November 29, 2014

Welcome To the End Time – and Advent in Year B

Advent 1 marks the beginning of a new liturgical Year. During Year B, we will be going through Mark’s Gospel. In 51 weeks we will be back to the Reading for Proper 33 which is just before the Gospel Reading for today (Mark 13.24-37). Jesus is nearing the end of His ministry and is giving a teaching on the End Time otherwise known as the ‘Day of the Lord’. This is the apocalyptic time at the end of history when the Hebrews and Christians believed there would be wars, plagues, apostasy by many, massive destruction and God / Jesus world return to judge the living and the dead and welcome the ‘blameless’ into heaven. The Bible teaches that the rest would be toast (i.e. dead) or sent to purgatory for cleansing. Modern false prophets teach that everyone is somehow included. Advent is a time of warning to prepare for both the coming of Jesus at Christmas and the Second Coming at the end of time.

 1. Isaiah 64.1-9 is a cry for help from a God who really does help
Isaiah is pleading for intervention against the enemies of God. What is important is that he is in a personal relationship with God and he knows that God has intervened in the past in mighty acts of power. This is in dramatic contrast to the other gods of other religions who have never left any real physical evidence:

·         Order of creation in Bible same as in theory of Evolution

·         Egyptian hieroglyphics of the Hebrew escape

·         Circle of burned towns around Jericho circa 1,200 verifying the conquest and destruction by Joshua

·         Josephus and other non-Christian references to Jesus

·         Modern day healing miracles in Christianity

 Isaiah fears that God has abandoned the Hebrew people because of their sin guilt- “hidden your face from us and given us over to our sins’

·         Reminds us of the Covenant of the 10 Commandments which the Hebrews broke – and suffered terrible consequences

·         Preparation for the End Time is preparation for judgement

 2. Jesus Warns Us To Keep Watching – Not Be Found Sleeping
Watching includes knowing, believing, living and passing on all the teachings of Jesus:

·         New Covenant of Jesus has not replaced the Law of Moses

·         Jesus re-affirmed love of God and neighbour as self

·         Jesus sacrificial death created a new way for believers to overcome sin-guilt and stand in the presence of God

·         In Baptism we renounce Satan and enter this Covenant

·         In the Eucharist we re-affirm our life “in-Christ”, led by HS
 “watch out that no one deceives you” (Mk. 13.5)

·         9 verses before our chosen Reading

·         “False prophets will deceive..even the elect..” v22

·         Reading may have deliberately excluded these warnings

·         Majority are ‘sleeping’ – not reading Bible, attending church

3. Our Goal is to be found “blameless” on the Day of the Lord

This will be sudden, without warning and no time to dust off your Bible and figure out what to do. Pointless to speculate on when – but interesting to note we now have all the signs:

·         Wars, plagues, Gospel preached, sign of abomination (Baal horn on mosque on Temple mount.), apostasy in church

Day of the Lord / Second Coming will be the end of everything we know – like the day of our death. Last Rites (Confession, Absolution and Eucharist) teach us what we need to do to prepare:

·         Blameless = without sin guilt

·         Living a “life of grace” (1 Cor. 1-8) i.e. life ‘in-Jesus’

·         Need to know about, know (experience) and trust in Jesus

·         Invite Holy Spirit into our lives to teach us, help us examine our lives and convict us of sin

·         Regularly examine our life, confess sins and take them to the Cross of Jesus for forgiveness and right-relationship

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