The Coming Judgment

The Coming End

Matthew 24:15-28

“Therefore when you see the Abomination of Desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).”

 

            Matthew 24:15-28 remains one of the more difficult passages to understand.  These verses, coupled with the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, speak of the period just before the return of Christ.  Theologians have spent countless times debating how the events will transpire and whether the church will be present when the events will happen.  Rather than focus on the debate, we must remember what is inevitable.  In these verses, we find Christ predicting an intense period of judgment and turmoil that will immediately precede the time of Christ’s return.  In Daniel and Revelation, we discover that this will involve a period of seven years when God brings terrifying and catastrophic judgment upon the earth.  This judgment will be two-fold.  First, as part of his judgment, God will allow sin to run unchecked by his grace.  It will be a time when Satan unleashes the full extent of his diabolical plan, which is the destruction of humanity and the overthrow of God's sovereign reign upon the earth.  During this period, there will be a proliferation of false teachers seeking to undermine the authority of scripture and promote their agenda.  Empowered by the forces of evil, they can perform great signs and wonders that will deceive people.  

            Second, it will be when God brings his direct judgment upon sin. In the book of Revelations, we find a series of catastrophic judgments orchestrated by God upon a world that has refused his grace.  So severe is this judgment all humanity will feel the terror of God’s divine wrath.  While God is a God of grace and mercy, he is also a God of holiness and justice.  His grace and mercy provide the avenue by which we can avert God’s judgment upon our sins.  On the cross, Jesus satisfied the justice of God by paying the judicial penalty we faced because of our sins.  However, his holiness and justice demand that sin be punished. When people reject his offer of grace and continue to rebel against God by ignoring his commands, the guilt of their sin remains.  As a result, God will bring severe and eternal judgment.  

            The greatest threat to humanity is not global warming, nuclear war, or any other natural disaster.  The greatest threat to humanity is unchecked sin and rebellion against God.   Peter warns us of the danger of thinking that the time delay from the encroachment of sin in the Garden of Eden and the final judgment of sin described by Christ in this passage means that God will not bring judgment (2 Peter 3:3-7).  The delay of judgment stems from God's desire that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  However, there comes a day of reckoning when he will bring judgment, which will be a time of unparalleled fear and punishment culminating in the eternal judgment of hell.  As grave as this warning is, there is hope, for God’s grace provided a way of averting this judgment away from us by placing it upon the shoulders of Christ.  But the great act of grace is that this redemption is available for the asking.  We do not need to earn it.  We do not need to accomplish some incredible feat to receive it.  All we need to do is to repent (acknowledge our sin and guilt) and receive the gift offered by Christ.  All we need to do is simply surrender ourselves to Christ. We should not ask, “Will God judge the world?”  The question we should be asking is, “Have I accepted the offer of his grace?”  This is the question upon which our hopes or fears are grounded. Last, as followers of Jesus, there should be a sense of urgency to call people to Christ.  We do not know the hour or the day, but we know his return is imminent.  Therefore, we must be engaged in his redemptive plan by sharing the gospel with others.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Prayer God Answers

A Life of Significance

Seeing as Jesus Sees