to him, "Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth."
Mar 10:21 Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross."
Mar 10:22 But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions.
Mar 10:23 Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!"
Mar 10:24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!
Mar 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
Mar 10:26 They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, "Then who can be saved?"
Mar 10:27 Jesus, looking at them, said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God."
Mar 10:28 Peter began to tell him, "Behold, we have left all, and have followed you."
Mar 10:29 Jesus said, "Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News,
Mar 10:30 but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life.
Mar 10:31 But many who are first will be last; and the last first."
Mar 10:32 They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus was going in front of them, and they were amazed; and those who followed were afraid. He again took the twelve, and began to tell them the things that were going to happen to him.
Mar 10:33 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death, and will deliver him to the Gentiles.
Mar 10:34 They will mock him, spit on him, scourge him, and kill him. On the third day he will rise again."
Mar 10:35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came near to him, saying, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we will ask."
Mar 10:36 He said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"
Mar 10:37 They said to him, "Grant to us that we may sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left hand, in your glory."
Mar 10:38 But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
Mar 10:39 They said to him, "We are able." Jesus said to them, "You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;
Mar 10:40 but to sit at my right hand and at my left hand is not mine to give, but for whom it has been prepared."
Mar 10:41 When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant towards James and John.
Mar 10:42 Jesus summoned them, and said to them, "You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
Mar 10:43 But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant.
Mar 10:44 Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all.
Mar 10:45 For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mar 10:46 They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road.
Mar 10:47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!"
Mar 10:48 Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, "You son of David, have mercy on me!"
Mar 10:49 Jesus stood still, and said, "Call him." They called the blind man, saying to him, "Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!"
Mar 10:50 He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Mar 10:51 Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "Rhabboni, that I may see again."
Mar 10:52 Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your faith has made you well." Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

From Gary V. Womack...Christ Our Passover


Christ Our Passover

In Ex. 5-14 we have the account of Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

God brought them out with a mighty hand - With proof of His power & authority:

Ex. 7:5 "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them." This thought repeated at least 7 times or more.


After 9 plagues in which God demonstrated His power over their gods:

god of the Nile River - Turning water to blood

Heka, their frog god - Ex. 8:14 "They gathered them together in heaps, and the
land stank."

Apis, their sacred cow god - Their cattle died of pestilence

Ra, their sun god - The darkness demonstrated God's power over nature

The final plague - death of the first born - demonstrated God's power over life:

Ex. 12:12 "For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all
the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord."

Ex. 12:21-23, 29-39 The Lord passed over - First born die - Israel driven out.

God instituted the Passover. It was to become an annual memorial

Ex. 12:1-2 Abib - To mark the beginning of their year - IMPORTANCE!!

Ex. 12:3-5 Each family head responsible for his family - to obey.
Husbands & fathers - NOTE THIS

A sacrifice "without blemish"
POINTING TO THE PERFECT SACRIFICE OF CHRIST

Heb. 4:14-15 "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."

2 Cor. 5:21 "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the  righteousness of God in Him."

Ex. 12:6, 46 Lamb to be killed at twilight - with no bones broken

POINTING TO SACRIFICE OF CHRIST

Jn. 19:32-33, 36 "Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. (33) But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs."  (36) "For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, 'Not
one of His bones shall be broken.' " (quoted Psm. 34:20)

A BLOOD SACRIFICE & MEMORIAL

Ex. 12:7 Blood on door posts & lintel - not on the threshold

POINTING TO CHRIST'S BLOOD NOT TO BE TRAMPLED

Heb. 10:28-29 "Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. (29) Of how much worse 
punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he has sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?"

UNLEAVENED BREAD - A REMINDER: QUICK DELIVERANCE

Ex. 12:8,11, 17 To be eaten ready for travel - no time for leaven to rise.

THIS FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD WAS PERSONAL

Ex. 13:3-8 "...because of what the Lord did for me when I came up from Egypt."

WE HAVE BEEN FREED FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN

Rev. 19:11-ff Christ depicted as a King riding on a horse, leading His army.

Col. 1:13-14 "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, (14) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

Heb. 2:14-15 "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might
destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

Rom. 6:1-7 We died to sin when we were baptized into His death.

Heb. 2:1-3 "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (2) For if the word spoken through angels
proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, (3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and
was confirmed to us by those who heard Him...?"
Remember, Israel neglected their salvation in the wilderness

From Jim McGuiggan... Don't Tell Me of Great things


Don't Tell Me of Great things!

