Sunday, August 7, 2011

When the Feet of Christ Descend!

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Matt. 23:37 NKJV

I have been watching the news as it funnels out of the Middle East now for many years. The evolving nature of the dispositions of the entire area is like a time-bomb. The area and the world ticks away second-by-second awaiting the birth of things to come, things the Bible plainly declares. It is clear from the passage above that God loves Jerusalem. Moreover, it was to the Jewish people that Jesus first came and preached salvation. But soon after the nation had rejected Him, He stood outside the city lamenting the coming slaughter that would occur as a result. The passage that follows simply says their house would become desolate (cp. Matt. 23:38).

Josephus records that approximately 40 years later, in 70 A.D., the Roman Emperor's son Titus, entered into the city of Jerusalem and made a great slaughter in the city. Many who did not want to fight were killed anyway: "...but the natural inhabitants were killed without fighting; for in hopes of Titus's giving them his right hand for their security, and out of the consciousness that they had not given any consent to the war, they avoided fighting, until Titus had slain the authors of this revolt, and then put a stop to any further slaughters out of the commiseration of these inhabitants of the place..." (Josephus, War of the Jews III.10.5) In other words, Titus killed even those who did not bear a sword without mercy. That was what Jesus saw, and that is what He lamented. Jerusalem fell and was no longer under Jewish authority. Soon after, the temple was destroyed and the blood flowed like a river. (Related: 2,000-Year-Old Artifacts Discovered in an Ancient Jerusalem Tunnel)

Jerusalem today 
Today, the majority of people living in Israel are non-religious Jews, with a small percentage of the populace being Jewish Orthodox and an even smaller percentage being Messianic Christian. The numbers vary, so I give no real percentages. Jesus still loves the Jewish nation. God has never forgotten the place where the feet of our Messiah walked, bled, and ascended into heaven. One day soon, those same feet will descend in like manner to the same place from which He ascended the Mt. of Olives. Note the progression of end-time events in Zechariah:

6 And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?’ (between the hands Heb.) Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'7 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion," Says the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones (Zechariah 13:6-7 (NKJV)).

In the passage Zechariah describes where He (the Messiah) was wounded and where it occurred; “…in the house of my friends” It would be the same people who Jesus so lovingly desired to gather together, as mother Hen would her chicks. But as Peter says, they stumbled in unbelief as Christ became to them a “Stone of Stumbling and a Rock of Offense,” 1 Peter 2:8.  The prophet then goes on to say if the Shepherd is stricken the sheep will be scattered. Stricken He was and scattered they became, and not only the disciples of Christ. It is a tragic day when God lifts His hand of blessing off of a life. He goes on to say:

8 And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the LORD, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it:
9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The LORD is my God' “
(Zechariah 13:8-9 (NKJV))

In the end, that is at the end of the seven year tribulation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, in 9:24-27 and Jesus in Matt. 24, Israel will finally see Jesus for who He has always been, their Lord and Messiah. But heartache often precedes heart-joy. When the numbers are finally calculated, two thirds of the people of Israel will die in the clashes of the armies who rise against her and one third will be brought through the fire. It is these that turn their hearts to Jesus and proclaim Him as the Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God (cp. Isaiah 9:6).

In the next passage Zechariah describes the exact scenario we see on the world front today, Jerusalem becoming the main focal point and the world stumbling, tripping, and being offended as the end-time clock goes into its final cycle. What lies ahead is nothing short of war, famine, and terrible destruction for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. As all eyes look upon her during that time period, the prophet describes their attitude:

2 "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.
3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it
(Zechariah 12:2-3 (NKJV))

It is not wise to fight against the Almighty, All Powerful, Living God! Our Father who art in heaven will rule with righteous judgment against all who have turned against Him by shunning Jesus and His gracious call for them to come and drink of the Living Water. What has been decreed will come to pass. Certainly, it will be so! But in the end, after the antichrist and all who reject God have failed in their coup, those blood stained feet will again alight upon the earth taking vengeance against all who have disdained His Word, His land, and His people. God will simply cause them to all be gathered in one location, Jerusalem, and there He will dish out His displeasure:

1 Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You
(Zechariah 14:1-5 (NKJV))

In the passage God has prepared a place to flee. It will be this fleeing that I will touch upon in a future post, but for now, I would like for you to consider where you stand with Christ? He is not looking for those who just want to escape judgment, but those who will be willing to serve in His army. Did you notice that it would be the feet of the saints that would return with Christ to the Mt. of Olives? Yes we will return with Him because when the tribulation is prepared to ensue, we, the believers and followers of Christ will be taken to heaven to escape the things that will be coming on the earth. "For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:9 (NKJV)).

A way of escape still exists
You do not have to be named as an assenting party among those who wounded Christ in the house of His friends. You can be saved. While there is still time you can call out to God, confessing your sin, asking Him to come into your life and make you a new person. If you do this in sincerity, He will hear and He will write your name down in the Lamb’s Book of Life. You will not need to fear.

In today’s society we would rather live out our life thinking that we can solve all our problems. Folks, we can't; humanism is not the answer. It is impossible. But Jesus can. We should never worry about what another thinks, because what Jesus thinks is all that matters.

Please turn to Christ before it is too late. Don't let the disappearance of the church catch you unaware.

May God give you the courage to come to Him and lay down your life as Jesus did for you!

Brother Mike