Witnessing To The Nations
Jesus is describing events that will be occurring during what he calls in verse 8, "the beginning of birth pains," the beginning of the end of the age as we know it.
"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." v.9
"You must be on your guard."
Two Greek words expressing the warning:
"Blepo" watch. Trans: "watch out" NLBT
The Greek word translated to "be alert" v.33 "to be awake."
So that you are not flustered or caught off guard; giving a sinful, unfaithful, or dishonoring response.
In order to brace yourself for the attack.
In other words, expect trouble from the world, and be ready for it.
". . . you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them." v.9
In Acts 24-25 we have recorded the apostle Paul's standing before Governors Felix and Festus and King Agrippa witnessing to hos faith in Jesus Christ.
The Greek word from which we get the word martyr.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Ac 1:8
Unprecedented persecution "and flogged in the synagogues." v.9
"They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God." Jn 16:2
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained." Rev 6:9
"On account of me" these things will happen to you. v.9
"All men will hate you because of me" v.13.
Persecution is always in the context of Jesus Christ. If you are a dislikable person and all of your neighbors gang up on you and hate you, that's not persecution, that "sowing and reaping."
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." Mt 5:11
"And the gospel must first be preached to all nations." v.10
Matthew adds,"and then the end will come." Mt 24:13-14
The 144,000 servants of God described in Revelation 7
"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." Re 7:9
"Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes-who are they, and where did they come from?” . . . “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Re 7:13-14
The two witnesses described in Revelation11, probably Elijah and Moses who will prophesy for 1260 days or 3 12 years. They will be killed by the beast that comes up from the Abyss and their body's will lie in the streets for 3 15 days. People will celebrate by sending each other gifts. Then a breath from God will enter them and the whole world will see them ascend up into heaven.
Angels flying across the sky during the Tribulation.
"Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-to every nation, tribe, language and people." Re 14:6
Sky Angel satellite is named after this passage.
By the newly redeemed
The result will be multitudes with the Jews leading the way
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." Zec 12:10
"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved." Ro 11:25-27
Saved Jews prominent during the millennium, "This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you." Zec 8:23
"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." v.11
Some pastors have concluded that it is wrong to prepare their sermons ahead of time.
It would be careless to take this out of its context. The Holy Spirit does give us a message to preach but he normally does that during the long hours of preparation.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Ti 2:15
"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching." 1 Ti 5:17
A promise of special help in time of need.
Amplified in Luke's Gospel, "I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death." Lk 21:13-16
"Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue. . . These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke." Ac 6:9-10
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." v.12
Their hatred of Christ and the Christians commitment to him will overcome their natural love of family.
Their enmity against God is stronger than the ties of family.
"For I have come to turn "a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law- a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’" Mt 10:34-36
In the face of betrayal and hatred, we are to stand firm.
Verse helps us to understand what "Standing firm to the end" means.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other," Mt 24:9-10
Those who do stand firm are the one's who are genuinely saved.
During the Tribulation, the true believers will prove their faith by their faithfulness.
"We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first." Heb 3:14
We are not left alone to persevere
"He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Co 1:8
"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-" Jud 24
Perseverance is a mysterious combination of strenuous effort, diligence, and self-discipline, and the empowering of God.
"My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end." Ps 119:112
I read the story of Legson Kayira who lived a poor village in Africa. As a child he read a little book about Abraham Lincoln and was challenged to make something of his life. It seem clear to him that the only way he could do that was to go to America and get an education. Despite having no money, no contacts, and little schooling, in 1958 Legson set out to walk to America. His plan was to walk to Egypt -- your foot, I might add -- some 3000 miles away, and then figure out a way to get on a ship bound for the United States. His only possession on his journey world Bible, the Pilgrim's progress, a small ax, a spare shirt, a blanket, and five days worth of food.
After five days in rough terrain, he had covered only 25 miles and was out of food. But still he trudged on, sometimes walking with strangers but often walking alone. between him and his destination were hundreds of tribes that spoke more than 50 languages, none of which Legson knew. Sometimes he found work in a place to stay, but often he can't and forged for food. each time he became discouraged, he read his books and re-ignited his passion.
15 months after he began his journey, he reached Kampala, Uganda, having covered about about a 1000 miles. At a local library he opened a directory of junior colleges in America. his eyes fell upon the listing for Skagit Valley College in Washington State. he wrote the college and the dean was so impressed with a young Africans determination but he granted in admission to the school as well as a scholarship and a job that would pay his room and board.
While elated with the news, Legson was unaware of the obstacles that lay ahead. he needed a passport, but to get that he needed a verified birth date, which is illiterate parents didn't have. as if that wasn't enough, he also needed a round-trip airfare before he could even apply for a visa.
Without enough money for food and lodging, he pushed on, believing he would somehow come up with the money. By the time be reached sedan -- tired, week, and hungry -- he learned that Skagit students and local residents had raised the money he needed and found them a place to stay in Washington. In December, 1960, more than two years after he began walking, Legson Kayira arrived at Skagit Valley College still carrying his two treasured books. After graduating, he earned a doctorate from Cambridge University in England, where he later became a political science professor.