Every year, governments, business, churches, and many organizations, make plans; some even go on to make 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year plans. They announce this to their citizens, workers, members, and to society. If we trust the leaders of these organizations, we are happy to listen to their plans; the plans give us hope; the plans give us direction; the plans make us work together united as one.
Prophecy reveals God’s plans for the world he created. When we make future plans, we consider our past and current situation; we consider our resources; and we ensure that the plans will convince our members to work together united as one. The prophecies in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, follow these principles.
Last week, I introduced the prophecies in Matthew 24. They were given during Jesus last trip to Jerusalem; you can read all that happened on this trip starting from Matthew 21. The people thought Jesus was coming to use his powers to throw out the Roman colonizers; but instead Jesus went to the temple, threw out hundreds of business people, preached to thousands who had come to celebrate the feast of Passover, and healed all the blind and lame that came to him in the temple.
The Apostles were confused by Jesus preaching and actions; so he sat them down to teach them and give them clarity about God’s future plans – this is what we see in Matthew 24 and 25. He taught them that the temple will be destroyed; many other powerful nations will rise after Rome; many natural disasters will happen; and many false prophets will come; but these do not determine the end.
Put yourself in the shoes of these Apostles; they were stunned listening to Jesus. They were being told the future history of the world in big brushstrokes. Have these great events been happening – a very big yes, we can trust the teachings of Jesus! These great and disturbing events do not determine the end of things. It is the globalization of the gospel that determines when the end comes (Matthew 24:14).
Matthew 24: 45-51 (NIV) (shortened) thus says: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household… will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so… suppose that servant is wicked and says… ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants… The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect… cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites…”
Jesus advises the Apostles to focus on being sincere patient servants. The prophecies assure us that there is a plan; we are not told the day or the hour of the end of this present age, but we know the trigger. Jesus will stay away for a long time; catastrophes will happen in the world; the gospel will be globalized; then he comes. Let’s not get overwhelmed chasing after every little detail of prophecy. Prophecies are assurance that God has future plans; stay sincere with God, and you are safe!
Thank you Lord for your good future plans, Amen!