January 4, 2009
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
Happy New Year! I believe for great things in 2009, I hope that you do too.
We began a series a couple of weeks ago taking a look at what many would view as difficult prophetic passages in God’s Word. More times than not this difficulty arises from viewing the Bible through Western eyes, without getting an understanding of the customs and times in which the Bible was written. The Bible is an Eastern book.
Last time we looked at the words of Jesus in Matthew 24 where He instructed His disciples in the great “Olivet Discourse” to learn the “Parable of the fig tree.” I will not take the space to reiterate it here, but I believe that we covered some interesting ground there.
This time we turn our attention to another bit of instruction from Jesus concerning what our responsibilities are in these Last Days.
2. WATCH AND PRAY:
It is our custom, at least in the West, to pray with our eyes closed. This is generally a good idea as it does help us to not be distracted and to concentrate on the Lord as we pray. Many times however, Jesus would pray with His eyes wide open. He would instruct His disciples, “Watch as well as pray” [Luke 21:36]. Christ gave at least three reasons for watching.
Watch because you don’t know when I will return [Matt 24:42].
Watch so that you do not enter into temptation [Matt 26:41].
Watch and pray to be counted worthy to escape the Tribulation [Luke 21:36].
In Christ’s time the word watch alluded to the watchmen who were positioned on the walls surrounding the Temple compound in Jerusalem. Priests were assigned to open the massive gates in the morning and lock them at night. Throughout the night, Temple guards (watchmen) would use torches to observe the surrounding area to see if an invading army or enemy was lurking in the distance or hiding beneath the walls.
The greatest challenge for a watchman, or Temple guard, was to not be caught sleeping. Occasionally a Temple officer, called “the ruler of the mountain of the house,” would randomly walk around the Temple and inspect the guards to see if they were awake and at their posts, or if they were sleeping. If he caught them napping, he would strike them with a large stick.
It was also permissible to strip the sleeping guard and burn his clothes. According to the Talmud, R. Eliezar Ben Jacob said, “They once found my mother’s son asleep and they burned his clothes.” This may be what Christ alluded to in Revelation 16:15 when He warned, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Those who become spiritually sluggish and unconcerned will be caught unaware at the sudden return of Christ; and will be exposed for their unspiritual, lukewarm condition. May that not be said of you or me.
I want to close this edition of THE WEEKLY WORD with a link to a video I watched today. This is an interview between Terri Muewsen and Pat Robertson on The 700 Club. Every year Pat gets away to have a time of seeking the Lord for the up-coming year. He then shares with the CBN staff what the Lord reveals
to him. I believe th
at Pat Robertson is a prophetic voice to the Body of Christ. Please view this with a prayerful heart.
The Weekly Word is found in Luke 12:37, 38. Here the Bible says,
37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. [Luke 12:37, 38 NKJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson