Wrapping John 5, Part 4: The Great Falling Away (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
by Pastor Gene
12:54-56 [Jesus] said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
- Is it significant that the above verses are addressed to the crowds rather than to the Pharisees (as in Matthew 16:1-4)? How?
- What really jumps out at you about Matthew 24:32-33?
- What does Jesus mean by the phrase the “beginning of the birth pangs” (see Matt 24:3-14 & Lk 21:5-36)? What are these ‘birth pangs’ specifically? Do you think we’re feeling them now?
- What character traits does Paul say will characterize people in the “last days” in 2 Timothy 3:1-5? Are we seeing these now?
- 2 Timothy 3:5 specifically addresses the state of professing believers in the ‘last days,’ not unbelievers, atheists or agnostics. Where are we seeing a hypocritical, outside only ‘Christianity’ in our society today? How about in our churches? In our politics?
- What does Paul mean by ‘the rebellion’ or ‘the apostasy’ or ‘the falling away’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:3? What must this precede?
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but … will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Are we seeing this? What ‘myths’ have people bought into? Has this ‘myth-following’ moved into our politics and national policy?
- What’s so startling about Jesus’ prediction in Lk 21:25-26? How does it speak to the international political discourse of our day?
- Think about end-times Bible prophecy as a tree with three branches (see reverse): (1) The Cosmic Week (the present earth has only been allotted 7000 years – six 1000-year ‘days’ + a Sabbath, Jesus’ 1000-year reign); (2) The “birth pangs” Jesus spoke of in Matt 24:3-12 & Lk 21:5-36; and (3) The two historical comparisons Jesus made to the days of Lot (Lk 17:28-30) and Noah (Matt 24:37). Do you see correspondence between these three ‘branches’ and our present day? Where specifically?
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