An Undeniable DozenSeries: An Eschatological Mix
AN UNDENIABLE DOZEN
Sermon By Terry Siverd / September 19, 2021 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Welcome to our livestream listeners - - we're thankful for you interest in this morning's sermon.
My family moved from Florida to Ohio when I was about 10 years old. My mother was born and raised in Pensacola. My father was born and raised in Indiana, Pa (due east of Pittsburgh). My father enlisted in the Navy and it was while he was stationed in Pensacola that he met my mother. My father took a new job with the Cabot Titanium company in Ashtabula and subsequently we moved to NE Ohio. It was an exciting time for me and my sisters. For the first year we rented a big old house on south Main street. The old house had a both a full basement and a large walk-in attic, something I had only seen in children's book. We could ride our bikes a quarter mile to the Shea Theater where we watched movies like Mary Poppins. And the winters brought snow - - lots of snow - - perfect for sled-riding on the slopes of nearby Grove Cemetery. Our family worshipped with the West Avenue church of Christ. As I entered my mid-teens, our new preacher (a Harding University graduate named Marvin Jacobs) challenged us with an in-depth study Matthew 24. Jake taught us many things, but this was the starting point for my introduction to eschatology.
I had begun early in double-digits years memorizing key verses of Scripture. As I neared graduation from high school with plans to work for a year before enrolling at Harding University to study for the ministry, I knew then that the views taking shape in my mind were controversial - - so I studied them all the more diligently. Thus was born what I later came to refer to as my eschatological New Testament. It was a cheap 4 X 6, ¼“ imitation black letter ASV version that soon came to be highlighted by a yellow marker. It was that simple undertaking that served to convey to my young mind that eschatology was not just a peripheral issue, but rather it was a subject that permeated all of the New Testament.
This morning I have titled my sermon, An Undeniable Dozen.
In this message I want to share with you twelve texts that have worked to revolutionize my thinking on eschatology. By itself, this word eschatology is a neutral word - - simply meaning the study of last things. I cringe when I hear someone say, “Oh, you're the church that believes eschatology.” After all, doesn't every church that desires to raise up people of the book have an obligation to study eschatology? At this juncture I had been raised in a church setting where we affirmed a futuristic view of the second coming of Christ. As my understanding of eschatology evolved I soon realized that I had come to have a realized view of eschatology. That is to say, that the eschatology of the New Testament is no longer awaiting fulfillment, but has already been fulfilled.
HERE ARE A DOZEN KEY SCRIPTURES THAT HELPED ME COME TO ESPOUSE REALIZED ESCHATOLOGY.
I want to encourage you to obtain a NT that you're willing to highlight and begin your own quest for truth. For this message I will be offering very little commentary. My intent is for you to hear the words of Scripture. My goal in this lesson is to help us capture the sweep of the overall text of the New Testament. I have chosen twelve citations from among many. I would urge you to highlight each one of the passages and then to make a footnote to lead you to the next one.
Matthew 10:23 / But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until (before) the Son of Man comes.
Matthew 16:27-28 / For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense to every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
Matthew 24:3, 29-31 & 34 / As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?...Immediately after the trib-ulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other...Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Matthew 26:63-64 / ...Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, 'I adjure You by the living God that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.
Luke 21:20 & 22 / When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand ...these are the days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fufliled.
John 21:20-23 / Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who had leaned back on His breast at the supper, and said, 'Lord, who is the one who betrays You?' Peter therefore seeing him said to Jesus, 'Lord, and what about this man?' Jesus said to him, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me! This saying therefore went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?'
Romans 13:11-12 / And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
1Corinthians 10:11-12 / Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
James 5:7-9 / Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient, strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the judge is standing right at the door.
1Peter 4:5 & 7 / They shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead...The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
1John 2:17-18 / The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour; and just as you that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.
Revelation 1:1, 3 & 7 with 22:10 / The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place...Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near...Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen...And he said to me, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.'
Each and every one of these passages deserves to be studied individually and diligently. While the number 12 can be symbolic (e.g., 12 Tribes, 12 Apostles, 12 gates/foundaiton stones), I'm not meaning to imply that these twelve particular Scripture references are more important than a host of others. I see these twelve as starting points for our studies in eschatology. For many of us who have come to embrace a fulfilled or preterist view of eschatology, it is passages like these that have whet our appetites and triggered our thinking and planted within our hearts a desire to dig deeper into the sacred writings which we rightly call the Word of God. If you assiduously explore these undeniable dozen, I am confident that lights will come on regarding eschatology.