There is an old saying that takes many forms—all which come out the same. Here’s one: “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” I’m not so sure about taxes, but when it comes to the certainty of death, that statement is dead (excuse the pun) wrong.
“How so? Seems to me that it is even more certain than taxes.”
Are you forgetting the Old Testament men who never died?
I refer to Enoch and Elijah. God just “took” Enoch off the planet and Elijah rode into the sky in a God-sent carriage.
“Well, yeah. I had forgotten them. But it’s certain for us.”
Hmmm. Are you sure?
“Of course. Haven’t you got your burial plot picked out?”
No yet; but I probably will one of these days.
“Why do so, if death isn’t certain? Makes no sense.”
The apostles, who had just spent 40 days talking to the risen Lord about things concerning the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3), raised a question that probably grew out of those discussions:
Lord, is it at this time you will restore the kingdom to Israel?
O. Palmer Robertson, in his interesting book, The Israel of God, suggests that the answer to that three-fold question is found in vv. 7, 8:
It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by His own authority; instead, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, in the rest of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
To the first part of their question—when will the “restoration” occur—Jesus told them that God wasn’t about to tell them. To the second part of the question he replied that the restoration would be of such a nature that it would involve the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them in power (in other words, it would be a fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise that would institute a wholly new phase of Israel’s existence), and in answer to the third part—Israel, from henceforth, would include Gentiles from all over the earth where they would be sent to preach the Good News.
In his Pentecostal sermon, among other things, the apostle Peter urged, “Be saved from this twisted generation” (Acts 2:40). What did he mean? Wasn’t he preaching that they should be saved from hell? What’s this about the present generation?
Of course he was concerned about their eternal welfare.
Then what did he mean by these words?
Peter knew and believed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Olivet Discourse, when He spoke about the terrible destruction that was to come upon the Jews in Judea and Jerusalem. He knew that the terrible curses of Deuteronomy were about to descend upon that generation, as Jesus predicted. And, to be sure, forty years after he warned them, this dire event occurred.
“Do you really believe that it will happen after waiting all of these years?”
Why shouldn’t I. Those patriarchs waited, together with those who followed them, for millennia until Jesus came the first time. Why shouldn’t I expect to wait for His second coming as well?
“I guess that’s so. But it’s almost like going to the doctor and having to wait long after the time set for the appointment.”
But Jesus’ coming—just as in the first time He appeared—will be exactly according to schedule. It won’t be like the office wait at all.
“Still . . . . . . .”
Do you know what Peter said about the matter?
“Are you talking about hot-headed persons?”
No . . . nothing like that. Rather, I’m talking about what God calls His “four sore judgments.”
“Oh. What are they?”
They’re listed in Ezekiel 14:12-20. In a modern translation, here’s how the verse reads:
How much worse will it be when I send My four devastating judgments against Jerusalem—sword, famine, dangerous animals, plague—in order to wipe out both man and animal from it! (HCSB).
“What’s the world coming to?” Ever heard that one?
Of course. By the way, what is the world coming to?
It’s coming to an end—that is, the world as we now know it.
What does it mean to come to an end? Will everything go out of existence?
No. No. I said “the world as we know it.” Always look for qualifying words.
OK. OK. I will. But what do you mean?
I mean that according to the book of II Peter, God will melt things down, burning up man’s filth that he leaves behind. He will then refashion out of the molten elements a new world “where righteousness is at home.”
Jesus often referred to His generation. He called it an “evil and adulterous generation,” and He prophesied that all of the blood guilt of previous generations, from the time of Abel to His day, would be charged to it.
Consequently, He warned men of the consequences that would come upon that generation when it had filled up the cup of God’s wrath. Like the iniquity of the Amorite which was not yet full, he saw the iniquity of the Jews coming to its completion. God gave them a period of forty years to “flee the coming wrath,” as John the Baptist put it.
Jesus predicted all the things that would come upon that generation, when God’s fury would be released, the pinnacle of which was the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple (see Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13; Luke 17).
Well, the kudzu was right!
Remember how I told you that the kudzu takes no chance of getting hit by a hard freeze, so it takes its time greening up?
Well, sure enough—everything else is in blossom and looking great — but . . .
Tonight, the freeze is to come at 29 degrees!
They’re predicting a storm for tonight, but who knows—they predicted it for yesterday afternoon, and it didn’t come. How unreliable man’s predictions are!
But, you know, God’s aren’t. When he predicted the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 17, 21) He told believers that when they saw armies surrounding they should get out of Dodge (Jerusalem)—they knew He meant business, believed it would happen, and escaped to Pella.
It seems clear that the passage in Daniel 7:13, 14 has been misinterpreted over and over again. Because Jesus is said to be “coming with clouds,” many have thought that the passage must refer to the second coming of Christ to this earth.
“Sure, in Luke 21:27 you see the fulfillment of the prophecy from Daniel.”
Correct. The two passages refer to the same event.
“See, we agree on something after all.”
Not so fast, my friend. Look more closely at Daniel 7. Jesus isn’t said to come to the earth. Rather, he is said to come to the Father to receive the rule of the kingdom. The event predicted was not a coming to earth—the second coming—but a coming to heaven. It is the ascension and session (seating) of Christ at the Father’s right hand. Earth is in the opposite (wrong) direction.