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Living in the Last Days

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2021 8:00 am

Living in the Last Days

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 22, 2021 8:00 am

We’ve all experienced the heavy grief of tragedy and the panic that comes along with a crisis because in a sinful world, pain and anxiety are a regular part of the human experience. But Scripture tells us that in spite of these trials, we should see to it that we are not alarmed. In this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour, we’ll find out how to rest in God’s plan, even in the midst of apparent chaos.

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We've all experienced the heavy grief of tragedy and the panic that comes along with a crisis because in this sinful world pain and anxiety are a regular part of the human experience. But Scripture tells us that in spite of these trials, we should see to it that we are not alarmed in this broadcast of the Bible study our will find out how to rest in God's plan. Even in the midst of apparent chaos. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically biblical scholars differ on everything from the timing of the tribulation to the details of the rapture. Let's listen in as Dr. Boyce teaches from Matthew chapter 24 on the topic of the last days, very few things in life as fascinating as prophesy or so problematic is fascinating because most people would like to know the future. Some would like to know what out of fear right like to avoid lights difficulties and tragedies from people would like to know what's coming. In order to plan for a successful lawyer we all knew what the stock market was going to do just a few days before dinner. Not to mention long-range we can all become very rich. Some people would like to know the future out of just idle curiosity. Just kinda be on the inside track about what's coming, as it were a lot of Christian speculation about the future, so long those lines in the secular world here have horoscopes, fortunetellers, sances, tyrant cards, popularity of cold figures like Jean Dixon all that shows how fascinated most people are with thinking about what's coming yet at the same time is also difficult. Prophecies are notoriously vague. Perhaps the most famous prophecies along that line are those of the famous Oracle at Delphi in Greece. Everybody would go to Delphi to consult the Oracle to find out what was going to happen. Certainly politicians didn't Kings did one can game it was thinking about going to war with the neighboring country asked what would happen.

The Oracle told him if he went to war. He would destroy a great nation went to war.

He lost the battle in the nation that was destroyed was his own medical admin right easily the other way around. Most prophecies just don't come to pass.

Now the disciples were as curious as we are about the future and that's how we get into these two great chapters of Matthew's gospel that contain Jesus well-known famous teaching about things that are to come. Matthew 24 and 25 called the Olivet discourse because it was spoken on the Mount of olives and it's the last of these six collections of Jesus teaching that we have in the gospel presumably parts of it were spoken of.

Other times it's quite possible that Matthew was gathered together some things here, but the other chapters in which he has apparently done this or chapters 5 through seven.

That's the sermon on the Mount in chapter 10, 13 and 18 chapter 23, immediately before this was a separate discourse so these things come together in the gospel but now we come to the last one.

Matthew 24 and 25 is an important part of the gospel is also passage which, taken together with similar or parallel passages in Mark 13, Luke Luke 21 of divided commentators, puzzled people that have looked at it tried to understand that over the centuries and out of this chapter and other prophetic passages of the Bible. There have, variety of viewpoints about what to expect in the last days. 1 Easy Way of dividing them up is in terms of the millennium months. Of the thousand years woken of the thousand year reign of Christ, the most views of eschatology are defined in the relationship so that we talk about premillennialism post millennialism millennialism when it's not quite that simple is also historic premillennialism and then there's a new view today are a revival of an old you called plagiarism, which is becoming rather popular in reformed circles, it means that all these things actually have already happened. There associated with the fall of Jerusalem.

Any people take now that entire chapter that way as well as other prophetic passages like in many cases almost the whole of the book of Revelation say that all of that is happening. The only thing we really have look forward to is the end of the world and the final judgment. Now I'm not going to be able to discuss all of those views them unfolding. Matthew 24 on other reasons because Matthew 24 Matthew 25.

Don't talk about the millennium. We are to touch on some of these things as we go along because there's no other way to do it.

I want to handle it in a general way in this first they were going to look more particularly at the difficulties of the various interpretations in the next and then I trust for the remainder of our studies of the 24th and 25th chapter were going to get around to thinking about what Jesus really wanted us to get around to thinking about and that is to get ready for his return. Whenever it might be because I can hardly escape our attention when we look over these chapters that the great bulk of the verses mass of the material is warning Abbas to be ready for them whenever he might, the place to begin is with the disciples's double question in verse three disciples say tell us, when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age.

