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Posts tagged ‘Entering the Kingdom of God’

The no one or nothing in the darkness

When we look at our life, sometimes it can make us depressive, having us feel the “emptiness“, the missing of like-minded people.

How many of us do not build upon many aspirations, hopes, dreams and expectations?

Our head tolls from the many questions we have going one ear in and one ear out. And every moment we try to look to the right or to the left it is like we are getting hit by a boxing glove.

Noticing it looks like we are alone with our faith in Jesus and the coming Kingdom, we sometimes feel abandoned. Though we should know God does not abandon us, like He did not abandon Jesus. But Jesus also had a moment to despair and was calling onto his heavenly Father crying unto HIm, why He had left him.

46 About the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice, saying: “Eʹli, Eʹli, laʹma sa·bach·thaʹni?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”+ (Matthew 27:46)

Like Jesus crying out from the wooden stake, we also have moments that we want to cry to God. Yes, it might happen to any believer that he or she questions God’s presence. It is understandable that we can have such moments that we have doubts about ourselves, about our faith, about God.

It is in such moments of doubt, in moments of fear and despair, that we are invited by our Creator and Sustainer to seek hope. He has given us His Word to give us daily food, to be able to go step by step and day by day. That Word of God we can take it up every moment of the day. It is God’s Love letter to us. From that great Book of books, we should be able to receive strength and hope. Hope comes from our trust that even when we don’t feel like God is present, God will show up for us. Often when we feel most abandoned, hurt and broken, we shall come to remember those moments as the ones where Jehovah God has shown up most powerfully for us. Those are the moments that shape our life and our faith.

Like Jehovah God had not forsaken Jesus, He shall not leave alone those who love Him.

28 For Jehovah loves justice, And he will not abandon his loyal ones.+ ע [Ayin]They will always be guarded;But the descendants of the wicked will be done away with.+ (Psalm 37:28)

Even when God might be with us, we can have that feeling to be just on our own with our faith, being surrounded by a majority who does not want to know about God or the Biblical Truth.

Constantly we seem to be confronted with an emptiness that draws us into the darkness. Sometimes it feels like we are a “no one”, or a “nothing”.
Without being someone and without having someone around us, we remain unfulfilled and incomplete. Our instinct wants us to mix with others. We are not made to be alone.

This primal instinct to be something is what drives our efforts towards avoiding being nothing.

The threat of which is the root to losing ourselves to the distraction of everything, when we lose hope of ever being something…to someone…but not just anyone. {Elusive peace…}

When we get older, this seems a bigger problem, than when we were young. Then comes a time when we want to scan our life and want to see what we established. How much effort we put in things and into what it resulted. What is clinging to our memory? What do we find worthwhile to remember?

Around us we see so many people who seem to be more successful than us. They can get a lot of listening ears, eager to hear their philosophies which give people only a shade of what they would love to see. Though we do know they can not offer that comfort or assurance that we love to offer people, because we live by our hope in Jesus Christ. Constantly we are confronted by those people who find that their way is the best way. But what they do not see is that what we want them to come to see: the way that seems right for so many men its end is the way of death.

12 There is a way that seems right to a man,+ But in the end it leads to death.+ (Proverbs 14:12)

We live in that world full of vanity, where man even thinks he can play for god and create whatever he wants.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility,+ not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope+ (Romans 8:20)

We would love to show those who think they can do it without God, that it is better to come under the wings of God. There is namely an alternative to the ultimate conclusion of doom and the futility of human philosophy.

23 For the wages sin pays is death,+ but the gift God gives is everlasting life+ by Christ Jesus our Lord.+ (Romans 6:23)

In this world, we do even have to struggle against those who say they are Christian but do not want to recognise who Jesus is and how important it is to I believe in him who God called His beloved son.

25 Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life.+ The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; 26 and everyone who is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.+ Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus said to him: “I am the way+ and the truth+ and the life.+ No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Constantly we are confronted with those stubborn people who do not believe that Jesus existed, or who think that Jesus is God, instead of believing in the God of Jesus and accepting that Jesus is the way to God and not to himself.That unbelief makes us so sad, and when you stand there surrounded by so many unbelievers, it can feel so lonely, so dark in a world that offers so much but oh so little. Coming closer to the end times it worries us also so much, certainly when we see more lies encircling peoples heads. Fake news seems to have won the battle for attention.Though we should find the strength to continue calling people to come to follow the real Christ, the Jewish Nazarene Jeshua, the son of David and son of God. Continuing on our path to God, we should find comfort in the fact that there shall not be so many who shall believe in Jesus and do their best to stay on the right track, and that shall be able to enter the small gate to the Kingdom of God. We should see and follow that light in the world, which is given by God.

8 12 Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying: “I am the light of the world.+ Whoever follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light+ of life.”  (John 8:12)

13 “Go in through the narrow gate,+ because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.(Matthew 7:14-15)

We, when feeling down, should remember that the apostles and other first followers of Christ, also were just with a few who were not liked by the majority. They also had often to struggle. They also could find strength by knowing they could get to encounter many tribulations, but always would there be a way out, and the gate to God’s Kingdom, which would be much better than any kingdom here on earth.

22 There they strengthened the disciples,+ encouraging them to remain in the faith and saying: “We must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.”+ (Acts 14:22)

18 “And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, what will happen to the ungodly man and the sinner?”+ (1 Peter 4:18)

All those who believe that Jesus is the son of God and the way to life, let them strengthen each other. Let us all be conscious that the road leading off into destruction is a road taken by the majority. When not being part of that majority we should not worry so much, because we should know there is Someone Who wants to carry us over the swamps and deserts of this world.

Let us not get the sand of the desert in our eyes by the many false teachings which encircle this materialist world. Instead of being a little grain of sand let us stick together as a lump of earth and join hands as sowers of productive seed.

44 It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body.+ If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. (1 Corinthians 15:44)

Let our voice keep going through the air and into the darkness so that somewhere a person might see the little spark of light.

We always should be aware of the importance of our own free choice. We always shall have to come to decide which way to go, the broad way of the world or the small way of God.

The question comes down to who will I believe. Will I trust the world that can give no guarantees and an uncertain future?

Or will I trust the sent one from God who proved himself by paying for my sins on the stake, dying in my place, and then arose from the dead in victory just as he said he would (Matthew 17:23, 20:19, 28:5-6)?

He too felt at moments on his own. He, too, had to trust his God. He put his own will aside for doing the Will of his heavenly Father.

Are you prepared to put your own will aside to do the Will of God?

Are you willing to go into the desert, like Jesus did, to talk about God and to spread the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God?

When reading the Scriptures we shall become aware that Jehovah God is really the only One Whom we fully can trust. By the knowledge that He is trustworthy and faithful, we should get more trust in Him and allow HIm to take away our fear and sad, depressive mood. With Him in our heart, we shall not be disappointed.

To you they cried out, and they were saved; They trusted in you, and they were not disappointed.*(Psalm 22:5)

When feeling depressed or down because it looks like we can not reach people, let us  put on a spiritual kind of armour that comes only from God because we are engaged in a spiritual struggle rather than a physical one.

10 Finally, go on acquiring power+ in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. 11 Put on the complete suit of armor+ from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil;+ 12 because we have a struggle,+ not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces+ in the heavenly places.+ 13 For this reason take up the complete suit of armor from God,+ so that you may be able to resist* in the wicked day and, after you have accomplished everything, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

When we accept Jehovah’s help and rely on Him completely, we can succeed in opposing the adversaries of God. When we can have the same kind of confidence that the apostle Paul had. He wrote:

“If God is for us, who will be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

So, let us step out of the darkness, stretch out our hands to those who also love Jesus and his God. Let us join forces and focus most of our attention on learning about Jehovah and serving Him.

