Bible Reading: Luke 21:20-38
Jesus told His disciples that once certain signs appeared…it would not be long before He returned. And, it is important that we be ready when He shows up. Those signs are everywhere! Are you ready?
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
On several occasions, I have visited the Cove at the Billy Graham Training Center near Asheville, NC. We live about 6 hours to the east of Ashville on the Atlantic coastline. Ashville is located in the Appalachian Mountains at an altitude of 2,134 feet above sea level. When we come home we are going down the east side of the mountains on Interstate 40. About 15 miles east of Ashville is the Black Mountain Summit. From there, it is 4.8 miles to the bottom of the mountain. In that distance there is a drop in elevation of 1,361 feet. That means that the road slopes downward at an average angle of 6 degrees. Think of it this way. If you are looking at a Mickey Mouse wristwatch and it is 12:14. Mickey’s little hand would be pointing at the 12 and his long hand would be pointing to the right at 14 minutes. The angle from the 14 minutes down to the center of the watch would be 6 degrees. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot does it. But believe me, when you are driving it…you realize that it is. Especially if you are driving a big truck…like an 18-wheeler that is loaded up and carrying a lot of weight. It can be very, very dangerous. Here is why. As that big truck is going down the mountain it has to go pretty slow. There are a bunch of curves…right and left, then straight, then left, then right. You get the picture. And if the truck is going too fast…because it is loaded up and is really heavy…the driver will not be able to make it through the turns and will crash. Maybe running into a car coming up the mountain in the westbound lane. Or maybe, running off the road and over the side of the mountain. Either way, that would be terrible. So, in order to go down the mountain slowly, the driver has to use his brakes. But that causes a problem because the brakes can overheat and then they won’t work. The driver can also use his transmission. He can keep the truck in a lower gear so that it cannot go too fast. But that only does so much good because it can overheat…and then he has to use his breaks, again…and now he is back to the danger of his breaks going out.
It is such a danger that the Highway Department has warning signs posted all along the roadside that show upcoming turns, what the downward grade (angle) of the road is, which lane that trucks should use, speed limits, and blinking yellow lights. And still…some trucks get out of control. So, there is one last option for a truck driver when the truck is out of control and going too fast. They are called “Runaway Truck Ramps” and there are three of them (I mentioned these a couple of months ago, February 12). There is one at 2.7 miles, one at 3.2 miles and one at 3.5 miles east of the Summit. Each of them is located on the outside of a turn. They look like very wide sand roads. The sand is very deep so that if a driver loses control and can’t make it through the turn…he can let his truck go straight down the sand road. His tires will quickly sink in the deep sand and the truck will come to a sudden stop. Signs tell you when the next one is coming up so that you can be ready. It isn’t unusual to be traveling down the mountain and see a truck sitting in one of the Ramps. Whew, another accident avoided. And probably, another life saved.
Did you know that the Bible talks about Runaway Ramps. Well, kind of. You see, the Bible tells us what is coming in the future and it tells us that at some point…things are going to be very bad. Not just a car wreck…more like a train wreck. I mean the whole world is going to be in a wreck.
Jesus was telling the disciples about this wreck and they asked Him when it was going to happen. He didn’t tell them when it was going to happen. But, He did tell them what would happen. First, He told them that while He was not going to give them an exact date…He was going to give them some signs so that they would know when it was about to happen…kind of like the signs for the Runaway Ramps. That way they could be prepared and ready. They wouldn’t be doing things that they shouldn’t be doing…but instead, they would be living a life that is pleasing to God. Second, He didn’t want them to be afraid…so, He told them that when it happened…it would actually be a sign that God was about to establish His kingdom on earth. That’s a good thing. A very good thing. So, they were to keep that in mind.
Now, while both of those are very important to us…Jesus told them one more thing that you need to know. He said that one of the signs that the wreck was about to come was that the Gentiles would no longer be in control of Jerusalem…that means Israel. You see, in 70 A.D. the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and Gentiles (that means anyone other than the Jews) have been in control of it ever since. At least, until May 14, 1948 A.D.. On that date, Israel was reestablished as a nation. Listen to this. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.” The word generation can mean a couple of possible things. For one, it can mean how long a person generally lives. Today, that would be about 75-80 years. If that is what it means, then the wreck would happen before the generation of people who were alive when Israel became a nation had all died. That would be sometime around 2025-2030 A.D. Other people think that the word “generation” is referring to the nation of Israel, itself. In other words, once Israel was reestablished, it would still be around when the wreck happened. So, once it is established…start getting ready because there is nothing else that has to happen.
Now, you may have noticed that I kept on using the word “wreck”. That is because it is going to be a very, very, very…did I say “very”…bad time. Terrible. In fact, it will be the worst time in the history of the world. But, remember what Jesus said. The wreck would be a sign that God was about to establish His kingdom on earth. And that will be awesome!
I know that this is some pretty heavy stuff. It can be hard to understand. But there is one thing that isn’t hard to understand. Jesus was making a point. He wanted to make something very clear for us. Here it is. Are you ready? Actually, that’s the point. Are you ready? Jesus is coming back soon, real soon. Probably sooner than we think. And when He does…we need to be ready. We need to be living a life that is pleasing to Him, that honors Him. We need to be living…like He would live. Are you ready? If Jesus came back tomorrow…would you be ready to meet Him? I hope so. I’m telling you…the signs are all over the place. Every day I see another one. “There’s a wreck coming!” Are you ready?
Love you more than bunches and bunches,