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Matthew 24 and the Towers of Babylon

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 1, 2014


Matthew 24 and the Towers of Babylon

I don’t know if anyone has ever studied the tower in Babel with the one built in Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, but when you do, you’ll see a number of key words as well as a theme linking those chapters. For those of you who don’t know what a study in context is, it basically compares key words and the theme established by the introductions and summations of the chapters.

Genesis 11:1-9 NLTse At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. (2) As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. (3) They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) (4) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” (5) But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. (6) “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! (7) Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” (8) In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. (9) That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.

Key words in Genesis 11:

people

spoke, language, words,

world, city

brinks

tower

scattered

Daniel 3:1-7 NLTse King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (2) Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. (3) So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. (4) Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! (5) When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. (6) Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” (7) So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Key words in Daniel 3:

people

messages, shouted, language

nations, province

gold

statue

Daniel 3:27-30 NLTse Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! (28) Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (29) Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!” (30) Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

Both chapters focused on the key word people. In Genesis it appears all the people in the world thought alike and came up with the idea of building a tower. Was there a leader behind the idea? The Bible doesn’t mention a leader when they built that tower. Daniel also used the key word people. This time we see a leader involved. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded people to bow down to worship his tower. Was it a tower? Look at the dimensions? Many people claim Nebuchadnezzar build a gold statue of himself. If that were true, he must have been one tall, skinny guy based on the proportions. The image or idol Nebuchadnezzar build resembled a tower. We have one movement from people leading themselves to being led and commanded by a king. There is another change in the material from brick and tar, materials those people had to labor to produce, to gold, a material people lust over. Nebuchadnezzar chose a material he knew would not tarnish, thinking it would last forever. Both chapters share keys words language and other related words in addition to nations. Daniel places a different emphasis on the word language by grouping it with other related words, people of all races and nations and languages. We see a contrast here. God created different languages to scatter those people. Nebuchadnezzar used a gold idol to bring people together under his command. Nebuchadnezzar was trying to turn back the hands of time by uniting the world – his way, by bowing to his idol.

The summation in Daniel 3 sums up the lesson when Daniel tells us how Nebuchadnezzar created a decree for people in all the world to worship God. This sounds like a good idea to some people, but is it right to command people to worship God? Learn a lesson from another contrast. In Genesis those people opposed God by building a tower so God couldn’t destroy them again. They opposed God by saying they had a better idea. Nebuchadnezzar had his own idea, the difference being, he began by opposing God, then turned around giving the impression he was serving God. In both cases, Nebuchadnezzar was doing nothing more than drawing attention to himself and his power.

Jesus had to compete with another man made image and the people responsible for convincing everyone to worship it. Even His disciples worshiped that man made object. Judas was not the only one who misunderstood Jesus’ ministry. Although he was the only one who acted in such a drastic manner. The other disciples also expected Jesus to take David’s throne and they would receive high positions in His kingdom. There was a darker side to the disciples misunderstanding. Their faith in Jesus was so low, they thought Jesus needed help from the religious leaders. The disciples thought they would be in charge once Jesus took Davids throne. The disciples had their own view of power not unlike those motives that constructed that tower at Babel, or Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon.

(Matthew 24:1 NLTse) As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings.

It’s not difficult to see the temple was a symbol of worship for the Jews as well as the disciples. They couldn’t understand the symbols Jesus talked about. Somehow Jesus had to break this cycle that kept repeating throughout history.

(Matthew 24:2 NLTse) But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Once again Jesus used the temple as a symbol. This time it was s symbol of Jerusalem’s last and final fall. Neither Jerusalem nor the Levitical priesthood would ever rise to the glory they once experienced. A new era was on the horizon. One distraction would be pulled to the dust. But as usual, the enemy would build another deception out of the ruins.

(Matthew 24:3 NLTse) Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”

The disciples asked for a sign much like those unbelieving priests asked for and Herod would ask when he questioned Jesus. Late in Jesus’ ministry, His disciples openly expressed doubts. Another problem Jesus had to correct. And time was running out.

(Matthew 24:4 NLTse) Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you,

(Matthew 24:5 NLTse) for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.

Once we look at the context of this chapter and understand the circumstances that led to it, we can see another relationship to this story and those towers. The disciples believed the Messiah would come with a powerful army to over throw Rome and all of Jerusalem’s enemies. The Messiah would then reestablish the Levitical order and the world would be forced to follow the commandments, the laws from Moses, and the list of ordinances introduced by the Levitical order. In other words, the Messiah would prove they were right and the world was wrong. This was the same mentality shared in Babel and Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar.

(Matthew 24:6 NLTse) And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.

(Matthew 24:7 NLTse) Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.

There are physical wars. That seems to be what most people look for. But the theme throughout history points to the spiritual war between Christ and Satan. We see another link to the spiritual war in the key word nation. The key word kingdom is introduced which points to leaders and attitudes they will share with Nebuchadnezzar. Another spiritual word is famine. It will be a time of spiritual warfare when people will be starving for spiritual guidance. How bad will it be? Based on the fact Jesus’ disciples had a hard time understanding, there is no way we can estimate the extent of the spiritual famine. As usual, physical famine is a part of spiritual warfare. The two coexist in the world we live in. And as always, physical wars create food shortages, which has happened since the beginning of warfare. There’s no doubt Jesus looked at the future in spiritual terms and related them to His disciples as such. No one can argue that since Jesus’ meeting with His disciples when He told them about the future, people have been plotting to find security outside of God’s plan. Jesus’ disciples tried to and many others since that time have tried to add to God’s plan, alter it, and some have tried to do away with it. Nebuchadnezzar used a gold tower to control people. Long before Nebuchadnezzar had that tower built, and since that time, the enemy has been using gold, wealth and another thing Nebuchadnezzar used, power to control people. No one can argue with the fact we are living in a time when the spiritual battle with and over money has reached a critical stage.

(Matthew 24:8 NLTse) But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

(Matthew 24:9 NLTse) “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.

(Matthew 24:10 NLTse) And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.

When wars, both physical and spiritual are a sign of worse things to come, we can’t imagine what will follow. Jesus introduced another spiritual symbol, birth pains. On the physical side, this tells us how painful they will be. It also tells us, we can estimate the approximate time, but not the day and hour they will come. Like birth pains, the first will be painful, but will pass, followed by another and another. On the spiritual side this shows the beginning of something new. When we look at how this has been fulfilled throughout history, we see a new type of persecution. The disciples were persecuted by the Jews and Romans. Then something changed. Somehow one religion was able to achieve what those people in Babel had and God ended. It was something Nebuchadnezzar had for a while, but didn’t know how to use. To a large degree one entity controlled every facet of the Christian religion. They soon fell to the temptations of that gold tower. When others saw fault, called for change, or tried to leave, they met with persecution of the worst kind. Christians were hating and killing Christians.

(Matthew 24:11 NLTse) And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.

Jesus added another deceit to look out for, false prophets. The major role of a prophet is to lead people back to God. Nathan led David back to God when he drifted away. Prophets were sent to Israel and Judah to call people back to God. Eventually people stopped listening to God’s prophets. Why? Because they had other prophets they liked to listen to. False prophets are nothing new. They have been around almost as long as religion itself. With false prophets come false religions, false salvation, and of course, more persecution. Look around the world today. False prophets are doing their part to segregate religions bringing about a more subtle form of persecution. False prophets do more than mislead people with their made up prophecies. Look at the examples recorded in the Bible False prophets also convince leaders and people to compromise, especially God’s law. When false prophets guided kings in the Old Testament, wars were waged, taxes increased, groups persecuted, and of course, God’s real prophets were tested and more often than not, rejected. Modern day profits tuned down their persecution to what the world considers, an acceptable degree, but it still exists. They take an event, apply some symbol to it, then tell whoever will listen, “those people or that group needs to be stopped.” False prophets still use slick underhanded methods to release their form of persecution on groups and individuals.

