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I originally began posting these studies as a service to the jails and shelters where I was a Chaplain. They are available for free. If you can make a donation (no donation is too small), that would help defray some of the costs and support our work. If you are unable to support us at this time -- it's okay, I've been there too -- God bless you in your ministry and I pray this study can be a blessing to you.ONEFamily Outreach is primarily supported by your donations and by trainings, workshops, retreats and concerts.
“No One Knows!”
[Mk 13:24] “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,  AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.  “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.  “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
[Mk 13:24] “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,  AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.  “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory.  “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”
“In those days...”
As they left the temple, the Apostles could not help but stand in awe of its grandeur. The temple was awe-inspiring and its land mass covered over one-sixth of ancient Jerusalem. It was actually a series of buildings with grand porches, separate buildings and multiple courts which surrounded the inner temple. The porches were outside the court and they were immense. Solomon’s porch itself was 1,562 feet long. The royal court was 921-foot in length and decorated with 160 columns stretching along its length. The massive, white, stones that the disciple mentioned in awe measured twenty-five by eight by twelve feet and weighed more than one hundred tons.
Jesus tells the disciples to prepare, to be alert. Through them we learn that the way of Christ is anything but easy and comfortable. This is a sinful world and sin has affected the entire cosmos:
[Ro 8:18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
2 Peter 3:11-12
[2Pe 3:11] Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
Jesus offers us the same promises. At first glance the promise of difficult times doesn’t sound like good news. However, what Jesus offers us is that the hard times in our lives will help us to see him more clearly every day.
 “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.
“My words will not pass away”
There are two wonderful words here that give us a glimpse of the fullness of our Lord’s promise. The first word is logos [NT:3056]. When logos is used by Jesus we should not see it in mere human terms. Jesus isn't speaking of human words, he is speaking about God’s Word. God’s Word is not just a contract that is as “only as good as the paper it is signed upon.” It is the very promise—the living promise—of Élohiym, the Mighty God. God’s very son was the signature of his eternal covenant.
“Of that day or hour no one knows”
The disciples pressed Jesus for dates and times. Who can blame them? Think of the trials Jesus told them they were going to face. Yet, what good does it do us to know when we are going to face adversity? It is human nature to either avoid or procrastinate until the last moment before we prepare ourselves for impending disaster. Consistently, Jesus tells us that we must always be prepared; we must always be alert.
8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
[Mk 13:10] “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”
2 Peter 3:8-9
[2Pe 3:8] But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
 “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.  “It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert.  “Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—  in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.  “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”
“Be on the alert!”
Can there be any doubt about the responsibility of the commission that Christ has given to us? We are responsible for nothing less than the House of God! In Hebrew, that term, “Élohiym Bayith,” meant the “Daughter of God.” Because they were a nomadic people, church did not mean a “place.” It was a community where even the least little one would be raised in the safety and knowledge of the One Lord of Israel.
Is that the work for which people in my community know our church? If not, whose house am I minding? How alert are we? This is the accounting by which God will evaluate our tenancy. Did I take what he gave me and make it more fair, more loving and more just?
About the Author
Jerry Goebel is a community organizer who started ONEFamily Outreach in response to gang violence and youth alienation in a rural community in Southeastern Washington. Since that time, Jerry has worked with communities around the globe to break the systemic hold of poverty by enhancing the strengths of the poor.
Copyright © 2007 Jerry Goebel. All Rights Reserved. This study may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Jerry Goebel: 2007 © http://onefamilyoutreach.com.
Scripture Quotations noted from NASB are from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION of the bible. Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
The New Testament Greek Lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” These files are public domain.
The Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon; this is keyed to the “Theological Word Book of the Old Testament.” These files are considered public domain.
NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries. Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. (www.Lockman.org)
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