Men's Connection: Meditations for May 24, 2011
By Bill Brettschneider. May 27, 2011. BLOWING ROCK -- Each Tuesday morning, the Men's Connection meets at Chetola Mountain Resort, Blowing Rock, for breakfast (7:30 am), fellowship and Bible study. Blowing Rock News is pleased to share these weekly meditations, by discussion leader Bill Brettschneider. Beginning May 31, Chip Cash of Search Ministries in Charlotte will be leading the discussions through the summer, study the Gospel of John.
Saturday evening, May 21, – where were you? Where are you today? If you are able to read and consider those questions, then the world as you know it has not ended. In fact, the world as we all know it continues in spite of the predictions to the contrary. Were there not many who seriously took to heart the proposition that the end of the world was nigh? The man who spent his life-savings of $140,000 to publicize the expected event? The husband and father who drove his family cross-country to be near the offices of the individual whose predictions he believed were true?
While no offense is intended to those whose beliefs had them “expectant” come Saturday evening, it is of interest to note the words of Jesus in this regard – "Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son - except the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) In the midst of those who would lampoon the predictor and his predictions let it not be lost – there IS a day coming! Hear the words foretold by Zechariah, “A day of the LORD is coming . . . The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.” (Zechariah 14:1, 9)
Last week we spoke of the second coming of Christ in two aspects – His coming “for” the Saints and His coming “with” the Saints. As we draw our study to a close, we will look more closely at His coming with the Saints as it ushers in the end of the story – a story begun when “the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1)
Since that beginning, the history of mankind has been one of resistance and rebellion against the presence and purpose of God. From Adam and Eve through our current day, we have sought to “go our own way.” The sin which separates us from God is not so much a question of wrong behaviors as it is a question of wrong heart. “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5) As we consider the world around us, the political maneuverings, the economic upheaval, the climatic and moral storms that swirl about the face of the Earth – can we not but eagerly await the return of Christ when He comes with His Saints to set up his Millennial reign as King? “Oh happy day . . .!”
Imagine a golden age, a thousand years of righteousness and peace, when every promise and covenant with Abraham and David, as well as the glowing predictions of the prophets will all be fulfilled. This “coming” will be a public display of His judicial authority, with the crushing of his foes and the setting up of his predicted kingdom! “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4) “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
For those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, this time is eagerly awaited. It will be both a time of joy and judgment; a time in which believers are asked to account for the use of their time, talent and treasure. In Ezekiel 34 and Matthew 25 we see the foretelling as we read -"Therefore, this is what the Lord GOD says to them: See, I Myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Since you have pushed with flank and shoulder and butted all the weak ones with your horns until you scattered them all over, I will save My flock, and they will no longer be prey for you. I will judge between one sheep and another. (Ezekiel 34:20-22) “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)
This will also be a time in which non-believers will be confronted by their resistance to and rejection of the Son of Man! “This will be the plague the LORD strikes all the peoples with, who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day a great panic from the LORD will be among them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of one will rise against the other. Judah will also fight at Jerusalem, and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected: gold, silver, and clothing in great abundance. The same plague as the previous one will strike the horses, mules, camels, donkeys, and all the animals that are in those camps.” (Zechariah 14:12-15)
We know the time will come when “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess” that Jesus is Lord. “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.” (Isaiah 45:22-24)
Yet before that time will come the great Battle of Armageddon and the promised Rider on a White Horse – “Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is called the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. From His mouth came a sharp sword, so that with it He might strike the nations. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16) From this conflict will come the time in which Satan is bound for a thousand years and the world we know will revel in the absence of evil and the presence of the Lord (Revelation 20:1-6). As Isaiah 9:7 foretold - Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
True, there will come the time “When the 1,000 years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth . . .” Yet, we need not lose heart for there is the “rest of the story.” “The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:7, 10) “Then comes the end, when He (Jesus) hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power.” “And when everything is subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 28)
The stage is then set for the foretelling by Isaiah 65:17 to be fulfilled - “For I will create a new heaven and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind.” As Dr. Herbert Lockyer wrote – “The new heavens are imperative, as the original ones were polluted by the presence of Satan as prince of the power of the air through succeeding millenniums. A new earth is likewise essential because the old one was marred and broken by man’s corruption and violence, and also stained by the ruby blood of God’s beloved Son, as well as by the blood of countless martyrs for His dear sake.”
At the close of the story, God’s redemptive plan for all mankind, offered freely and paid for by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, will come to pass –
Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street [of the city]. On both sides of the river was the tree of life bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. Night will no longer exist, and people will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)
From the old spiritual as quoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963 –
“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last.”
These notes conclude this season of sharing as we have focused on Prophecies Foretold . . . Promises Fulfilled. Our fellowship has been blessed as each of you have been able to attend or have been able to “stay in touch” through these weekly thoughts. “Thanks” for your participation in the Men’s Connection. We look forward to many seasons together.
Make a note on your calendar for Tuesday, May 31 when we will “kick-off” our summer season. Chip Cash will once again bless us as he leads us on a journey through the Gospel of John. Bring your Bible . . . and bring a friend.
Also – please make plans to join us for a “special guest” on Monday, July 11 – more details to follow but mark your calendar now for that morning!
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