In our verse-by-verse journey through the Gospel of Mark we are reviewing the Olivet Discourse – the private briefing that Jesus gave to Peter, James, Andrew, and John on the Mt of Olives on the Tuesday before His crucifixion.
As Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum states in his classic book on the return of Jesus: ‘The Footsteps of the Messiah’: “The famous Olivet Discourse of the Messiah occurred between two significant events. Immediately preceding the Olivet Discourse, the Messiah spoke the final words of His public ministry, found in Matthew 23:1-39, which contains the denunciation of the leadership of Israel, especially for their guilt in leading the nation to reject the Messiahship of Jesus. With these words, the public ministry of the Messiah as a prophet came to an end, and for the remainder of His last few days on earth, He would deal exclusively with His disciples. In verses 37-39, Jesus also laid down the precondition to the Second Coming, in the He will not return until the Jewish leaders ask Him to return. Just as the Jewish leaders once led the nation to reject His Messiahship, a day must come when they will lead the Jewish people to accept His Messiahship”.
In this session, we look at Jesus warnings and comments that:
- False Christs will come and deceive many
- There will be wars and rumors of wars
Both of these we have seen through the last 2000 years, and Jesus said they were to be expected and should not surprise us! But then, quoting from 2 Chronicles 15:1-7, Jesus revealed that a time was coming; like in the days of king Asa of Judah, when the nations around Israel would be constantly warring with each other and threatening Israel’s existence, but that this would be a catalyst to draw Israel back to Himself: “But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them” 2 Chron 15:4.
Since 1948, when Israel became a nation in the eyes of the world again, there has been constant warring amongst Israel’s neighbors, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Lybia, and most recently the on-gong conflict in Syria. In each of these conflicts, Israel has had to remain on a heightened state of alert, prepared for iminant attack from its warring neighbors who have one thing in common – their distain for Israel.
Jesus also quoted from the prophet Isaiah (Is 19:1-4) who, some 700 years before Christ spoke of the turmoil in Egypt, seemingly alluding to the Islamic oppression and division in that nation that we have seen in the past decade, and also highlighting the Islamic infighting between Sunni’s and Shi’a on a larger scale with Islamic kingdom against Islamic kingdom.
Jesus highlighted that along with these things will be an increase in earthquakes, famines and disease.
Since the year 2000 there has been a significant increase in earthquakes worldwide, but that is not even the ‘birth pangs’! Jesus was referring to the time of God’s coming Judgment (phase 1) which He labels as ‘The Beginning of Sorrows’ recorded in Revelation chapter 6, depicted by the four horsemen:
- Antichrist conquers through false peace
- Peace taken from the earth – ¼ of the earth die
- Famine following time of war
- Violence / Famine / Pestilence
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17)
Whilst this is a truly terrifying prospect, Jesus promised a way of escaping these things for those who trust in Him!
If you want to find out more, please join us on a Sunday morning if you live in the Portsmouth / Havant area.
If not, why not try and connect with a Calvary Chapel church near you? – Go to… http://calvarychapel.uk/churches/