Saturday, August 7, 2010

"EPISUNAGO!" THE GATHERING.

EPISUNAGO
“THE GATHERING”
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing


“’Watch out that no one deceives you. 
For many will come in My Name, claiming,
‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.’” 
--Matthew 24:4

            My entire life I’ve heard prophetic preaching and teaching endlessly debating when and how and under what circumstances Christ will return to earth.  These complex end-times prophets roll out detailed charts and graphs depicting the time-line of future history, interlocking events prophesied in the Old Testament, and mixing in the New Testament writers, and then concluding with the Book of Revelation and its vivid imagery. 
          And one fact is sure that comes out of all this: There is great confusion, which is not surprising, since this endless debate is in direct disobedience to the Lord.

          Jesus is our final source for all prophetic Words from God about the “end of the age” as He called it.  And what He says is surprisingly simple, as usual!

“No one knows about that day or hour,
not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son, but only the Father.” 
--Matt. 24:36

            So, why brothers, do we sit and debate endlessly, and worry endlessly, about the day and the hour?  Why do we try to pinpoint with accuracy the return of our Lord Jesus, when He doesn’t even know when it will be?  Only the Father knows! 
          The fact is this:  Jesus talked simply and clearly about the circumstances that will surround His return to earth.  He gave us these facts so that we will be prepared for the series of things that will happen, and not caught by surprise.

“Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know
on what day your Lord will come…
Who then is the faithful and wise servant,
whom the Master has put in charge
of the servants in His Household
to give them their food at the proper time? 
It will be good for that servant
whose Master finds Him doing so when He returns.”
--Matt. 24:45,46

            I had a relative by marriage in my mother’s family who made a very handsome living, and provided himself with a large home and estate in Europe, by traveling all over the world preaching about what was going to happen to the world monetary system in the last days before Christ’s return.  No kidding.  And people lapped this up like it was Biblical truth!   It was only his very inflated opinion of himself that allowed him to personally ignore the Words of Jesus and spend his ministry life trying to pinpoint the day and hour for people so they could protect their money!  He died a wealthy man, but what do you think Jesus will say to him when they finally meet face to face? 

            Jesus gives us all we need to know. 
          First, He repeats a number of times the warning about false Christs and false prophets arising.  During this time, false teachers will try to lead astray even God’s chosen people.  Right now we have the situation in the world where the ekklesia of God is most vibrant, and follows Jesus closely, in Asia, Latin America, Africa, South America, especially the poorest countries.  And in America, Canada, Great Britain and Western Europe, where freedom of religion and affluence reign, the churches often preach and teach a Christ other than Jesus.  These false prophets had arisen even in Paul’s time, and he warned the Corinthian ekklesia about them.  –2 Cor. 11:4
            Jesus says that leading up to His coming return true Christ-followers will be persecuted and handed over to death all over the world.  We will be hated by all nations, and many so-called Christian believers will fall away from the faith.  Some who call themselves Christians will betray other Christians into the hands of the enemy.  Many false prophets will be preaching, and deceive many who claim Christ.  The love of most who call themselves believers in Jesus will grow cold.  Only those who stand firm to the end will be saved.  –Matt. 24:9-13
            Jesus then says that the good news about Christ will be preached to all nations, and after that the end will come.  –Matt. 24:14
          He states that an “abomination of desolation” referred to in Daniel will be set up in the Temple.  Many interpret that as predicting Antiochus Epiphanes would set up the image of Zeus in the physical temple of God in Jerusalem in 168 B.C.  It is clear looking at Jesus’ statements that He was talking about the setting up of pagan gods in the Temple, His Church, and among those who claim His Name, in place of the real Christ.  These false prophets will hold up a false Jesus, one that bears no resemblance to Christ Himself. 
          This is happening all over the known world in the various Christian denominations and sects.  Most of these organizations have grown cold in their love for Christ, and have emphasized whatever portions of the gospel they like, ignoring the commands of God for the traditions of men.  Other denominations and movements have set up idols of money, prosperity, and the love of the things of the world as their gods.  Some have set up their liturgies and religious calendars as idols.  We must understand that Jesus will not accept these pious pittances as real faith, but will condemn them as He condemned the Pharisees in His day.
          In some cases, such as the Mormon cult, and the Muslim religion, they have literally followed a false prophet to their doom and destruction, but most of the apostasy we are seeing is taking place even within the movements and groups that claim true Christian doctrine.  –Matt. 24:4,10,15,23-26 
          Let’s remember that only those who obey Christ are His.  Claiming to follow Christ is easy.  Following Him, as He shows us here, is hard, and will expose us to great trial and persecution.  –Matt. 24:9

            Jesus says that the days leading up to His return will be full of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of time…”  --Matt. 24:21
            We are to be ready for these things. 
          Who is teaching this gospel of readiness today?  Are our pastors and leaders-- who act as if the Coming of Christ is not even important enough to be talked about?  Are these so-called shepherds preparing us for the tough times and trials, the tribulations of being persecuted and hated and hunted down for the sake of Jesus?  Or are they preaching an easy gospel, one that prepares us for nothing except the status quo? 
          Has the “abomination of desolation” been set up among us, and are we too cold and indifferent to Christ to know it?  Have false teachers and prophets so deluded us with promises of peace and prosperity that we are already growing cold in our love for Jesus and for others, as we concentrate on ourselves?  Have we been led down the ‘primrose path’ of cheap grace and lulled into a false sense of security because we desire a decent life without persecution and great difficulty?  Have we ignored the true gospel that calls us to suffer with Christ so that we can reign with Him?

          Jesus talks in this long passage about many things.  But He expects us to understand Him.  He is clear, and concise.
          After the distress of the last days, then He will come.
         
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man
will appear in the sky,
and all the nations of the earth will mourn. 
They will see the Son of Man coming
on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 
And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call,
and they will gather (EPISUNAGO in Greek)
His elect from the four winds,
from one end of the heavens to the other.” 
--Matt. 24:30,31

            We may not be able to know the exact time and date of His return, but we are to watch and understand.

“Even so, when you see all these things,
you know that it is near,
right at the door.” 
--Matt. 24:33

            Are you watching and waiting?  Are you a true follower of Jesus?  Or are you one of the “most”—whose love will grow cold, who will drift away from the Lord God, who will deny Him—and who will be lost on that Day?

          “Episunago!” should be our battle cry.  The Gathering is coming.

1 comment:

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