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Jesus moves from the coming of the kingdom to the coming of the Son of Man. When you think about it, both are referring to the same event.
Then he said to his disciples, "The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. People will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. "It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
"It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife!
Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left." "Where, Lord?" they asked. He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather."
Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man. There were two basic meanings to that term. First—it was a Messianic term that most at that time would have been familiar with. Second—it was the term used to describe the humanity of Jesus.
Here Jesus speaks of the “day” or “days” of the Son of Man five times. The “day” that the Son of Man is revealed seems to be the same day on which destruction comes, the day when one is taken and another left. A lot seems to be happening in a very short period of time—almost cataclysmic in nature. It reminds me of how quickly the world changed within just a couple of hours on 9/11.
Whatever else is happening here Jesus uses two historical events to describe the time of the coming of the Son of Man—the time of the flood of Noah and the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two things are indicated through these events: First—People are going about their normal lives as if nothing was going to happen. Second—there will be a day of judgment and destruction from God which will occur suddenly. The coming of the Son of Man will be at such a time as this.
This is the passage among a few others where the Left Behind book series is based. Some are taken and others are left behind whether in bed or in the field. There is a lot of disagreement over when the Son of Man, the Messiah, will come again and bring about the “some are taken and others left behind” scene. It’s clear to me that there is no way to know precisely when the Son of Man will return. Only God knows that timing.
Those who were pressing Him, asked Him further when and where the coming will be. They really wanted to know more detail. Jesus answers them by saying, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather." Jesus is saying here that just as the presence of a dead carcass is clear by the circling of vultures, so will the presence of the Son of Man be clear. It will be clear when the Son of Man returns—immediate and very clear.
All my life I’ve heard people mention that Jesus might be among us already right now and we just haven’t noticed His coming yet. Jesus puts a rest to that kind of thinking by saying, “For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” You won’t be caught by surprise, however it will be very clear and very sudden.
I’m reminded of the bumper sticker that says, “Guess who’s coming back and boy is he mad!” There’s nothing to be afraid of, however. As long as you are walking with Jesus—hanging out with Him today, then you’ll be sure to be right with Him when He returns. So, keep up the three habits of walking with Jesus, walking with others and waiting on Him to lead out—or, waiting for Him to show up again. With these habits in gear, you’ll be ready!
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
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