He Knows

As I was reading Matthew 24 this morning some things became real to me.  The disciples were asking Jesus when would they know when the end of the world would come.  Now we know that Jesus did not know the answer to their questions about this because He said He didn't.  He told them that no one knew except for His Father.

But He gives His disciples some things to watch for to know when the end was near.  He talked about nations rising against each other and going to war.  Sound familiar?!  He talked about earthquakes happening in strange places and famines.  "This is only the beginning of sorrows," He tells them.  Can you imagine it?  This is only the beginning.

He goes even further by saying that people will hate and even kill because of Him.  Think of all of the stories you have heard where people are being persecuted and even killed because they refuse to denounce Jesus Christ.  It is happening today; maybe not in this neighborhood, but it is a reality! 

I like how Jesus seems to bring it on home to us.  War, famine and earthquakes might seem very far away to a lot of us, but verse 10 brings it right to our doorstep.  He tells us that people will be offended, they will betray those they love, and hate each other.  Have you experienced this lately or know someone who has? 

Jesus takes several verses in this chapter to warn us not to fall for someone pretending to be Him.  There will be many who profess to be Christ, do miracles, and try to deceive the multitudes.  Sadly, they will succeed.  Jesus warns us that this will happen.  They will even say that Christ is here in the desert or there hidden in a cave or some other secret place.  Here's where I had a moment of, "Well, duh!"  These cannot be Jesus because He will come in the clouds.  There are numerous Scriptures to prove this.

Verse 28 says this, "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." (KJV) Now I'm sure this is not correctly interpreted, but this is how I saw it this morning.  "Wherever the dead (or impersonators of Christ) be, the eagles (deceived followers) will be there."  Interestingly enough, Jesus did not say in the King James that the vultures would be there.  That would mean that they would be ready to devour the dead.  So this poses an interesting picture.  Many other versions of the Bible do say "vultures" which would seem to make more sense since vultures are carrion eaters and eagles are not.  I had it all worked out this morning, but now that I have dome some more research my analogy does not quite fit.

Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament puts vultures in margin. He says the griffon vulture is meant, which surpasses the eagle in size and power. Aristotle notes how this bird scents its prey from afar, and congregates in the wake of an army.  The Amplified Bible says "Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together."  The New English Bible translates Matthew 24:28: “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”  The New International Version reads, “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.”  Regardless of the exact meaning, I don't want to be there!
This is what God is teaching me right now and I am trying to pass along to the kids during devotions.  Just as in the days of Noah, people were living their lives.  They did not have the Bible to tell them that in exactly 120 years from the time Noah started building the ark there would be a massive flood and all of the earth would be destroyed.  Yes, they heard Noah telling them it was coming and they needed to get ready.  But the people didn't heed the warning for several reasons.  They thought they had plenty of time.  Noah had been preaching to them for a long time and still nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  What was rain, after all?  They had never seen it before.  The preacher was crazy, and besides there was this cute guy that I really want to get to know, or I have to get my degree so I can have a good career, or what's for supper tonight?  The Bible says that the people were just living their lives, corrupt as they were, not caring for anything eternal. 

Jonah didn't know that it was going to be exactly three days he would spend inside the fish and survive to tell about it.  He was just trying desperately to survive!  Could you imagine it really?  Picture Jonah clinging to anything he could, ribs or internal organs, desperately hoping he would not fall asleep and slide into the great amount of vile liquids all around him.  Here he clung for dear life for three days.  He didn't know it would only last that long.  He didn't know he would live to tell about it.  He didn't have "the rest of the story".  He just knew He served a God he could cry out to in his distress.

Jesus told His disciples that as it was in the days of Noah, so it was going to be when He returned.  People are living their lives without a thought of eternity.  Even I am guilty of that.  I have a "to do" list a mile long: laundry, home schooling, blogging, supper, and on and on.  If I am not careful, I forget that it really could be at any moment.  I don't have a book like the Bible telling me exactly when to be ready.  I must live my life as if He were coming any moment!

What do I want you to take away from this?  Two things: 1. Live your life expecting to see the Savior any moment!  2. Remember that whatever you are facing right now, God knows "the rest of the story".  He sees the whole picture and knows how it is going to end.  He knows that in exactly ___ many days you will be able to _______________________.  You fill in the blanks with what you are facing in your life today. 

I apologize this was a little lengthy, but I just felt like sharing what God is teaching me!


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