 Cause me to walk in your truth and teach me,For you are my God of salvation. ו [Waw]

In you I hope all day long. ז [Zayin]

(Ps. 25:5)

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Preceding

When feeling alone, afraid to connect with others in order to grow in faith

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude

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Additional reading

  1. Lonely so lonely
  2. Fear, struggles, sadness, bad feelings and depression
  3. This was my reward
  4. Trouble in my brain
  5. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death
  6. A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow
  7. What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?
  8. In defence of Doubt
  9. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  10. Life’s challenges may not paralyse you
  11. Faithfulness when most necessary
  12. He Becomes a Fool Through His Endless Desire
  13. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement
  14. A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)
  15. He who beams never walks in the dark
  16. Confidence
  17. Hope begins in the dark
  18. It is not try but trust
  19. Give your tears to God
  20. Crying and trusting ones do not get disappointed
  21. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  22. Jesus son of God or God the son
  23. The Prophets Inquire into and Testify About Salvation
  24. A new decade, To open the eyes to get a right view
  25. Gospel or Good News
  26. Good News Breakers
  27. Bringing Good News into the world
  28. Preaching of the Kingdom

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Related

  1. The Void In Us
  2. Lonely… Empty… Why ?
  3. “Empty”
  4. Emptiness
  5. Emptiness “The space in time experienced as Emptiness is the predicate for Inspiration.
  6. An emptiness inside of me
  7. Why have you abandoned me?
  8. Ache
  9. Do you think Loneliness and Emptiness are two same words?
  10. When I Get Lost in My Loneliness
  11. Treatments for Depression
  12. A Conversation with Lama Shenpen about Emptiness and the Heart Sutra
  13. Emptiness Versus Hope
  14. A Moment’s Worth of Peace

Calvin looking at c1-12: The kingdom of heaven and foolishness

Then shall the kingdom of heaven.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

The kingdom of heaven is like what happened one night when ten girls took their oil lamps and went to a wedding to meet the groom.
(Mat 25:1 CEV)

By this term is meant the condition of the future Church, which was to be collected by the authority and direction of Christ. He employs this remarkable title, that believers may not deceive themselves by an erroneous opinion that they have arrived at absolute perfection.

The parable is borrowed from the ordinary custom of life; for it was a childish speculation of Jerome and others, to adduce this passage in praise of virginity; while Christ had no other object in view than to lessen the uneasiness which they might be apt to feel in consequence of the delay of his coming. He says, therefore, that he asks nothing more from us than is usually done for friends at a marriage-feast. The custom was, that virgins, who are tender and delicate — should, by way of respect, accompany the bridegroom to his chamber. But the general instruction of the parable consists in this, that it is not enough to have been once ready and prepared for the discharge of duty, if we do not persevere to the end.

Five were wise.

Five of the girls were foolish and five were wise.
(Mat 25:2 CEV)

Towards the close of the former chapter, our Lord specially required steward to be wise, (Mt 24:45) for it is reasonable, that the heavier the charge which any man sustains, and the more important the matters in which he is employed, the wisdom with which he conducts himself should be the greater. But now he demands wisdom from all the children of God in general, that they may not, through inconsiderate rashness, expose themselves to be the prey of Satan. Now this kind of wisdom he describes by saying, that they are to provide themselves with the supplies necessary for completing the course of their life. For the warmth of our impatience makes us look upon the time, however short, as far too long protracted; and next, our poverty is such, that we need supplies for every hour.

Drowsy girls who fell asleep

The groom was late arriving, and the girls became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Mat 25:5 CEV)

And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. Some interpret this slumbering in a bad sense, as if believers, along with others, abandoned themselves to sloth, and were asleep amidst the vanities of the world; but this is altogether inconsistent with the intention of Christ, and with the structure of the parable. There would be greater probability in explaining it to denote death, which overtakes believers before the coming of Christ; for it is not at that time only that we must look for salvation, but also when we have left the world and are sleeping in Christ. (Ed. note: Note how Calvin is talking about “sleeping in Christ” and also does not seem to believe some separate being or soul would go straight to heaven or hell. Here he gives the impression he also believes it is only later that the living and the dead will be called in front of the judgement seat of Christ.  See “A Cry arose”))

But I take it more simply as denoting earthly occupations, in which believers must be engaged, so long as they dwell in the body; and, though forgetfulness of the kingdom of God ought never to steal upon them, yet the distracting influence of the occupations of this world is not inappropriately compared to sleep. For they cannot be so constantly occupied with the thought of meeting Christ, as not to be distracted, or retarded, or entangled by a variety of cares, in consequence of which, while they watch, they are partly asleep.

A cry arose

Then in the middle of the night someone shouted, “Here’s the groom! Come to meet him!”
(Mat 25:6 CEV)

At midnight a cry arose. With respect to the cry I view it as taken metaphorically for his sudden arrival; for we know, that when any thing new and unexpected happens, men are wont to make a loud noise. True, indeed, our Lord cries daily, that he will come quickly,(Re 22:20); but at that, time, the whole frame of the world will resound with the cry, and his dreadful majesty will fill heaven and earth in such a manner, as not only to awaken those who are asleep, but to bring the dead out of their graves, (Joh 5:28).

Late repentance

the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.”
(Mat 25:8 CEV)

And the foolish said to the wise. This is a reproof of the late repentance of those who never think of what they are in want of, till the door is shut against every remedy.

For those who do not make provision for a long period are charged with folly, because they are careless, and flatter themselves amidst their poverty, and allow the season of mutual intercourse to pass in such a way as to despise the aids which were offered to them. As they do not, in proper time, bethink themselves about procuring oil, Christ, mocking the knowledge which they have acquired when it is too late, shows how their stupidity will be punished, when they shall see themselves to be empty and unprovided, while there is no remedy.

Distributed gifts

the foolish ones said to the others, “Let us have some of your oil! Our lamps are going out.” The girls who were wise answered, “There’s not enough oil for all of us! Go and buy some for yourselves.”
(Mat 25:8-9 CEV)

Lest there be not enough for you and us.

We know that the Lord distributes his gifts so variously to each, according to his measure, in order that they may give mutual aid to each other, and may employ for the general advantage what has been entrusted to each individual; and that in this way is preserved the sacred connection which exists among the members of the Church. But Christ here points out the time when he shall summon all men to his tribunal, each carrying his bundle, that he may bring with him according as he has done in his body. That portion of grace received, which every man has laid up for himself, is, therefore, justly compared to a stock of provisions for a journey, which would not be enough for a greater number of persons.

But rather go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

These words immediately follow, and are not intended as an admonition, but a reproof; and the meaning is:

“There once was a time for buying, which you ought not to have neglected; for oil was at that time offered for sale, but the means of obtaining it are now withdrawn.”

And yet it is foolish in the Papists to infer from this, that by our own virtues or industry we obtain the gift of perseverance. For the word buy does not at all imply that a price has been given; as appears clearly from the passage in Isaiah, (55:1) where the Lord, while he invites us to buy, demands no price, but informs us, that he has wine and milk in abundance, to be gratuitously bestowed. There is no other way of obtaining it, therefore, but to receive by faith what is offered to us.

The door was shut.

While the foolish girls were on their way to get some oil, the groom arrived. The girls who were ready went into the wedding, and the doors were closed.
(Mat 25:10 CEV)

At length it follows that the door of the heavenly kingdom will be shut against all who have not made provision, because they failed in the middle of the course. We must not enter here into minute inquiries, how it is that Christ says that the foolish virgins went to buy for it means nothing else than that all who shall not be ready at the very moment when they shall be called will be shut out from entering into heaven.

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Preceding

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Jesus Christ had only a very short time of public life. In those three years of walking and preaching around, he admonished the people to follow the good doctrine, not the evil examples, of the Scribes and Pharisees. They really got annoyed by that rabbi which seemed to know more than them. In Matthew 23 we could see how he denounced eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness. The Scribes and Pharisees bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Jesus demands people to live or behave according to the scriptures which means each human being should live according to and with blessings, outlined in the Eight Beatitudes. Now his last declaration was a series of Eight Judgments (‘Woes‘).

Matthew affirms that the message Jesus brings is initially spoken to “the multitudes and to his disciples”. When we want to be a disciple of Christ Jesus, we do have to listen to him and to follow his words. We should not be Pharisaic and tell others what to do, whilst we ourselves would ignore those words of Christ.

Wanting to be a follower of Christ we should be aware that he is the sent one of God who prepared the way to God. But when we as servants are not prepared for his return, we shall get in trouble, because then we shall miss the opportunity to enter his house or shall not be able to enter the Kingdom of Christ nor the Kingdom of God.

The return of the Messiah is going to produce a thorough disentanglement. We have already seen this in the parables of the wheat and the tares, and that of the net cast into the sea, in Matthew 13, and again in the verses we have just considered at the close of Matthew 24. The same great fact meets us again in this fresh similitude of the kingdom of heaven spoken of in chapter 25.

The point all through chapter 25 is the way in which the coming of the Lord will make a complete separation between those who really are his and those who are not. In these parables, we see the separation made between real and spurious in the sphere of profession, and the seal of the Spirit is only possessed by those truly Christ’s. In the world, we can find lots of people who say they are “Christian“, but who adhere to another Christ than the apostles. The apostles did know very well their master. They also worshipped the same God as Jesus Christ. Jesus never prayed to himself or never asked others to praise him for what happened to them. Always, Jesus asked to go to the temple to thank God and to pray to God, with the words

Our Father, Who are in heaven”.

Lots of so-called Christians are not really living as if it would be their last day on earth, nor as if Jesus would be coming back to earth now or tomorrow. They think they still have lots of time to chose or change their character. It can well be that they would be very surprised when that return would be there sooner than they think. More people then shall see,  the shutting of the door sealed the rejection of the false. The foolish do not represent backsliders who once knew the Lord and were known of him. The word is not

“I once knew you, but now disown you,”

but rather,

“I know you not.”

Now the Lord knows those who are his, but these are strangers to him.

In this 25th chapter of Matthew Jesus concludes his parabolic utterances with developing parables of the virgins (vv 1-13), the tradesmen (vv 14-30), and the flock (vv 31-46). It was to be his last exposition before he shared with them the Passover memorial (Mat 26:1-75).

The parable of the virgins taught the need for personal preparation; that of the tradesmen the need for personal effort, and that of the flock the need to prepare for the judgment.

Those parables are still of great importance for us, because they serve as a warning. A warning to be prepared.

In hearing

“You also prove yourselves ready because in an hour you are not expecting the Son of Humankind is coming.” (Mt 24:44 mhm)

we encounter many who will say,

“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that for years.”

However, Jesus is instructing various believers around the world to announce to his church, his Bride, that he is coming very soon.

Furthermore, Jesus gives an indication it is not just alright to say you believe in him or follow him. One must prove that there is such faith in him and in his heavenly Father. Lots of Christians do not want to work for their faith, but we need to labour for the Truth, and to be faithful in all our commitments, so that the talent of time, energy, and opportunity might be expended for the future. Faith without works is dead.

Lots of people who call themselves Christian, worship another God than Christ (namely the Trinity) and live as if nothing is at hand, following their own lusts. They are living their lives chasing their own desires, their own wants and needs, instead of spending their time, serving Jesus and his God and the needs of their kingdom. Those people should know that there will be a severe penalty to pay. There are churches who teach

“once saved, always saved,”

and that one can never lose one’s salvation, regardless of how one lives his or her life. However, this doctrine totally ignores this warning.