Lord Byron gave us the moving poem The Prisoner of Chillon. The prisoner's chained to a pillar along with his brother. After some time the beloved brother died and was buried in the cell under a slab. This drove the prisoner into deep depression and the jailers had pity on him and loosed him from the pillar so that he could walk around his cell. In his despair he made friends with spiders and mice and became a kindly lord in his domain. He wouldn’t have thought of it as Aspen or the French Riviera, but because he had no reason to think things would ever change he adjusted to the situation. He became content.
One day the broken but contented prisoner heard the song of a bird. It was up there on the window ledge and at the sight and sound something stirred in the man. Imagine him with great effort, and perhaps many failures, making his way up the wall and looking out at familiar sights and faintly hearing sounds that carried from a great distance. He sees the mountains, a river meeting the lake, the white wall of a little town, trees and a green island. He saw an eagle fly, free and high, in the blue sky before his strength was gone and he slipped or clawed his way back down into the cell. Having seen, he couldn't "unsee" and the vision unsettled him; now the cell with which he had grown content was like a coffin that suffocated him and he wished he'd never been loosed from the chain and the pillar; seeing life’s possibilities destroyed his peace and we can easily imagine him for the first time beating on the door and yelling, "Let me out of here! I've got to get out of here!" This is how he put it:
I had not left my recent chain;
And when I did descend again,
The darkness of my dim abode
Fell on me as a heavy load;
It was as is a new-dug grave,
Closing o'er one we sought to save.
Would it have been better had he not seen through the window the world he was deprived of? One thing is sure, he felt worse. His contentment was shattered and his peace obliterated. The vision of something finer turned his cosy little cell into a coffin. Would it have been better had he never looked? I suppose it depends on what we mean by "better". Would you prefer to know that there exists so much more than you have, even if it created great pain in you? Would you prefer to remain ignorant and contented? There’s something to be said for both sides of the argument.
But is there really? A poor soul told me that she had never felt real bewilderment or sense of alienation in life until she became a Christian and life changed in many ways that were not pleasant. ["Arrrgh! I heard that everything would be better, easier, and it isn't!" I suppose a baby in the womb feels that kind of distress at birth.] Did Peter ever feel the wave of awed fear before that day when he sat in a boat with Christ and witnessed the nearness of God that drove him to say, "Get away from me, for I am a sinful man O Lord"? It's true isn't it that in some true sense of the words that the closer we get to God the more we feel out of place in our own skin and in a world of people like us? And what makes it more distressing on those occasions when we feel it most intensely is that we can’t ask to be taken out of the world. Jesus Christ said to us: "As the Father sent me, so I send you into the world."
Is it really a source of wonder that the better we see him the more we recoil at everything else because it is unlike him? Imagine what it must have been like for him to be elbow to elbow with the evil that is in us and flows from us. Now that is a true source of wonder! Somewhere in all this, his glorious vision of his Holy Father, himself and us, in all our awful need, made him restless and divinely discontent. His holy compassion toward us grew until, as Browning put it, it became a rage to suffer for humanity. And he thought it all worthwhile.Christ is no Greek god sitting blissfully unconcerned sipping the wine in the presence of equally unconcerned divine colleagues. He looked over the rim of the palace walls in the land of the Trinity, saw our desperate need, felt compelled to go and found the Father and the Spirit already preparing his gear for the assault on all the powers that enslave the bodies, minds and spirits of the human family.
We must love the best we see and know or we'll never be anything worth talking about. I understand that in our debilitating weariness we don't want to hear challenge and upward calls. "Leave me alone, I'm too tired." Too much disappointment and dashed hopes, too many responsibilities, too many pressures—humans aren't made to walk like kings! That makes sense but there are other things that make sense too and even when we're too weary to want to continue we wish we had the energy to do it.
Listen, things not only can be better, they will be better! God's Son became incarnate to make it clear that we're not alone in this cosmic and eternal enterprise. "God is with us!" The Incarnation is the witness to that; that's why he became "homeless" and yet never more at home than when he became one of us and remains one of us.
Blessed are the weary for they will rise up in strength like an eagle.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com

From Mark Copeland... The Olivet Discourse - I


                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                   The Olivet Discourse - I (24:1-28)

INTRODUCTION

1. A challenging passage in the Bible is Jesus' discourse on the Mount
   of Olives...
   a. Given shortly after He left the temple with His disciples
   b. Recorded in Mt 24:1-51; Mk 13:1-37; Lk 21:5-36
   c. Commonly referred to as "The Olivet Discourse"
   -- Our focus will be primarily on Matthew's account - Mt 24:1-51

2. It's difficulty is apparent as one considers the diversity of
   interpretations offered...
   a. Some maintain that it is entirely about events preceding the
      Lord's second coming
   b. Others say that it is entirely about events related to the
      destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D.
   c. Yet many believe it contains reference to both of these events

