|Posted by donnadawson on May 9, 2009 at 9:58 PM|
Mathew 24:17-25 "Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time." NIV
We have just learned that it is likely that we will, as believers, see the anti-Christ. As he desecrates the not yet built Jerusalem temple and declares himself god, Christians world-wide will know that the end is near. Verse 17 to 20 outlines just how horrible that time will be. Jesus warns believers to flee--to abandon all earthly things and run to the mountains. He mourns for pregnant and nursing mothers because they will be slowed down by their children and may possibly perish because of it.
Some theologians have stated that this was a prophecy against the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. After all, it sounds very much like the way that historical event happened doesn't it? There is a very large problem with that theory, however, and that problems shows itself in verses 21 and 22. These verses hint that this could be the beginning of the Great Tribulation or the last three and a half years of the 'week' spoken of in Daniel. Because they state that this time of distress will be unequaled from the beginning of the world and never to be equaled again we know that Jesus is referring to the tribulation and not the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. If this had been fulfilled in 70 A.D. then we have no Tribulation period to look forward to (I use the phrase 'look forward to' loosely) because this time of distress will be unequaled. He then goes on to say something very interesting in verse 22. He states that for the sake of the elect the time would be shortened. Ever notice how fast time flies? Even the young have begun to notice that the days flee. It is as though time has been sped up. As though we are rushing toward death and heaven beyond. Jesus said this would happen to spare believers from falling away.
Verses 23 to 25 are frightening because they sum up what is happening in the world today. Never, in history, has there been a time where the spirit of anti-christ has flourished as it does now. How many times have we heard that Christ is alive on the earth in human form and just waiting for his time to rule? What about the recent craze that sent millions of people to the book store to get a book that declared that Jesus had a relationship with Mary and that his offspring is living today? Wouldn't you say they were false-Christs?
And then there are the false prophets. I remember reading a book written by a man who stated that Jesus would return in the year 2000. Allow me to skip ahead to verse 36. Didn't Jesus say that no one would know the day or hour? Yet this man declared the time of Christ's return and made a lot of money in book sales by stirring the crowds into a frenzy. Had people simply read Matthew 24 they would have known this man was a false prophet.
And then Jesus goes on to warn us against those who perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect if possible. Do we not see that now? Thousands who flock to healers who claim that their gifts come from God and yet don't hesitate to gain financially from their followers? Don't get me wrong here. I believe in healing. I watched the prayers of 200 women change God's mind (read Genesis 18:16-33) and move him to have mercy on my child when she suffered from 2nd and 3rd degree burns. I saw her wounds as they were covered in bandages. And I was there the next day--the day after those prayers--when the bandages were removed to reveal fresh new skin. I know God heals. But that healing was not on account of one man's heavenly gift. It was an answer to the collective plea of many who knew God could heal. We live in a society where status is put on a individuals who 'do miracles' and there is an unspoken sense that they are special in God's sight because of it. These verses declare those individuals as a false prophets because the glory is heaped on them more than on God. And their wealth continues to grow while many who don't read God's word fall away from truth and into the snare of exhibitionism.
Matthew 24:17-25 digs at our hearts and minds--calling us to study the Word and not be deceived. We are entering a time when we must know scripture--hold it close to our hearts lest we be fooled.