Nov 15th & The End Of The End

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net 

Do you recognize the signs of God’s kingdom – signs that point to his power and action in our lives and in the world around us? The Lord Jesus came to bring us the kingdom of God and to set us free from bondage to sin, death, and destruction and from the powers of the evil one who tempts us through lies and deception.

The Lord is preparing us for his return
Jesus told his first disciples that it was for their benefit that he return to his Father in heaven in order for the Holy Spirit to come (John 16:7) and fill the earth with the fire of God’s love, truth, and glory. The Lord Jesus in every age fills his people with the power of the Holy Spirit so that each one of us can hear his voice, understand his truth, and sow the seeds of his word – the good news of the Gospel – wherever he sends us. The Lord Jesus is preparing his people for his return – for the day of “tribulation” and “shaking” when he will appear “coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:25-26).

What did Jesus mean when he spoke about a time of tribulation, shaking, and the “Son of man coming with great power and glory”? The title Jesus most frequently used to describe his mission was the “Son of Man” (Mark 13:26). This title is a direct reference to the prophetic vision in the Book of Daniel, chapter 7:

13  I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

The image of a “Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” is taken from the vision of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14). Daniel’s vision is a royal investiture of a human king before God’s throne. This king, whose authority comes from God, is given power to rule over “all peoples, nations, and languages” (Daniel 7:14). The kingdom which he comes to establish cannot be broken or destroyed because it is built on the foundation of God’s justice, truth, and holiness.

The day of the Lord’s return will be unlike any other moment in time, history, and destiny for the human race and our place in God’s creation. Then the “stars of heaven will fall and all will be shaken” before the presence of the Lord when he comes. Then the peoples of the earth and their rulers will know who is the true King and Ruler over all.

Jesus’ first coming was a rescue mission – to free the human race from slavery to sin and Satan – the father of lies. His second coming will be the final completion of his mission when he will “make all things new” – a new heavens and a new earth – after he has put down the last enemy which is death and restores our lowly bodies to immortality when death will be no more (Daniel 12:2-3).

The sign of the budding fig tree
What lesson does the Lord Jesus want us to learn from the parable of the budding fig tree? The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The prophet Joel mentions its fruit-bearing as a sign of favor from the Lord (Joel 2:22). The Talmud (a Jewish commentary and instruction on the Torah or Five Books of Moses) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time.

This parable foretells the joy of God’s kingdom – the joy of new life and the promise of a new age of peace and blessing. The signs of spring are evident for all who can see. Just so are the signs of God’s kingdom. The “budding” of God’s kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God’s word. Those who trust in God’s word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? “The kingdom of God ..is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

The first-fruits of the kingdom in our present lives
The first coming of the Lord Jesus is inseparably linked with his second coming at the end of this present age. We do not know the day or hour when the Lord will return again in glory. But now in this present age we can experience the first-fruits of the kingdom of God – the abundant new life in the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and the fruits of the Spirit – love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) and so many other qualities which the Spirit works within us – thus enabling us to love and serve others with tenderhearted mercy, patience, and goodness. Do you know and experience in your life the first-fruits of the kingdom of God?

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may radiate the joy of your kingdom and the fire of your love to all I meet and serve. Direct my life to the glory of your name and to the coming of your kingdom.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

 

THE END OF THE END

“When you see these things happening, you will know that He is near, even at the door.” —Mark 13:29

Immediately before the end of the world, we will have “trials of every sort” (Mk 13:24). “It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time” (Dn 12:1). “Indeed, had the Lord not shortened the period, not a person would be saved. But for the sake of those He has chosen, He has shortened the days” (Mk 13:20).

We will see a mass apostasy from our Christian faith, as the “man of lawlessness,” the Anti-Christ, is revealed (2 Thes 2:3). “Because of the increase of evil, the love of most will grow cold. The man who holds out to the end, however, is the one who will see salvation” (Mt 24:12-13). “At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book” (Dn 12:1). “Some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever” (Dn 12:2-3). All of these things are certain and true, for Jesus has promised: “The heavens and the earth will pass away but My words will not pass” (Mk 13:31).

Repent! Live for Jesus alone! Lift up your eyes to see Jesus “coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mk 13:26). Maranatha! “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rv 22:20)

Prayer: Father, I want to be ready. Promise: “Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins and took His seat forever at the right hand of God; now He waits until His enemies are placed beneath His feet.” —Heb 10:12-13 Praise: Praise the risen Jesus, Who will come again in glory!
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements