Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Only three Sundays remain on the church calendar. The subject of these Sundays is the correct doctrine of the last days. In Job 14: 1-6 we read that the days of each man "are determined, and the number of his months is with you: You set limits on him, which he will not pass." Not only the days of each man, but also the days of this heaven and earth are determined by the will of God.
We confess in the creed that Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the mighty Father and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. After their redemption, the angels promised the apostles that Jesus would appear in the clouds again. All Christians believe that Jesus will come in glory for the final judgment of all nations.
Our readings for today emphasize that the hour of the Last Judgment will come suddenly, without warning to non-believers. Saint Paul says in our epistle (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18), “For the Lord himself with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, will descend from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, together with them will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we will always be with the Lord. "
Also, in our Gospel for today, our Lord Himself says, "For as the lightning, which shines from one end to the other under the sky, so will the Son of Man be in his day" and "And as it was in In the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, drank, married, and were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark; and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they ate, drank, bought, sold, planted, built; But on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, destroying them all. So will the day be when the Son of Man is revealed. "
These words do not mean that it is bad to eat or drink, marry, sell, plant or build. As Christians, we have more confidence in the future than non-believers. The problem is the crowd's indifference to the Word of God. They do not recognize the good things in this world as blessings from God that we receive by the grace of the heavenly Father. Nor do they recognize the greatest blessing, the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus. As we learn in the catechism, we despise the Word of God when we never attend the preaching and stop using the written word and the sacraments, or when we do it irregularly or carelessly.
If we don't stay in the Word, we don't have a sure foundation for our lives. This is why many people follow those who offer false hope with false prophecies. Then our Lord said to his disciples, "The time will come, when you will wish to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you: Lo here, or lo there. Do not go after them, nor follow them. "
Remember the apostles' question immediately before the Ascension, Lord, will you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time? Even after seeing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with their own eyes, the apostles believed that Jesus was going to establish a visible kingdom on earth. Today this belief is called "millennialism." Some sects believe in the final judgment, but before the final judgment they will be the visible kingdom of God. Millennialism is a reference to Revelation 20, which says that Satan will be trapped for up to a thousand years. The 2,000 years are understood by most Christians as a symbolic number for the period between the Ascension and Christ's second coming of glory. At this time the devil cannot block the mission of the church to proclaim the gospel on earth.
Our gospel supports this interpretation. The kingdom of God will not come with warning, not by observation. Those without faith or hope in Jesus Christ act in one of two ways. First, they avoid every conversation about the end of the day, whether of their own life or the end of the world. Second, to worry them with the count of days until the end. The problem with the narrow focus on the things of this world, that is, work, money, family or politics, is each of us know in our hearts that there is a purpose in life beyond being born, growing up , marry and die. God created us for eternity.
God is among you" in the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives and in the church. We also know, as Saint Paul says, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so will God also bring with Him. to those who slept in Jesus. Therefore, we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who will remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who slept. "
Those who are in Christ are prepared for the end, whether his physical death or the second coming of the Lord if we will live in that hour.
The peace that passes all understanding be with each one of you. Amen.
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