me ," said an ocean fish.
"You are older than I, so
can you tell me where to find
this thing they call the ocean?"
"The ocean," said the older fish, "is the thing you are in now."
this? But this is water. What I'm seeking
is the ocean," said the disappointed fish
as he swam away to search elsewhere.
At the time of Jesus' first coming there was a high level of Messianic expectation. The scribes and Pharisees had studied the law and prophets and felt confident that when the Messiah would arrive that they would easily recognize him. When Herod asked about the birthplace of Messiah, the teachers of the law were quick to respond:
(Mat 2:4-6) When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
These teachers however, were later unable to recognize Jesus, who sternly rebuked them.
(John 5:39-40) You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
(Mat 16:1-4) The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.
The scribes and Pharisees did not recognize Jesus because He did not fulfill their preconceived notion of the Messiah. Their extensive study of the scriptures had placed an impenetrable barrier between their perceptions and their prior expectations.
(John 1:46) "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.
(John 7:52) They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."
Even John the Baptist was momentarily filled with doubt.
(Mat 11:2-6) When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."
My concern is that there are many Christians who have formed dogmatic ideas about the circumstances surrounding the second coming of Our Lord. Carefully crafted graphs, timelines and charts delineate precisely what we should shortly expect. Students of Bible prophecy should realize that the very existence of such numerous theories pertaining to the second coming point to the fact that scripture is unclear as to the exact timing. Certainly each of us is entitled to his own opinion but we should realize that our stance is only an educated guess and not dogma.
Most importantly, we should watch world events with an open heart and mind and attempt to fit unfolding events into the framework of our prophetic studies. Let us remain watchful as scripture repeatedly enjoins us and not commit the same error of the Pharisees.
(Mat 24:42) "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
(Mat 25:13) "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Col 4:2) Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(1 Th 5:6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.
RELATED MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[II Pet. 3:1–18; Mark 13:24–31]
The day of the Lord
will come as a thief in the night (II Pet. 3:10). A thief in the night
sneaks up when he is not expected. So will the day of the Lord also
come when it is not expected. But when He that cometh is not expected,
no preparations are made for meeting Him. Lest we allow such
negligence, the Lord commanded: Watch: for ye know not what hour your
Lord doth come (Matt. 24:42).
Meanwhile, what are
we doing? Are we watching? Are we waiting? We must confess that we are
not. Some at least await death, but scarcely anyone awaits the day of
the Lord. And it is as if they are right. Our fathers and forefathers
waited, but the day did not come. Since we do not see anything, why
should we think that it will come in our days? Thus, we do not think;
and do not wait. It will not be a wonder, if with such a disposition as
ours, the day of the Lord falls upon us like a thief.
We shall be like
the inhabitants of a city which the head of the province promised to
visit in the near future. They waited for him an hour, waited another,
waited a day and then said, “I suppose he's not coming,” and went home.
But as soon as they departed and gave themselves over to sleep — he
appeared. It will be the same with us — whether we are waiting or
not, the day of the Lord will come, and it will come without warning.
For the Lord said: Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall
not pass away (Mark 13:31). But is it not better to wait, lest we be
caught by surprise? For we will not get off without paying.
[I John 1:8–2:6; Mark 13:31–14:2]
What the Apostle
directed us towards yesterday, the Gospel now suggests directly to us:
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time... Watch ye
therefore... lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping (Mark 13:33,
35–6). It is necessary to wait, and every instant to keep in mind that
the Lord is about to appear and shine like lightning from one end of
the universe to the other.
It is thought by
some that it is possible to replace this waiting upon the Lord with
waiting for death. This is good, or at least this should be done. But
awaiting the coming of the Lord is one thing, and awaiting death
another. They lead to different thoughts, and to different feelings
born under the impact of these different thoughts. Await the day of the
Lord, when all will end in an irrevocable determination. After our
death, time will still continue in an undecided state; but the day of
the Lord will assign everything for eternal ages, and it will be
sealed, so you cannot expect any changes.
admit the speculative nature of the some of the material found on this
site. I am not a prophet nor do I assert that any of the
contained herein is directly derived from God. It is the
prayerful study and meditation on current events as they relate to
eschatology. It may become necessary to revise the following
as current events dictate and I hereby announce not just a willingness
but a duty to do so.
Pope John Paul II and the Second Coming
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