Matthew 24:1 – Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.
Let’s take a moment and remember the context here. Just before Jesus leaves the temple (for the last time before his crucifixion), he publicly laments over Jerusalem. He experiences great sadness because of the path his people had chosen. Jesus wanted to gather the Jews to himself. He wanted to protect and preserve them. He wanted to care for them and lead them into eternal life, but they refused. They chose darkness rather than light.
As a result of that choice, Jesus made this pronouncement “See, your house is left to you desolate.” So as he left the temple, his words were literally fulfilled. The mood was not one of levity. It was one of seriousness and even lament.
Now, as they exit, the disciples wanted Jesus to observe what a magnificent structure the temple was. And indeed, in the eyes of man it was amazing. While very few descriptions of it actually exist, we know that it was of immense size. It was made of white marble, with gold trim. It was surrounded by giant courts to contain the huge crowds that came during Passover and other Jewish holy days. Luke tells us that the temple was adorned/decorated with gifts:
Luke 21:5 – And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings…
In other words, gifts of golden objects were placed in the temple as decorations. Ancient writings (the Mishna and Josephus) indicate that the building was amazing in its size and beauty.
The disciples believed that this beautiful, well built structure either could not be destroyed because of the strength of its construction, or that it would not be destroyed because of its beauty and purpose. This belief tied in with their erroneous understanding about the future of the kingdom of the Messiah.
Remember, Jesus had told the disciples several times that he was going to die. In their minds, he was going to die, rise again on the third day, and immediately set up his earthly kingdom. They figured that Jesus was only leaving the temple for a week or so and that he would soon take permanent possession of it, as a part of his new kingdom. Additionally, they believed that the destruction of the temple and the end of the world (time), would occur simultaneously. In their minds, the temple would last until the final moment of time.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Matthew 24:2 – But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
At the time this was spoken, nothing seemed more improbable. The temple was an amazing work of construction. It was lavish and beautiful. It was considered holy. It was the pride of the nation and the nation was at peace. Surely, this building would stand forever!
And yet, in 40 short years, the city and the temple would both be demolished by Titus and his armies. Josephus the historian gives us an account of it in his book, Jewish Wars, book vi. He tells us that Titus debated what to do with the temple.
- Should they leave it because it was holy? [They didn’t want to offend the God of the temple.]
- Should they use it as a bargaining chip? [If they Jews capitulated to them, they would spare the structure.]
- Should it be considered a citadel? [In which case it must be destroyed.]
- Should they keep a thing of such immense beauty and value? [They would like to keep it intact so they would be admired by later generations.]
In the end, Titus and Caesar both fought to keep the temple standing. Yet the historical account shows that God’s will always overrides the plans of man. The temple was burned over a period of several days. Eventually it was completely stripped and demolished. Large numbers of both Jews and Romans were slaughtered or burned in the intense, bloody battle that raged over the temple.
It is interesting to note that Josephus himself was Jewish. He was captured by the Romans and remained with them during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, so his accounts of this incident were from first-hand knowledge. Being a Jew, he obviously would do nothing to confirm the prophesy of Jesus, yet his whole history of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple is a perpetual confirmation that the words of Jesus were fulfilled. God is so amazing! Men who do not even serve him bear witness to the truth of his message!
Another Jewish writer, Maimonides, also tells us that “Terentius Rufus, an officer in the army of Titus, with a ploughshare tore up the foundations of the temple”. This too was a fulfillment of scripture:
Micah 3:12 – Therefore because of you [wicked prophets, priests and rulers] Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.
What lessons can we learn from this?
It is a very grave reminder that the things of this life, no matter how permanent or magnificent they seem, are only temporary. Homes and riches and positions of power seem so real to us, but they will pass away.
Likewise, times of mourning or suffering will also eventually end. You may be suffering for the gospel, or just because of an affliction of the enemy. But take heart – it will one day end! The Christian can look forward to an eternity with Jesus, where trouble, pain, sickness and injustice are gone forever!
