Pastor's Pen
Signs of the Time (Part 4) - Matthew 24
The Second Coming of Christ is different from the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture is the next eschatological event to happen. It can happen suddenly and at any time. Believers who have died will be raised first, followed by believers who are still alive to meet Christ in the air. They will receive glorified bodies, and they will receive awards at the Bema Seat Judgment. Seven years of Tribulation will begin on earth. After that, the remnant of Israel and those who become believers during the tribulation will look forward to Christ’s return to earth (the second coming) as a reigning King to set up the Millennial Kingdom (1,000 years).
 
Blessed is everyone that looks for the Lord’s return.
2 Timothy 4:1-8 - Jesus is coming back to set up His Millennial Kingdom, and until then we are to preach the Word faithfully. He has promised a crown of righteousness for all who love His appearing.
Romans 8:18-25 - Trials and sufferings are part of our lives, but they are temporary. The glory that awaits us is eternal! Therefore we should be earnestly waiting for His return. Even though “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain” (verse 22), we should be patiently waiting for His return.
 
Believers look forward with anticipation to the day when we will all be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 - This change will occur “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (verse 52). We are exhorted to “be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord” (verse 58).
1 John 3:1-2 - We are not there yet. “But we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (verse 2).
 
The fig tree (Matthew 24:32-51). The fig tree was used as a common reference to Israel (Judges 9:10-11; Jeremiah 24:1-10; Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:4-7). Matthew 24:32 - Jesus said, “Learn the parable of the fig tree.” The fig tree “when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh” (Matthew 24:32). “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (verse 34). Learn and know the harvest is near.
 
What did Jesus mean when He said: “this generation?” (Matthew 24:34). The events in Matthew 24 are global in nature. “This generation” refers to unbelievers who are alive at the time of the Rapture, which will be “the beginning of sorrows” or the seven-year Tribulation period.
 
We, as believers in Jesus, are God’s messengers until He calls us to be with Him. We have the words of life, therefore we must be faithful to take them and minister to those in need. Their only hope is in Jesus.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.2/22/2024 8:18:18 PM

Signs of the Time (Part 3) - Matthew 24
People have always been interested in knowing the future by looking for answers in various places. The most sure place to study prophecy is in the Bible. Our church holds the dispensational view of Scripture and the pre-millennial view of Christ’s return. Scripture teaches that we are in the end-times or the last days. This means that the next eschatological events follow this pattern:
1) The rapture of the church - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  
2) Bema seat judgmentof the church for rewards - 1  Corinthians 3:13-15.
3) Seven year tribulation periodon earth - Book of Revelation.  
4) The second advent (or coming) of Christ - Revelation 19:11-16 (Matthew 24:16-30).
The first advent (or coming) of Christ focused on His humanity (birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension), while His second advent focuses on His deity and His return to earth.
 
The doctrine of the second advent of Christ was held by the early church - His coming to earth to set up His earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. It is crucial to understand this so as to remain faithful to the teaching of Scripture. The Apostles and early church fathers believed the pre-millennial doctrine.
 
Jesus Christ gave His followers (and us) many assurances of His return. Jude 14-15 records that Enoch was the first man to proclaim this prophecy of the second coming of Christ (Genesis 5:19-24). This is also the last message and promise of our ascended Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20-21). There are more texts and prophecies concerning Christ’s second advent than any other doctrine in the Bible.
 
The rapture of the church should be a big motivation for us to be watchful knowing it could come at anytime (Matthew 24:42-44; 25:13; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:35-38; Revelation 16:15). We are to be on guard on a daily basis. The world wants us to forget God’s standards and truths, the flesh causes us to do our own thing or do what feels right, and the devil tempts us to forget God and do ungodly things. The Apostle Paul faced this battle (Philippians 3:12). Therefore, be on guard and know that He is coming. First, at the rapture to raise the dead in Christ and then believers who are alive to meet Him in the air. Seven years of tribulation will follow, and then Christ will literally and personally return to the earth to set up His 1,000 year reign.
 
What about you? Are you ready for the Lord’s return?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 2/8/2024 10:53:32 PM

Signs of the Time (Part 2) -Matthew 24
As we read about the sufferings related to the end times, it is important to remember that even though our church believes in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church (believers in Christ and those who have died in Christ are taken up to meet Jesus in the air before the Tribulation begins), it does not mean that we will not face harm, problems, persecution, or loss of freedom (Matthew 24:4-6). This is the beginning of sorrows.
 
