God sees past, present and future as one great panorama, and He knows what He's going to do, and when.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. Oh, I look forward to these times when we can share from the Word of God. I’m grateful for the folk who make it possible.
You and I are looking at the Gospel of Mark. We’ve come now to chapter 13. Our Lord Jesus spent a great deal of time in the temple during the last few days of His life here on Earth, and here He is in the temple. He’s been watching people give, He’s been giving us that lesson that tells us God knows what you give, God knows why you give and God knows how much you could give, how much you have left. That’s quite a lesson, isn’t it? That our Lord taught at that time when He said that this widow lady who put in an offering which in our coinage would be less than four cents and said that she gave more than all the rest of those rich people because they, out of what they had a lot of, out of their abundance, did cast in but she, out of her want, didn’t have anything, cast in all that she had, even her living, didn’t have anything left, she gave it all to God.
Well, one of my dear friends said to me, one day we were talking about giving, he said, “You know, when I first started out I promised God I’d give Him a tithe of everything and I was only making a few dollars a week in those days.” He said, “I found it comparatively easy to be a tither and to take 10% off the top of my paycheck and set it aside for God’s work. And now,” he said, “I’m making up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars every year,” and Bobby said, “It’s harder to tithe somehow or other. It seems like I look at that amount of money and say, ‘Do I have to give that much?'” [chuckle] Well, he was being honest, wasn’t he? I think that’s true of many of us. But the fact remains that God sees what you have left.
Let me suggest something to you. This is a detour, but let it be. Let me suggest something to you. Think about your church, your Christian radio station, your Christian college, your missionary organization that supports foreign missionaries, Youth for Christ, and Campus Life, and Campus Crusade for Christ, and the Gideons, and the Christian businessmen, and, oh, ever so many other para church organizations. Think about that area of stewardship just for a moment, will you? Always start with your church, that’s your first assignment under God. The local church is your number one responsibility under God, so you start there.
But while you think about all of that area of stewardship, would you dare to ask yourself, “How much could I give God not out of my spare cash but out of my principal?” Have you businessmen ever thought of giving God something out of your principal instead of just the interest and the profits? I wanna tell you something. When you begin that kind of giving, God will begin a kind of blessing that you have never dreamed about, you think about it. And if the Holy Spirit of God guides you, take a step of obedience on it, you’ll know that Bob Cook was right about it.
Well, anyhow, our Lord Jesus taught that tremendous lesson based on His observation of rich people and one lone poor widow lady. Now it says, He went out of the temple, and one of His disciples said to Him, “Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here.” This was an imposing edifice. The stones themselves were 10 and 12 feet long. That’s pretty big slab of stone, isn’t it? And they were overlaid with heavy plates of gold, incredibly rich building and beautiful beyond description. Standing there, towering above the landscape, shimmering in the sunlight, tier after terraced tier of gold-covered stones marking off the various courts of the temple.
Herod the Great began it in 20-some and it was finished in 64, destroyed in 70. So they said, “Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here?” Well, Jesus answered and said, “Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” Now, in just a few short years Jerusalem was going to be destroyed. When it was, the temple itself was burned. The soldiers, however, knowing that gold had covered all of these stones, took one stone from another so that they might pry the molten gold off from the stones and keep some booty for themselves. And so it was that that ruined edifice was literally dismantled stone by stone as the soldiers sought for the gold that had melted and run down in between the crevices when the building was burned. So this prophecy was fulfilled word for word. Treat yourself to a blessing by studying through your Bible in terms of what are the prophecies that have been fulfilled and how accurately have they been fulfilled.
It’s interesting to me that many of these great prognosticators, these people who are supposed to have some knowledge of the future, are highly inaccurate in their predictions. Every year, some of them make predictions for the coming year, but inevitably, some thoughtful person will gather those predictions a year later to see how many of them were accurate. And I wanna tell you, their batting average is pitiful. When you come right down to it, there isn’t anybody yet, human, that is, that knows the future. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. God sees past, present and future as one great panorama, and He knows what He’s going to do, and when.
So, some time, just treat yourself to a blessing by thinking in terms of fulfilled prophecy. The first prophecy of the Redeemer, of course, came in Genesis 3:15. The prophecy concerning God’s chosen people was given to Abraham initially, beginning with chapter 12 in Genesis. The prophecies concerning the coming Messiah given through Moses. “A prophet like unto me shall the Lord your God raise up, Him shall ye hear.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Messiah, and He fills exactly the descriptions formed in that prophecy, “A prophet like unto me.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is a beautiful counterpart of Moses.
Well, His place of birth was foretold, as you know, “Thou Bethlehem of Judea art not the least among the prophets of Judah, for out of thee shall come a Savior,” and so on. The place was foretold. The manner of His birth was foretold. “A virgin shall conceive and be with a child, and shall bear a child, a son, and call His name Immanuel.” All of these different things. The rejection of Christ was foretold in the prophet, Daniel. The exact year, as a matter of fact, was foretold. You study that through and you’ll find that exactly at the time Daniel said that Messiah the Prince would offer Himself and be rejected, that was happening in what we call the triumphal entry. Prophecies fulfilled.
And of course, the ultimate regathering of God’s wonderful chosen people, the Jews. That has happened now, and Israel is once again a sovereign nation. We are coming very, very close as a result, coming very close to the end of this age of grace. I hope to live to see the day when “the trump of God shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we, which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in clouds,” that means clouds of believers, Dr. Pettingill used to say, “Caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I’d like to see that day, wouldn’t you? We’re coming ever closer to it.
Now, the question then that the disciples asked, as found in Mark 13:3 and 4 was, “When shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?” Our Lord Jesus never did answer the “when” question. You have a parallel account of this same conversation in Matthew and some of it in Luke. He didn’t answer the “when” question, but He did give them something concerning the sign of what will happen at the end of the age.
Many Biblical prophecies are with what you would call “two focal lengths.” Many a Biblical prophecy is spoken as being applicable to people living then and there, when it was uttered, and applicable as well to something that might happen centuries later. And so our Lord Jesus was speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem in verse 2, and now He said, “Take heed, lest any man deceive you, for many shall come in my name, saying ‘I am Christ,’ and shall deceive many. But when ye hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled, for such things must needs be, and the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be earthquakes in different places, and there shall be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”
Now, that prediction, if you’ll look at the record of what’s happening in our world, unprecedented famine, an increase in the number of earth shocks, that has dramatically increased over what has been happening; earthquakes, famines, troubles, wars. There are more people at war today than ever before in all of our world. People are fighting everywhere, while we’re seeking peace. See, He said, “This has got to happen.” And then, of course, the rise of the cults. “Many come in my name saying, ‘I am Christ.'” There are all sorts of false beliefs being foisted upon people in these days, claiming to be the ultimate revelation of God. This is part of the scene that Christ foretold as being toward the end of the age.
Now, He gives them a word of encouragement for themselves, and we’re back to the present. He said, “When they shall deliver you up to councils and in the synagogues you shall be beaten. You shall be brought before kings and rulers for my sake and a testimony.” That’s gonna happen, and it did happen to the disciples and other followers of Christ in the first century. But you see, it’ll also happen toward the end of the age.
Well, our time has gone and I’ll get at this with you again the next time we get together, okay?
Dear Father today, help us to live in the solid knowledge that Jesus our Lord may be here any time so that we’d be ready and waiting for him. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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