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Passover Reflections Pt. 3
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are
noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, what-
ever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if
there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate
on these things.”
We have noted that in the fateful week before Jesus was crucified He stayed with Mary, Martha and Lazarus at their home in a small village on the eastern slopes of Mt. of Olives called Bethany. From there He would walk to the Temple area every day and in its precincts He would engage the people and, inevitably, His antagonists. The synoptic Gospels, and that of John’s, give us a fairly comprehensive insight into all that He taught during the last days of His public ministry. We should take note of the following:
1. Our big donors
Being in and about the Temple precincts Jesus drew near to the Treasury. It was here that the people gave their financial contributions to the work of God. Standing quietly to the side He watched as donors arrived and gave their gifts to God. In particular He took note of a widow who gave very little as compared to the other donors (Mark 12:41-43). By the gift of the word of knowledge, He knew that she had in fact given all that she had to live on and in fact, by so doing, had given more than all the other donors because she gave out of her deficit and not her surplus. Big donors gave huge amounts of money but they still had more than enough to live on. They gave out of their surplus.
In essence then the widow, as a donor, was more important than all of them because God knew the circumstances of her giving and He would look after her and multiply her seemingly small contribution in a way that it did more for the Kingdom of God than all the contributions of the well off! But, no one took notice of her because donor appreciation means that it is the big buck contributors that need to be cultivated, given special gifts like pens and calendars and afforded special privileges like special receptions, access to high level meetings and prominent seats at special events. The deficit donor is all the while ignored and left to give in the shadows, as this woman was, but they are the most important contributors to the work of the Kingdom of God on earth! We have not yet learned the lesson and therefore the work of God suffers. Jesus brother James warned us against carnal donor appreciation methods (James 2:1-6).
2. Our glimpse into the consummation of the age
On one of the days during Holy Week, as Jesus was leaving the Temple compound for Bethany, the Disciples drew His attention to the well constructed grandeur of the Temple stones and the glory of the building in general (Matthew 42:1-2). In response He stated that in the not too distant future the holy building would be besieged and its stones torn down one by one. As one can imagine this statement alarmed the Disciples who then in turn enquired when this would be and what would the sign of His coming? Why did they link the destruction of the Temple with His coming? Because, still grappling with the nature of Jesus’ messianic calling, they knew that when Messiah comes He would build the Temple and usher in the age of redemption (Zechariah 6:12-13). If then then the Temple was shortly to be destroyed it would presuppose that He would have to come a second time to fulfill this prophetic messianic vision; hence the question.
Jesus, seated with them on the Mt. Of Olives (Matthew 24:3), then answered their question. He did this by reinforcing the notion of the Temple’s imminent destruction at the hands of the Romans but then He went on to talk to them about the signs and events that would take place heralding His second coming. This conversation is comprehensively recorded in Matthew 24. One can also find it recorded in Mark 13 and Luke 19 and 21.
In terms of the signs, we should note the followings:
The Temple of Jesus’ day was in fact destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD just as He had prophesied. The warnings He gave in this “Olivet Discourse” enabled the early church to escape and take refuge at a place called Petra, east of, and beyond, the Jordan River, in what today is the country of Jordan. As pertaining to Jesus’ second coming, He gave signs that can be broken up into three categories: Those that have to do with the world, those that have to do with Israel and those that have to do with the church. In terms of the world He said that there would be famines, wars, pestilences, earthquakes, false religious leaders, signs in heavens, fear taking hold of the hearts’ of men, and distress amongst nations. In terms of Israel, He said that the Jews would be exiled to the four corners of the world but they would be regathered from the nations and they would be restored to the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24). The Fig Tree would come to life again! Finally, in terms of the Church, He said that many within it would grow cold and lose their zeal for the things of God, probably since the people of God would be persecuted. However, a true remnant would fulfill the great commission by preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth…….., and then the end would come (Matthew 24:14). It is important to realize that when these signs are present or, are all taken together, then the end will come (Mark 13:28-31). In essence this means that the signs in Israel are the validating ones because they are without precedent.
In terms of the events, we should note the following:
There would be a ” similar model” to that which took place in AD 70. That is, the Temple would again be desecrated by an imposter who scripture calls the Beast, the Son of Perdition, the Lawless One and the Antichrist. This wicked entity will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9). The days leading up to the arrival of the Lawless One will be characterized by religious deception, the arrival of a New World Order ( global government), a great falling away of believers and the impartation of an embedded number in the hands or foreheads of everyone on earth, enabling them to buy and sell (operate financially) ( Revelation 13:17-18). Need I say, these days are rapidly approaching. In the last few days alone, Gordon Brown (the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), Bill Gates and Henry Kissinger have all called for the implementation of a New World Order, characterized by a new global financial system. It is important to understand that the “similar model principle” is employed by Jesus so that we can be without excuse, be well prepared, understand things clearly and warn others. Is it not amazing that Jesus took the time to warn His Disciples, and us, of these things just a few days before His death? The lesson is clear, He is coming back to rule and reign as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:15-16). That is, after all these events have taken place He will come again, in great glory and splendor, and His elect, having been gathered to Him from the corners of the earth, will rule and reign with Him, world without end, forever and ever!
Jesus concluded this remarkable discussion with His Disciples by calling upon them to watch and pray (Matthew 25:13). They would need to do this in order to escape the awful events of AD 70 and we need to watch and pray as we see the very challenging days of His second coming fast approaching. Also, He devoted a good portion of His discourse to warning us to be ready, to be full of zeal, to live holy lives, to love Him and to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-13).
Have we heard Him this Passover in 2020?