In his great mercy, God removed the earthly temple to point out that it was obsolete – he was now dwelling in the hearts and lives of his followers. The last great monument of the Old Covenant was destroyed; everything now pointed to the New Covenant of grace available to all through the blood of Christ. Don’t miss out on being a part of this! Make sure that your heart is right with God. He wants a relationship with you; you could even say that he destroyed the temple as a personal demonstration to YOU, that he wants to dwell in your heart.
The destruction of the temple is also a lesson in judgment. The Jews had rejected Christ. Any nation (or person) who rebels against God will face certain and sure destruction. It’s time to clean up our own personal holiness and make sure that we are living for Christ. It is also time to be in earnest prayer for our own nation, that we do not get judged as the Jews did.
Matthew 24:3 – As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus and the disciples make their way to the Mount of Olives. As we already discussed in prior lessons, from this vantage point they had a magnificent view of the whole city of Jerusalem. It was fitting for the city and the temple to be in view as these discussions took place.
Even though Jesus spoke of the destruction of the temple to all of his disciples, only a certain few approached him privately, wanting to know more about this issue. In the gospel of Mark, these men are identified as Peter, James, John and Andrew:
Mark 13:3 – And as he [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately….
I want to pause here and tell you that Matthew chapter 24 is an extremely difficult portion of scripture to understand. Even the most eminent scholars disagree on its interpretation.
What makes it so difficult? It is prophesy. Biblical prophesy primarily concerns the people, places and events that are near at hand when it is given. However, the same prophesy will also frequently have fulfillment in future generations as well.
In this case, some of the prophesy deals with the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Some of it implies a future fulfillment in the judgment and destruction of the world at the end of time. Therefore, it becomes very difficult to determine which event Jesus is describing – the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of the world, or both!
The good news is that the Holy Spirit is standing by to speak to our hearts about this portion of scripture. There is no cause to be discouraged or fearful. We may not fully understand everything, but we can be certain that if we look to him, he will reveal how this portion of scripture applies to us.
So, accepting Jesus’ declaration that the temple will be destroyed, the disciples ask Jesus some very far reaching follow up questions. When will the destruction of the temple/city take place? What will be the signs of Jesus coming, and what signs will accompany the end of the age (either the end of the Jewish dispensation or the end of the entire world)?
Jesus answers them in a very interesting way. Obviously, he could have given them the exact date and time they were looking for, but he didn’t.
Acts 1:7 – He [Jesus] said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
Instead, Jesus takes this opportunity to instruct the disciples about how they should live in light of the fact that their nation and temple will one day be destroyed.
Matthew 24:4-5 – And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”
We know that the Jews constantly faced persecution. They were treated with cruelty, harassed, afflicted and even put to death for their belief in God and their adherence to his law. But persecution is a pretty straightforward, clear thing – you can recognize it right away. And while it is an awful thing, it can actually draw you closer to God and make you more resolute in your devotion to him.
Deception is much more insidious. It isn’t straightforward at all. On the surface, it looks like truth, but it really isn’t. If you are not careful, you can be fooled into accepting a half-truth or even a lie, which will lead you away from God. At best, it will damage your relationship to him. At worst, it has the potential to sever your relationship with him all together.
Jesus begins by giving his disciples a solemn warning that deception would characterize or be a sign of the latter days.
This deception was to come through false prophets and teachers. Sadly, the Jews themselves had opened the door for these deceivers. In chapter 23, Jesus reveals that the religious leaders had killed the true prophets that God had sent them. Since they had rejected and killed the men who presented them with the truth, they opened the door for false prophets/teachers to come in and tell them lies, which they readily accepted and clung to.
And since they rejected and murdered the true Messiah, they opened the door to being fooled by false christs and pretended messiahs. Josephus speaks of several such imposters coming on the scene in Jerusalem before its destruction. According to his writings in Jewish Wars, book ii, several of these false christs arose, deceiving people and leading them out into the desert claiming to show them signs and wonders.
The book of Acts also reveals the presence of these false christs:
Acts 21:38 -Are not you that Egyptian, who before these days made an uproar, and led out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?
Acts 5:36-37 – For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and came to nothing. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
The acceptance of multiple false prophets split the Jews into multiple factions, which further splintered the nation and made their destruction all the more easy for their enemies.
