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(Part 71)


November 28, 2013
Today’s gospel: Luke 21:20-28

In the end times there will be a great tribulation. It was terrible at that time in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Those were days of desolation, punishment, woe, terrible calamity, wrathful judgment, falling by the sword, being taken as captives, being trampled underfoot (v.20-24). Today we seem to be on the same trajectory. We may not think that what happened then will happen in this modern age. But think again. It is already happening in some parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The persecution of God’s people is severe in some places. But even in the modern and civilized western world, due to the continuing assault by the culture of death, severe oppression is already there, and more intense persecution is coming.

In this particular passage, Jesus specifically mentions just one category of people--pregnant women and nursing mothers. He says, “Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days” (v.23a). Today the scourge of abortion is the most diabolical work of the enemy. Millions have been slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers. If the unborn can be legally murdered even up to almost the time of birth, what is to prevent the state from murdering even those already born, those already being nursed by their mothers? Did not Pharaoh command the Hebrew midwives to kill newborn children if they were boys, or later command his people to throw them into the Nile? Did not Herod order the massacre of the infants? How much more now, when diabolical forces are raging.

Jesus then describes the coming of the Son of Man. “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” (v.25). Now we are experiencing category-5 storms and a number of deadly tsunamis. Many people have died, and many more were deeply frightened by their ordeal. But that is nothing compared to what is to come.

“People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (v.26). The sun, the moon and the stars will be shaken. This will be the greatest theophany ever. At Mount Sinai there were peals of thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, the whole mountain trembling violently. In the vision of John when the ark of the covenant was seen, there were lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a violent hailstorm (Rv 11:19). Now, at the coming of the Son of Man, the heavenly bodies themselves will be shaken.

Unrighteous people will die of fright, because judgment is at hand. But for those who are truly God’s people, it will be a time of great rejoicing. “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (v.27). What a glorious time! That is what we lived and worked for. The tribulation will be over. The victory will be complete. We can enter into our eternal reward. We will experience the fullness of salvation. “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (v.28).

You have been laid low and your head has been bowed down through all this time of tribulation during these end times. But now lift up your heads, look to the heavens, see the Savior and Master coming in great glory.

We want as many people as possible to experience not death but life. As we enter these end times, we want them not to die of fright but to exalt in joy. For this to happen, we who have been called need to do our work. And to do it with great urgency, for the end times are upon us.

Onward to the New Evangelization!

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