3. Even those who say it refers to both events differ as to when a
   particular event is being described in Matthew's account...
   a. Some say that verses 4-28 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem,
      and verse 29 begins the discussion about the Lord's second coming
      (cf. J. W. McGarvey, The Four-Fold Gospel)
   b. Others contend that verse 35 begins talking about the second
      coming
   c. Others say Jesus switches back and forth throughout the discourse

4. I have trouble with Mt 24 describing both events in the light of
   Lk 17...
   a. Where Jesus is talking about "one of the days of the Son of Man"
      - Lk 17:22-37
      1) Note:  He alludes to the fact there is more than one "day of
         the Son of Man"
      2) I.e., the Lord will come in judgment in ways prior to His
         final coming at the Last Day
   b. In the discourse of Lk 17, Jesus uses language similar to Mt 24,
      but in ways that do not allow for a simple division of Mt 24,
      either at verse 29 or 35; notice...
      1) Lk 17:26-29 is parallel to Mt 24:37-39 (found after verses
         29,35)
      2) Yet Lk 17:31 is parallel to Mt 24:17-18 (found before verses
         29,35)
      3) And then Lk 17:34-36 is parallel to Mt 24:40-41 (found after
         verses 29,35)
   -- If Jesus is describing just one event in Lk 17 (which I believe
      He is), then He is likely describing just one event in Mt 24

[At this time, I view "The Olivet Discourse" in Mt 24 as depicting the
destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D., though it certainly
foreshadows His second coming.  To see why, let's start with...]

I. THE SETTING OF THE OLIVET DISCOURSE

   A. THE WORDS OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE...
      1. His parables depicting Israel's rejection of Him, and its
         consequence
         a. The parable of the two sons - Mt 21:28-32 (cf. v.31-32)
         b. The parable of the wicked vine dressers - Mt 21:33-46 (cf.
            v.42-45)
         c. The parable of the wedding feast - Mt 22:1-14 (cf. v.7-9)
      2. His condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees
         a. Who would fill up the measure of their fathers' guilt - Mt 23:29-32
         b. Who kill, crucify, scourge, and persecute the prophets,
            wise men, and scribes He would send to them - Mt 23:33-34
         c. Upon whom the blood of all the righteous would come, upon
            that very generation - Mt 23:35-36
      3. His lamentation over Jerusalem
         a. The city who kills the prophets and stones those sent to
            her - Mt 23:37a
         b. The city unwilling to accept the love shown her - Mt 23:37b
         c. Whose house would be left desolate - Mt 23:38-39

   B. THE PROPHECY OF JESUS ABOUT THE TEMPLE...
      1. After his disciples were showing Him the buildings of temple 
         - Mt 24:1
      2. Declaring that not one stone would be left upon another - Mt 24:2

   C. THE QUESTIONS OF THE DISCIPLES...
      1. In Mark's gospel, two questions are asked - Mk 13:4
         a. "When will these things be?"
         b. "What will be the sign when all these things will be
            fulfilled?"
      2. In Luke's gospel, the two questions are similar - Lk 21:7
         a. "When will these things be?"
         b. "What sign will there be when these things are about to
            take place?"
      3. In Matthew's gospel, the second question is worded differently
         - Mt 24:3
         a. "When will these things be?"
         b. "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of
            the age?"
      4. Observations regarding these questions:
         a. Matthew wrote his gospel for a Jewish audience
            1) He likely recorded the questions as asked by the
               disciples, who presumed the destruction of temple would
               mean His coming and the end of the age
            2) Jewish readers of the gospel would likely have the same
               conception
         b. Mark and Luke wrote their gospels to Gentiles
            1) To avoid possible misunderstanding by non-Jewish 
               readers, they worded the disciples' questions to reflect
               what the discourse is actually about
            2) I.e., the destruction of the temple and the sign when
               its destruction would be imminent

[When the setting leading up to "The Olivet Discourse" is carefully
considered, the subject of Jesus' words become clear.  The destruction
of the temple is the matter under consideration, not the second coming
of Christ.  Now let's proceed to examine more closely...]

