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In the watches of the night

Luke 12:35-40

Pastor David Ernst

New Years Eve
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Fri, Dec 31, 2021 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A state of watchful waiting is what is expected of Christians in these last days. In verses 35-38, Jesus uses the illustration of a master returning from a wedding feast. Each servant will be in his exact place and busy with his own duty. As soon as the master arrives, and at the moment of knocking on the door, they will be ready to open the door and serve him, with joyful alertness. "Master" here is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The ancients wore long, flowing robes. When they were working or traveling they would put the hem of the robe on the rope or belt around their waist which denotes readiness. "And your lamps lit" gives strength to the illustration that takes place at night.

The Romans divided the night into four watches: 6-9, 9-12; 12-3; 3-6. The Jews divided it into three watches: 6-10; 10-2; 2-6. The Jewish is used here. If the coming of the lord were delayed until the second watch, just before midnight, or until the third, just before dawn, and the same conditions were met, those servants would be rewarded for their faithfulness far beyond what they deserved.

In 39, the illustration changes to that of a thief. What they have in common is that the time of the Lord's return is completely unknown. While the previous illustration bears a promise. verse 39 is a warning. Just as a thief can come at any time of the night, and just when he is least expected, and just as the householder will be alert at all times, lest the thief enter the house and carry out his intentions, thus the disciples of the Lord must be on guard, lest the last day come upon them while they are not ready. Always be prepared and alert, that is your duty, always wait for the arrival of the last day; because the Son of Man, like the great Judge, arrives at the hour when he is least expected.

Therefore, the Augsburg Confession rejects the error of millennialism. Millennialism is that doctrine that expects an earthly kingdom for all believers, with Christ being the King. All of this is supposed to take place before Judgment Day and, citing Revelation chapter 20, will last a thousand years. This doctrine has been held by certain enthusiasts almost since the founding of the church. Some Millennialists believe that Christ will visibly come to rule with the resurrected apostles, who will then pronounce judgment and decide which of the believers will rise in the first physical resurrection, while the rest of the dead will be forced to remain in their graves. Then, believers, as priests of God, will reign in the world and make all the people of the earth acknowledge Christ as Lord. Sin will have lost its power. And the center of this wonderful kingdom will be the land of Palestine with the rebuilt city of Jerusalem, where Christ will reign as the visible King. But after a thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison to summon all the pagans who have not yet been converted to fight against Jerusalem. After a final battle will come the final judgment.

Other millennialists simply dream of a time when the church and the Christian religion will rule the world, when arbitration tribunals will make wars obsolete, and there will be outward peace and harmony.

Millennialism in all its forms is wrong and very dangerous. The Bible, in numerous passages, tells us that there will be only one return of Christ, namely, to judge the living and the dead. Furthermore, the entire Bible clearly and unequivocally tells us that the Church of Christ here on earth will be a militant church until the end, until the great Day of Judgment, and that persecution, anguish and enmity will be its lot until the last. day of salvation.

This is not bad news. To put the heart in the kingdom of God is to be free from anxiety and worry, to be fearless and courageous. The disciples of Christ will be ready at all times to receive their Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns to judge the living and the dead. And yet they are simply fulfilling their duty to live lives of constant vigilance and prayer.

We trust the words of our epistle, Romans 8: 31-39, “For which I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor the present, nor the future, nor the high, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. "

In this trust we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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