World Wide Wolfmueller

Law and Gospel in Joyful Clarity

The End is Not Yet

Either Jesus or my insurance guy better show up quick.

It seems like the world is falling apart. Earthquakes, tsunamis, wars in every corner of the world, uprisings each way we look, financial markets in trouble, nuclear threats, violence in our streets, and that’s just the first page of the newspaper. “Pastor, the world is falling apart. Do all these disasters mean that Jesus is coming back?”

No.

I’ll prove it. (We’re headed for Matthew 24.)

The last public teaching of our Lord Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem. It is Tuesday of holy week. Jesus refutes the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 22), preaches a sermon exposing their hypocrisy (Matthew 23), and then leaves the temple and heads back to Bethany. On the way out of the temple complex the disciples point out how marvelous the stone work was, and Jesus gives a rather stunning answer.

I've been there. I even wandered back into that little cave and found the fax maching where you can send the Rabbis your prayers and one of them will roll it up and go and stick it between the stones. I don't think I was supposed to see that.

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 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.” (Matthew 24:1-2)

That this threw the disciples for a bit of a loop is proven by what happens next. They travel down through the Kidron Valley, up past the Garden of Gethsemane, and then they stop for a break at the Mount of Olives. From this place they can look back to the west and see the temple and the city of Jerusalem lying before them. The disciples then come to Jesus and ask two questions.

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 close of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

What follows in Matthew 24 and 25 is called the escatological discourse, our Lord’s teaching about the destruction of Jerusalem, His second coming, and the end of the age. (Eschatology means the teach of the end times.)

As an aside: the key to understanding this text, Matthew 24, is to see that the disciples are asking two distinct questions: (1) when will the temple be destroyed? and (2) when will you return in glory? These are two unique events. The destruction of the temple has occurred already, August 10, 70 AD. The return of our Lord has not. And yet, in Matthew 24, Jesus answers both questions together.

But, to the question of wars and earthquakes and nuclear plant melt-downs, we notice that Jesus begins His teaching with a list of things that are not signs.

This is the Mount of Olives. I once rode down that rode on the back of a camel, a moment that was completely unappreciated by all the people in the traffic jam behind that camel.

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. 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. (Matthew 24:4-6)

Did you get that? “The end is not yet!” “These things are going to happen,” says Jesus, “There will be wars all over the place, violence, false teaching, this is how things go. They are not signs of the end.”

And Jesus continues, adding natural disasters to the list of “not signs”:

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. (Matthew 24:7-8)

 

Table Talk Radio was going to offer Family Radio $1 for their network on May 22nd. Then we could see how serious they are about this nonsense.

Notice again how Jesus says it: these natural disasters are the “beginning” of the birth pains, not the end. If we were to take all the newspaper clippings to Jesus, the Japanese disaster, the war in Libya, the uprisings in Egypt, and ask if they are signs of the second coming, His answer, as we have it here in Matthew 24, is “no.” These are not signs. The end is not yet. These things are normal. Disasters, yes, but normal disasters.

And here’s the point, Jesus may return at any moment. He is not waiting for a certain number of wars or earthquakes before He returns. He is certainly not waiting for some European dictator to put bar codes on people’s foreheads and sacrifice a pig in the rebuilt temple. Jesus is not waiting for anything except our salvation (2 Peter 3:9). The constant teaching of our Lord Jesus is that we won’t know when He is coming, it will be a surprise, a shock, totally unexpected. No one knows the day of the hour (see Matthew 24:42, 44, 25:13).

The Lord’s Christians live in constant expectation of His coming, knowing that each day is a day closer. This is a source of great joy, because it is our redemption that draws near (Luke 21:28). His return for us will be a surprise, but not the surprise of disaster, but the surprise of salvation.

But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5)

In the midst of disaster, poverty and violence, and even in the midst of earthly peace, plenty and tranquility, this is our great hope. The newspaper will always have disasters, but the Scriptures have this comfort: Jesus will come again for us, that where He is we will be also (John 14:3). Amen.

Pastor Wolfmueller
Oculi Monday, 2011

The End is Not Yet

 

It seems like the world is falling apart. Earthquakes, tsunamis, wars in every corner of the world, uprisings each way we look, financial markets in trouble, nuclear threats, violence in our streets, and that’s just the first page of the newspaper. “Pastor, the world is falling apart. Do all these disasters mean that Jesus is coming back?”

