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103: The End of the Age–Part II [Three Specific Signs]

May 15, 2009

Major Text: Mark 13:14-27

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 24:15-31      Mark 13:14-27      Luke 21:20-27

Outline:

  1. The Abomination of Desolation Mark 13:14-23
  2. Creation is Shaken Mark 13:24-25
  3. The Son of Man is seen by All Mark 13:26-27

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Jesus continues His discourse by moving from generalities to specifics. However, let me say that I believe Luke 21:20-24 do not coincide with the passages in Matthew and Mark but refer to the “age of the Gentiles” in the 70AD time frame and beyond. Those verses are more in tune with the previous lesson of generalities. Some of the same language is used but history has a way of repeating itself as we shall see in the first specific sign. This makes perfect sense in that Luke has a more gentile focus. Luke makes note that the Jews will be scattered among the nations. That was certainly the case. They are still scattered but more and more they are returning to their homeland.

The first specific sign that Jesus mentions is the Abomination of Desolation. Please refer to Daniel 9,11,& 12. This sign comes forth in the middle of the 7 year Tribulation period, Daniel’s 70th week. This is the act in which the anti-Christ enters the Temple of God, stops all sacrificing, and proclaims he is God. Blasphemy! This also happened earlier in history before Christ was born when Antiochus IV [Epiphanes] did a similar act; entered the Holy of Holies in 169BC, eliminated all God-ordained sacrifices, and set up a Greek altar. Thus, Antiochus’ actions were a foreshadowing of what is to come.

After the first sign, a second sign comes very soon. Creation is shaken. The sun and moon are darkened; like the lunar and solar eclipses. There will be severe storms, high tides, caused by disturbances in the orbits of the heavenly bodies, perhaps a shift of the earth’s axis, earthquakes, and falling stars. There is a purpose for all this. It is the Lord’s judgment against evil and it is His way of environmentally cleansing the earth after all the wars and death preceding this judgment. This cleansing is necessary to prepare for His millennial reign upon His return. So it serves two purposes, judgment and cleansing.

After creation is shaken, the Son of Man returns with His angels and with great Glory to gather His elect. All nations will see Him coming. There will be no question as to who is coming. If we are on earth at that time, we will know He is God and that all the others who claimed to be god before were false. This is not the rapture we Christians like to talk about. This is Christ’s return to reign, His second advent.

The “elect” can refer to the believing Jews or the Church. Pre-tribulation Christians believe the rapture took place early on and that the elect are Jews. They claim that Jesus never taught about the Church. But He did, during Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi. I prefer to believe that the rapture takes place just before the Lord’s wrath is poured out. The bowl and trumpet judgments of Revelations represent God’s wrath. The shakeup of creation is part of that. The last two specific signs happen very close together.

There are other interpretations but this makes the most sense to me now. I have held other views too and perhaps I will change again. The important thing is to know Christ and the rest will take care of itself. He is lord and Savior and will care for His own like a shepherd cares for his sheep.

In summary, these signs are Specific, the message is To Take Note, and the purpose is for us To have Specific Knowledge and Hope concerning His Return.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. God’s most productive sanctifying work comes during times of great stress.
  2. Know Christ and His signs and you will not follow false christs. We are to discern His coming by the manner in which He comes. Many false christs will do great miracles to woo us. The true God of Creation will be seen by all men in the sky.
  3. The interference of Satan never shuts out God’s sovereignty, grace, and love.
  4. The believer’s mourning will quickly turn to joy at His return. The non-believer’s joy will quickly turn to mourning.

Live and Rejoice in the Hope of His Glorious and Triumphant Return.

Be on Guard!

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