When Jesus comes
When Jesus comes it will not be a secret, as Jesus tells us "as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man". In the mid 1980's there was a false prophet who predicted the date of Jesus' secret return to get certain chosen people who "qualify" to go with Him, according to a widespread popular doctrine. At the time I was in school and after the predicted date passed with no return of Jesus, some of the leadership at ORU encouraged us to be kind to those disappointed people who had believed what the false prophet predicted. Perhaps a kind response would be to say, "Oh I'm sorry. Everyone makes mistakes". In 2011 another false prophet made a similar prediction with two dates based on a similar doctrine. The first date was to be the secret return to get the "qualified" or chosen people and the second date, five months later, is to be the final return or "third coming". When Jesus didn't come on his first date, the false prophet like any good deceiver made up another lie and said it will all happen on the second date. Maybe the kind response when Jesus doesn't come on the second date to all the people who still believe this false prophet is to say, "Oh I'm sorry. Everyone makes mistakes, again". On a positive note, Jesus tells us "false prophets" are a sign of the end times.
Regarding the teaching that good or chosen people will go first with Jesus when He returns, Jesus compares His return to the days of "Noah" and "Lot" when the bad people were taken away first and the good people, Noah and Lot's families, remained on earth. When Jesus was asked where the bad people would be taken He responds, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather". Another time Jesus compares people to "weeds" and "wheat". Jesus then explains that "at the end of the age" the "weeds" which are "sons of the evil one" will be removed first and thrown "into the fiery furnace" and the "righteous" will remain. No one should want to be first, only to be food for vultures or to be thrown into the fiery furnace. 1
Regarding false predictions, some will proudly quote Jesus' words that "No one knows about that day or hour only the Father" and say, "I knew these people were wrong". Yes, they are correct but when a false prophet promotes a false doctrine, the subject of the doctrine should be our first clue that it is from a false prophet. For example, if someone predicts Santa Clause's arrival time on Christmas Eve, we would know they are dealing with fantasy or a false doctrine. Yes, Jesus will come again but only once and it will not be a secret or any other manmade fantasy people have developed. The world refers to His coming as "the end of the world" and yes for most of the world it is the end but for some of us it is the beginning of the time that God informs us "I make all things new!" When Jesus tells us, "God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life" He did not say "believes in Him some of the time". If we are following Jesus, "who believes in Him", means to believe all of what Jesus teaches including stuff that conflicts with popular doctrines. We cannot pick and choose if we want eternal life that Jesus mentions. Regarding being kind to people who follow false prophets, imagine if you were out for a walk with someone and they were about to step off the curb in front of a huge truck. Would you say kindly, "Oh I'm sorry. Everyone makes mistakes. Tell Jesus hello for me" or would you yell, "WATCH OUT! THERE'S A TRUCK". The kind response is to warn others. In the same way when someone is following a false teaching it is better to yell, "WATCH OUT! THAT IS A FALSE TEACHING THAT COULD COST YOU ETERNAL LIFE", than appear to be kind and gentle. Regarding picking and choosing what people want to believe from what Jesus teaches, Jesus says, "If you obey My teaching you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". Jesus did not say, "obey some of My teachings" or "obey My teachings that you like". When we reject Jesus' teachings we reject Jesus who says, "those who reject Me are rejecting God who sent Me". 2
In that final day, some who are destined for judgment will protest to Jesus, but that is "what my pastor taught" or "what our church believed" or "everyone I know believed that teaching" and Jesus might respond, "as I warned you, broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it". Take no comfort in believing like the majority rather believe like Jesus. When you say, "everyone I know believes that doctrine" and it conflicts with what Jesus teaches, you are really saying, "EVERYONE I KNOW, DOESN'T KNOW JESUS". Always remember the example of the Bereans who "examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true". Ask yourself on all beliefs how does this teaching line up with what God and Jesus teach? If we examine the scriptures to see if what Paul said was true, how much more should we examine the scriptures to see if what our pastor or church says is true? Many will think it will help to say to Jesus in that day, "did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" But Jesus will respond causing them great sadness, "I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!" Only find comfort in following everything Jesus and God teach so one can avoid spending eternity where "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched". A sad aspect of the false doctrine is many good people who are deceived consider they do not need to be concerned about when Jesus mentions end times in His revelation to John or when He describes the bad times and states that God will reduce the bad times for the "sake of His chosen people". When Jesus comes do you want to be following a Christian religion or following Jesus? 3
Before Jesus Comes
Many want to know when Jesus will come again. Even when Jesus walked the earth, His followers asked, "when?" Jesus talks about some events as being "the beginning of birth pains". One specific detail Jesus shares is "when you see standing in the holy place `the abomination that causes desolation', spoken of through the prophet Daniel ". People get side tracked many ways on this statement but to keep it simple the reference to "the holy place" is referred to in Daniel in one Christian translation as simply "at the temple" and in a Jewish translation as "at the corner of the altar". The statement of Jesus about "the holy place" clearly requires the Temple to be rebuilt. Understanding this a century ago, people wrote that Jesus could not return anytime soon because the nation of Israel would have to be returned to the Promised Land, which looked impossible. The Jews returned from exile and reformed the nation of Israel in 1948. For many reasons today it looks just as impossible for the Temple to be rebuilt but remember Jesus says, "with God all things are possible". Some may find comfort that Jesus' return does not appear to be happening before the Temple is rebuilt but remember for over nineteen hundred years people have been dying without advance warning and Jesus command for all of us to always "be ready" is still valid. Part of being ready is to be following Jesus and not some manmade Christian religious doctrine. It may be good to remember the words of Joshua who told the Israelites, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve". 4
1. Mt 24:24-27; Lk 17:26-30; 37; Mt 13:24-43 (NI)
2. Mt 24:36 (NI); Rev 21:5; Jn 3:16; Jn 8:31-32 (GN); Lk 10:16 (TL)
3. Mt 7:13; Ac 17:11; Mt 7:22-23; Mk 9:48; (NI); Mt 24:22 (GN)
4. Mt 24:8, 15; Da 9:27 (NI), (JPS); Mt 19:26; 24:44 (NI); Jos 24:15 (NKJ)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
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A Psalm for reflection "O God, the heathen have invaded Your land. They have desecrated Your holy Temple" Ps 79:1 (GN)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
To refresh what you have learned in our Workshop or entice you to experience our Workshop
"Remember, all marriages can be better, if you use what you learned."
As you improve communication, you will discover that most problems can be solved by improved communication using the Speaker Listener Technique we teach in our Marriage Workshops. Occasionally there could be a problem that could use formal problem solving.
The 4 steps to problem solving are:
1. Agenda Setting - decide and write down the specific concern (like, how do we keep our dishes washed)
2. Brain Storming - write down all the ideas, no evaluating, silly ok (like, hire a maid, only use paper plates, eat out all the time, take turns, etc.)
3. Agreement and compromise - a good time to use the SLT
4. Follow Up - agree to a specific time to follow up and see how the agreement worked and be specific (like if you wrote down we agree to get our son a pet, one of you could be thinking a puppy and one could be thinking a horse)
Remember some problems could seem to be unsolvable. That is the time to decide how we can protect what is great about our marriage from this seemingly unsolvable problem.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). Obviously, without your spouse's cooperation you would have difficulty in problem solving. No matter how serious the problem appears to be, it is good to consider that your marriage may be more important than most problems and it is good to make an effort to protect your marriage. Remember, God said, "I hate divorce" (Mal 2:16 NI).
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