Read Matthew 23 -- 24
In Today's Reading:
Hypocrisy denounced; destruction of the Temple foretold; signs of Christ's return
Following His cleansing of the Temple and denouncing the religious leaders as hypocrites, the Lord sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives and foretold: Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax (become) cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. . . . Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:11-14,35). Like the Pharisees of old, the false prophets today are zealous, religious, and popular in leading people away from reading the Bible. But, they substitute what will please the crowd for the absolute authority of God's Word.
On the Mount of Olives, just three days before His crucifixion, our Lord foretold the destruction of the Temple. It was destroyed about 40 years after His resurrection in AD 70. He also spoke of His future return from heaven, saying: Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only (24:36). He also warned: Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . . Therefore be . . . ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh (24:42,44).
While Jesus did give details (24:5-31), He made no attempt to give a specific time frame concerning the soon destruction of Jerusalem nor of the more distant end of the age. But these serious words from the King emphasized the importance of always being prepared. In speaking a parable of two servants, Jesus said: Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. . . . But . . if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite (beat) his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when . . . he is not aware of . . . and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:45-51).
23:5 phylacteries = small boxes containing Scripture texts worn by Jews to impress others of their religious zeal; 23:15 compass = to encircle or surround; 23:29 garnish = decorate, adorn.
For Matthew 23:39: See Psalm 118:26. Matthew 24:15: See Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Matt. 24:29: See Isaiah 13:10; 24:23; 34:4; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Zephaniah 1:15. Matthew 24:30: See Daniel 7:13. Matthew 24:31: See Deuteronomy 4:32; Isaiah 27:13; Daniel 7:2; Zechariah 2:6. Matthew 24:38: See Genesis 7:7.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Rebecca Hahn, Mrs. Elsie Rager, Mr. Theodoric H. Smith · Staff: Barbara Bivens · Government Official: Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA) · Country: Serbia and Montenegro (11 million) on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe · Major language: Serbo-Croatian · Religious conflict · 41% Serbian/Montenegrin/Macedonian Orthodox; 33% Catholic; 11% Muslim; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and then obediently do what God says (I Chronicles 14:14-16).
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 3:12