Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Chosen Generation

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."  Matthew 24:32-35  NKJV

Have you ever experienced along with me the embarrassment as a child of being the last one picked to be on a team?  Makes you feel special doesn’t it? I think at a very early age we begin to realize the good feeling that accompanies being singled out or chosen above others for anything at all.  At least for me, I can definitely remember the point in time where my physical abilities finally emerged and I began to be picked earlier rather than later.  If you are reading these words today, however, I want to assure you that you are part of a very special generation, chosen by God Himself to witness the completion of His plan for this world.

In this passage from the book of Matthew, Jesus is responding to a question by His disciples about the end of the age, and when they could expect to see it.  Obviously they wanted to see it themselves, and were excited at the prospect of witnessing the coming of our Lord’s kingdom.  Jesus, however, explains that it would be the generation which sees the signs He has been speaking of which would see His coming at the end of the age.  What the disciples did not realize is that the nation of Israel was to be removed from their land a second time and scattered among the nations until the final regathering spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament.

"It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.Isaiah 11:11-12  NKJV

"I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God."  Amos 9:14-15  NKJV

In May of 1948 the nation of Israel was reestablished in their homeland in a stunning fulfillment of the scriptures written thousands of years ago.  When it did, it began a countdown to the end of this age which Jesus Himself declared would only last for one generation.  While some have argued that Jesus either meant the generation He was speaking to, or the nation of Israel as a whole, neither of those interpretations linguistically makes sense, especially in light of the prophecies of Israel’s scattering and regathering as a nation.  The most logical and reasonable interpretation is that from the point that Israel was regathered in 1948, the generation which began and will last for seventy years will see these things come to pass.

“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  Psalm 90:10  NKJV

When I first came to this conclusion, I found it hard to explain the excitement I felt knowing that I would see these things come to pass in my lifetime.  Events which occur in the course of world history, which unbelievers might easily pass off as naturally occurring, take on a whole new meaning given the perspective of knowing where we are on God’s timeline.  When I am asked the question, as I often am, as to why I choose to teach prophecy and the end of the age I typically will use two passages to explain my motivation for studying eschatology.  The first is something Mordecai said to Esther when she hesitated to approach the King.

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14  NKJV

Have you ever wondered why you were born at this particular time in history?  Do you believe it was just random chance or is it possible God ordained you to be part of this generation?  Esther was asked that question and it would seem circumstances answered it for her as she believed and made the decision to approach the king with her requests.  As we see the day approaching, have you considered the possibility God put you here right now to tell others about what we are seeing occur all around us and explain what it all means?  I certainly do, which leads me to share the second passage that motivates my teaching.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.”             Matthew 24:45-46  NKJV

The phrase “due season” in the Greek is just one word, "kairos", and is defined this way; “a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for.”  Would you agree with me that the generation which Jesus said would see the end of the age might somehow qualify as the “epoch” we have been waiting for?  As wise servants I believe we are called to share the good news of the salvation offered to mankind especially right now as we see the day approaching.  Events in this world have been described by many as a crisis the likes of which we have never seen.  As part of this chosen generation, what better time to tell others of God’s salvation than right now?

If you have watched this world and the seemingly unexplainable events that are happening and wondered what it all means, Jesus made it very clear that those who watched would recognize the signs of His imminent return.  If you have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and accept the free gift of eternal life He has offered you, I urge you to do so right now. You can do that by praying this prayer and accepting the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.

Father, I know I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin, and I ask you now to forgive me of my sins. I want to receive your gift of salvation so please come into my heart and help me to live and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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