Brother Jim these verses seem to shake my confidence:
- Mark A
And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:51
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13
Okay … this is going to be a lot, and some of it may confuse you. But just ignore the stuff that does confuse you and just hear the life!
Hello my dear friend and brother! First of all, rest assured that Jesus’ words were not meant to destroy your confidence, rather he spoke to prepare his disciples for the coming hatred of the world that would be directed at them. The religious world has used these verses as if they were dished out as some kind of general principles. What I find odd, in reference to the tribulation Jesus spoke of, is how most seem to ignore (or are totally unaware of) the catastrophe that came upon the generation of that day.
That’s right, the temple buildings the disciples pointed out to Jesus had in fact been utterly destroyed in AD 70 by the same Titus who later became Emperor of Rome [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70)]. Now, I know this can stir up many more questions that could send you spinning with the possibilities, but it should at least be taken into consideration in the face of so much speculation as to when these things might happen. In other words, what if some or even all of these things already happened? Yeah … I know that really smacks against much of what is called prophecy today. Now, there are those who will agree that, at least in an initial way, Jerusalem did suffer some of the great tribulation Jesus spoke of … so at least consider that.
You see, most assume the things Jesus spoke of were never fulfilled, which totally leaves out how the apostles came to view them. I mean, there is no doubt that we are still plagued by false prophets and by those who have come in the name of Jesus and claim to be him. No doubt we still have a world that can be described in the same ways, but for the Jews in Jerusalem these things came upon them in a full fury. For the apostles, they were hated by so many of their own people, as well as by the outsiders.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved Matthew 24:13
What if the salvation, or the deliverance, referred to the simple truth of a deliverance from being misled? What if the real gut-level encouragement to the disciples was that deliverance WOULD come to them … and so therefore hold out against the deception of those who WILL hate you and try to deceive you? Religion has gotten us so worried about “losing our salvation” that we overlook the simple reality that Jesus is and will be there with us. I mean, if we die before an expected deliverance from Christ, am I kept from enduring to the promised end? Of course not. But deceivers would have you so full of fear that you can’t see straight.
Consider the situation written of in 1 Thessalonians where many believers had become disturbed by false prophets and teachers so that they wondered what might happen to those who died before the coming of the Lord.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
I know we like to go into great detail about the end times with this passage and stir up all kinds of anxiousness and questions … but look at the simple conclusion: Therefore comfort one another with these words. What is the true comfort Paul referred to? It is the simple knowledge that God would not leave any of them behind.
So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.
Pretty simple message, isn’t it? Don’t believe them when their prophecies and words seem to come true. Now … who are the ones who are referred to as in bondage, other than those who are of the Law? These words of Jesus address that mentality. To us in Christ, we have already been made slaves to righteousness (Romans 6). Never forget that on the day of Pentecost, the men Jesus spoke to came to understand that they were no longer under the Law (for they did not understand what Jesus was saying before then … and even then, they slowly came to understand many of those things).
The only ones who would be referred to as an “evil slave” are those who are slaves of unrighteousness.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:15-23 (NASB)
The evil slave = slaves of unrighteousness. And that’s what we WERE … but we were saved, we were justified, we were washed in the name of Christ Jesus!