Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, September 24, 2015
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:5–13).
Will the real Jesus stand up? OK, I know nothing happened, but I got your attention, right? While thinking of the import of our theme text, and the historic times in which we live, I am reminded of the promise two angels made to God’s people a couple of thousand years ago. Here’s what happened while Jesus was ascending to heaven some time following His miraculous resurrection from the dead: “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10–11).
Considering all of the monumental events taking place in rapid succession that direct our minds to the Second Coming of Christ, it is very important that we do not lose focus. We must remember that no matter what happens, the same Jesus who ascended in glorified form with the disciples all watching will soon return, and every person will see Him. He will keep His promise that after He finishes preparing a place for us, He will come again to take us to heaven with Him. With an incredible show of triumph, an unmistakable light in the heavens will show, trumpet will sound, all of the graves of God’s sleeping saints will open, a fire will devour before the King of the universe. And after He comes, the earth will lay in ruins for 1,000 years until he comes one more time to destroy evil forever.
Beware of counterfeits! This was, in effect, the message Jesus gave His anxious disciples as they contemplated the destruction of Jerusalem coming in A.D. 70 and the end of the world whenever it should come. We have deliberately added this brief consideration of Matthew 24 into our thoughts on the Revelation, because the seventh seal will soon be opened. Remember, we said that following the historic events under the sixth seal, which have long since occurred, and the sealing of God’s people, there will be some rapid succession events that directly precede the arrival of Jesus.
This is one of the most critical bits of advice we could possibly have right now! Jesus said that there would be all kinds of false prophets and false Christs that would deceive many.
As He tenderly unfolded some of the things that would happen just before He returns, He made it abundantly clear that we must beware of deception. This is one of the most critical bits of advice we could possibly have right now! Jesus said that there would be all kinds of false prophets and false Christs that would deceive many. We have seen this in the past, and we will see it even more in our times. In fact, the deceptions will be so remarkable that John said of the greatest of all deceivers, that he will soon perform, “…great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” (Revelation 13:13–14). Paul said: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13–14).
As we see many historic things happening, they must not distract us. Nature will be in upheaval at times with storms, earthquakes, and all kinds of disruptions. People will become more hateful, despite thoughts to the contrary. The news will report lots of amazing things we have never seen before, and perhaps thought would never happen. But Jesus says that He is by our side to direct us through the maze of all the unrest and deception. We don’t have to settle for false prophets and false Christs who offer smooth sayings that lull us to sleep while we await our Creator’s return.
It’s interesting: Sometimes people who desperately want to be married become impatient while waiting. They have an ideal mate in mind, but it seems that the time will never come. Sadly, many people become weary while waiting, and at a weak point in their lives, some counterfeit, so-called knight in shining armor, or woman of their dreams, swoops in and makes a mess of their lives. Why? Because they became weary and lost focus. Let us not become so weary that we will accept just anything that comes along. Let’s wait for the real Jesus, who gave Himself for us, and is coming back for a glorious bride without spot or wrinkle. Hold on! It won’t be long, now.
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please give us patience and discernment as we await the Second Coming. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.