Wrapping John 5, Part 5: “Why Do You Not Know How to Interpret the Present Time?” (Luke 12:54-56)
by Pastor Gene
Matthew 24:32-33: “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”
- 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 Matthew 24:3-14 & Luke 21:5-36)? What are these ‘birth pangs’ specifically? What imagery is Jesus trying to convey by calling them ‘birth pangs’? Are we feeling them now?
- What’s so startling about Jesus’ prediction in Luke 21:25-26? How does it speak to the international political discourse of our day?
- In Matthew 24:6-7, Jesus warned that in the days before His return “nation [Greek: ethnos] will rise up against nation [Greek: ethnos].” How is this significant to our day? Do you think we’re seeing its fulfillment? Has this tension been recently elevated?
- In Matthew 24:12, Jesus said this about the last days: “Because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Consider this prophecy carefully. What is it saying? Has it been realized in our day? How? Considering it in light of 2 Timothy 3:1-5, what might be at the root of this ‘lawlessness’?
- The wall in front of the United Nations building in NYC quotes Isaiah 2:4. What’s so preposterous about this?
- What does the Bible say about disease in the end times? Does God use it as a form of personal or national judgement/ discipline? How does this speak to our current national/ international situation? (Leviticus 26:23, 25; Revelation 6:8; 1 Corinthians 11:30)
- Think about end-times Bible prophecy as a tree with FIVE branches: (1) The Cosmic Week (the present earth has only been allotted 7,000 years – six 1,000-year ‘days’ + a Sabbath, Jesus’ 1000-year reign); (2) The Feasts of Israel (the first four were fulfilled in Jesus’ First Coming; the final three will be fulfilled at the Rapture and at Jesus’s Second Coming); (3) The “birth pangs” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:3-12 & Luke 21:5-36; (4) The two historical comparisons Jesus made to the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-30) and Noah (Matthew 24:37); & (5) The re-establishment of Israel as a nation in 1948. Do you see a correspondence between these five ‘branches’ and our present time? Where specifically?
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