Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Matt 24:15-31 (ESV) “The Abomination Of Desolation”
15 "So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,
18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!
20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
People in our world are always wishing for a better day, for a time when the problems that plague human society will be alleviated. However, the message of Scripture is that before there is a better time, there is going to be an infinitely worse time. Our Lord describes that time in Matthew 24:21: "Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be." One of the facets of that time is something called the abomination of desolation.
Daniel 9:27 (ASV) "And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations [shall come] one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall [wrath] be poured out upon the desolate."
Daniel 11:31 (ASV) "And forces shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and shall take away the continual [burnt-offering], and they shall set up the abomination that maketh desolate."
Daniel 12:11 (ASV) "And from the time that the continual [burnt-offering] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days."
The term is used by Jesus Christ in the Olivet discourse, according to both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Mark. In the Matthean account, Jesus is presented as quoting Daniel explicitly. In the Gospel of Mark, the phrase "spoken of by Daniel the prophet" is absent in earlier manuscripts including Codex Sinaiticus
Matthew 24:15-26 (ESV) "So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."
Mark 13:14 (ESV) "But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains."
The 1 Maccabees usage of the term points to the actions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the mid-second century BC. Specifically, he set up an altar to Zeus in the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and sacrificed swine on it around the year 167 BC. Accordingly, most modern scholars believe that Daniel 9:27, 11:31 and 12:11 are a prophecy after the event relating to Antiochus. 1 Maccabees 1:20-22, "After Antiochus had defeated Egypt in the year one hundred and forty-three (167BC), he returned and went up to Israel and to Jerusalem with a strong force. He insolently invaded the sanctuary ... and stripped off everything. V54 the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar."
2 Maccabees 6:1-5, "The Temple Desecrated: Not long after this, the king sent an Athenian senator to force the Jews to abandon the customs of their ancestors and live no longer by the laws of God; also to profane the temple in Jerusalem and dedicate it to Olympian Zeus, and that on Mount Gerizim to Zeus, the Hospitable, as the inhabitants of the place requested. The Gentiles filled the temple with debauchery and revelry; they amused themselves with prostitutes ... even in the sacred court. They also brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so that the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the laws."
Some maintain that Daniel's prophecy was wholly fulfilled in 167 BC. But the words of Mt & Mk, "Let reader understand", indicate some connection between Daniel's prophecy and the future.
Matthew 24:15 give us the key to identifying the abomination of desolation. It is not just any event, but the one spoken of by Daniel the prophet, who gives us a preview of it in chapter 11. In describing the sacrilege committed by Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C., Daniel gives us a foretaste of the abomination of desolation that will be committed in the end time by the Antichrist.
Daniel 11:31 introduces us to an interesting historical figure, who almost all scholars agree is Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a Syrian king who reigned in Palestine from about 175 to 163 B.C. He called himself Epiphanes which means "the great one." The people called him Epimanes, which means "maniac." Verse 31 says this about him: "Forces shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate." In that historical act of Antiochus Epiphanes, we have a picture of what the Antichrist will do in the end times.
Antiochus Epiphanes was a great persecutor of the Jewish people. The apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees describe how he tried to stamp out Jewish religion, and in so doing slaughtered thousands of Jewish men, women, and children. In one of the worst acts in Jewish history, Antiochus desecrated the Temple by slaughtering a pig on the altar, forcing the priests to eat pork, and setting up an idol to Zeus. The Jews then abandoned the Temple, not wishing to go into a defiled place. That put a halt to the daily sacrifices (as predicted by Daniel 11:31), until the Jews regained control of the Temple during the Maccabean revolution.
Luke 21.20-21 (ESV) "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains..." Notice the Luke uses the phrase Jerusalem surrounded by Armies in place of the Abomination of Desolation [standing where it ought not to be] in Matthew and Mark.
The only problem is that Jesus is saying this in 33 AD. And saying it was a yet future event to Him. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus was speaking some 200 years after the abomination of desolation described above had already occurred. So, Jesus must have been prophesying that some time in the future another abomination of desolation would occur in a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Most Bible prophecy interpreters believe that Jesus was referring to the Antichrist who will do something very similar to what Antiochus Epiphanies did. This is confirmed by the fact that some of what Daniel prophesied in Daniel 9:27 did not occur in 167 B.C. with Antiochus Epiphanies. Antiochus did not confirm a covenant with Israel for seven years. It is the Antichrist who, in the end times, will establish a covenant with Israel for seven years and then break it by doing something similar to the abomination of desolation in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
The Abomination is after Christ’s First Coming
In verse 24 Daniel says, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." The weeks here are weeks of years. Daniel is saying there will be seventy times seven, or 490 years, to the Kingdom of Messiah. Verse 25 tells us when that 490-year period began: "Understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem." In 445 B.C. King Artaxerxes of Persia issued a decree permitting the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem. From that date, sixty-nine weeks (483 years) were to elapse before the coming of Messiah the Prince (Dan. 9:25). Calculations by Sir Robert Anderson (The Coming Prince [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1954]) and by Harold Hoehner (Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977]) have shown that the period from Artaxerxes' decree to Christ's presentation of Himself as Israel's Messiah (at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem) is 483 years--to the very day.
