APRIL 20, 2011




    NISAN 12, 30 AD




    Wednesday, Nisan 12, 30 AD was another busy day for Jesus as He approached the cross.  According to the biblical record, He was involved with at least eight different activities beginning with the lesson on the widow’s mite and ending with the plot of the Jews and Judas to capture Him.  I can’t help but wonder what He was thinking as he was getting closer and closer to the cross.  Certainly, whatever He was thinking, it did not deter Him from His mission.


    One of the things that Jesus did on Wednesday was give what is called the “Olivet Discourse” in which He gave the disciples some of the signs of His second coming.  This discourse is recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.  The words of Jesus in the discourse are extremely interesting and have for years been the source of many prophetic questions and messages ever since He uttered them.


    In reading those texts we see that Jesus and His disciples had just left the Temple in Jerusalem after which he predicted that it would be eventually destroyed.  That destruction came in 70 AD when the Roman General Titus raided Jerusalem which in reality brought the existence of Israel as a nation to an end until 1948 when it was re-established.


    At the beginning of the discourse, the disciples asked when the Temple would be destroyed and what would be the sign of His second coming and of the end of the world (Matthew 24:3).  Jesus gives a series of signs that will take place during the Great Tribulation Period when God’s wrath is going to be poured out all over the earth like never before.  Also during that time, God will be preparing Israel for the actual coming of Christ to the earth which is why the Tribulation is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7.  Keep in mind that the entire text of the “Olivet Discourse” will take place after the rapture of the church and so the signs given in the passage are directed to Israel and not to Christians in this dispensation.  That is why Bible teachers say that the church age is “timeless and signless.”  That is, it is not limited to any time, only known to God, and there are no signs given to the church to indicate when the second coming will occur.  All signs are given to Israel. 


    Now you might say, “We can see some of those things happening today that are recorded in the Olivet Discourse.”  Well, not really.  Many of the things we see today are very similar to those things that will occur in the Great Tribulation Period, but are not those things in actuality.  However, as we see thing things like famines, pestilences and earthquakes, etc., taking place, that indicates how close we are to the rapture.  That is, if events that will occur during the Great Tribulation Period are evident now, the rapture must be right around the corner. That very thought should motivate us to evangelize the lost and make certain we are living for Christ as the rapture could happen at any moment.


    It has always been interesting to me that in the shadow of the cross Jesus was talking about His second coming.  His disciples looked forward to both, but today we only look forward to the rapture.  But there is a very practical connection.  Had Christ not gone to the cross, there would be no rapture.  So, I am glad He went to the cross to provide our redemption which allows us to forward to the rapture and going to Heaven to be with Him.  Aren’t you?  What a great anticipation it is!


    So, as we celebrate Easter, the cross and the resurrection, let’s look forward to that wonderful day when we are “caught up to be with the Lord in the air.”  As the crucifixion of Christ was predicted and fulfilled, certainly we know that the prophecies of the rapture will be fulfilled as well.  Are you ready for the rapture? I am, and I can’t wait!


    Please remember that tonight begins our special Easter services at the church.  The theme will be: WHY WAS THE CROSS OF CHRIST NECESSARY?  Brother Duey Whitfield will be speaking.  Please don’t miss this special service.  I am sure the focus on the cross will be a blessing and encouragement to you in your walk with the Lord.


    Have a godly day and Keep Looking Up!


    I am yours for Christ,

    Pastor Gary