We are in a time when the unimaginable must be seriously considered. Our world is on the brink of major revolution. As presidential hopeful Joe Biden is quoted as saying, the death of George Floyd will, “… change the world … one of the great inflection points in American history.” Little does he realize that the West has been surreptitiously primed for a long time for such “inflection points”, which so often lead to an undermining of social order.
Certainly, we do not know God’s timing for the return of Christ, but we must consider the world around us from Christ’s perspective. He said He did not know the day nor hour – only His Father knows that. But He did know with great clarity what events would indicate the lead up to that day and hour.
Christ’s “end of the age” scenario was not intended to feed the human curiosity of predicting the future. He clearly intended to inspire action in those that would hear and understand His words. Christ spelled out some general world conditions as a warning that would become imbedded into the foundation of His Church. Christ spoke to His disciples, who in turn would become apostles and together with the prophets became the foundation of the Church.
We are told to learn from the fig tree. The sprouting of new, tender leaves is an indicator that summer approaches. (Our small fig tree has done its duty in this regard.) The events He outlined are compared to the sprouting of new leaves indicating that these events were near (‘it is near’ can also be rendered, ‘He is near’) Matthew 24:33.
Christ lovingly warned His people – the Church – to take heed to the things He outlined. It is up to each one of us to heed that warning and to be alert and active in spiritual matters.
As a child growing up in a British Commonwealth country after WW2, I was very used to the phrase, “Lest we forget.” It is used to commemorate the casualties of war. It is a phrase taken from a poem written by Rudyard Kipling in 1898 called “Recessional.” The poem became famous when used in the commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The phrase is repeated at the end of each stanza. It is intended to emphasize the dangers of failing to remember the horrors and sacrifices of war.
It is not known for sure, but suspected, that Kipling took his inspiration from the Bible, specifically Deuteronomy chapter 4.
“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep your yourself, lest you forgetthe things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And you teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God … So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess” (Deuteronomy 4:9-14).
I firmly believe that what is happening around us now, has the potential to distract God’s people from their covenant obligations and the place that God’s law is to play in our thinking and understanding. If we let emotions and fears into our thinking, we will forget and will begin to embrace the angst and despair that surrounds us. That is an ever-present warning throughout the New Testament to the Church. We must remember!
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).
Christ was a doer of the work – always focused on doing His Father’s work. He said His food was to do the will of Him who sent Him, and to finish His work. By not forgetting, we will be able to maintain the same focus through stressful times.
For a Sabbath activity this week, I ask that you prayerfully read Psalm 2. When we reference Christ and the end of the age, we usually turn to Matthew 24 and 25. But in addition I think you will find that Psalm 2 fits today perfectly. Especially note the response required from noting the events outlined in the first three verses. The concluding verses, 10 through 12, could be summed up as, “Lest we forget!”