That leaves one week unaccounted for. We know that the first sixty-nine weeks ended when Messiah came, but the seventieth week hasn't come yet. That leaves us with an undetermined time gap between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks.
One commentator relates the prophecy to the actions of Caligula c. 40 AD when he ordered that a golden statue depicting himself as Zeus incarnate be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem. This prospect however, never came into fruition since he was assassinated in 41 AD along with his wife and daughter. Caligula issued a peremptory decree ordering the erection and worship of his statute in the Temple of God. He also appointed to the government of Syria, bidding him carry out that decree even at the cost of a war against the rebellious Jews. Whereupon the Jews in tens of thousands protested to the governor that they were willing to be slaughtered rather than to be condemned to witness that idolatrous profanation of their holy Temple. Soon afterwards Petronius asked Caligula to revoke his order, and Agrippa I, who then lived at Rome, prevailed upon the Emperor not to enforce his decree. It seems, however, that Caligula soon repented of the concession, and that but for his untimely death (A.D. 41) he would have had his statue set up in Jerusalem (E. Schurer, History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ, I Div. II, 95-105; tr.)
Some see it as about Emperor Hadrian's attempt to install the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus on the site of the ruined Jewish Temple in Jerusalem leading to the Bar Kokhba rebellion of 132-135 AD.
Donald Barnhouse in his commentary on Revelation (1971, Zondervan) who affirms that the Beast of Revelation is the incarnation of Satan into the body of Antichrist and that the Abomination of Desolation is this future event. This revelation of the "man of sin" is two-fold: (1) he is assassinated in a rebuilt Jewish Temple (the so-called Third Temple) when religious Jews become outraged over his self-deification and declarations of godhood—a blatant desecration; and (2) whereupon Satan incarnates himself into Antichrist's body and feigns the resurrection (i.e., "temple" as when Jesus said: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up...he was speaking of the temple of his body" - (John 2:19-21).
Jesus is saying that Antiochus was a prototype of another ruler to come. The one Jesus refers to is called by various titles such as “man of sin”, “man of lawlessness”, but the most common is “the Antichrist”. Like Antiochus before him, this ruler in the last days will win the favor of the Jews by deception. He will enable them to rebuild their temple and then at the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation, he will come to the temple and do something abominable. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NKJV) “3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin [antichrist] is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” That event marks the beginning of 3 ½ years of horrible persecution for the Jews. That is why verses 16-20 of our text warns them to flee and pities those who have anything to slow them down. The depth of the tribulation is seen in verse 21 (read). When we read details of this persecution in Revelation, we see that it is greater that when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD and the holocaust all put together. The word “shortened” in verse 22 is the idea of “terminated” or brought to an end. The termination is the bodily return of Christ to slay His enemies. The second coming avoids the eradication of the Jewish people and those who stand with them.
2. The Abomination is immediately before Christ’s Second Coming
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
In Revelation 13 is a graphic portrayal of the abomination of desolation. We meet the Antichrist, who is described in verse 1 as the beast. Verse 5 says, "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given to him to continue forty and two months." Forty two months equals 1260 days, or three and a half years. Once again, as in Daniel, we see the Antichrist will flourish during the second half of the tribulation. At the midpoint of the tribulation, he starts to blaspheme God: "He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven" (v.6).
The story is of Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, who was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor. On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research was this actual inscription:
“Remus Reid, horse thief, was sent to [a U. S. government prison] in 1883, but escaped [and went on to rob] the Montana railroad six times. He was caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.” For fun, Judy Wallman e-mailed the photograph and the information to Congressman Harry Reid to tell him about his great-great uncle. The photograph shows Remus Reid on the gallows with men putting a noose around his neck. Sometime later, Harry Reid’s staff sent back a statement, tongue-in-cheek – having a little fun of their own – putting a spin on the story as only the political culture can. The following is their response:
Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include the acquisition of equestrian assets and dealings with the Montana railroad. In 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, but took leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in an investigation by the Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor . . . when the platform upon which he was standing suddenly collapsed.
How is that for spin?! The truth is that we would also probably cover up the story if he were our great-great uncle.
It occurred to me that there is coming a time on planet Earth when spin-doctoring will reach levels never before achieved. It will not be tongue-in-cheek, it will be deadly serious. The entire world will follow a man who captivates it by his smooth speech and winsome ways. There happens to be a coming leader who will mesmerize Europe and the coalition of European countries and then, the rest of the civilized world as he spins lies into something sounding like truths. He will eventually be worshiped as a god. In reality this man is the incarnation of Satan’s agenda; he is a murderer, a liar, and a cheat. He is the devil’s messiah; he will be the proud prince of hell.
The world will be falling apart during the fury of God’s wrath – and we have already studied this outpouring of wrath – but this man will still have the world convinced that he is in perfect control. And for a short period of time, after he rises to world power, he will be acclaimed as the Man of the Year, the miracle worker, the prince of peace, the savior of mankind.
Church leaders for centuries have expounded on the biblical passage related to the antichrist’s brief rule on earth. Irenaeus, the second century church leader, wrote extensively on the subject of the antichrist and even
the meaning of the number 666. A signature work on the antichrist was written by another church leader named Hippolytus around A.D. 200.
Tertullian also wrote about the antichrist as he battled against mysticism in the church during the third century.
I found it interesting that these men expected the antichrist to surface at any time.
John the apostle wrote in his first epistle that the antichrist was coming (I John 2:18). By the way, the name “antichrist” is found only five times in the New Testament, and all of the references are in the letters of John the apostle. There are actually a number of additional titles for this coming deceiver. These include:
· the prince who is to come Daniel 9:26
· the fierce king Daniel 8:23
· a despicable man Daniel 11:21
· a worthless shepherd Zechariah 11:16
· the destroyer II Thess. 2:3 the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
· a master of intrigue Daniel 8:23
· the evil man II Thess. 2:9 or the man of sin
Antiochus Epiphanes set up the image of a Greek god; the Antichrist will set up an image of himself. As Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, he will be the one who "exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." The Antichrist will actually set himself up to be worshiped as God. That is the abomination of desolation.
This man’s peace accord with Israel that allows safety, freedom, and the license to construct a new Temple in Jerusalem, which will be nothing short of miraculous. By the way, peace which the antichrist brings to Israel may very well be an imposed peace. Daniel describes it as a “firm covenant” in Daniel 9:27. The Hebrew word that is translated “firm” can be translated “forced, or compelled”. It is possible that the antichrist is in a position of power that offers Israel a “take it or leave it” peace plan. The idea of an imposed peace on Israel by a confederation of Western nations does not take much of an imagination today, does it?xi
Even now the United Nations is unable to keep peace in the Middle East. Jimmy Carter thought he could bring peace to the Middle East. Ronald Reagan tried. Bill Clinton tried as well. The Bush administration tried and yet, it ended with missiles flying through the air above Gaza. Obama will give only one more attempt in a long line of failed cease fires and paper-thin peace treaties.
Ladies and gentlemen, the next chapter can be written at any time. Peace in the Middle East will be the signature of the antichrist whereby he will amaze the world and cap his meteoric rise to power. Arnold Toynbee, a British historian, wrote these interesting words decades ago, “By forcing on mankind more and more lethal weapons, and at the same time making the world more and more interdependent economically, we are ripe for the deification of any new Caesar who might succeed in giving the world unity and peace.”xiii
a seven year period called “the great tribulation”. God’s people have always experienced tribulation. Jesus made a promise to us that seldom makes it into those Scriptural promise books. He said in John 16:33 (NKJV) “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." However, the tribulation described here in Matthew 24 and in Revelation 6-19, Jeremiah 30, Zechariah 13-14, several passages in Daniel, as well as 2 Thessalonians is beyond anything experienced before it in history.
During this time the false Messiahs will have supernatural powers to do signs and wonders. By the way, not all supernatural actions are of God. Satan also has supernatural power. Listen to this description of the supernatural power of Satan’s emissaries in the last days in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NKJV) “9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Revelation 13:13-14 (NKJV) “13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.” So the question comes, how will the true Messiah be recognized when He comes? Matthew 24:27 (NKJV) “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” The emphasis is that it will be sudden like lightning and there will be no time to prepare. One Bible scholar described it as “quick, sudden, public, visible, universal, and unimaginably glorious”
Christ’s Coming After The Tribulation
Signalled by Great Changes
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Here the time of tribulation ends and the Messiah returns to rule and reign. Those who say that this whole passage was fulfilled in 70 AD in the destruction of Jerusalem have a real hard time with this passage. It has to be spiritualized and cannot be taken literally. Yet I see no hermeneutical reason not to treat it as literal since it meshes well with other Scriptures.
A. The Sequence of Events (V29a)
Jesus says that the unmistakable sign of His return will occur immediately after this time of tribulation. The sequence is that 3 ½ years into the great tribulation, the antichrist will set himself up to be worshipped in the temple and great persecution breaks out on the Jews and those saved during the great tribulation and then Christ comes.
B. The Scene in the Heavens (V29b)
Luke gives a fuller description of this in Luke 21:25-27 (NKJV) 25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” The events of that day will be so awe inspiring that men will faint in absolute terror.
