September 04, 2020 – Friday
Mark 13:20-23 NIV
20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them.
21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.
22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
Verse 21 above is also found in Matthew 24:23 which was commented upon here where a short overview was provided for context. The key takeaway was that the fall of Israel, especially of Jerusalem, was so terrible many thought these verses applied to that event. However, as horrendous as it was, it was only a forerunner of what is to come in the end times spoken of in the book of Daniel and by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation.
As bad as it was during the fall of Jerusalem, we know this was not the time Jesus was speaking of for there was no one saying to others, Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look there he is! When the end times do come there will be many who will pose as the Messiah. There will be false messiahs or as Jesus tells us: If someone says He is here, do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (emphasis added)
Using Biblegateway.com, determined the number of occurrences in the NIV of the phrase, do not believe. I was surprised to find it occurs six times in the Old Testament and twenty-three times in the New Testament, fourteen of them in the book of John. If you are interested you may check them out at this link. Of these only two in the Old Testament and only four in the New Testament are directive in nature as in our verse above and in Matthew.
Then in 1 John 2:18, John wrote, Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. So, there were already many antichrists already in John’s time. In the twentieth century we had our share of antichrists as well with Hitler and his minions, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot among others.
When Jesus does come how will we know it is Him? A few verses after our verses of the day (v26-27) Jesus provides us part of the answer when He says, At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Then there was the appearance of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration in Mark 9:3 where His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Then there is John’s description in Revelation 1:14, The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. Daniel, like John, in chapter 10:5-6 also had a vison of Christ, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches.
With these descriptions in mind, we know what to expect when we see Him and what to believe and what not to believe. Our faith and the written word of God will lead us. In verse 23 above Jesus tells us, So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. Jesus is telling us to take heed and be prepared for His return. Are we prepared? Are you prepared?
How does one prepare? Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Are you spending time in prayer and in your Bible? Are you going to church, assembling with brothers and sisters, joining in corporate prayer, praise, and study of God’s word? Are you making the effort to align your desires with God’s desires for you and your life? We all know what we need to do. Are we doing it?
Have a Great Labor Day Weekend and remember to go to church!