Numbers 7:10-89; Mark 13:1-13; Psalms 50:1-6; Proverbs 15:1-3
NT: “While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” Jesus told them, “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be alarmed; these things must take place, but it is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. But you, be on your guard! They will hand you over to local courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. And it is necessary that the gospel be preached to all nations. So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”” (Mark 13:3-13 CSB)
This is Mark’s account of the Olivet Discourse. It is recorded in greater detail in Matthew 24-25, and again in Luke 21. In this discourse, Jesus spoke of things to come and the end of the age. In the midst of this pandemic and other natural occurrences, people are talking about the end times – that the end is upon us. Jesus said that all of these things would happen… that they must happen, and when they do, don’t be alarmed or frightened. The natural disasters and wars are not the end. Evil, calamities, and the furthering of the Gospel will all happen at the same time. As the times grow darker, God’s Light of the Gospel grows ever brighter. As His truth grows ever brighter, those that oppose His truth grow more desperate and louder. The one sign that the end has come is mentioned here, but is spoken specifically in Matthew 24:14: The gospel will be preached to all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come. For those who are faithful to God, grace will be given in those troubling times. As we experience the shaking of the earth and the failures of human society, God, through His Holy Spirit, will give us the grace to speak on His behalf – to be His witnesses. He will give us the grace to endure… and those who remain faithful in the midst of all the trials and tribulations, and endure to the end will be saved.
Psalms: “The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks; he summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. From Zion, the perfection of beauty, God appears in radiance. Our God is coming; he will not be silent! Devouring fire precedes him, and a storm rages around him. On high, he summons heaven and earth in order to judge his people: “Gather my faithful ones to me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” The heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God is the Judge. Selah” (Psalms 50:1-6 CSB)
El, Elohim, Yehovah speaks. Three titles of God: the all mighty, ever-existing, one true God of the universe summons the whole earth. The message? God is coming. Before He comes, there is a shaking, a purging, and a refining that makes way for His holiness. One thing that is true about this global pandemic: it has caused a shaking, a purging, and a refining to occur the world over. Is this the end? I don’t believe so, for Matthew 24:14 has not happened. Is God desiring to call out to the earth and radiate His beauty from Zion (His people) for all the earth to see? I would say yes. Are we remaining faithful to Him in the midst of the trials and tribulation through the grace given us by the Holy Spirit?