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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

 

Catastrophe and Climax

Aug. 11, 2013

But in those days, following that distress, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. (Mark 13:24-26, NIV)

Does human history have a culminating point?

The prophet Isaiah, 800 years before Christ, made very clear that an ultimate day was coming. He declared: “See, the day of the Lord is coming. ... The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light ... Therefore, I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger” (Isaiah 13:9,10,13).

As Jesus sits with His disciples on the slope of the Mount of Olives facing Jerusalem, He nears the end of His answer to the question posed by Peter, James, John and Andrew: “When will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

In summary, Jesus does not hold a hopeful view that life on earth will become more righteous. It will not. In fact, there will be continued division in religion, conflict and wars among ethnic groups and political alliances, natural catastrophes, and persecution from all quarters against disciples.

But the day will come when it’s over. Jesus paraphrases the language of Isaiah to describe that day. The same catastrophe was also prophesied by Joel and quoted by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21). The Holy Spirit revealed to both Joel and Peter the two mountain peaks: the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the last days and the breaking up of the heavens. However, the Spirit did not enable them to see the valley of time between these two peaks.

Jesus also does not delineate the long era between the launch of the last days (the pouring forth of the Spirit) and their fulfillment. Why? I suspect it’s because He wants us to be ready for everything in each generation.

Jesus says human history will be wrapped up with cataclysmic cosmic events (see also Revelation 6:12-14; 8:12). Others can guess about the fate of the earth, but our Lord knows! It will come to an end with dramatic pyrotechnics in the three lights now in the sky: sun, moon and stars.

But the good news is the Son of Man is coming in clouds with great power and glory! That’s the moment all believers wait for.

Matthew’s parallel account of the Olivet Discourse tells us that “all the nations of the earth will mourn” (24:30). Those who follow the path of other religions or adhere to no religion at all will mourn like a defiant person headed for the gallows — unrepentant even to the last. We know that from the Book of Revelation (9:20,21).

They mourn because Jesus comes with great power and glory — all their weapons and arsenals are useless against Him. He comes as Conqueror and makes His entrance like no other. In history, generals, leaders and dictators entered a conquered territory on horse or armored car surrounded by battalions. Jesus comes from the sky with all His holy angels!

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, on that day may I rejoice at Your coming and not be found among those who mourn.

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

On Your Mark

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