“50 the Master will arrive in that day he is not expecting and in an hour he is not knowing 51 and the Master will cut him asunder and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!” (Mt 24:50-51 mhm)

“All of you continue to work, not for the food that perishes, but rather for the Food that remains unto endless Life–which the Son of Humankind will give you–for the Father, The God, has sealed this person.”” (Joh 6:27 mhm)

“It is a necessity to continue to work the works of the One who sent me while it is day. The night is coming when no one will be able to work.” (Joh 9:4 mhm)

“However, the payment is not credited to the one working as if it were charity, but as a debt.” (Ro 4:4 mhm)

“Give them an abundance of loving consideration because of their work. All of you remain peaceable with one another.” (1Th 5:13 mhm)

“Therefore, just as the body without breath is dead, so also, conviction without works is dead.” (Jas 2:26 mhm)

We also should know that whatever we do should be worthy of Christ.

We need to recognise the basis of judgment:

that of displaying the principles of God manifestation to our brethren: of upholding the divine elements, and of manifesting the characteristics of Jehovah God to those we might be privileged to assist. Then we will hear the glad tidings at the judgment seat of the King:

‘Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least, ye did it to me.’

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Preceding

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:27-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 6: Whitewashed Graves

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

Next: Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

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Additional reading

  1. Dealing with worries in our lives
  2. Hearing words to accept
  3. Believing what Jesus says
  4. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  5. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  6. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  7. You know neither the day nor the hour
  8. To be prepared and very well oiled

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

In our previous post you could read how Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives and talked to his disciples who had asked him to tell them when this destruction of the temple, about he talked earlier, would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?

Jesus answered their question, telling about days or moments and things as the prophets had foretold it, and to make sure that no one would mislead them, but at the same time warns us to be careful not to be deceived and not having us lead into error. (Matthew 24:4) We may not forget that many will so come in Jesus his name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to the sent one from God], saying,

‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. : after the distress of those days, (Matthew 24:5)

Jesus told his disciples that they would continually hear of wars and rumours of wars, and that is also what happened throughout the ages. Several students of the Bible were not at all frightened, because they knew and we know that those things must take place (Matthew 24:6)

Throughout the ages we have seen that nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Throughout the ages there have always been wars and lots of problems, like droughts, famines, heave destructing storms, earthquakes in various places. Jesus told his disciples generations would encounter such things, but them would all be merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. (Matthew 24:7-8)

Jesus told us in advance about many signs which shall occur at certain times. It would be to his followers and readers of the Scriptures to come to know those signs and not to be left in the dark. What should bring us out of the dark is what Jesus further told:

“29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘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.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Mt 24:29-30 NIV)

Even when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken it should not be a time of distress for us, whilst it might be for many in this world.

For Students of the Bible it shall be that time to be recognised as the sign of the Son of Man [coming in his glory] for which many of us waited such a long time. For centuries fellow members looked forward for signs to appear in the sky, when they would come to see all the tribes of the earth and especially Israel to come to mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah] (Matthew 24:30)

We still wait and look forward to that day when we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendour] (Matthew 24:30). Waiting already such a long time we should not be weary, the return of the Christ is imminent.

When looking at what is going on in the world we may be sure that one day, not so far in the future, the sun will grow dark, and the moon will not give its light, people coming to see the stars falling from the sky [heaven] (Matthew 24:29).

When Jesus was talking about all this he had already told them that he was going to have to go to Jerusalem to have his final days there, because him being betrayed, falsely accused, tried, beaten, and eventually put to death. He had spoken about his reason for his (first) coming to earth. He told about his primary mission being to serve as the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. Having told them that he would be killed he also assured them that this would not be the end of him, because he would be restored to life and there would come a day when he would return to earth a second time.
But there was much that would have to take place before that return. And the date of his second appearance was and would be a mystery for many years. He told the disciples,

“No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mt 24:36 NIV)

Yes, even Jesus himself did not know the day. He as a son of man, not being like God, an all-knowing god, was in darkness about the moment God would allow him to come back to earth to fulfil his task.

The short time Jesus had his public life, he warned people to return to God and to prepare themselves to be worthy for entering the Kingdom of God, because everybody had to know there would come a day of death, or end of living, and a judgement day, when it would be all too late to change anything. All choices for the way of living have to be made whilst living, so before the moment of death arrives.
Jesus has warned those around him several times,

“ So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Mt 24:44 NIV)

The point Jesus seemed to be making had to do with preparedness. He wanted not only his disciples to live with a sense of eager expectation, anticipating that his return could happen at any moment. Jesus wanted to warn everybody and tried with his many parables to show what the Torah implicated and how there would come a time we would have to come before the Elohim to justify us.

People had to come out of the darkness of the world before another sort of darkness would frighten them even more than all the previous events. This led Jesus to tell a few parables to drive home his point. As such people could hear him tell a story about the wedding banquet or ten virgins who were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. In the story, all ten virgins share a common expectation of the bridegroom’s arrival. They are eagerly anticipating his coming, but five of them are prepared, while five are not. In the story, the bridegroom has not shown up as expected. But, as part of the welcoming party, they were to have been ready, because, as Jesus had said, the groom was

“coming at an hour you do not expect.”

With the parable of the fig tree Jesus is attempting to open the eyes of his disciples and wants to help them (and us) develop a long-term perspective regarding his Kingdom. From the books of the Messianic writings (1st and 2nd part of the New Testament) we can clearly see that the apostles were focused on the here-and-now, and having trouble understanding that the talk of their master teacher his coming death in Jerusalem was anything but bad news or something to be avoided at all costs.

This entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew contains the surprising and difficult-to-comprehend words of Jesus as he reveals the bigger picture regarding God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ death on the wooden stake would be just the beginning of the much larger, comprehensive Plan of God. It would also include his resurrection, God calling him out of the hell where he was for three days, as well as his return to his Father’s side. Jesus to be taken up in heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But, even more importantly, it would require his eventual return to earth as the conquering King.

Jesus trusted his God, the God of Abraham, and knew very well his position and his task here on earth. But he also had confidence that what was written in the scrolls all would become a reality. Jesus knew that there would be a long delay before his return would take place, and therefore he wanted to assure his followers that they should not worry too much but should always prepare themselves, always being ready for when the moment would be there.
Jesus wanted his disciples and followers to live with a sense of eager anticipation. If they expected it to happen and kept their eyes open, looking for the signs of its approach, they would be able to endure the struggles that were coming their way.

Jesus used the visual lesson of a fig tree in order to help the disciples understand that there would be visible, recognizable signs associated with His coming. The budding of a fig tree is a natural indication that summer is near. It is unmistakable and irrefutable. In the same way, Jesus stated that the signs of his return will be undeniable. He even assures his disciples that

“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mt 24:34 NIV)

From the Scriptures we do know that Jesus always wanted to do what God wanted. He even put his own will aside to do the will of God. From the Scripturues we also do know that Jesus was without fault, i.e. did not sin and as such always told the truth.

In this chapter he was not saying that the events associated with the end times would take place during the lifetimes of his disciples. But while they were alive, they would already begin to see the early signs of his return. The budding of a fig tree provides a premonition or portent of something to come. The buds do not mean summer has arrived, but that it is coming. In the same way, the disciples would live to see signs that would point to Jesus’ coming.

In a sence they would be alive when he returned, because after his death he appeared to them. But the signs he warned them about would not be then, but much later. Jesus gave those warnings so that those who would come after the disciples could see clear indications that it was going to happen.

Each generation of believers has been given signs that Jesus his coming is imminent and inevitable. These signs act as assurances of God’s faithfulness and are meant to encourage us to continue to wait eagerly and hopefully.

The earth would continue to go through all kinds of struggles, including earthquakes, famines, floods, disasters, and even wars. The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth:

“ those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1Co 7:31 NIV)

The apostle John wrote,

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (1Jo 2:17 NIV)

This gives already something to have hope for. Because even when we die, there shall be the prospect for that time coming, when Jesus would call the living and the death to raise and to come before his judgement seat. When having lived according to God’s Law the lover of God should not have to worry, because all promises of God shall come true.

In this world of darkness, not many intereted in the Only One True God, Who is One, for many, the second coming of Jesus will be a surprise. Because the majority not being interested in God, His commands nor His Words, the second coming of Christ will catch the majority of people living on earth at the time completely off-guard and unprepared.
Jesus used the days of Noah as an apt point of comparison. In a way, Noah’s building of the ark was a clear sign that something was coming. And Peter seems to indicate that Noah warned his neighbours of God’s coming judgment and the availability of salvation made possible by the ark.

“ if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;” (2Pe 2:5 NIV)

From the Scriptures history telling we know that the people in Noah’s day ignored the signs and refused the message of Noah. Instead, they busied themselves, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark (Matthew 24:38). Like in the days of Noah, today we also see how people continue their way of life like they want to enjoy life. They go on with their lives, oblivious to the warning signs and ignorant of what is about to happen. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the same thing as in Noah’s time was going to happen when he finally shall return. It would catch the world unprepared and completely off-guard.

Let us make sure we are prepared!

+

Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

++

Find also to read

  1. Today’s thought “They flattered … they lied” (February 14)
  2. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  3. Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
  4. Looking into the Future
  5. Looking forward for what is to come
  6. The resurrected Lord
  7. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  8. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  9. You know neither the day nor the hour
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  11. The New Testament and Judgement
  12. Prophecies over coming days
  13. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  14. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  15. Signs of the Last Days
  16. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  17. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  18. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  19. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  20. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  21. To be prepared and very well oiled
  22. Preparing for his coming
  23. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  24. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  25. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  26. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  27. As you see the Day approaching
  28. The Rapture Wars
  29. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  30. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
  31. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth
  32. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 13 Noah’s ark and the flood
  33. Today’s thought “A Damaged and Wicked World” (January 03)
  34. Today’s thought “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (January 04)

Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:13-14 – Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

|| Luke 11:52

MT23:13 “WOE to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, because right in front of people[1] you are closing the door to the Realm of Heaven.[2] You do not enter and you prevent those who might from entering.[3] MT23:14 [[Woe to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees, for you devour the houses of widows and for a pretence you make long prayers. This is why you will receive a heavier judgment.]][4]

*

Woe

[1] Right in front of people: [Or, you slam the door in men’s faces] Or, GDSP: you lock the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces.

[2] Closing the door to the Realm of Heaven: We have seen elsewhere in Matthew that the Realm of Heaven is the domain over which Christ rules; that is, Christendom – the Church. The Jewish religious hierarchy opposed the Jesus movement and acted as a restraint in preventing many persons from gaining membership in the congregation Jesus was building. There are modern movements who teach that lesser persons do not attain heaven, but live on earth forever**. These actually teach that opportunity to enter heaven closed.

[3] You do not enter and you prevent those who might from entering: Or, BECK: you won’t come into it yourself, and when others try to come in, you won’t let them. They do not follow the Nazarene and any who try they threaten with excommunication (See John 9:22; 16:2).

[4] [[…]]: Most recognize this verse does not have ancient support and is not supported by the older manuscripts.

**

Many philosophers and preachers talk about some sort of incarnation, where the person keeps returning on earth, each time in another form. Though all should know there is no such incarnation and not every body is going to go to heaven after death. God’s Kingdom shall be on earth as it is in heaven.

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Preceding

Matthew 23:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Prominence and Humility

+++

Related literature

  1. The Good & Bad of the Pharisees
  2. Hypocrisy & Judgmentalism – Two Unmistakable Marks Of Narcissism – Part 1
  3. Strength and Authority
  4. Leadership and Titles– Part I
  5. Woe unto you…..
  6. “But woe unto you, religious elites (scribes and Pharisees), hypocrites! You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.” ~Jesus
  7. Judgement

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