The King James version uses the word, “iniquity.” It means lawlessness.
It is difficult for us, more than 20 centuries later, to understand the teachings of Jesus concerning the end times. He spoke as if these events were imminent. What can we take away from these ancient words and warnings to make a difference in our world?
Outward Structures, Inward Realities
As Jesus and His men left the Temple and began their ascent up the Mount of Olives, the Disciples noted how impressive the Temple complex looked from that elevation. Jesus seized the moment.
Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another,
that shall not be thrown down.”
Buildings are symbols of invisible things. The important thing about the Temple was that it was a place for people to meet with God. All the lovely marble stones, all the impressive architecture, even all the historic forms of worship had no value in themselves. Their value was in the truth they represented. If and when it all fell down, the invisible things would still remain. In fact, under the New Covenant, The church would be the True Temple, the “habitation of God by His Spirit.” Built solidly on the Cornerstone, Christ Jesus, this structure will never fall.
The Beginning of the End
When they reached their familiar retreat on the mountain the Disciples asked Jesus to tell them when the Temple would fall. We should be grateful to the Twelve for asking—we need to hear the answers Jesus gave.
- The end times will be an age of deception. Fake messiahs will capture the public’s attention before they are exposed. Do not be deceived by them.
- International unrest will rule the last days. “Wars and rumors of wars” will be the daily report. “Nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom” has been and continues to be the history of this world. Why? Because nations and kingdoms spring from the fallen hearts of men. Un-redeemed, men have always and will always bring war.
- Natural disasters and social disasters will shake the earth and the population. “These are the beginnings of sorrows.”
- Persecution of True Believers will spread from nation to nation. Some will pay with their lives to follow Jesus. For them, it will not be the end; it will be a transformation to glory.
- False prophets will rise up to deceive many, even those who have once known the truth.
- The spirit of the age will be iniquity—lawlessness—and the love of even God’s people will wax cold. Apostasy, the ancient curse of Israel, will deceive many into forsaking the truth and embracing comforting falsehood.
There is no doubt this age is infested with the spirit of iniquity–of lawlessness. Even in such times of persecution and peril, an inner strength will rise up in the faithful ones—they will endure. That may not sound like much of a promise. Shouldn’t we expect to thrive and prosper? Perhaps, but the important thing is to endure.
- Stay in touch with Jesus.
- Stay in the Word. Be faithful to worship.
- Find the will of God and do it. Serve the Lord with gladness and singleness of heart.
For the Jesus Story will go out to all the nations. The Gospel cannot be stopped.
Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Lord Jesus, I long for Your coming! In this age of lawlessness, help me be true! Help me proclaim Your salvation day by day and declare among the nations that the Lord reigns! When Your enemies come against me, come to my rescue! I will put on the Gospel Armor and fight the good fight of faith. You have made me more than a conqueror. Thank You for the reality of Your Holy Temple—the Church! More than a building or a symbol, Your Church is real and victorious! Even so, Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Rise Up O Saints of God
Words: William P. Merrill; Music: William H. Walter
1. Rise up, O saints of God!
Have done with lesser things;
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of kings.
2. Rise up, O saints of God!
The Kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of righteousness,
And end the night of wrong.
3. Rise up, O saints of God!
The church for you doth wait,
With strength unequal to the task;
Rise up and make it great.
4. Lift high the cross of Christ;
Tread where Christ’s feet have trod;
Come sisters, brothers, in the faith,
Rise up, O Saints of God.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.