Now I was a natural question for them to have raised in view of two things. They had just heard Jesus say very beginning of this chapter, Jesus attention had been called to the large buildings of the temple complex is that all master look at these great buildings here, and Jesus had replied by saying you see all these things I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another. Everything will be thrown down and just before this the end of the previous chapter when he had been pronouncing wells or judgments upon the religious leaders of the Daiichi and said to them, you will not see me again until you say Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. So it was natural for the disciples to put those two things together, like probably associated Jesus prediction about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem with his words about his return, but they were still two separate questions and Matthew preserves them is to separate questions in chapter 24 verse when will Jerusalem be destroyed and secondly what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age. Jesus answers both of them separately. In fact, that seems to be the main point of the passage disciples may have associated the fall of Jerusalem with his coming again at the end of the world. But Jesus didn't want them to assume that these two matters are necessarily linked together of the sign on the contrary, although he says Jerusalem will fall quickly within 40 years or so of his prediction, the disciples worked to regard either get or any other historical disasters, however terrible they may be signs of his return because his return will be without warning what they need to be concerned about is getting ready for it and being ready for it whenever it might be now that's the way it's handled. Let's look at it a little bit.

The first part of his answer has to do with the many bad things will happen, but which in themselves are not signs of the end. It was these in verses four through 14 and then in the next section, verses 15 through 22. He gives a particularly bad example of what's going to happen. That's the fall of Jerusalem, but even that is not to be a sure sign that his return is immediately a hand right around the corner on the signs that are not signs of these false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, persecutions, apostasy is falling away from faith of those who profess to be Christians, and also false prophets.

It would be possible. Easy as a matter of fact, to fill up sermon or several sermons with examples from history going back to the earliest times, continuing to our days of all of these things.

False messiahs and persecutions of apostasy and all that that isn't the point that it's not necessary thing is gain by making specific sign that is in the sign point is simply that false teachers, natural disasters, persecutions forsaking of the faith by mentally and false teachers will characterize discreetly will always see these things as were painful things, and Jesus uses an image to describe them.

He likens them to the beginning of birth pains, but they are not signs of the end of the world is near these things existed in the disciples days leg existed in every age of church history, up to and including our own. Indeed, some of them will taken a long time to develop nation rising against nation, for example, of the preaching of the gospel throughout the whole world, but the followers of Christ are not to be deceived by false teaching on the subject, because verse six.

The end is still to come.

That includes even the destruction of Jerusalem as a particularly terrible example of these bad things that happen in history of Jesus Christ wells on it at some length.

For one thing, because it's a terrible time of suffering, but also because of the significance of Jerusalem. The biblical history essay when he talks about this that there is to be a warning sign of the destruction of Jerusalem is what he calls the abomination that causes desolation is when you see it standing in the holy place then you will know that this is coming that's a phrase that's borrowed from the book of Daniel is found four times in Daniel and Daniel 813 927 1131 and 12/11 and there it seems to refer to the desecration of the temple area by the pagan leader of the time whose name was Annie office epiphanies see did that in 168 BC erected an altar to Zeus in the temple area. He sacrificed a pig on it. It's just about as insulting and degrading a thing as good done in terms of Jewish religion that actually stuck in their minds. I Jesus isn't referring to that because I was in the past what he is saying is that something like that or something corresponding to that is going to happen before the fall of Jerusalem us to be a warning. Those followers were living at that time to flee from the city.

It's hard to know what the answer read the commentaries you find a lot of different ideas out of an entirely satisfactory and it quite possible it was something that isn't even historically recorded.

Probably the best guess is that it refers to the approach of the Roman armies with the standards of the legions they had images of the Emperor and the standards were virtually worshiped by the soldiers. After Jerusalem was subdued. The standard were actually set up in the temple area, but even the approach of them would probably be regarded as an abomination to the Jewish people saw happening there is some encouragement to believe that that's what this is referring to.

Because of the parallel text in Luke Luke 21 verse 20. It uses the phrase Jerusalem being surrounded by armies in the same place where in Matthew's gospel. You have a reference to the abomination that causes desolation, so would seem to suggest that the two are the same but I say were not sure. Josephus describes this destruction really was a terrible thing on of the most terrible destructions of any city at any time throughout all of history. Eusebius church historian also writes about it. He points out that the Christians who were in Jerusalem at the time, fled the city for some reason when they saw the sign whatever it was, and they relocated to a place called Pella in Paris on the other historical verification of happen seems to be what happened well very terrible thing.

