“All warfare is based on deception”
Sun Tzu (Chinese general and author 500 bc)
We are in the middle of a war.
Not a war like the scenes in Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Black-hawk Down or the real wars that have been fought for hundreds of years
As I write this I think of the party in Lord of the Rings for Bilbo Baggins his eleventy-first birthday. As they celebrate his birthday, they are unaware that a storm is building that the enemy is gathering his forces, that danger is ahead.
As I look at the world in the 21st century I feel many of us just like Bilbo and his friends are at the party there is danger ahead but we do not see it.
John Eldredge in his book “Wild at Heart” writes
“You can’t fight a battle you don’t think exists.”
The enemy in this battle is very real.
It is a struggle not only on a physical level, but a struggle for the soul and spirit, eternity for all is hanging on the outcome of this battle.
This war is unlike those we are familiar with. It is fought in the shadows, a guerrilla warfare, a war of deception where the enemy is seldom seen.
He seeks to focus our attention on what is unimportant at the expense of the most important.
It is a war of distraction
It is a war of deception
It is a war of disinformation
It was critically important to Jesus that his followers and all who would would have the right information and not be distracted by the distractions and deceptions of this world.
Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 all record his warnings of what is to come.
Jesus begins to point them towards the future and the importance of letting go of the familiar that soon would pass away. But the disciples are focused on the here and now.
As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
We then see the heart of his warning in his Luke 21:34
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap”.
Jesus then goes on to explain what the future will bring
Watch out that no one deceives you
Many will come and try to do exactly that claiming to be the Christ.
You will hear of wars
and rumors of wars, nation against nation.
Do not panic.
It is inevitable
this breaking apart of this world.
These are birth-pangs…
The end is unfolding.
You will be persecuted
put to death
you will be hated
Because of Me.
Many will turn away from the faith
and their love for Me.
Hating one another…
The love of most will grow cold.
Few will obey the law.
False prophets will appear…
Many will be deceived…
Wickedness will grow.
There will be no end
to the wickedness.
Do not waver from the Path.
Do not follow them.
There will be signs
In the sun
In the moon
In the stars.
Nations will be in anguish…
People will faint
The heavenly bodies
will be shaken.
When the twigs of the fig tree
become green and tender
when it begins to
In the same way,
When you see all these things
The Son of Man is near
right at the door.
IMatthew, Mark and Luke, gives his followers final warnings and a promise that he will come.
So be careful. Guard your hearts. They can be made heavy with moral laxity,with drunkenness, with the hassles of daily life. Then that day I’ve been telling you about might catch you unaware and trap you.
Be alert! Be on guard! You don’t know when that time will come.
Don’t be like the servants who were left in charge of the Masters household while He was away on a journey thinking they had plenty of time and the Master came back to find them sleeping.
Matthew 24:36 ;42
“No one knows the hour or the day, not even the the messengers in heaven, not even the Son.
Don’t be as they were in the days of Noah, busy making lives for yourselves, eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage, making plans, having children, growing old, until the day Noah entered the ark. They had no idea what was coming.
“So keep watch. You don’t know the day your Lord will come.”
And as the prophets have foretold it: after the distress of those days,
The sun will grow dark,
and the moon will be hidden.
The stars will fall from the sky,
and all the powers in the heavens will be dislodged and shaken from their places.
That is when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. All the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming; they will see Him powerful and glorious, riding on chariots of clouds in the sky. With a loud trumpet call, He will send out battalions of heavenly messengers; and they will gather His beloved faithful elect from the four corners of creation, from one end of heaven to the other.
As we see the wickedness in this world increase and many of the signs Jesus spoke of come to pass we know the end of all things is near.
Be ready! He is coming soon!