Call to Awake - Part 2
The call to Awake – Part 2
Mark 13:21 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.
Mark 13:32 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Mark 13:33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.
After 2,000 years of Christendom, it is well that we take “Awake’ to mean an awakening to our Christian responsibilities, role and ministry as not to be found wanting and asleep doing nothing when Jesus comes back again thus possibly having to take account of our slumber. A judgement, a time of accountability awaits us, we fear, as we seek to do the works of the kingdom.
The message given in Mark 13 is however different. Here, the awakening is not an awakening to any spiritual perceptions per say, but the failure to recognise the Messiah. In Mark 13:1, the setting was at the temple, and Jesus warned them of the coming destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, before of which there will be wars, persecutions against Christians (Mark 13:11-13), and the expansion of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem (Mark 13:10). Historically, this happened. After the crucifixion of Jesus, there was a revival in Christianity in Jerusalem. However with the strong clampdown, there was a Christian diaspora to Samaria, Judea, and then to the Gentiles in Asia Minor, and Rome, thus fulfilling Mark 13:10 of the Gospel to the nations.
Mark 13:10-23 talks of the great tribulation, the key being the abomination occurring in the temple (Mark 13:14), when the Romans sieged Jerusalem and entered/desecrated the temple for a second time in AD70. Historians have claimed that more than a million died, but many Christians managed to escape and Jesus’ warning was particularly pertinent in Mark 13:23 to take heed ie to take action to escape. In Mar 13:20, Jesus warning that the tribulation will be occurring very soon within this generation did happen no less than 40 years later.
Jesus then talked about His coming back in Mark 13:32-37, and no one knows the date. Why the concern about the coming again of the Messiah and the need to be awake and be ready before the coming as a believer and as a church:-
1) The Jews weren’t awake when Jesus came the first time. Jesus was rejected by bible believing Pharisees and was judged and sent to be crucified. The parable of the 10 virgins and the Talents can be simplistically interpreted as not using our gifts, but the meaning is deeper concerning the Pharisees who knew the scriptures and the message of the good news, yet rejected Christ and therefore thrown out of the Kingdom of God. They did not sow the Kingdom message of the good news concerning Christ. Will we reject Christ again? Or more correctly on this occasion of His return, will Christ reject us?
2) In the midst of the strong persecution against Christians (Mark 13:9) in the first 500 years of Christianity, strong deception and counterfeits did arise (Mark 13:21,22) which will claim to be “Christ” – to take on that religious power, authority and worship. It is not surprising that that some of the biggest religious faiths claim a mandate through an apostle, and exalt themselves and their saints with Christ. It is a claim to be the representative of Christ, the bridge between God and man. When Jesus comes back, will we be found worshipping the wrong god when we thought we were worshipping Christ all the time?
3) The 2nd coming of Christ would be an explosive event and all would know about it (Mark 13;26,27). The second coming will be with great fanfare unlike the first coming where Jesus had to operate underground as a “good teacher”. When Jesus comes back the second time, it would be too late to start believing. For He will come for His elect, those who had already acknowledged Him as Lord and Saviour and not deceived by the false Christ, or prophets, or had simply succumbed and rejected Christ.
Hence, to be awake and be steadfast in prayer is to be found faithful when the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ happens. It is not to be found working hard doing Christian ministries or extending the kingdom per say, but to be found still believing and having faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. It is to be awake for our faith will be challenged by persecution and by deception of false Christ and false prophets to lead us away from the truth of redemption. Persecution happened during the time of the Romans and the Inquisition. Now is the era for deception. We are called to pray (and not necessarily to work hard).
We are judged in Christ already. We are not called to be awake lest we fear accountability and judgement when Jesus comes back of how we used our time and resources, we are called instead to be steadfast in our faith in Christ. It is not direct persecution but deception with a good dose of half-truths. The role of Satan is to deceive, to push us off the road on the way to heaven.
We take spiritual deities very lightly as if they don’t exist. Their strength is deception. Satan is using the very people of faith to come against gays and to use all manner of deception such as calling it a sin and against human nature? If you listen closely, we can hear the voices of the Pharisees calling Jesus a sinner, yet being the greatest hypocrites. These are voices of bible believing religious people of faith. Satan can use the “moral’ indignation of the religious to cause grave harm. Will be caught causing harm and stopping people from entering the Kingdom of God when Jesus comes back.
The real agenda is not the “gay agenda” of gays destroying the church, but the plan to use the Church as a stumbling block to prevent gays from coming to the Kingdom of God, to be Christians. It is to set a divide between gays and Christ. Many gay people have left the church and this is a great tragedy. We see gay rights as an issue of social justice which it is, but the far greater issue is about the kingdom of God.
God is calling an Awakening to the GLBT population of His love, grace and mercy and acceptance through Jesus Christ above the voices of religious hate and bigotry by people of faith.