“Watch out!” is a command we have all heard throughout our lives. It means to be on the alert lest something unexpected or unplanned takes place. God’s numerous commands to “watch” serve the same purpose, only His commands refer to the spiritual realm. In the physical world we know when hearing the words to prepared for something unusual to take place physically or socially, like being warned to watch for falling rocks or to keep an eye on a suspicious person.
This series involves watching for things that are much harder to detect–the acts of Satan whose talents involve much more secretive attacks on the true God seeker. Let us “Study to show yourself approved of God” (2 Tim. 2:15) by examining the more obvious and well-known “watch warnings” with which He blesses us. Let us keep in mind that with each warning to “watch” there numerous commands to react to the enemy’s “fiery darts”–tests, trials and temptations–(Eph. 6:16) in a godly way. Let us study, learn, believe and react in accordance with God’s instructions found throughout His Word as if our eternity depended on it–because it does.
In the first part of Matthew 24 we find the Lord warning His disciples about the horror that will cover the world just before His return. The disciples then ask Him about the end of days and the sign that the end is near. Beginning in verse four Jesus tells them about the first and most deadly sign–false religion brought about and made popular through deception (Rev. 12:9). He notes that Satan would use men–known as false prophets throughout the Scriptures–to deceive God seekers in order to lure them away from the strait and narrow way of God (the Church of God) and to his (Satan’s) wide and broad way (Catholicism/Protestantism).
Jesus then tells the disciples that wars, famines, disease, earthquakes, etc. will increase in both destructiveness and number as the end of the age approaches. These events, He warns, are the beginnings (harbingers) of the terror to come which, Jesus warned, will be worse that all of the horrors mankind has ever suffered–COMBINED. Following the fulfilment of a series of last days signs, He (Jesus) would return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God. The key warning in Matthew 24 is that He would return when men do not expect it. Following two and one-half years during which Satan will be allowed to inflict mankind with the “Great Tribulation, man will be subjected to an even worse attack. The “terrible day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31) will be a one year period during which God will pour out His wrath upon sinning mankind. At the end of this three and one-half year time of indescribable agony, Jesus will return to bring peace to the earth. Just before His return the world’s masses will be conducting themselves exactly as did the people during the days when Noah was preaching righteousness to them while building the ark. The Lord told the disciples that, during the final days, men would hear His Words preached (via t.v., printing, the internet, etc.) but would, as did those in Noah’s day, ignored it. And as it happened during Noah’s day, the horror that God’s men are warning about will take place. Jesus alerts us in verse 42: “Watch therefore, for you know not at what hour the Lord will come.”
As prophesied by the Messiah, the world’s masses, some three billion of whom call themselves “Christians,” are today living “as in the days of Noah.” But notice what happened when no one was ready. Suddenly, Noah and his family entered the ark, the skies began pouring forth rain and the earth’s surface cracked, loosing subterranean waters which soon covered the earth (37-39). Note in verse 39 that the people “knew not” (that God’s wrath was coming) even though Noah had been warning them for years about the wages of their sins. Jesus ended this segment with these words: “… so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”
As happened in the days of Noah, God’s ministers are warning mankind that His wrath is about to fall on them. However, each person is following in their ancestors’ spiritual footsteps by “doing what is right in his own eyes” (Prov. 21:2). They are fulfilling God’s prediction found in Prov. 21:12. They are by following “a way that seems right,” a way that “leads to destruction.” They repeatedly “call good evil and evil good” (Isa. 5:20). AND BILLIONS OF THEM ARE CHURCH PEOPLE. In these last days churches are turning away from the Word of God by calling such things as abortion, homosexuality, mixing with heathen religions, etc. “good.” At the same time they characterize those who reject such beliefs and practices as “evil.” All of the Biblical signs tell us that we are living in the final days of this age. Christ’s arrival is imminent, “even at the doors.” L.J.