Monday, January 18, 2010

"See That You Are Not Terrified"

Jesus of Nazareth told his earliest followers the words forming the title of this Blog, as recorded in Matthew 24:6. Just moments earlier, Jesus taught that many would come in his name to mislead others, in part (as the complementing account in Luke's historical record states) by stirring up people's fears about the time of the end. Note:

Then [Jesus] said to [his disciples], "You must see to it that you are not misled. For many will come using my name and saying, 'I am [the Christ/Messiah],' and, 'The defined/appointed time has drawn near.' Do not go after them."

For a further discussion of Luke 21:8 and how those whom Jesus warned his followers about clearly applies to the activities and proclamations of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, see my Blog, "'Do Not Go After Them' (Unless . . .)."

Apart from Jesus' warning about false teachers who would come in his name and proclaim, "The appointed time is near," in the opening part of Matthew 24 Jesus also warned that his people would "hear of wars and reports of wars." Yet, right after this Jesus tells them, "See that you are not terrified." Why? Because according to Jesus these wars "must take place, but the end is not yet" (verse 6). Then come verses 7-8:

For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.

It is clear that the first part of the above quoted texts is a re-statement of the end of verse 6. "Nation" rising against "nation" and "kingdom" rising against "kingdom" has nothing specifically or explicitly to do with an entire world at war,  as in 1914. Of course, the events of World War I are consistent with Jesus' words, as would be true of any other 'rising against' which takes place between "kingdoms" and "nations." But Christians (those who trust in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth) are not to be "terrified" of these things, even though "wars and reports of wars" are an unfortunate part of the reality many of us face.--Matthew 24:6.

Then it is said that there will be "food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another." These, too, while frightening for anyone, should not 'terrify' anyone putting his or her faith in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. We are not scared or worried about the "end," whether it is our own personal end or the one we hope for in connection with the Christ, that is, the end of "Wickedness" (compare  Zechariah 5:8). For we  believe for good reasons that Jesus will "come as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:1), and that he and his Father Jah, the Eternal Life who who gave life to life, will judge each of us according to what we do (Revelation 2:23; 20:11-13). It is  right, therefore, that those who gave us life, those who know us best, are the ones who will deal with us.--Compare Isaiah 11:1-9; 1 Corinthians 8:6.

Before that time, and until that time, "earthquakes" are something we will hear more and more about. Regardless of how these or any other "signs" given by Jesus may be fulfilled now or in years to come, whether all these things take place while we're alive or after we're dead, we should set an example now for others by helping those in need,  by teaching them the good news about Jah God and about Jesus of Nazareth, showing them the history of their dealings according to the Bible, and by remaining strong, by 'straightening up and raising your heads,' whether your "redemption is drawing near," or not.--Luke 21:28.

Do not "weaken in [your] faith" (Romans 4:19). Rather, "strengthen the things remaining that were ready to die" (Revelation 3:2). Give people hope, and help them build their faith on the best available reasons, some of which can be found here, but not on the promises or false teachings of men (Galatians 1:6, 10-12). Do not "yield by way of submission, no, not for an hour" to "the false brothers brought in quietly," this so "the truth of the good news might continue with you."--Galatians 2:4-5.

Where it concerns the events and affairs of men which Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24 and elsewhere in the Bible, specifically, in verses which discuss or which predict real concerns involving the affairs of the world, its nations and its peoples, and where it concerns the earth itself, "see that you are not terrified."--Matthew 24:6.