Thursday, September 4, 2014

At That Time...
The next sentences Jesus spoke when describing to his disciples the events preceding his coming are these:
"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Matthew 24:30-31, NIV 1984 (this version no longer available).

In the previous post we talked about how Jesus had said "immediately after" these events in verse 29. These events would be all the happenings we've been looking at on this blog since June 24, 2014, when we started reading through Matthew 24 verse by verse. So these events would include false Christian teachers and leaders who claim to be Christians but are not and are leading many astray, persecution of Christians (seen any of that in the world lately?), nations rising against nation, earthquakes, famines, the "abomination that causes desolation," and people claiming the "Christ" is in hiding.

Then Jesus said "immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light" (Matthew 24:29, NIV).

Notice now that Jesus gives another time stamp to these events when he says "At that time…" (Tweet that!)

At that time, when the world sees Jesus "coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30, NIV) the nations will mourn because they did not believe in him. (Tweet that!) They didn't think any of this would happen. They will be totally surprised and shocked, realize they were wrong, and in extreme fear will mourn.

In today's world, most of the people of the earth ridicule people like me: people who do believe in Jesus and do know that he is coming again. (Tweet that!) People like me who believe he is coming soon…not a vague "soon" but soon, as in our lifetimes.

When they see Jesus actually coming, they will mourn because they didn't believe. They thought people like me were crazy. And yet…

Here he is. In the flesh. Coming at them, proving them wrong! How frightening this must be for all those who refused to believe in any of this beforehand. (Tweet that!) What will happen to them now?

The very next sentence says Jesus sends his angles -- notice they are HIS angels! -- to gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (This may be more than the "elect" -- the true believers in Jesus -- who are on earth; these may be all the "elect" of all time, meaning all true believers in the Christ of God.)

Please notice the trumpet call in verse 31:
"And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other" (Matthew 24:31, NIV. Emphasis added).

As I mentioned in the previous post (and many times before…repetition to help you learn it), there are seven Feasts of the Lord. Three in the spring. Then a break to the fourth, which is Pentecost, in June. We talked about these first four Feasts last spring on this blog. Then we took a break through the summer and have been looking at the prophecies Jesus spoke of the End Times in Matthew 24.

Now, as the end of summer comes and fall approaches, it's important for us to talk about the final three of the seven Feasts of the Lord, which occur in the fall. Those final three annual Feasts, celebrated by the Jewish people in the fall of the year, are:
  • the Feast of Trumpets (this year in 2014 occurring on September 24-25), 
  • the Day of Atonement (this year in 2014 occurring on October 3-4), 
  • the Feast of Tabernacles (this year in 2014 occurring on October 8-16).

We'll talk about those in depth in coming posts, but I wanted you to notice now that the next Feast on God's calendar is the Feast of Trumpets.

And I didn't want you to miss the reference to the trumpet call in today's Scripture verse:
"...he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call…" (Matthew 24:31).

I believe these words of Jesus are a direct reference to the Feast of Trumpets! In other words, I believe Jesus is telling us this event of him coming on the clouds with power and great glory will be indicated by, and will occur on, the Feast of Trumpets. (Tweet that!)

If that bit of information doesn't excite you as it does me, I don't know what will!

Jesus now takes a turn in his speech to his disciples as he turns his attention to the lesson of the fig tree in Matthew 24:32-33. We are going to take this turn in his speech as an opportunity to take a break from Matthew 24 in order to learn about the three fall Feasts of the Lord. Included in this discussion of the Fall Feasts will be information on the coming lunar eclipse (being call a "Blood Moon") on October 8th. (Tweet that!)

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