As you will hear in this PODCAST, we are fast-approaching the end of our mini-series within a series, this one having to do with all-things End-Times related.
We are, as you well-know, well into the Olivet Discourse. Jesus’ primary teaching on End-Times events, as given on the Tuesday of His final week on earth.
In two weeks, we will pivot to the Thursday of Jesus’ final week, including His Upper Room Discourse.
It is curiously intriguing to me in the first letter that the Apostle Paul ever penned, 1 Thessalonians, he devoted so much of that letter to a discussion of the End Times. Which tells me that even from the very beginning, the first generation of committed Christ-followers had questions about Jesus’ return, even as they watched and waited for Jesus to come back.
There was then, as there is today, much confusion about what was going to happen and when it would happen.
One of the most encouraging things that Paul wrote — you could consider it Paul’s commentary on this podcast’s Matthew 25 passage — was this:
“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that THE DAY OF THE LORD will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day… Since we belong to the day, stay alert and be clearheaded… For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ… Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (Just a few of the highlights of 1 Thessalonians 5)
So let’s now heed Paul’s loving encouragement and be clearheaded about what he called “the Day of the Lord.” A vitally important, oft-repeated biblical phrase.
Now listen carefully: Over the past few weeks, we have gone to great lengths to distinguish between such things as the Rapture, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ, Millennium, Eternal State, and all-things in between.
We who are of a Western Mindset obsess over the order of things (those perennially bestselling prophecy charts, along with all of their precisely-placed arrows).
As westerners, it is woven into every strand of our western DNA to focus on Form (how something fits, with an emphasis on symmetry, balance, order, everything in its proper place, everything perfectly fitted together). But those of a Middle Eastern Mindset were much more concerned over function — not on how things fit together, but rather on what things do. Not on how something fits, but what something does.
As you are about to hear, this will have a profound impact on your own personal Bible study.
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