Todays readings… Genesis 37, Psalm 39&40, Matthew 24

What a fascinating set of readings we have today, but the chapter in Matthew is intensely thought provoking and ended up dominating our thoughts.  Jesus made awesome predictions about the future as “he sat with them (the disciples)  on the Mount of Olives” [v.3] The bulk of his predictions related to the destruction of the Temple – and this occurred about 40 years later.  But the teachings of Jesus on the mount then go beyond that time to when he will  return to earth. It will be dramatic; “as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” [v.27] 

It will be an utterly dramatic time; there will be a final time of tribulation, and then, said Jesus, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man … and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” [v.29,30]  

How literal are these words? We hesitate to be dogmatic, but it would be foolish to ‘spiritualize’ them away!?

The most wonderful (and awe-inspiring) are the words of  Jesus, as far as believers are concerned, are in v.31 which tells us that ” he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds …” .   Jesus likens the time to –  “the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” [v.37-39] 

Thankfully, after that flood, God promised “”I will never again curse the ground because of man … as I have done.  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”[Gen. 8 v.21, 22].  Wonderful – and we are experiencing this blessing – but so few these days thank the Creator for them. 

Finally, look at v.42-44,  “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming … the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. ” And then, indeed, it will be “as the lightning comes …”  We do not know the day or the hour – but what about the year?  It is now 70 years since Israel became a nation again!