But the Jews are not the only ones susceptible to false prophets and teachers. Christians can be fooled as well.
2 Peter 2:1 – But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the end of the world] shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Could a Christian of the 21st century ever fall prey to a false prophet or teacher? Let’s consider that possibility. The Jews followed after the religious leaders of their day, who had rejected the truth of the gospel message. Rejection of the truth is what opened up the door for false teaching.
Are there churches today that claim to be Christian yet have rejected the truth? Are there churches that preach love to the exclusion of judgment? Are there churches who accept all lifestyles and sexual orientations, even though the word of God says that marriage is between one man and one woman? Are there churches who preach a gospel of earthly wealth while enriching themselves off of their followers and doing little/nothing to ease the suffering of the poor? Any true Christian who attends such a church is opening themselves up to deception!
The Jews were also preyed upon by individual false teachers. Because they did not know the truth of the word, they accepted lies that matched up with the things they wanted to believe. Today, there are thousands of individual people flooding the internet and social media with religious messages. If you are listening to people you don’t know, be very, very cautious! You must know the word well enough that you can spot a false doctrine if they hand it out. Beware of any teacher who teaches that you are safe from any and all types of persecution or inconvenience or trouble.
While it is true that God does not want you to fear and that your life is in his hands, it is NOT true that you will automatically be safe from hardship or persecution. God promises to give you strength for your trials and he promises to walk through them with you. He never promised that trouble would not come.
Could a Christian of the 21st century fall prey to a false messiah? I think it depends. As times get more difficult and uncertain, anxiety and fear build. People (including Christians) who have not built a firm relationship with God will be open to anything that looks like safety or deliverance. Satan will not pass up the opportunity to deceive anyone. If possible he would love to take you to hell with him.
So, you and I need to be on our guard. What steps we can take to protect ourselves from false prophets and false teachings?
First of all, read the word. God never contradicts himself. Make sure that what is being taught or prophesied lines up with the written word.
Second, get rooted in a solid church. Don’t run from one ministry to another, or watch a new and different preacher over the internet each week. Establish yourself in the fellowship where God has called you, and get involved. You will be much less likely to fall for some outrageous new doctrine.
Third, develop a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. If a false teaching or prophesy presents itself, he will warn you about it.
Now is the time to develop your relationship to God! Now is the time to learn how to trust God before the storms of life come. Now is the time to learn how to banish fear and doubt. Now is the time to practice leaning on Jesus for protection, guidance, provision and peace.
So just as deception, false prophets and false messiahs were a common factor in the destruction of the Jewish state back in AD 70, I believe we can expect them to make an appearance at the end of the world. What do you think?
One final comment: the disciples wanted Jesus to tell them the exact date or time of the destruction of their nation. It is likely they wanted to prepare themselves and their families for that frightening time (perhaps by buying canned food and toilet paper). But Jesus didn’t do that. Instead, he prepares them to withstand the storms that were coming. I believe the same is true for us. Drawing close to God is the best preparation we can make for the end of the world.
Matthew 24:6 – “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”
At the time Jesus spoke this prediction, Rome was the empire which ruled the world (including the Jews) and it was at peace. Even rumors of war were nonexistent.
However, a time arose when rebellions started to occur. These especially happened under the rule of the emperors Caligula, Claudius and Nero (specific details can be found in any good historical account). The great Jewish war with Rome began in 66 AD and lasted 5 years.
One example of rumored war occurred when Caligula the Roman emperor ordered his statue to be set up in the temple at Jerusalem. Infuriated, the Jews refused to allow this sacrilege to happen. They were certain that Rome would come to punish them, and they were so up in arms, that they forgot to plow their fields that year. They braced for a confrontation, but it came to nothing because Caligula died shortly afterward, and the threat of war dissipated.
Rumored war can also include battles between other countries distant to your own, which threaten your own safety or well being in same way. For instance, they could have an adverse economic impact on your country.
In any age, war certainly causes fear to rise up in the hearts of men. It disrupts society and families; it causes great death and destruction and there is no guarantee that any person or nation will survive intact.
