[1] End of the world – A sobering thought

Before Jesus was crucified he spoke about the end of the world.

When the disciples asked when it would happen, Jesus didn’t tell them but he told them ‘Do not be deceived’.

The end of the world would mean more shaking, testing and persecution.

Jesus gave various teachings on how to cope with such things, that obviously help any generation in hard situations but that would also apply as the end of the world approached.

There is a Bible teaching on various trumpet calls as the end of the world approaches and the Bible also tells what the end of the world will actually be like.

Railway lines disappearing into the distance.
By Peter Reason licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Jesus turned his back on them

Just prior to Jesus giving a detailed teaching on the end of the world, the religious Institution of that day refused to respect his authority. Wise move or not?

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.”

Matthew 24:1

A sobering thought: ‘Jesus left the Temple.’

What hidden meaning there is in these four words!
Jesus was leaving the Temple for the last time.
The religious system was unwilling to submit and honour Him and and Jesus the Lord of Glory, was walking away from them.

Your house is left to you desolate

This place was now forsaken, and to be utterly ruined.
By Jesus walking away, it signified the departure of the Presence of God.

Large stones from the Temple knocked down by Roman battering rams. End of the world.
Large stones from the Temple knocked down by Roman battering rams AD70 [i]

Just prior to this Jesus declares His judgement upon them, and says:

..how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
Look your house is left to you desolate.”

Matthew 23:37

They were not open to what God had said in His Word, the Scriptures, neither were they open to what Jesus Christ was saying to them.
They were unwilling to yield to the Lord, they were stubborn and proud.
They thought the Lord God was their God.
But in fact, they were rejecting Him, to go after gods of their own making.
Israel is described as forsaking God to go after idols and so because of this the Lord says:

Woe to them when I turn away from them!”

Hosea 9:12
A human scull. End of the world.

And that is what is happening here, Jesus leaves the Temple.
Just a few decades after Christ′s death and resurrection, tremendous misery and affliction descended upon Israel, because of their stubbornness.
They were not willing to submit to the Lord.

Terrifying when God turns away

We may be very familiar with the concept of someone turning away from God, but what an awful thought of God turning away from someone who refuses to submit and honour Him.

David, the king of Israel, knew how unbearable it would be if God departed from him.
So after David had committed murder and adultery and he was asking God to forgive him, he pleaded:

Do not cast me from Your Presence, or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.”

Psalm 51:11

Now we have got nothing to fear, if we run to Jesus Christ our Saviour for help. For Jesus said:

..whoever comes to Me, I will never drive away.”

John 6:37

Whoever pushes God aside will have to answer for that, but whoever turns to Him, He will never drive them away, He will accept them throughout eternity.

“I’ve got to have that!” – Things in our lives

A Roman house with columns.

Picture the scene: Jesus leaves the Temple and his disciples follow, saying things like:
“Aren’t these buildings impressive!”
“Yes, absolutely outstanding!”
“I think all the Temple trimmings make it superb!”
“What a magnificent place!”

That may not grab our attention, but it certainly was attracting their attention.
So how does Jesus answer them, as they gaze up at the impressive buildings and as they feast their eyes on the grand Temple?

(Jesus knew that all these impressive buildings were going to be pulled down by the Romans.)

Does He say: “Yes they are wonderful buildings, but they have got to be knocked down, it′s a shame really, when you consider all those hours, those skilful craftsmen put into it?”

No, He said:

Do you see all these things?
I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another;
every one will be thrown down.”

Matthew 24:2

They are just ‘things’!

Ferrari 812 Superfast F152M. Things that grab our attention.
Ferrari 812 Superfast F152M [iii]

Notice, He describes them as just ‘things’!
How many things in the world grab our attention, and worse still, how many things steal our heart?

Do we ask God to give success to our undertakings, so that God may be glorified and that we can do good.
Or, that we may be enabled to eat and drink better and to wear more desirable clothes and to gratify our pride?
What about all the luxuries, rooms full of stuff and what about all the electrical gadgets, and other things that entice our hearts?

James calls worldly people adulterers, because they give their best affections to other things, rather than God:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?
Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us ?

James 4:4-5

We can also give our best affections to other people, our friends or family, rather than to God.

Of course that doesn’t mean we can′t have non Christian friends.
It is a matter of priorities, number one has got to be God.

Perhaps the disciples looked at the magnificent buildings and were ready to weep for them, because they were going to be torn down.
But Christ had wept for the people!
He was concerned about the souls of men and women and not ‘things’.

Jesus was not held or attracted by the worlds finery.
We need to look at the things in this world and see that they are destined to crumble, rot, fade and disappear.

A heavenly home

The world′s glory is just a vapour which quickly vanishes.

But if we seek for the glory of God that will be eternal, everlasting.
The people mentioned for their faith in Hebrews had a correct view of this earthly life.
It says that:

..they admitted that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own – they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

Hebrews 11:14-16

They saw themselves as strangers on the earth.
There wasn’t much that they could call their own, they didn’t want to accumulate wealth and treasures and too many things, because they were just passing through.
The time on this earth will be short, but eternity is a long, long time!

Our interest, our heart and affections should be focused on Christ in heaven and that′s where our savings account and treasures should be.

[i] Photo credit: taken by Mark A. Wilson (Department of Geology, The College of Wooster). Public domain.
[iii] Photo credit:  seanavigatorsson Flickr via Compfight cc
[ii] Images: thanks to GSP 100,000 clipart CD

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