Practical Advice for the End of Time
Already, Not Yet
As you read think in two ways.
listening to Jesus as one of the disciples
listening to Jesus as us today.
everything in scripture has an already, not yet application to it.
Read all of scripture with with an eschatological mindset
What has God already done, and what is God doing?
Has he fulfilled a promise, or are we still waiting for Him to fulfill a promise.
In other words, what is the marker for what God is doing.
Destruction of the Temple
Destruction of the Temple
As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
Was Jesus predicting this destruction.
Maybe, but when you look through the lens of who He was talking to in the moment, maybe not.
Jesus has predicted the destruction of the religious leaders, now he is saying their Temple will also be destroyed.
Jesus was probably rebuking his disciples for not getting what he had just taught.
The Temple was the center of the sacrificial system, Jesus had just rebuked the use of the Temple as corrupt.
He also was showing that things were about to change, the New Covenant no longer needs the Temple, we are the Temple!
Maybe Jesus was just urging his disciples to look past the beauty of the Temple and see it for what it had become. Corrupt and disrespectful to God.
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
Guarding Against Deceivers (13:5-6)
Jesus first warns them to “Beware” or “Watch Out”
We must live life in a way that is truly discerning. Eyes that see past the surface.
Beginning of Birth Pains (13:7-8)
war, and rumors or war, nations rising against nations, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, famines. This is all just the beginning.
Mission in Context of Persecution (13:9-13)
Be on your guard.
The persecution Jesus explains here is warning the disciples directly of what is to come for them.
The Mission will be persecuted, but that can look different in different times.
This is an already/not yet combination.
To the disciples, it has not yet happened, but to the reader today, it has already happened. But it could also mean it could happen again.
Those who endure and stay faithful through persecution will be saved. But note the connection between persecution and mission. Those who stay on mission will be persecuted, but will be saved! But remember there is a silver lining, the Gospel can’t be stopped!
Even when your on trial, God will speak through you!
Events in Judea (13:14-18)
Jesus uses mysterious language here. “Desolating sacrilege” is a phrase known from the OT and intertestamental literature. It means idolatrous sacrifice will happen in the Temple. As in sacrifice to other gods.
This happened in 168 B.C and led to the Maccabees revolt (already). But there will also be future events, A.D. 40 the Emperor ordered a statue be built and placed in the Temple for worship.
The main concept here is that bad idolatrous things will happen in the Temple and many will flee.
This is also an already/not yet concept.
There has already been bad things happen, and Christians have had to flee. In A.D. 66-70 the Romans desecrated the Temple and eventually destroyed it.
Great Tribulation (13:19-20)
There will be a period of unprecedented proportion. This could be already/not yet also.
The early Christians went through a lot of periods like this. But it could also happen again.
The text doesn’t give us a time gap between tribulation and the return of the Son of Man.
Jesus assured his disciples of God’s providential care. God will limit the tribulation to what Jesus’ followers can bear without losing their faith.
Guarding Against Deceivers (13:21-23)
During the tribulation period one must continue to be on guard, or keep watch. There will be many deceptions.
The Return of the Son of Man
The Return of the Son of Man
“But in those days, following that distress, “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
Mark shows that Jesus will return, this is imminent.
It will happen in “those days” after the tribulation.
We are not told how long after, but there could be a final unprecedented tribulation.
The return of Jesus brings things to a close, but we have no idea of what the time gaps look like.
The Unknown Timing of Things
The Unknown Timing of Things
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”
The Fig Tree (13:28-29)
Jesus gives us a parable to encourage his disciples that they will see the signs.
This parable has been misused in many interpretations of the signs of the end.
God will fulfill His promises, we can be sure of that.
This Generation will not Pass (13:30-31)
This has created many debates. But the most obvious interpretation is Jesus meant his contemporaries.
Many struggle with this, because it means Jesus predicted wrong.
Many are comfortable with this. Because Jesus never claimed to know when the end would happen.
Also many of the things Jesus predicted have already come true, within that generation. But Jesus admits, he doesn’t know the exact timing.
No One Knows When (13:22)
We don’t know.
No one, not even Jesus knows when the end is going to come.
Be Faithful Always (13:33-37)
The main point that Jesus is making. Live faithfully, always!
We don’t know exactly when, there are signs, but the timing of everything is a mystery.
This is why we can’t trust everything we read as biblical. All the end time authors are speculating in one way or another.
We we do know is that one day, Jesus will return, and the faithful will be with Him in the new heaven on earth. The return of the perfect garden.
Big Idea: Don’t believe everything you read and hear (Don’t be deceived). Draw deep into scripture and let scripture reveal truth through the Holy Spirit. Live life as though today is the last day.