Jeremiah 4:19 – My soul, my soul! I am pained at my very heart; my heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
Yet, Jesus bids his followers not to be alarmed. Why should they not fear?
One, because “this must take place”. These wars are appointed by God. Punishment and ruin were decreed for the Jews by the justice of God, for the rejection of Jesus. When God declares a thing, it will be accomplished in its due time. Therefore, his people could take comfort and shake off fear knowing that God is in control.
The events that happened were a part of God’s divine plan. They were a means to further an end. The old house (the era of the law) must be shaken and removed, so that the new house (the era of grace) can be erected. Hebrews tell us that things that are shaken must be removed and replaced with things that cannot be shaken:
Hebrews 12:26-29 – At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, ‘Yet once more’, indicates the removal of things that are shaken – that is, things that have been made – in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
The second reason the disciples are not to fear is because “the end is not yet.” These wars are not the end. More trouble and affliction is to follow. God has more vials of wrath to pour out. He has more arrows of judgment in his quiver, still to be released.
If the disciples gave way to fear at the beginning of trouble (wars and rumors of war, etc), then what will they do when famine and pestilence come? Jesus is instructing them to gather their strength and stand firm. If they lack strength, it can be found through praise, worship and waiting on God (Psalms 18:32, Psalms 27:1, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 25:4, Isaiah 40:29, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and dozens more).
Here is a very important point: Rather than acting out of knowledge of a future date, the disciples were to live each and every day in dependence on God. When they lived that way, it didn’t matter which day was the end of the age. They were ready, no matter what. If they are totally depending on God for their provision, lives and protection, then they were ready for another day on earth, or they were ready to go home to Heaven.
By contrast, if they knew the exact date that the temple/city would end, they would be all about setting their house in order and making provisions for this life. God wants his people to trust in him, and he will provide all they have need of:
Matthew 6:33 – But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Now, what about us? Scholars argue over whether or not these signs pertain to the actual end of time and the end of the earth. Scholars also argue over whether or not we are currently living in the last days.
My point is this – It doesn’t matter. The instructions and principles for life that Jesus gave his disciples also apply to Christians in every generation, including ours. No matter how close (or far away) we are to the end of time, we should live each day for the glory of God.
Each day, we should stand against evil. Each day, we should be spending time in his presence with praise and worship. Each day, we should be reading the word. Each day, we should be following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Each day, we should be about the business of winning souls to Christ and praying for revival. Each day we should be living, working, discovering and making future plans. Now is not the time to ‘hunker down’ and wait for the return of Christ. Now is the time to stand up and be a light to the world around us.
Matthew 24:7-8 – “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”
What is the meaning of ‘nation against nation’ and ‘kingdom against kingdom’? This refers to one part or province of the Jewish nation going to war against another; one city fighting against another and even within the city one faction will rise up against another, so that both are devoured by war and death.
Just before its destruction, the Jews joined the Galileans and fought against their relatives, the Samaritans. The entire nation of the Jews fought against the Romans. At the same time, there were Romans embroiled in bitter battles for the title of Caesar, particularly Otho and Vitellius fighting in a civil war in Italy.
So, this was historically fulfilled in the Jewish nation. However, it applies to other nations as well. Look at this prophesy from the Old Testament:
Isaiah 19:2-3 – And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight everyone against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in its midst; and I will destroy its counsel: and they shall seek after the idols, and the charmers, and the mediums, and the wizards.
In the Old Testament, Egypt is always symbolic of the world. So this scripture is predicting that the nations of the world will fight against each other, which clearly has come to pass. Such is the inescapable fate of those who reject God, for war is the natural result of rebellion against the Prince of Peace.
War never travels alone. It always brings along its companions – famine and pestilence. We have clear historical records of severe famine when the city of Jerusalem was under siege by the Romans. This was in addition to the famine mentioned in the scriptures in Acts 11:28. Again, there also are many historical records that show pestilence (contagious or infectious epidemic disease) and earthquakes happened during this period of time. We see that the words of Jesus proved true.
