Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We live in the last day in two senses. First, e live in the time between the ascension of the Lord in the clouds and His second coming in the clouds. Also, this month we observe the last days of the ecclesiastical calendar. In December we begin to prepare for the first coming of Jesus in humility. But now our theme is the second coming of Christ in glory.
We have before us some of the most difficult biblical readings to understand. They talk about things that have not yet happened. So, many people have developed theories about these passages.
For example, 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 says: "For the Lord Himself with acclamation, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven; and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who live, who are left, together with them will be caught up in the clouds to receive the Lord in the air, and thus we will always be with the Lord. "
From this passage they have developed the concept of the rapture. But, for them, the rapture means something that will happen before the thousand years of the reign of Christ on earth. After the kingdom of heaven on earth will come the final judgment. However, the text in its context says all the faithful, living and dead, will go up to receive the Lord in the air at the same time, that is, the final day.
Furthermore, the Lord said in our gospel for today, "For as the lightning that comes from the east and shows itself to the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." It will not be a long process, but it will happen instantaneously.
Those who want to distort or amplify these prophecies are those of whom the Lord warns us. "Then if a man say to you, Here behold the Christ, or there, believe it not, for false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the chosen. "
We must understand the prophecy of the Bible in this way. All had their fulfillment in the short term, but in the long term they pointed to Christ, in His first coming and in the final day as well. In our text for today, our Lord prophesied the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, but also the final judgment. And He linked this prophecy with Daniel's prophecy.
Because Daniel, living in the time of the captivity in Babylon after the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem, prophesied the desecration of the second temple by the Greek tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes in the year 168 BC. But, these prophecies, in chapters 9, 10 and 11 of the book of Daniel, also anticipated the destruction of the second temple and the coming of the Messiah, as Savior and then King of kings. Each messianic prophecy prefigures the others.
After the destruction of the first temple, God allowed the Jews to return and rebuild the temple. But, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, when the Jews raised an army against the Romans, God did not show them the same mercy. Because Christ had made the perfect propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, there is no more need to sacrifice lambs and bullocks in the temple and the Temple of Jerusalem has not been rebuilt again.
At that time of the fall of Jerusalem, people thought it was the end of the world. But it was only the end of the Old Testament era. But, in this sense, He pointed to the final judgment, when Christ will come in glory to judge the living and the dead. The prophecy of the Bible presents us with a panorama of the plan of salvation, from the beginning to the end.
Now we only anticipate the end, the second coming of Christ. We know the Savior of the world by name, the name hidden from the Old Testament believers. We know what He has done. And now we only wait for the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life for ourselves. Like the Christians in Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, let us live in a time of great tribulation. We have a high mountain in sight, like Pico Bolívar, and we want to climb that mountain. But, we find smaller mountains in the shadow of the great mountain and we have to cross them before reaching the peak.
The warning for us is to fix our eyes on the peak. In front of Mount Sinai, with the lightning and thunder of God on top of the mountain, the people of Israel lost their vision. Moses climbed the mountain and after a while, people said, where is Moses? And thus says Exodus 32: 1-20, "But when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, he came to Aaron and said, 'Rise up, make us gods to go before us; for this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him. " And Aaron made them a golden calf and they worshiped it. And God punished them.
The Israelites did not have the name of their Savior, but we do. We also have these Scriptures, all the testimony of the prophets and the apostles. We should not believe in false prophets who say "Here is Christ" or "Here is the kingdom of God." We have Christ in his Word, also the promise of the kingdom of God. In this, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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