Yeah, that's the point of the passage, and yet even this is not a sign of the end. That's why, in my judgment after having talked about the fall of Jerusalem. Jesus reverts in verses 23 to 28 to his original point and he summarizes what he saying is I would paraphrase appraisals verses of something like this look in that day is around the time of the fall of Jerusalem of anybody says to you, Christ is here now. He's come back will be taken in by because that person will not be the Christ as they go out in the desert is there. He's in an inner room. Is there believe it because these will not be signs of my coming out you know that these are not signs of my coming answer is because the Son of Man when it comes, will come suddenly like lightning flashing from the east of the West you don't have any warning of the coming of the lightning so he says that's the way the coming of the Son of Man will be to say, well, okay, but to what should be my attitude at time of history like that. How should I live in this.

With all its tribulations and sufferings all its problems. While I wait for the coming of Jesus Christ were going to deal with that as we go along. Because as I said the whole remainder of it in some sense deals with what it means to watch and be ready but let me at this point give you a lengthy story of a powerful one that has to do with this particular text. The summer of 1939, and one of the previous pastors of this church.

Donna Gray Barnhouse was in Scotland where he had been preaching. He was scheduled also to begin a series of meetings in Ireland and Belfast first week of September but he had about a week in between the close of the meetings in Scotland in the beginning of the meetings in Ireland. His family had been vacationing on the coast of France, Normandy, and so he decided he had time to take a week to go down and visit them so we did took the train down to London and on down to the little airport at Croydon out in Canton.

He presented his passport there in order to fly across the channel. The man who took his passport at the counter questioned them about his plans. Why do you want to go to France and when the you coming back he said well he had little time he was going over there.

It would come back together start Saturday night.

Actually, in Belfast and warned him. He said if you want to be in Belfast on Saturday night. I would strongly urge that you don't go over across the channel. The day but Barnhouse said he knew what was in the background. Hitler was threatening war he just signed his perfidious treaty with Russia. He was threatening the margin to dancing but you know that all just seemed like rumors of war at the time and so he said well now I think I still want to go.

The man said as he handed in his passport photo and say I didn't warn you the land of the little airport first thing he did was check on his flight back legs that were not sure about flights this week but will keep you informed. They noticed that there were soldiers everywhere but he met up with the family. I drove on down the coast a little bit where we had a wonderful week together.

This was the height of the vacation season and Francis and still is, all these families were on the beach all the children were playing, everyone was happy from time to time an airplane would appear the sky. Everybody would get quiet and watch it, then somebody would say is one of ours, all the activity would pick up again like the pictures was a wonderful time of the days went by Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and finally on Thursday morning.

Word came that there wouldn't be any more flights back to England so it Barnhouse was to get back. He had to take a train at the train up to Paris and from Paris back to the coast again crossover on the steamer and try to get up there.

He boarded the train and he said as the train was making its way to Paris. The tocsin sounded during the Middle Ages and in Europe they developed a system of sounds by the church bells let people know what was going on. Most people couldn't read so that would be bells would ring for happy occasions like weddings, everybody would know a couple is getting married in would be bells that would sound the death knell. Somebody had died and so on and there were bells that sounded in the beginning of war. That's what the tocsin is so is this train was on its way. Tocsin sounded the bells all over France were ringing out this called war and what that meant.

The courses that this army which really consisted of all the men who were assigned to different units immediately would rather uniforms and their guns and jump on the train and go off to their mobilization station so as they went along. All these families were being broken up husband being torn away from wives going off many of them would never come back. As they went on eventually to meet the German invasion they got to Paris an hour later he was on a train making its way toward the coast when they got there it pulled up alongside the steamer. Everybody got along, they began to sail across the channel.

