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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Watch!

June 2, 2013

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.” (Mark 13:5,6, NIV)

Four of Jesus’ disciples came to Him and asked about the end times. Like them, we also want to know.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more understanding of the fact that we all live at the end of the age because this is the only age we have. Every generation is an end-time generation, in a practical sense, because this life is it for us.

I visited in the hospital with an elderly parishioner who was, as it turned out, within hours of her death. In a very weak voice she looked up to me from her bed and asked, “Pastor, do you think we are living at the end of time?” I almost said, “You are.” But, of course, I did not. Instead, I prayed with her. But, her question made me realize that I do live at the end of my time.

However, the disciples’ question deals with the end of this age, the age that precedes the Messianic Kingdom. Their concern is, “When will all this sickness, grief, oppression, occupation and death be over? When will the lion lie down with the lamb? When will we study war no more?”

So, how does Jesus begin to answer their question?

Surprisingly, He warns them first against deception, telling them to “watch out!” The term conveys the sense of active looking — as in a night watchman patrolling and on the lookout for intruders, or a soldier at his post of sentry duty.

Clearly, Jesus knows that deceivers will come. Not only that, they will come “in my name.” Plus, there will be “many” who deceive “many.”

History has clearly borne Jesus out on this. Look through the ages between the first century and now, and you see the evidence in the schisms, cults, sects and deviations that have occurred. Each group claims they have “Christ” — that is, that they have the true interpretation or the added revelation of who He is.

Read Revelation 2 and 3, and you discover that at the end of the Apostolic Age, the Early Church is already struggling with movements that are heretical. John’s epistles deal with persons denying God came in the flesh.

But, the phrase “in my name” can also be extended to mean any religion that claims to represent God. Certainly the revivals going on today in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism testify to the fact that these world religions vie for an exclusive franchise in representing the Almighty.

The bottom line for this grave admonition of Jesus, to watch, is that Jesus does not envision His teaching, atonement on the cross, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven will result in unifying all the peoples of the world around Him. He sees continued plurality in religions, and split-away groups from within the Church He established.

The mark of a true prophet is whether what he or she says comes to pass. Jesus has no sugarcoated optimism that everyone is going to embrace Him. His prophecy has proven true.

He is deeply concerned about deception. We can slide into deceiving ourselves or permitting others to deceive us from who Jesus really is, what He wants us to believe, and how He wants us to behave. So, like His first disciples, we too must “watch!”

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to be aware of deception in my own life whenever I start down a direction You do not approve.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


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