1. First, there is the antichrist’s global defiance.
Rev 13: 5. There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies . . .
One commentator said, “He was given a mouth and it was a really big one too.”vi
By the way, you should underline the four times the phrase appears, “given to him”.
· In verse 5a – a mouth was “given to him”;
· In verse 5b – authority to act for forty-two months was “given to him”;
· In verse 7a – to make war was “given to him”;
· In verse 7b – authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation was “given to him”.
The antichrist has four “givens”: · to blaspheme; · to lead; · to persecute; · to rule.
We might wonder who gave these things to him. Obviously Satan is the intermediate source, as, in fact, we are told in verse 4 that Satan gave his own authority to the beast, or the antichrist. However, these four “givens,” beginning in verse 5, are passive verb forms. Satan might be the intermediate source, but God is the ultimate source. This is all according to God’s plan – God’s delegated power to the forces of evil to ultimately bring about His purposes on earth.
There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
Remember that the Tribulation period is divided into two, three-and-a-half-year periods. The first half of the Tribulation is relatively peaceful among the nations, as the antichrist rises in power – beginning with his peace accord with Israel. It is around the midpoint of the Tribulation that the antichrist is assassinated, miraculously resurrected, steps forward to declare himself the Messiah, desecrates the Tribulation temple, tramples Jerusalem, and demands the worship of the world (Daniel 9 and Revelation chapters 11 and 13). Keep in mind that forty-two months is three and a half years. Revelation 13:5 tells us that for forty-two months this man will begin to blaspheme God. This lets us know that at the midpoint of the Tribulation, the antichrist will take off his nice-guy, peace-negotiator, wonderful-leader who wants to serve mankind mask. He will then openly declare himself the world ruler, God in the flesh, the long-awaited Messiah and begin to wage open war against the knowledge and name of God. The antichrist’s defiant blasphemy and arrogance will surpass that of anyone else in human history. He will be Satan’s mouthpiece, voicing his master’s frustrated rage against God.
Notice in verse 6, the extent of his blasphemy. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name [God’s Person] and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven [God’s people].
2. Secondly, not only does the antichrist’s time of global defiance begin, but his time of global dominance begins.
Forty-two months of global domination by the antichrist begins during this part of the Tribulation as well. There are two aspects to his world dominance according to verse 7.
· First, the antichrist becomes the believers’ final persecutor. Notice the first part of verse 7.
It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them . . .
The antichrist will not overcome the believers in a spiritual sense, but in a physical sense. He will kill them. This is not referring to a military campaign (at least not yet); this is referring to a time of tormenting, harassing, persecuting, and executing the people of God. This is the answer to the martyred Tribulation saints’ prayer in Revelation chapter 6, when they asked God how long until He vindicated His name and brought justice to their persecutors. God told them to . . .
. . . rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed as they had been, would be completed also. (Revelation 6:11b)
During this forty-two month period of persecution, the number of the Tribulation saints who are martyred for their faith will be completed. Christians will be especially hated by the antichrist because they will be a reminder that his master has long since met his Master.x
Why does the antichrist pull out all the stops? He does so because his time is short; because he only has forty-two months left. He will be passionate to dishonor Jesus Christ.
· Secondly, the antichrist becomes the unbelievers’ final ruler.
Notice further in verse 7. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
The antichrist will succeed in what every other ruler only dreamed about – total world domination. Could it be that even now the world is moving toward this climactic setting of a one-world government? Is the world ready for a one-world system of authority, commerce, and rule of law? Like never before.
For those who believe in Jesus Christ, let me give a challenge to be discerning.
Even today, even without the antichrist to do his bidding, the Christian is in danger of being distracted by the enemy, or worse yet, deceived. For everything that God has, Satan has a counterfeit. There are counterfeit Christians, whom we call hypocrites. There is a counterfeit church, which the Bible calls the “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 3:9). There are seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1). There are false messiahs and false prophets who will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 7 and 24). When trouble comes, will it detract from your worship; will it distract from your walk; will it divert your commitment?
The end of all things is near . . . (I Peter 4:7a) If Peter thought the end was near, then what we can know for certain is that it is now 2,000 years nearer. We believe the end of all things is really near. So what does this mean?! Peter writes,
The end of all things is near; therefore . . .
. . . panic! No, this is not what he writes. Peter writes,
. . . be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever is the [gifted] speaker, do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever is [gifted] in serving, do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 4:7-11)
For the believer then, let this discussion on last days call you to a pure way of living; to a gracious love and hospitality; to a committed service to the body of Christ with your spiritual gifts that God has entrusted to you to bless the church – whether speaking or serving. And along the way, the truth about the last days is meant to challenge us, as believers, toward living with discernment.