It was nighttime. Now Barnhouse made his way up to the bridge and introduced himself to the captain. The captain was listening to the radio and they were hearing all of what was happening. Hitler and invaded dancing bombing was frightful Chamberlain. It called a meeting of his cabinet. The Germans were not of dancing by 11 o'clock on Sunday morning. Chamberlain said war would be declared British Capt. said this time will be no turning back. This this is it. Barnhouse went down was cabinet went to sleep that night for a few hours. Morning came the docs in England. It was September 1, 1939 I was a beautiful day. They made their way through camp to London and from Victoria station on the south of the station on the north had the trains going on up in Scotland on toward the coast toward Ireland and as Barnhouse was there in London around the train station. He realized they were collecting all the children because there were beginning to evacuate them from London because of fear of the bombing and here are masses of children that had been torn away from their families. He said he will not wondered around them a little bit was one little lad.

There just a tiny little thing a been given some chocolates on my weed smeared it all over his face. He had managed to wet his pants and was crying was just a little island of misery and nothing to be done about it but Barnhouse saw this he got back on the train.

They made their way north it. It took a long time because they had to stop again and again for troop trains coming south and four train loads of children going north. Finally, they reached Carlisle about midnight, spent the night there.

Then they took another train on toward the coast. I got there late on Saturday and so that Saturday night when he was supposed to be at the banquets in Belfast that would launch the start of the meetings he stood on the shore, looking across the see of Ireland. Now the ship went off at night as they were going across the Irish see in the dark because already they were practicing a blackout. The only light that could be seen with the White House on a promontory and one man on the ship said they are to send the RIF over there shoot it out because Germans could use that as a way of getting her bearings as they were coming over the bottom. Ireland we got there late two or three in the morning. The committee was waiting when he finally got the Belfast state escorted into his hotel. I said churches and 11 will pick you up at 1030, and one of them said I hope you have a good sermon. It may be the last.

Some of the men will ever hear.

So they left. Mary was he was standing alone in his room was for the morning.

Went over to the mantel into the slip of paper. He prayed and asked God to give them a text or an occasion like that and the text came to his mind.

He made a few points.

He went to bed the next morning they came and he found himself there in the vestry ready to go into the service of about 1030, a minister of the church. Scenics was virtually beside himself. He was so distressed of what was happening, Shaking Barnhouse man oh I'm glad you're here. He said I find glad I don't have to present a lot of the world I would ever say the word was that Chamberlain was going to speak on the radio and 11 everybody expected that he was going to declare war on Germany or not set as they were about to go into the church. It occurred to him that everybody would be home listening to the radio, but when he went any was surprised everybody was there. Every seat was taken. I sat on the platform and sang a few hymns of the ushers came in from the side. He had a note he passed it to the pastor.

The pastor passed at the Barnhouse note said Hitler has invaded dancing. The Prime Minister has declared war and then introduce Barnhouse to speak well. He began by rehearsing all of the things that he had seen on his way to Ireland. We talked about the train tocsin families being torn apart and going off to die talked about the children being torn from their parents talked about the little boy all the suffering and after each one of these things as he laid it out before the people he referred to his text. She said God has given me a text that is the most perfect text of the world for this hour. It was spoken by Jesus Christ, and it goes like this will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.

So after every succeeding horror repeated the words see that you be not alarmed families torn up.

Do not be alarmed. Children suffering. Do not be alarmed. Finally got to the end. This was building a enormous tension in the church and he stopped and he looked up to heaven and he said God how can Jesus Christ possibly say a thing like that two men who have hearts to feel and bowels the yard and identify with the misery of other people and the answer came. Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Christ is Lord of history is the God of every detail circumstance. Nothing has ever come into history, or in the life of anyone of his children that he has not determined before hand and eventually determine for their good sin of manners reduced the world to an arena in which people tear at each other's throats and in the midst of the history of which Jesus Christ is Lord, each individual knows them trust Christ rest in Christ. No power of his resurrection and be sure all events of history, however terrible they may be, will never separate us from the love of God in Christ our Lord, which is what really matters. So that's where Jesus Christ is saying this is our God, these are the words of Jesus Christ. What Jesus Christ says is this not be more is our privilege to rest in him until he comes again and spray her father, we thank you for this teaching of our Lord, which recognizes so clearly the terrible things that happen on the suffering of mankind, and even of your own people and yet is Lord of history, ruling over it tells us not to be troubled because we can have must rest in him. Father, bless us as we try to do that teaches what it means each of our own circumstances may Jesus Christ be praised forever. Amen. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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