 

No.

 

I’ll prove it. (We’re headed for Matthew 24.)

 

The last public teaching of our Lord Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem. It is Tuesday of holy week. Jesus refutes the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 22), preaches a sermon exposing their hypocrisy (Matthew 23), and then leaves the temple and heads back to Bethany. On the way out of the temple complex the disciples point out how marvelous the stone work was, and Jesus gives a rather stunning answer.

 

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 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.” (Matthew 24:1-2)

 

That this threw the disciples for a bit of a loop is proven by what happens next. They travel down through the Kidron Valley, up past the Garden of Gestheme, and then they stop for a break at the Mount of Olives. From this place they can look back to the west and see the temple and the city of Jerusalem lying before them. The disciples then come to Jesus and ask two questions.

 

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 close of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

 

What follows in Matthew 24 and 25 is called the escatological discourse, our Lord’s teaching about the destruction of Jerusalem, His second coming, and the end of the age. (Eschatology means the teach of the end times.)

 

As an aside: the key to understanding this text, Matthew 24, is to see that the disciples are asking two distinct questions: (1) when will the temple be destroyed? and (2) when will you return in glory? These are two unique events. The destruction of the temple has occurred already, August 10, 70 AD. The return of our Lord has not yet returned. And yet, in Matthew 24, Jesus answers both questions together.

 

But, to the question of earthquakes, we want to notice that Jesus begins His teaching with a list of things that are not signs.

 

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. 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. (Matthew 24:4-6)

 

Did you get that? “The end is not yet!” “These things are going to happen,” says Jesus, “There will be wars all over the place, violence, false teaching, this is how things go. They are not signs of the end.”

 

And Jesus continues, adding natural disasters to the list of “not signs”:

 

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. (Matthew 24:7-8)

 

Notice how Jesus says it, these natural disasters are the “beginning” of the birth pains, not the end. If we were to take all the newspaper clippings to Jesus, the Japanesse disaster, the war in Lybia, the uprisings in Egypt, and ask if they are signs of the second coming, His answer, as we have it here in Matthew 24, is “no.” These are not signs. The end is not yet. These things are normal. Disasters, yes, but normal disasters.

 

And here’s the point, Jesus may return at any moment. He is not waiting for a certain number of wars or earthquakes before He returns. He is certainly not waiting for some European dictator to put bar codes on people’s foreheads and sacrifice a pig in the rebuilt temple. Jesus is not waiting for anything except our salvation (2 Peter 3:9). The constant teaching of our Lord Jesus is that we won’t know when He is coming, it will be a surprise, a shock, totally unexpected. No one knows the day of the hour (see Matthew 24:42, 44, 25:13).

 

The Lord’s Christians live in constant expectation of His coming, knowing that each day is a day closer. This is a source of great joy, because it is our redemption that draws near (Luke 21:28). His return for us will be a surprise, but not the surprise of disaster, but the surprise of salvation.

 

But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5)

 

In the midst of disaster, poverty and violence, and even in the midst of earthly peace, plenty and tranquility, this is our great hope. Jesus will come again for us, that where He is we will be also (John 14:3). Amen.

 

Pastor Wolfmueller

Oculi Monday, 2011

The End is Not Yet

 

It seems like the world is falling apart. Earthquakes, tsunamis, wars in every corner of the world, uprisings each way we look, financial markets in trouble, nuclear threats, violence in our streets, and that’s just the first page of the newspaper. “Pastor, the world is falling apart. Do all these disasters mean that Jesus is coming back?”

 

No.

 

I’ll prove it. (We’re headed for Matthew 24.)

 

The last public teaching of our Lord Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem. It is Tuesday of holy week. Jesus refutes the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 22), preaches a sermon exposing their hypocrisy (Matthew 23), and then leaves the temple and heads back to Bethany. On the way out of the temple complex the disciples point out how marvelous the stone work was, and Jesus gives a rather stunning answer.

 

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 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.” (Matthew 24:1-2)

 

That this threw the disciples for a bit of a loop is proven by what happens next. They travel down through the Kidron Valley, up past the Garden of Gestheme, and then they stop for a break at the Mount of Olives. From this place they can look back to the west and see the temple and the city of Jerusalem lying before them. The disciples then come to Jesus and ask two questions.

 

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 close of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

 

What follows in Matthew 24 and 25 is called the escatological discourse, our Lord’s teaching about the destruction of Jerusalem, His second coming, and the end of the age. (Eschatology means the teach of the end times.)

 

As an aside: the key to understanding this text, Matthew 24, is to see that the disciples are asking two distinct questions: (1) when will the temple be destroyed? and (2) when will you return in glory? These are two unique events. The destruction of the temple has occurred already, August 10, 70 AD. The return of our Lord has not yet returned. And yet, in Matthew 24, Jesus answers both questions together.

 

But, to the question of earthquakes, we want to notice that Jesus begins His teaching with a list of things that are not signs.

 

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. 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. (Matthew 24:4-6)

 

Did you get that? “The end is not yet!” “These things are going to happen,” says Jesus, “There will be wars all over the place, violence, false teaching, this is how things go. They are not signs of the end.”

 

And Jesus continues, adding natural disasters to the list of “not signs”:

 

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. (Matthew 24:7-8)

 

Notice how Jesus says it, these natural disasters are the “beginning” of the birth pains, not the end. If we were to take all the newspaper clippings to Jesus, the Japanesse disaster, the war in Lybia, the uprisings in Egypt, and ask if they are signs of the second coming, His answer, as we have it here in Matthew 24, is “no.” These are not signs. The end is not yet. These things are normal. Disasters, yes, but normal disasters.

 

And here’s the point, Jesus may return at any moment. He is not waiting for a certain number of wars or earthquakes before He returns. He is certainly not waiting for some European dictator to put bar codes on people’s foreheads and sacrifice a pig in the rebuilt temple. Jesus is not waiting for anything except our salvation (2 Peter 3:9). The constant teaching of our Lord Jesus is that we won’t know when He is coming, it will be a surprise, a shock, totally unexpected. No one knows the day of the hour (see Matthew 24:42, 44, 25:13).

 

The Lord’s Christians live in constant expectation of His coming, knowing that each day is a day closer. This is a source of great joy, because it is our redemption that draws near (Luke 21:28). His return for us will be a surprise, but not the surprise of disaster, but the surprise of salvation.

 

But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5)

 

In the midst of disaster, poverty and violence, and even in the midst of earthly peace, plenty and tranquility, this is our great hope. Jesus will come again for us, that where He is we will be also (John 14:3). Amen.

 

Pastor Wolfmueller

Oculi Monday, 2011

10 Comments

  1. Well said! 🙂 FYI – if it matters in the end of the major paragraph after the picture of the wailing wall you end with “…the return of our Lord has not yet returned.” Do you mean “occurred”?

    Thanks for all the posts! 🙂

  2. Well said! 🙂 FYI – if it matters in the end of the major paragraph after the picture of the wailing wall you end with “…the return of our Lord has not yet returned.” Do you mean “occurred”?

    Thanks for all the posts! 🙂

  3. Nice post!

    Amen!

    I am rooting for Camping, though (although he is a nut). “Come, Lord jesus come.”

  4. Nice post!

    Amen!

    I am rooting for Camping, though (although he is a nut). “Come, Lord jesus come.”

  5. We are all taught that our death is a certainty but I don’t think that is quiet accurate. For the believing Christian the only certainty is judgment and our righteousness in Christ.
    Who said we are going to die? If Christ returns prior to my physical death I think we’ll be judged as one of the “quick”.
    So it really is a matter of timing. I await the Lord’s return everyday, I am continually in the season of Advent.

  6. We are all taught that our death is a certainty but I don’t think that is quiet accurate. For the believing Christian the only certainty is judgment and our righteousness in Christ.
    Who said we are going to die? If Christ returns prior to my physical death I think we’ll be judged as one of the “quick”.
    So it really is a matter of timing. I await the Lord’s return everyday, I am continually in the season of Advent.

  7. Amen. Your explanation is spot on with the context, unlike the false teachers who impose prior commitments or pure speculation.

  8. Amen. Your explanation is spot on with the context, unlike the false teachers who impose prior commitments or pure speculation.

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