Will these same signs be present at the end of time? Many generations since the destruction of Jerusalem (including ours) have seen wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes. In fact, we are in the midst of a pestilence right now! As we noted earlier, it is best for us to treat each day on earth as our last, for in so doing, we will always be ready for the end.
Matthew 24:9 – “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.”
Our translation says ‘deliver you up to tribulation’. The King James version says ‘deliver you up to be afflicted’. In this case, to be afflicted means to be persecuted, imprisoned, scourged, etc.
The Romans literally fulfilled this prophesy in AD 64 when Nero began the systematic murder of Jews and Christians (including the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul). He used them as scapegoats for the great fire and economic collapse that occurred. The public wanted to take out their rage on someone, so they joined in and a mob mentality or spirit of persecution broke out. [Notice that the people were unwilling to accept responsibility for their own sins, which was the true cause of their problems.]
The New Testament, particularly the book of Acts, is replete with examples of persecution and affliction of the early members of the church. For example, Acts chapter 16 tells us how Paul and Silas were beaten and imprisoned in Philippi for casting a demon out of a girl, and thus ruining the income her Roman masters were making.
To make things worse, the Gentiles were not alone in their actions. The Jews themselves were some of the worst persecutors of the Christians.
Persecution has continued for both Jews and Christians from that day until this, while other false religions continue untouched. Nothing will satisfy the evil desires of Satan except the blood of the saints, which he thirsts for like water.
Yet, with each instance, the light of Christ shines forth as a testimony against the wicked.
Matthew 24:10 – “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.”
Evil men and women will always persecute the godly, but they have other persecutors as well.
Back in Matthew 13, we looked at the parable of the sower. Jesus spoke of seed that fell on rocky soil, which sprang up immediately, but when the scorching sun came, it withered and died. Jesus said this represents people who gladly accept the gospel message, but when persecutions arise, they abandon the faith (Matthew 13:20-21).
The kind of persecution and affliction noted in verse 9 often results in the apostasy of believers who are not truly rooted or committed to Christ. Many times it is these apostate people who become the most bitter persecutors of Christians.
Aren’t you glad that God is honest with us? If Jesus had only given us promises of love and victory while leaving out the realities of persecution and hardship, very few people would remain faithful to him. But, in his infinite glorious wisdom, he tells us from the outset that persecution and controversy and fiery trials will be the lot of his followers. Yet, he gives us the faith and strength to endure these trials until the end (whether that be the end of the age, the end of your earthly life or the end of time).
Matthew 24:11 – “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.”
Josephus tells us that during the siege of Jerusalem, those in authority hired false prophets to declare that aid would be given to the people from heaven. This was done to prevent them from attempting to desert, and to inspire confidence in God (Jewish Wars, book vi).
How sad! But, as previously noted, everyone needs something to believe in. When you reject the truth, the only thing left are lies and deceit. Those who end up rejecting the gospel will eagerly seek after anyone or anything that promises peace and safety.
This will be true in all generations, including the one that exists at the end of time.
Matthew 24:12 – “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
When false prophets and persecution arise, and when saints of God are hated, true believers can expect two things.
First, an abounding or increase in iniquity. Sin and iniquity have always been part of the world, yet there seem to be times or seasons when they increase or abound more than usual. During these times, society casts off the restraints of morality and God’s law. Once cast aside, wicked people will do everything their power to keep them off, because they prefer the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure to the righteousness of God.
Second, love will abate or grow cold. As Christians, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. That is an easy task when your neighbor is at peace with you. But what if your neighbor is persecuting or afflicting you?
Worse yet, this may refer to the biblical concept of brotherly love. As Christians, we are to love our fellow believers. However, persecution can cause believers to be suspicious and shy of one another. This can drive a wedge of distrust amongst God’s people and as a result, our love for one another grows cold.
However, there is still reason for hope. Jesus says the love of ‘many’ will wax cold, not the love of all. Even in the worst of times, God has a remnant that hold fast to their integrity and zeal. Remember, Elijah thought he was the only one of God’s prophets left, but God had 7000 who had still not kneeled to Baal!
Also, Jesus says that love has grown cold; he does not say it is completely dead. There is still life present in these individuals and God can redeem their cold love.
