“No more caffeine?!?” “It really is the end of the world!!” (My wife’s words to her doctor)
Imagine if someone told you today that Christianity had officially become obsolete. Consider your response to a message to abandon its precepts because they are no longer of any value (I realize there really are people out there saying this… work with me). Picture your pastor addressing your congregation with these words, “Go home… our faith is no longer valid.”
How would you react? Would you even remotely entertain the message? Would you attack the messenger with a declaration of defense for your faith? Maybe you would begin the formation of a pastor search committee?
No, I haven’t lost it over here. I’m merely trying to take us back to the time when Jesus came preaching the gospel. He really did bring good news of grace and mercy, but with it, He also brought a message that cut to the heart of those He addressed. To the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob He said, “Put aside your ceremonial rituals, boys, a New Covenant’s come to town!”
They didn’t take it very well. They had the Messenger crucified!
One’s end-times beliefs should be gathered with the entire work of Christ in full focus. Meaning… we cannot truly understand texts like the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew until we fully grasp the magnitude of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
In effect, what was happening at Calvary? An Old Covenant was being made obsolete… and a New Covenant was being ushered in (although it was the covenant established from before the foundations of the world).
When the doctor informed my wife that caffeine had to be removed from her diet, there were certain things we could do to make the transition less painful. By no longer purchasing products with caffeine, the temptation was lessened. We removed everything that included the ingredient that was so detrimental to her health.
How would God go about emphasizing His Son’s Gospel in such a way as to eliminate the possibility of His image-bearers returning to the non-effective standards of the Old Covenant? Would He possibly remove and destroy the elements of it… such as the Temple? …make the Ark of the Covenant go away? …make it impossible to enact animal sacrifices? What would the people then do with their sins?
How big of a deal would this be for those whose records of genealogy followed thousands of generations in the keeping of such a covenant (Think again about how you would respond if it were reported today that the gospel was no longer the path to God’s grace)?
Is Matthew 24 primarily focused on just this? Is Jesus’ words of warning mainly for those who were about to witness and experience the cataclysmic end of their world?
Lord willing… more to follow…