II. THE OLIVET DISCOURSE

   A. WHAT WILL "NOT" BE THE SIGN...
      1. Be careful that none deceive you, claiming to be the Christ 
         - Mt 24:4-5
      2. Don't be troubled by wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilence
         - Mt 24:6-8
         a. Such things will come, but the end (destruction of the
            temple) is not yet
         b. They are only the beginning of sorrows (not the sign of the
            end)
      3. Anticipate persecution and hard times - Mt 24:9-13
         a. You will be killed and hated for His name's sake
         b. Many will be offended, betray one another, and hate one
            another
         c. False prophets will deceive many
         d. The love of many will grow cold because of lawlessness
         e. But he who endures to "the end" will be saved -- "the end"
            refers here:
            1) Not to the second coming (implying one must live until
               Christ comes again)
            2) Nor to the destruction of Jerusalem (implying once one
               has survived that event, one's salvation is secured)
            3) But to the end of one's life - cf. Re 2:10
      4. The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world 
         - Mt 24:14
         a. As a witness to all the nations
         b. Then the end (the destruction of the temple) will come
            1) This would end the Jewish sacrifices, and other remnants
               of OT worship
            2) That which was nailed to the cross, abolished by Jesus'
               death, would pass away - cf. Col 2:14-17; Ep 2:14-16; He 8:13
         -- Was the gospel preached to all nations prior to the
            destruction of the temple?  Note what Paul wrote prior to
            70 A.D. - Ro 10:16-18; Col 1:23

   B. WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN...
      1. The "abomination of desolation" - Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14
         a. Standing in the holy place (the holy city Jerusalem)
         b. As foretold by Daniel - cf. Dan 9:26-27
      2. When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies - Lk 21:20
         a. Luke therefore explains the "abomination of desolation"
         b. In 70 A.D., Roman armies surrounded and besieged Jerusalem
            prior to destroying it and the temple
      -- Thus Jesus answers the disciples' question:  "What sign will
         there be when these things are about to take place?"

   C. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE THE SIGN...
      1. Those in Judea are to flee to the mountains - Mt 24:16-22
         a. Don't delay by going to your homes and getting your clothes
         b. It will be a difficult time for pregnant and nursing
            mothers
         c. Pray that your flight be not in winter (when travel is
            difficult) or on the Sabbath (when city gates are closed to
            travel)
         d. For there will be "great tribulation", though shortened for
            the elect's sake
            1) Luke specifies the nature of this tribulation - Lk 21:
               23b-24
            2) A Jewish general taking captive by the Romans just prior
               to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 offered this
               summary:
               a) All the calamities which had befallen any nation from
                  the beginning of the world were but small in 
                  comparison with those of the Jews
               b) In the siege of Jerusalem, no fewer than 1,100,000
                  perished (it was during the time of the Passover,
                  when more than 3,000,000 Jews were assembled)
               c) In surrounding provinces 250,000 were slain
               d) 97,000 were taken captive, some killed by beasts in
                  Roman theaters, some sent to work in Egypt, others
                  sold as slaves
               -- Flavius Josephus, Jewish Wars (as quoted in Barnes
                  Commentary on Matthew)
            3) The "elect" were Christians, spared by a shortened siege
               a) The Jews in the city engaged the Romans in battle
               b) Titus, the Roman general, being called to return to
                  Rome, proceeded to end the siege and stormed the city
                  (Barnes Commentary)
      2. Don't be misled by false christs and false prophets - Mt 24:
         23-28
         a. Even those who show great signs and wonders to deceive
         b. For the coming (judgment) of the Son of Man will be like
            lightning across the sky
            1) Do not expect to find Him in the desert or in inner
               rooms
            2) When He comes in judgment, it will be swift - cf. Lk 17:
               22-24
         c. Where the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered
            1) Alluding to Jerusalem surrounded by armies
            2) This is the "sign" to warn them it is time to flee
               Jerusalem and Judea!

CONCLUSION (Part One)

1. So far, all this depicts a local, escapable judgment...
   a. Where Jesus warned those in Judea of what is to come
   b. Where they are given a sign to let them know when to flee
   -- Indeed, many believe that up to verse 29 (or 35), Jesus is
      foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem (and its temple) that
      did occur in 70 A. D.

2. It certainly does not fit a worldwide, inescapable judgment...
   a. As will characterize the second coming of Christ
   b. As Paul and Peter taught Christians throughout the Mediterranean
      world - cf. 1Th 5:2-3; 2Th 1:7-10; 2Pe 3:10-12

3. Our next study will continue "The Olivet Discourse", starting with
   verse 29...
   a. Which certainly sounds like the second coming of Christ
   b. But is it?  Or was Jesus still describing events pertaining to
      the destruction of Jerusalem?

Eusebius (ca. 300 A.D.) in his "Ecclesiastical History" wrote that
Christians heeded the warnings of Jesus in Matthew 24, and fled 
Jerusalem when it was surrounded by the Roman army.

May we likewise heed the words of Jesus and not be misled by false
prophets and false christs, not be troubled by wars, famines,
pestilence, earthquakes, or even persecution, but endure to the end by
remaining faithful to Him, and look forward to His final coming at the
Last Day!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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