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Wednesday, April 27 2016
Luke 12: Could Jesus Christ Return Today?
"Blessed are those servants, whom the LORD when He cometh shall find watching ... Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not"
A large part of the New Testament was written about, or by, a Pharisee. Prior to his conversion, he was known as Saul, but later became known as the apostle Paul (see Paul's Blindness Lesson). About two thirds of the Book of Acts is about Paul's conversion and ministry (see Acts: Luke's Second Letter To Theophilus). Most of the epistles were written by Paul (e.g. 1 Corinthians: That Rock Was Christ and 2 Corinthians: The Devil's Fight Along The Way and 1 Thessalonians: Prove All Things, Hold Fast What Is Good and 2 Thessalonians: The Falling Away Of The Son Of Perdition).
As well, one of the most often-quoted verses of the Holy Bible, John 3:16, and the famous "born again" teaching, was given by the Messiah to an awakened, repentant Pharisee - Nicodemus (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?). Nicodemus was later one of the two very courageous men who claimed the Body of the Messiah off the Cross and placed it in the Tomb (see Joseph and Nicodemus: Making A Stand).
Pharisees were not evil men - unless and until they came to have the ability to see and understand the Truth, by means of the Holy Spirit, and rejected it. It was about them that the Messiah warned "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." It was also to them that the Messiah delivered this dire condemnation: "But unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven."
"12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 12:3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
The first part of the Fourth Commandment is to work ("20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work" Exodus 20:9 KJV; see also The Christian Work Days, The Christian Sabbath), but work and the accumulation of wealth is not to be made into a coveted idol that replaces or obstructs (see Satan's Sandals) living a true Christian life. "Take heed, and beware of covetousness" was the lesson given to the "rich fool" who made his wealth an end in itself. "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
"12:13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
At the other extreme, there are those who choose not to work - sometimes even using these verses as their excuse. But the Commandment to work is not "done away." Those who "seek ye the Kingdom of God" by obeying the LORD ("22:14 Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" Revelation 22:14 KJV) will thereby be blessed with the means of a good and dignified living. That's why the Commandment to work was given.
"12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
The Messiah plainly stated that only God the Father knows when He will command the Messiah to return ("24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" Matthew 24:36 KJV). The only visible sign of the Messiah's return, that is recorded in the Bible, is the beginning of the 42-month ministry of the "two witnesses" - after which the Messiah will return (see the Fact Finder question below).
The dead have no sense of the passage of time (see The Postponement Of Death). For everyone who has died throughout human history, it will seem, from their restored conscious perspective, that the Messiah's return will happen at the instant of their death - even though they may have actually been dead for hundreds, or thousands, of years.
It was for that reason that the Messiah warned His people to always be ready, as though Christ is returning today - because that is what it will seem like when their resurrection happens (see also Resurrection and Reincarnation: What's The Difference?).
"12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
People are called to understanding at two different times. Those who are called to understanding earlier are often subjected to hostility by those whose calling is yet to come (see The Harvests Of Salvation).
"12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
Always be ready for the day of your salvation (see The Feast Of Trumpets: The First Christian Salvation Day and What Does Salvation Really Mean?).
"12:54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. 12:55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. 12:56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
Fact Finder: What does the Word of God say about the "two witnesses"?
This Day In History, April 27
33 BC: Lucius Marcius Philippus, step-brother to the future emperor Augustus (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), celebrated a triumph for his victories while serving as governor in one of the provinces of Hispania (the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula i.e. Spain and Portugal).
629: Shahrbaraz was crowned the king of the Sasanian Empire - the last Persian (Persia is known today as Iran) empire before the invention and rise of Islam.
1296: English forces under Edward I battled a Scottish army under the Earl of Athol at the Battle of Dunbar.
1509: Pope Julius II excommunicated the Italian state of Venice.
1521: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed at age 41 by natives in the Philippines while on his pioneering round-the-world voyage.
1565: The first Spanish settlement in the Philippines was established.
1773: The English Parliament passed the Tea Act.
1810: Ludwig van Beethoven composed Fur Elise.
1813: During the War of 1812 (1812-1814), U.S. invasion forces pillaged the capital of Upper Canada during the Battle of York (present day Toronto, Ontario). The U.S. looting and burning of the Parliament Building in Toronto was later repaid by Royal Marines burning the White House in Washington, forcing U.S. President James Madison and his regime to flee the city. James Madison started the war with the publicly-stated intention to conquer Canada and subject its people to imperial rule from Washington (ironically, the U.S. very quickly adopted the imperialistic behaviour that it claimed to have been founded against).
1865: The Sultanana, a steam-powered riverboat, caught fire and burned after one of its boilers exploded. At least 1,238 of the 2,031 passengers, mostly former Union POWs, were killed.
1840: The foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster in London was laid.
1909: A group known as the "Young Turks" deposed Sultan Abdul Hamid 3 days after a liberation army had taken Constantinople.
1937: The first major aerial bombing of a civilian population took place when German warplanes, supporting General Francisco Franco's fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War, attacked the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain, killing 1,000 of its 7,000 people.
1940: Nazi Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler gave the order to establish a concentration camp at an abandoned army barracks at Oswiecim, Poland. It became the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
1941: German troops raised the Swastika over the Acropolis in Athens.
1969: French voters, in a referendum on the proposed issues of regional devolution and reform of the upper house of the French Parliament, voted against Charles de Gaulle's further plans for the country; de Gaulle promptly resigned and the de Gaulle era ended.
1974: Over ten thousand protesters marched in Washington, D.C. demanding the impeachment of U.S. President Richard Nixon.
1975: Saigon was encircled by North Vietnamese troops.
1978: Afghanistan's armed forces seized power, establishing a government based on Islamic principles. President Daoud was killed and new President Nur Mohammed Taraki proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Invasions by the USSR in 1979 and the USA in 2001 followed.
1987: The U.S. barred Austrian Chancellor Kurt Waldheim diplomatic entry into the U.S. because of his alleged Nazi involvement during the Second World War. Many other Nazis were allowed into the U.S. immediately after the war however, including Wernher von Braun who was the head of Adolf Hitler's liquid-fuel rocket program that was used to bomb Britain (in which thousands of British civilians were killed). Wernher von Braun, who later admitted that he had been more than just a scientist (he was a member of both Hitler's political Nazi party and Hitler's war-criminal SS, the "schutzstaffel") worked on the development of NASA rockets (despite the opposition of those who knew the truth about "the NASA Nazi," including many Jews and Jewish holocaust survivors) and U.S. nuclear missiles.
1989: Protesting students took over Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. The protests were later crushed (literally) by Chinese tanks and troops.
2005: The European superjumbo airliner Airbus A380 made its first flight, in France.