Luke 21-22, Psalm 119:97-128
We have witnessed a steady stream of shocking events over the past couple of months. Everyone is trying to make sense of it all. Between Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria, much of the Caribbean and the southern United States has been destroyed with much loss of life and property. Has it always been this bad? Kerry Emanuel, hurricane expert in MIT in 2005 in a piece featured by NASA showed that Atlantic hurricanes are 60% more powerful than they were in the 1970's, the storms last longer and top wind speeds had increased by 25%. Is it Climate change or birth pangs? Mexico during this same time has been hit by a number of devastating earthquakes. Since the Richter scale was developed in 1935 to measure earthquakes, both the number and the strength of earthquakes have steadily worsened, much more in the last decade. Is this climate change or birth pangs? We have just seen the worst mass shooting in United States history in Las Vegas with at least 59 dead and over 500 wounded. Is this a problem with gun control or birth pangs?
When we come to prophecy, and in this case it is Jesus prophesying in Luke 21:5-36, the prophet will often give both near and far prophecy. Seeing that the near prophecy comes true, the reader can trust that the far prophecies can also be relied on. When Jesus is asked about the temple in Luke 21:5, he responds in 21:6 saying, "...the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down." In 21:20-24, He describes the death and the leading away into captivity that the people would experience. In AD 70 (approximately 40 years after the prophecy was given), after a 143 day siege, the Romans under General Titus entered Jerusalem killing over one million Jews, with the rest taken captive. The temple was burned, and as a result the gold melted and ran through all the cracks of the temple. Once the temple cooled down, the soldiers pulled apart every stone to obtain the gold, then threw the huge multi-ton stones off the temple mount as prophesied by Jesus. This huge collection of stones has recently been unearthed and validated on the side of the temple mount. On the south panel relief of the Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum, depicted is the spoils being taken from the temple. Though Jesus states we are not to know the exact date of when our end times will be ushered in, we are told to look for the signs and be prepared.
Jesus explains what our response to these world events should be. In Luke 21:28, he says, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift your heads, because your redemption draws near." When devastation strikes we can choose to either look horizontally for answers or vertically to Him for comfort, support and direction. In Luke 21:34-36, he instructs us to what our state of mind should be as these events unfold, "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." In Luke 22:28 and 32, Jesus commends, prays for and promises blessings to those who continue in Him through the trials. Can we trust prophecy? Every prophecy in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, including these mentioned by Jesus here, that could be fulfilled have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. This includes a tremendous number of very specific prophecies that include specific names, times, dates and locations. With a 100% track record, we can look on those prophecies yet to be fulfilled with complete confidence that they too will be fulfilled with 100% accuracy. Our instructions are clear, take heed and look up.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: