Substantial structures will shake when the ground beneath them trembles.
A trembling house will cause the hearts of its occupants to shake as well. In general, we don’t care for shaking. We like stability, predictability, sure foundations, and rock solid mountains on the horizon.
The Apostle Paul warns us about the last days.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come”
Sometimes there is a shaking in human events:
- Armies march over the horizon to lay siege to our city and shaking predicts the assault.
- Public morality erodes the behavior of the average citizen, shaking the safety of our institutions disturbing the peace at its core.
- Crime stalks the streets as greed stalks the chambers of commerce and the value of the currency trembles.
- Rising tides of wickedness threaten to inundate our villages and towns in filth and we feel the trembling before the flood.
As much as we long for stability, we can still feel the ground shaking beneath us. These times do not come without warning; the sense of shaking is the warning.
The people in Jesus’ audience were about to experience shaking of the most perilous kind. The Romans would finally tire of the constant rebellion of the Jews and conquer the city. Hear the prophesy of Jesus:
“…Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
In 70 AD the shaking became an earthquake of destruction as a Roman army laid siege to the city, denuding the surrounding countryside of timber to build their machines of war. They broke through and destroyed the Temple and the city.
In today’s passage, Jesus warned the people, instructing them in the meager defenses available to them.
“…let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…”
The nation of Israel would be destroyed and given over to the Gentiles. They would be scattered over the earth until the “times of the Gentiles” would be fulfilled. Because of the strength of their traditions and the skills of their lives, they would take root wherever they went and be productive in spite of the hatred of the nations where they settled. Much of this history is well known and is a testimony to the faithfulness of God to His covenantal promises.
The Times Fulfilled
In May of 1948, the United Nations voted to establish the nation of Israel in their ancestral homeland. Nothing like this had ever happened before. The city of Jerusalem and the site of the Temple were in the hands of Gentiles until June of 1967 when Israel defeated a host of invading nations to win back the city. Many believe that this event completed the “times of the Gentiles” of Jesus prophecy. The Last Days are upon us.
The Last Days
As the Lord prepares the church for His return, a new kind of shaking will happen,
“…the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
This is more than a storm of nature; this is the coming of the Holy Spirit to the earth! It began on the Day of Pentecost and continues to this day. It is a shaking that is leading to the return of Christ:
“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Along with the “perilous times” of the great falling away, will be the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When we feel the foundations shaking,
“…look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Hebrew 12:25-29 NKJV
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
Acts 2:17-18 NKJV
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
Lord Jesus, I believe that just as You came to this earth to fulfill Your holy mission of Redemption, You will return to this earth to finish the work. Thank You for the nation of Israel, a living witness to Your faithfulness. You preserved them when they were scattered to the winds and You restored them to their homeland, fulfilling the “times of the Gentiles.” Help them, and help all of us, to hear Your wonderful story and call upon You. Help us all be ready for You are soon to return! Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Amen and amen.
Redemption Draweth Nigh
Words and Music: Gordon Jenson
1. Years of time have come and gone since I first heard it told
How Jesus would come back to earth someday.
If back then it seemed so real, then I just can’t help but feel
How much closer His coming is today.
Signs of the times are everywhere.
There’s a brand new feeling in the air.
Keep your eyes upon the Eastern skies.
Lift up Your head, your redemption draweth nigh.
2.Wars and strife on every hand and violence fills our land.
Still some people doubt He’ll ever come again.
But the Word of God is true. He’ll redeem His chosen few.
Don’t lose hope for soon Christ Jesus will descend.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.