Keep watch!

Pastor Ino

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Today’s title is from Mark 13:37, “Keep watch!’ ”」This is the conclusion given by Jesus, who explained the end time to his disciples. There is no need to live in fear or anxiety. We will learn from the word of Jesus, and with that let us look up to Jesus and live with hope whatever happens in the end of time. So today I want to share that hope with you.
It is a bit long but please read Mark chapter 13 . First, we want to share with you a summary of chapter 13.

 His disciples were amazed by the beauty of the temple at that time and said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” Jesus replies, “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Verse 1-2) As some of his disciples were shocked to hear Jesus prophesied over the destruction of the temple, they asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” (Verse4) In here, they asked two questions, when will things happen? And what will be the sign?
Jesus answered their questions about the end of Jerusalem, overlapping the end time of the world. Just as you can see the mountains in the distance, the events at the end are overlapped and explained. Let’s look at the answers of Jesus about the end time.
First, Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ (meaning the Messiah) and will deceive many. (Verse 6) Secondly, you hear of wars and rumors of wars. (Verse 7) Thirdly, there will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. (8) Fourthly, there will be a persecution towards the disciples. (9) Fifthly, through these persecution the disciples will be transformed into witnesses, and the gospel must first be preached to all nations. (10) There’s a promise here that the gospel will be preached with the help of the Holy Spirit, and not by our own strengths.

 From verse 14, Jesus prophesied over the destruction of Jerusalem. This prophecy literally points out to the destruction of the temple by Roman emperor in A.D. 70, But at the same time, it is also considered as one of the warning signs of the end of time. “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.(Mark 13:14 ) “The abomination that causes desolation” is quoted from Daniel 12:11, and it points out the event of the temple alter being destroyed and the alter of gentiles are being built there. It can be also considered as idols or antichrist. I believe that we have to watch carefully what’s going to happen in Jerusalem when we think about the end time in the future. A lot of Christians in Jerusalem, followed what Jesus told them to do that they flee from Jerusalem right away. However, many Jewish people couldn’t throw away their faith on Jerusalem, so they were killed. The importance of following the word of Christ is taught to us here. Do you remember during cleansing of the temple, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”? Please read John 2:19-22. It says “The temple he had spoken of was his body.” Christians are no longer bound to the temple of Jerusalem. We can worship God anywhere. By Jesus dying on the cross and raising from the dead on the third day, the believers of Jesus are being spread to the world. The new era of the New Testament has begun.

 The seventh warning sign of the end time is false prophets and false Messiahs. It says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (21-23) Jesus said “So be on your guard. “ For we are living at the end time, we have to be on our guard and examine. From verse 24, the promise of Jesus’ second coming is written here. The son of man refers to Jesus Christ. He is coming back with cosmic fluctuations at a given time. Please read verse 24-27. “following that distress, “ ‘the sun will be darkened, …. and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ The distress refers to all the tribulation described so far. Following these tribulations, there are cosmic fluctuations and the return of Christ. Christ will come back in the clouds with great power and glory. The expression “riding on a cloud” is because the cloud is a symbol of the glorious presence of God. And it is written that Christ will send angels and gather the people of their choice from all sides, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. From all directions, from all over the world, we Christians are chosen. The chosen people, who have been made people of God, are each one of us. I believe in that and I am grateful for that.
From verse 31-32 says “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” The Heavenly Father only knows the time. So what we can do is to be on our guard, watch carefully. From verse 33 to 37, it says “ keep watch” three times. That is today’s title, ’keep watch!’, so let us hold on to The promise that Christ has given us, and keep watch and do what we need to do on this earth. The end time is not only the time of fear. It’s a time of being free from difficulties for chosen people. Let us keep watch and examine what’s going on right now, and let us wait upon the returning of Christ.