1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of  Luke, Warnings in View of the Lord's Return - Lesson 225

 

The instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ regarding his second coming that is recorded for us in Luke 21, is given so that His people are not caught unawares.

He has described this great happening to occur at the end of a season which, by certain events, will be revealed to those who are looking for his appearing.

It is like coming to foothills after a long trek though the plains for when the foothills appear the mountains will also be soon coming into view.

The foothills of which Jesus Christ tells us are announcers of the great events which will culminate in his glorious return to set up his millennial kingdom on this earth.

But unless you are prepared for these announcers your heart will be burdened with excessiveness in many things.

And these many things will cause hearts to fail for fear of that which is coming upon the earth.

So Jesus Christ is careful to provide instruction to his own that they be prepared for these horrendous events which will befall this planet prior to his coming.

He has said that the generation that sees the foothills will be around to see the mountains.

We know from scripture that those who have been redeemed are not appointed unto wrath and Jesus Christ will take those out of this world before the climax of these great events occurs, but this does not mean that they will not go through many of the beginning dreadful and frightful events of this coming age.

So he instructs his disciples in what to do during this time for he says in:

Luke 21:34-36,  And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

So the disciples of Christ are given a command to watch and to pray always.

The possibility is great that believers who are alive at the time of these beginning signs will be sleeping.

But they will not only be sleeping, they will be weighed down with all kinds of debilitating activities and cares pertaining to the business of this life and because they are not watching and praying they will be caught in the same trap in which the world is caught.

The signs of His coming will be brushed aside by the lost and by many saints will not be comprehended.

The reason is not in a lack of evidence or of signs, but of a dullness of mind and heart which causes the saint to miss these signs, and to fail to see them as such.

This should not be, for our Lord arms us with all that is needed that we not be caught unawares.

So we have a prayer request given to us by the Lord.

The prayer which we are to bring to God always is that we may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that come to pass and to stand before the Son of man.

Our Lord is specific as to how He will find those who are caught unawares.

He talks about dissipation.

Dissipation is the using up of the body by excess.

Dissipation is properly the hangover after a binge or carousal.

Our Lord Jesus Christ warns us not to be burdened with surfeiting.

Surfeiting means oppressing the system by excessive eating and drinking.

It means loading or filling to disgust.

It is the description that would be used to describe a sot, a drunkard, a souse.

One who would be lying in the gutter from oppressing the system by drink.

He is warning the saint to not let the events of the world dictate his behavior instead of letting the Word of God do so.

The events in that day will be so frightful and alarming that they will drive many to drink, even the saints who allow themselves to be caught unawares.

So he talks about drunkenness.

Drunkenness is the cause of dissipation.

This reference to drunkenness may be because of a temptation upon the saint to indulge in that which dulls his mind from the suffering of mankind and the chaos taking place in the created universe.

This takes place in the saint who does not call upon the grace of God and who wishes to blot out the danger and the pain by anesthetizing his brain.

There will be a great wish for dullness which alcohol provides.

This reminds me of the admonition of Proverbs 31:6,7,

6Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

But Jesus Christ is telling us here to not be ready to perish, to not have a heavy heart and require the dulling of alcohol for this is not the time for that, but this is a time for lifting up your heads and looking up, for your redemption draweth nigh.

Another great evil that dulls the mind is the preoccupation with the "anxieties of life."

These are the very things Jesus has warned us against in the earlier chapters of Luke.

They include unnecessary and unbelieving worry about our food, our clothing, and our basic needs.

In times of great persecution and worldwide upset, including famine, worry to this weak saint will seem more justified, but not according to our Lord.

Worry about such things only uses our energies toward worthless efforts.

But the Lord always provides a remedy for us so that we be not included in the roster of the dull.

Watchfulness or alertness toward the times in which we live is one antidote to apathy and dullness of heart and mind.

Jesus gives his children all that is needed to have a ready and expectant spirit which will discern the times and know that the coming of the Lord is near.

The second antidote to apathy and dullness of heart and mind is prayer.

"Watch" and "pray" are terms that are often found together in Godís word.

Those who are not watching are not praying, and those who are not praying are also not watching.

Prayer here is focused on being able to escape the destruction occasioned by the coming wrath of God.

Perhaps also, prayer is commanded in order to escape the wrath of those who oppose the preaching of the gospel.

But prayer for sure, that we may be able to stand before the living God, who is our Judge and the Judge of all men.

The coming of the Lord to unbelievers will come as a thief in the night but this does not have to be for believers, for believers are children of light.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-10,  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

There is no more awesome event than that coming day of wrath, spoken of here by our Lord.

This day has been ordained forever, for where there is sin there will be Godís wrath.

Godís Holy Spirit has borne witness to this as you can read in John 16:8-11,  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Godís coming judgment was the theme of Peterís message to Israel in his sermon at Pentecost as given in Acts 2.

If you have not come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ, this doomsday message should drive you to your knees that you may be able to escape that which will most certainly come about.

The coming of the Lord to judge the earth and to rescue His people is more sure than is the rising of the sun each day.

The wrath of God is that which every person on earth deserves, as the due reward for his or her sin.

Jesus came to the earth not only to speak of Godís wrath, but to bear it personally.

The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus has borne the eternal punishment we deserve.

Salvation is the escape from Godís wrath which men can experience only through the grace of God faith in Christ.

If you acknowledge your sin, and trust in the death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary, as being the payment for your sins, you will be saved from the wrath which is yet to come.

Godís wrath is sure on those who will not accept the payment which Christ has already made.

What a vast difference there is for men with respect to the coming day of His wrath.

When our Lord comes to the earth again, it is to give men what they choose.

For the sinner, unredeemed, it is eternal torment.

But for saints, redeemed by the blood of the lamb, it is deliverance, it is salvation, ó not because any deserve it, but because the Lord Jesus Christ has purchased it, at the cost of His life.

The Second Coming of Christ is, then, for sinners, the day of Godís vengeance, of destruction; but for saints, it is the time of their deliverance.

That deliverance includes salvation from their enemies, as well as from the presence and power of sin.

For the sinner, the "day of the Lord" is something to dread; but for the saint, it is that which he or she has longed for.

For the sinner, the day of the Lord will be unexpected, it will be a shock.

But for the saint, when he hears the trump of God, it will be a call that has been eagerly awaited, and sensed to be near for those who have discerned the "season" of His return.

Having a daily anticipation of the coming of the Lord will radically change the Christianís style of life.

Just having a keen knowledge that the material world will vanish, will cause us not to place much value on material things.

But knowing instead that the Word of God will never pass away, that it is of infinite, eternal, value will cause Godís child to see it as far above anything on this earth.

And knowing that excessive indulgence of earthly pleasures will dull our sensitivity to the time of His return should motivate us to live a disciplined life, a life marked by self-control, not self-indulgence.

Neither should we worry or be anxious about the things of this life, knowing that this concern will also hinder our prayers and watchfulness.

Let us live our lives in the light of this reality ó that Jesus Christ is to return to the earth to judge the wicked, and to bring deliverance to His saints.

Let us live as though the material world is a vapor, and the unseen world (including the Word of God) is our only certainty.

2 Corinthians 4:18,  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.