(Matthew 24:12 NLTse) Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.

Physical love and spiritual love is so distorted these days. It was back in Jesus’ day. The gospels contain stories of prostitutes as well as marriages outside Biblical laws. Herod is one example. We don’t need a list of distorted love here to see the point. Media, distractions, and a hundred other deceptions have distorted spiritual love. The enemy has used those false Messiah’s as well as false prophets to kill Christian love. There is little or no trust between churches and denominations. One little point will send groups into a frenzy of hatred…. while both sides justify their actions as a show of love for Christ. How much colder could love get?

(Matthew 24:13 NLTse) But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The word demanding attention here is. “one.” Does that imply only one person will endure? Is that how bad things will get? Don’t worry, the translators here added the word one. They may be trying to make a point or maybe drawing attention to what they see in the world today. Without a doubt, this world is filled with religions claiming they are God’s ONE chosen church. Many of them claim they are the only church to be saved. They built their own tower of bricks and tar by adding to the path of salvation. I’ve seen dozens of sermons on this one true church theology. Some claim they are the only church to properly interpret prophecies, parables, the Bible, you name it, they claim they are to only one. They claim they are God’s last day church. Without a shred of proof they claim they are Laodicea in Revelation or some other symbol – anything and everything they can pull out of the Bible trying to prove they are special. Those churches are the worst – they segregate themselves, preach segregation and persecution like they are banners of Christ. They follow a false Messiah. Like the priests who killed Jesus, they twisted scripture. Instead of looking for a Messiah to avenge them from their enemy Rome, modern churches present a Messiah who will come to enact revenge on their enemies, churches they compete with for membership and funds. Churches may be the greatest offenders of the gold idol. Its not difficult to see how much of the world bows down to riches, honor, and glory, because everyone else does it. Churches are supposed to see those errors and when guided by God’s Spirit, point them out. But how can they see what’s wrong when they have their faces buried in the ground, bowing down to the idol of gold? They figure, who’ll see them? Everyone else is doing it.

(Matthew 24:14 NLTse) And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

Once again we see the key word nations. This time Jesus tells His disciples the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world. This sounds like good news and a good sign. Many religions think they’ve done their job and achieved the task. But have they? How can they when they waste so much time and money persecuting other churches. To many churches, persecuting others is their message. Does that sound like Good News to you. Not if your one of their targets. And there are a lot of churches shooting darts and arrows around in all directions. We have to look at what the Good News is. Some Bibles translate it as the gospel. The Greek word means to deliver a message. What is that message? We have to look at examples in the New Testament to find the answer. After rising from the grave, the first message Jesus taught was about the prophecies He fulfilled. He repeated that lesson to all the disciples when He met them in the upper room. Jesus reviewed those prophecies with His disciples for forty days. It was the first message Peter preached on Pentecost and the first message Paul preached after scales fell from his eyes. It is the message recorded over 200 times in the New Testament.

(Matthew 24:15 NLTse) “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about–the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!)

After telling His disciples about the Good News, the last thing you would expect to hear is something about the desecration standing in the Holy Place. Jesus tells it like it is for a reason. To understand that reasoning, we have to look at the original passage.

Daniel 9:21-27 NLTse As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. (22) He explained to me, “Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. (23) The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision. (24) “A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. (25) Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler–the Anointed One–comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times. (26) “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. (27) The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.”

The first thing we’re told is God’s angel Gabriel came to give Daniel insight and understanding. Basic rules of Bible Study tell us to check the introduction for the main theme.

Daniel 9:1-3 NLTse It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians. (2) During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. (3) So I turned to the LORD God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.

Daniel’s introduction shares the same theme in the introduction when Daniel told us, ” I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.” Daniel also included the year to tell us he understood the prophecy after some of the Jews left Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. This shows us that even God’s greatest and most loved prophet had to wait until God chose the right time to reveal the prophecy. Jesus pointed His disciples back to Daniel to learn this lesson. After all, the question they posed to Jesus asked for a sign. Jesus is telling them, they have to wait until God determines the right time. No one can force the fulfillment or interpretation of any prophecy. Daniel tells us two ways God explained prophecies. The first Daniel learned after it was fulfilled. The second was direct communication with God’s angel Gabriel. Looking back at Jesus’ warning about false prophets, we see the lesson Jesus is teaching.

