Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Keep the Faith; Matthew 24: 3-8

Glacier National Park 2007, the beginning of a steep and narrow path
Something just happened. The Son of YHVH/God pronounced misery upon the upper-crust religious folk in the Temple. The Temple was the center of Jewish life. At least that was where Jewish life was supposed to be centered. Not just on a beautiful building but on the Elohim, God Almighty whose throne, the mercy seat, was said to rest in the inner-most room of the temple. Never mind that His Spirit, the Glory of YHVH, had left years ago. His Son, Y'shua ha Machiach (Jesus who is the Christ) He once again stood in the Temple as a common man among common men. If only those arrogant men realized just how common they truly were and how majestic He is.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.  He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.   John 1: 10-11  RSV
In a dramatic moment, Y'shua pronounce misery upon the religious men with whom he had been extremely patient. The worst of the misery would be that they would face the full force of the seven woes without the national comfort or aid of their Elohim and Messiah ......until they acknowledged him with the words, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF YHVH" (Psalm 118:26.)
"And Y'shua/Jesus came out from the Temple and was going away.... Matthew 24:1a
What just happened? In my mind I imagine the disciples running through the scripture files in their heads, the many readings and lessons they had sat through over the years, trying to mentally catch up, to even know what question to ask. Their comments about the central building in all of Israel did not bring a reaction that most Pilgrims in Israel would have expected. As a point of fact, Y'shua foretold doom for even the building. The boys finally started putting the facts together and began asking their questions directly to the man they just followed out of the Temple of Israel.
As he (Y'shua) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"   Matthew 24:3  
It looks like they asked three questions, when will this be (the destruction of their temple), what sign, and when is the close of the age. Greek does not work like English. The last two questions are really just one question that does not translate well. ....what is the sign of your coming (the Parousia) which closes this (that) era?

Of the commentators that I have reviewed, they are firmly divided. One speaks of everything that follows in Matthew 24 and 25 as Temple destruction. The other sees Y'shua fully focused on the return of Messiah and the End Times. Both make good arguments. Either way, the disciples have just been handed a bombshell. What responsibility do they have? How much time do they have to get ready? (...when will this be?) How long will the coming trouble last? (...what is the sign that you are coming to end this era?)

The answer?
And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray.   Matthew 24:4  
The question is not "when" or "how long," as a matter of fact, a question of time is not appropriate. We who believe in Y'shua, have an answer for all our questions. Faith. You must prepare yourself to "see" with eyes of faith (word study link: blepo- on Be Careful What You See). Our Elohim has assured us that he will not leave us (though he just left the religious at the doomed Temple) nor will he ever forsake us
".... I am with you always, to the close of the age."   Matthew 28:20b  RSV
Look with eyes of faith. The Word (Y'shua IS the Word made flesh) is the substance of our faith, Hebrews 11:1. This is the only way to not fall to the primary problem of false Messiahs and their seductive lies while we wait for Y'shua to return.
For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray.    Matthew 24:5  
The Greek transliteration of "I am the Christ" is egoo eimi ho christos. The Hellenist way of communicating the name of Elohim's anointed Messiah. Instead of YHVH, the Hellenist Greek would say, "egoo eimi" (I AM). The apostle John uses this very phrase as a name of Y'shua to the Hellenistic believers he wrote to. "ho Christos" is just the Greek translation of "ha Machiach" or The Messiah. A much stronger deception than how it reads in English.

If the believer can stand firm on the Word of YHVH, written on the hearts of us who are indwelt by the very Spirit of YHVH, the Spirit that deserted the Temple of Israel, if by our faith, we see Y'shua and trust that when things are at their worst, he has not forgot us. He has not left us on our own, than the rest is just details of glorious living. We are not alone. The Apostle Paul said it well...
What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?  Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies;  who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written,

"For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39  
Isn't that what faith is about? It is not about freedom from persecution. Y'shua actually promises we will be persecuted. It surly is not about wealth. We are to live as beggars in the Spiritual realm, meaning that prayer is to define us. This life we have chosen, this difficult path, so steep and narrow, The Way that few will find, is about becoming like our Y'shua/Jesus, about knowing the One who so loved us that he paid the blood penalty that we were unable to pay. He asks nothing in return except that you give up your perception of yourself and live the life he gave up, let Him live through you. Galatians 2:20.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places:  all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.   Matthew 24:6-8  
How than shall we live? Can we be sure of anything? When I ask that question, I realize something about myself. There is more I need to learn and practice about faith. Death cannot separate me from the love of YHVH. The thing is, Y'shua/Jesus did not come so that I would worry about death. He came to give me LIFE, abundant, glorious LIFE. Is it easy? Some days it is fantastic, but that is not always my experience, This life is compared to a steep narrow path. Is it carefree? I am sure it is not, I am to be a spiritual beggar, to show mercy, to cry with those who cry. But with Paul I again say, In all these things, we are more than conquers through Y'shua who loves us!

While the walking is still easy, learn to walk by faith. Deb at Glacier National Park 2007
Mrs. Hagerty, December 11, 2011
Updated January 3, 2016 by MsH

Robert H Gundry, MATTHEW-A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church under Persecution, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids 1982, 1994

RT France, The Gospel of Matthew, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids / Cambridge, UK 2007

Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (Matthew section by Craig L Blomberg), Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment