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Know the kingdom of God is at hand

Luke 21:25-36

Pastor David Ernst

Second Sunday of Advent
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Dec 6, 2020 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We must understand the Advent season as a parallel to Lent. Which means, a season of reflection, prayer and repentance before the great victory of the Lord. For this reason, some churches use purple paraments on the altar, because purple symbolizes the royalty of our Lord and His dignity in His humiliation, which even the Roman soldiers recognized when they threw a scarlet cloak on him. As the Lord was humiliated in Holy Week, his state of humiliation began with his birth in the manger in Bethlehem.

But, although in Holy Week we focus on the passion of the Lord and His victory on the cross, in this season our view is broader. We do not only contemplate His humiliation and His resurrection on the third day, also the prophecy of the final judgment. That final day for us will be the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life. So in this church, like others, we use the shade of blue of the sky minutes before sunrise as the color of hope.

Therefore, in all the readings for today, we again touch on the subject of the Lord's second coming in glory. Our psalm (Psalm 50: 1-15) shows how the greatness and solemnity of divine judgment should instruct men in true worship and encourage them to true godliness. External worship is an expression of the faith of the heart. All Christians will avoid and abhor hypocrisy in all its forms and will continually watch over their hearts, so that all their worship of God will be the outpouring of a heart grateful for his favor and love in Jesus Christ.

The prophet Malachi lived in the days of Nehemiah. The book of Nehemiah is a historical narrative, while Malachi contains prophecies of redemption and judgment. In the first two chapters of his book, Malachi rebukes the people of Israel for their indifference and unfaithfulness towards God and his covenant with them. The last two chapters warn that God's day of judgment will come, but before the end times begin, God will send someone like the prophet Elijah to call the people back to God. This is a prophecy of John the Baptist, as well as the coming of the Messiah, Jesus (Malachi 4: 1-6).

Now, the text of our Gospel for today: "Then there will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars; and on earth, anguish of nations in confusion; roaring the sea and waves; men fainting because of the fear and expectation of things to come upon the earth; for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. " True, the anguish of nations in confusion describes our world today. However, amid the fear of non-believers, the attitude of the faithful is like this: "And when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is near."

And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees: when they sprout, seeing it, you know for yourselves that summer is near." And the Lord gives us this promise, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away," an echo of Psalm 46.

But, mind you, our Lord also says, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all this happens." The Word of God will last forever, but the unbelief of the masses to the end of the world. Because the phrase translated "this generation" does not mean a group living at the same time, but men very similar to each other in character. Then, until the second coming of the Lord in glory, the majority of the human series will not believe and will be frightened by the signs that for us indicate that our salvation is near. According to the Lord's prophecy in Luke, the end times began with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but it will not end until His second coming.

In his epistle (Romans 15: 4-13), St. Paul says that the events recorded in Scripture are designed for our instruction and therefore can easily be applied in their fulfillment. For all things written beforehand, in ancient times, were written for our instruction, so that through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope. The books that were known under the collective title "The Scriptures" were not composed by their authors to serve only their own contemporaries, but the Holy Spirit had in mind the conditions of all time until the end of time. The Bible, therefore, is the teacher, the instructor of the Church after Christ as well as before Christ. So such an application of Scripture, as the apostle did here, is completely in accord with the purpose of the holy Book; it should serve to strengthen Christians in their faith. Through the patience and comfort that Scripture produces and works in us, let us have and firmly hold the hope of future glory. If we use the Scriptures regularly and properly, we draw from them day by day more strength, comfort, courage and confidence, and thus we always keep before our eyes the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls. May the hope and peace that pass all understanding be with you. Amen.

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