Daniel also recorded the year in this chapter. Later time prophecies were introduced. This shows how God placed all the information in His Bible to interpret all time prophecies. I do not get into future prophecies, and because Jesus didn’t reveal the meaning of the prophecy, I don’t think it’s my place to get into such details. The main point is, God has recorded procedures He followed for recording prophecies as well as their interpretation. Those rules must be followed, or those false prophets claiming any other power or method other than those recorded in the Bible are building a tower with brinks and tar of their own making. They are opposing God and drawing attention and glory to themselves.

(Matthew 24:16 NLTse) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills.

(Matthew 24:17 NLTse) A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack.

(Matthew 24:18 NLTse) A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat.

(Matthew 24:19 NLTse) How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.

(Matthew 24:20 NLTse) And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

(Matthew 24:21 NLTse) For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.

(Matthew 24:22 NLTse) In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.

After pointing us back to Daniel to learn a lesson, Jesus followed up by listing a series of vague details. It is a test. Are people going to look at texts Jesus pointed them to, or are they going to drift to the next texts and interpret them with their own rules? Sad to say, these few texts may be the most abused, misinterpreted, and misunderstood texts in the Bible. Misunderstanding will be so bad, hardly anyone will understand.

(Matthew 24:23 NLTse) “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it.

(Matthew 24:24 NLTse) For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.

(Matthew 24:25 NLTse) See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

(Matthew 24:26 NLTse) “So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it!

Jesus placed a link between false Messiahs and false prophets. One will lead to the other. One will support the other. It is nothing short of careful planning. Not all that planning will begin as an attempt to deceive. Some people simply feel they have a better idea. Look at history. Sarah, Abraham’s wife thought she was doing God a favor by helping his plan of salvation to move along. Isaac’s wife also thought she had to help a little. Jacob didn’t know what he was doing. He had to fulfill his need for love. He put God’s plan of salvation in the back seat because he fell in love with a woman. A lot of us make that mistake. They all lacked one common element. They didn’t talk to God, and didn’t wait for God’s answer. False Messiahs and false prophets may not see what they are doing. In their minds their convinced they are following the best plan, but this shows how important it is to listen to God’s voice and learn your role in His plan.

(Matthew 24:27 NLTse) For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.

(Matthew 24:28 NLTse) Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.

(Matthew 24:29 NLTse) “Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

(Matthew 24:30 NLTse) And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

(Matthew 24:31 NLTse) And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world–from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

Jesus flashed ahead to details we see repeated in John’s Revelation. Those details are spread throughout John’s book. The introduction of John’s book teaches us another valuable lesson. This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, (Revelation 1:1 NLTse). Once again we see an angel is sent to John. The most important detail is, the revelation is from Jesus. Now pointing forward, Jesus showed us where revelations come from and how they come to God’s prophets. Jesus is equipping His disciples with the information they need so they will not be deceived.

(Matthew 24:32 NLTse) “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.

(Matthew 24:33 NLTse) In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.

Jesus then taught using a parable about looking at the bud and leaves of a fig tree and says, “In the same way, when you see all those things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.” When do people notice leaves on a tree, any tree? When those leaves are full. People don’t go out looking at the buds on a tree when they are small. People don’t closely inspect damage caused by the hard cruel winter. People sit inside and look out the window at those trees. People drive past trees in their cars never noticing how the bud grows and matures in stages. People don’t think about the process the tree goes through to waken its roots when the ground thaws out and sends life giving water to its buds. People don’t think about the process those trees go trough to take stored up power from the sun mixing it with elements from the air to make sugars. People want to sit around until those leaves are full. Even then people give little thought to the tree. Jesus didn’t want His disciples to be impartial to the signs or their role in the plan of salvation. Jesus wanted His disciples to pay attention to the details, the signs of His coming. Now look back at those details. Jesus’ first warnings were about those false Messiahs and false prophets. They are masters at creating distractions to waste time and energy. Their goal is to take the attention of Jesus’ disciples off the most important matter, God’s plan of salvation. Jesus wants His disciples to pay attention to the signs of His coming and not be distracted by the world.