Matthew 24:13 – “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
What does Jesus mean in this verse when he refers to the end? This context may be referring to the ‘end’ as the close of the Jewish period and the phrase ‘shall be saved’ may indicate deliverance from doom during the destruction of Jerusalem.
However, it has a higher meaning that applies to Christians of every age. ‘Endurance’ or adherence to Christ until death despite suffering, persecution, lack of love or an increase in lawlessness will always result in salvation/eternal life for every man and woman. This is a great comfort to believers of every generation.
This is a good for us to remind ourselves that God keeps accurate records. He sees every heartache and every slight done to his people. He will not fail to reward us for our faithfulness to him.
Mathew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Again scholars differ on the meaning of ‘the end’ in this passage.
Those who believe it refers to the end of the Jewish state and law see it this way: Prior to the death/resurrection of Jesus, the message had only been proclaimed to the Jews. But by the time Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in AD 70, the apostles had had spread the gospel message far and wide (throughout the inhabited earth). The church had been born on the day of Pentecost. Paul and his assistants had spread that same message to every Gentile they could find. The preaching of the gospel message to all other people (the Gentiles) was a proof or a witness to the Jews that the Jewish state (the law/old covenant) was at an end.
Those who believe it refers to the end of time see it this way: There continue even until this day, people groups who have not yet heard the gospel message. The preaching of the gospel to all people will be a sign that the end of time is near. Christ will not return again until a witness of him has gone throughout the whole earth. People with this viewpoint concern themselves with things like missions, bible translation and electronic broadcasting of the gospel, etc in order to have the gospel preached to all of the inhabited world.
What exactly does the gospel testify or witness to?
- It is a witness of the great mercy and faithfulness of God. He never changes; his original intent was fellowship with mankind and he continues to extend that offer of fellowship to each and every person on earth.
- It is a witness to the mission of Jesus. He is the Messiah, the Savior, the King of Kings. With his blood, he ratified the covenant of salvation between God and man. All who believe on him shall be saved.
- It is a witness to the evil of man’s heart. Even though the good news of salvation and restoration with God have been widely published, many people continue to ridicule, mock and reject the offer that God has extended to them. Many people will chose darkness rather than light.
So let me offer you some encouragement:
Many people believe we are living in the final days of time for planet earth. Because of this, they want to prepare for what is coming. They prepare by stocking up on food and other essentials and clinging to a survivalist mindset. They are afraid of wars, riots and confrontations.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with being prudent, I encourage you to examine what Jesus says. He says that the best way to prepare for the end of time is to shut yourself in with God (Isaiah 26:20-21) and draw close to him. The only way to save your life, is to lay it down for the gospel (Mark 8:35-38). Peace and safety are found by dwelling in his presence (Psalms 91).
The Christian life is always to be lived under the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit; that was true on the day of Pentecost and it is still true today. If you know the truth it will not only set you free, it will prevent you from being deceived by Satan. I encourage you to draw closer and closer to the Lord.
Let me offer you some relief:
Are you troubled or even terrified about what is going on in the world right now? Are you uneasy about elections and food shortages and disease and social unrest?
You don’t have to be. Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is in perfect control of what is happening on planet earth. He is standing by to give you relief from your fears. All you need to do is turn to him. You can do that by sincerely praying this prayer from your heart:
Dear Jesus, I confess to you that I am a sinner. I am sorry for all the wrong things I have done and I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you are the Son of God, that you died on the cross and rose again, and that your blood paid the price for my sin. I invite you to come into my heart and life and to be my Lord and Savior. I commit myself to you right now. Thank you for saving me from death and giving me the gift of eternal life. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer and sincerely meant it, then you have received the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ!
Let me offer you some strength:
God did not design you to be a failure or a loser. He did not intend for you to cower in fear during your time on earth. He has set you up for victory through Jesus Christ. So if you are alive right now (and I assume you are!), then God has victory for you in this age, regardless of whether or not it is the end of time. So strengthen your resolve. Change your thinking. Put on the whole armor of God and STAND. Operate under the power of the Holy Spirit. Allow his strength to flow through you and be a witness for Christ in this generation.