(Matthew 24:34 NLTse) I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place.

(Matthew 24:35 NLTse) Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

(Matthew 24:36 NLTse) “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

Jesus told His disciples two things will not pass away. First is the generation He was talking to. The second was His Words. What is the spiritual connection Jesus was teaching? Looking back at those details Jesus taught to lead up to this, we see warnings about false Messiahs and false prophets. Jesus also told them how to look deeper into details than the world is used to doing. Jesus also told them those events will effect different people in different ways. Jesus was pointing to the fulfillment of one of His promises when the power of God’s Spirit will be given to them so they could safely determine what was true and false, what was important to examine and what was a waste of time. The disciples Jesus was speaking to saw wars. They saw lives end. They saw a new generation being equipped to take over where they left off. Some people accepted what they preached. Others rejected their preaching and went along their way. Some opposed them. Those disciples experienced the persecution Jesus warned about. But none of them knew exactly when it was going to come, or how. This was something not even Jesus could share with His closest friends.

(Matthew 24:37 NLTse) “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day.

(Matthew 24:38 NLTse) In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat.

(Matthew 24:39 NLTse) People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

Looking back on history, Jesus used Noah as an example. It was the end of the world as people knew it. What happened? Did the flood wipe away sin? No! It started all over again. This was Jesus’ way of telling His disciples God couldn’t wipe away sin with a flood, they can’t expect to see an end of it with their efforts. Jesus reminded them, they may see little or no results. Only Noah’s family listened to him. This also told the disciples where to begin. Mark told us how Jesus began His ministry. Jesus chose a few followers, took them to the synagogue and ran into a demon-possessed man. The demon knew Jesus, but none of the people knew who he was. Jesus went to Simon’s house where He healed Simon’s mother-in-law. Jesus’ ministry began in Simon’s house.

(Matthew 24:40 NLTse) “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.

(Matthew 24:41 NLTse) Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

(Matthew 24:42 NLTse) “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.

Men and women will have to make their own choices. One cannot make a choice for the other. Some will be deceived while others will connect with God’s Spirit to understand the truth. Some will find salvation, others will never see it. Some will work to build with man made bricks and mortar. Others will bow down to gold idols. Adam was given the role of working in the fields, both physical and spiritual. Eve was given the role of protecting her children when God gave her a hatred for Satan and sin. Each has special gifts and a place to labor. When Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, she got up and served Jesus. Some will be healed, but will they serve Jesus? Ministry in the home extended past the family. When Jesus sent out His disciples, He sent them to minister inside homes. This established early bases where those disciples could find comfort and care for people. Food from the fields are taken into homes. Once nourished, the body is once again fit to minister outside the home.

(Matthew 24:43 NLTse) Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into.

(Matthew 24:44 NLTse) You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Small home churches were a safer location to launch this new ministry from. But the enemy will still find his way in. Once again Jesus reminded them, they won’t know when or how the enemy will break in.

(Matthew 24:45 NLTse) “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them.

(Matthew 24:46 NLTse) If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.

(Matthew 24:47 NLTse) I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.

(Matthew 24:48 NLTse) But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’

(Matthew 24:49 NLTse) and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk?

(Matthew 24:50 NLTse) The master will return unannounced and unexpected,

(Matthew 24:51 NLTse) and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus closed this lesson with a parable about a servant who decided to party in his master’s house when the master went on a trip. The servant had a choice. He could work the way the master expected, or take advantage of the situation. If the servant does a good job, he’ll receive a reward. But if the servant does what he thinks is right, or what makes him feel good, there is a price to pay.

 

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