Seven reasons why Matthew 24:4-35 speaks of the Tribulation Period and not the Church Age.
1.  Matthew 24:4-8 - Birth pangs - The beginning of sorrows.
2.  Matthew 24:13 - Enduring to the end is not the means of salvation during the Church Age. This refers to future events affecting Tribulation saints.
3.  Matthew 24:14 - “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world.” This is accomplished during the Tribulation by the 144,000 witnesses (Revelation7:4-8, Revelation 14:1-5).
4.  Matthew 24:15 - Abomination of desolation is spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11). This is still to happen on the Temple Mount.
5.  Matthew 24:21 - “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Zechariah 13:8-14:2 says that two out three Jews will be killed, and all the nations will gather against Jerusalem to battle. This will be the Great Tribulation (the second half of the tribulation against Israel and all Jews).
6.  Matthew 24:29-30 describes celestial events and the second coming of Jesus back to earth to destroy the enemies of Israel. The future is bleak for the nations without Christ.
7.  Matthew 24:32-35 - The parable of the fig tree. This is a reference to the restoration of the State of Israel in 1948. The words: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” may refer to that generation of people alive at the time of Israel’s restoration to statehood. Before people of that generation have passed away, something will happen.
 
Pre-tribulation believers are looking for the rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We believe that the rapture may be soon and that it is closer every day. We are to be ready and are to tell others about Christ at every opportunity. Are you right with God and living for Him? If you died today, would you be ready to stand before Him?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.1/25/2024 7:58:12 PM

Signs of the Time (Part 1) - Matthew 24
We see the historical events around us and often hear that the signs of the time surely show that we are living in the last days. This concept has been spoken and believed from the times of the disciples. The Apostle Paul, Apostle John, and generations of believers throughout the Church Age have been convinced that they were living in the last days. Obviously, the Lord’s return is closer than it was at the time of the Paul and John. God does things in His own time, and He has His own reasons for waiting. 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
 
In Matthew 24, the disciples and Jesus had left the Temple. The disciples were very proud of their Temple. “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (verse 2). The disciples approached Jesus as He sat on the mount of Olives and asked Him: “When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
 
Why were the disciples concerned? They believed that Jesus was their Messiah, and any day they expected Him to set up His Kingdom and rule as King. If the Temple stones were to be thrown down, when would it happen? Would it be before He sat on His Throne? The Old Testament prophecies told them a ruler-king would come, and they believed that Jesus was the One (Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 11:1-2, Jeremiah 30:9-10).
 
The disciples knew these prophecies. They also remembered their past history of their captivities, and the various nations that had controlled them. What they did not understand was that many of the prophecies have a dual fulfillment. Fulfillment that occurred during the prophet’s lifetime and then a secondary future fulfillment. For example, we see Jesus’ words in Luke 4:18-21. He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2, but He stopped at “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:19). What He had quoted to them was a declaration of His present ministry among them and the offer of Himself for salvation. What is yet to be fulfilled is the future judgment at “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 62:2). This will occur at His second coming.
 
In 70 AD, Titus completely destroyed the Temple. The stones were thrown down. It was set afire, and the gold was melted and collected. 250,000 Jews were killed in Jerusalem. People are still observing the signs of the time and waiting for Jesus to return and set up His Kingdom. Matthew 24 talks about the Tribulation, which is “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). This will occur before Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.1/10/2024 9:14:28 PM

Woes to Pharisaism - Matthew 23:13-31
Characteristics of the Pharisees: 1. Eager to be in a place of authority (Matthew 23:1-2); 2. Hypocrites (Matthew 23:3); 3. Established religious societies or groups (Matthew 23:4); 4. Loved to show external spirituality (Matthew 23:5); 5. Loved to be preeminent (Matthew 23:6-12). Jesus left no doubt how He felt about the Pharisees: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13-31)
 
Verse 13: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”  The Pharisees actions were keeping others from God. Their laws were detracting from the truth. Although God does have standards, we need to make sure our actions and rules are not keeping others from Him.
 
Verse 14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” The Pharisees would take advantage of weak and hurting people. They were hypocrites and added rules for spirituality that they themselves did not keep. Even their prayers were hypocritical.
 
Verse 15: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Are we seeking converts to copy our culture and set of rules or do we want them to know Christ and what He offers?
 
Verses 16 -22: “Woe unto you, ye blind guides.” The Pharisees had ways around keeping obligations they did not want to keep. We need to beware of deceptive attitudes or religious code words that come across as spiritual double-talk. This hypocrisy turns many people away from knowing God.
 
Verses 23-24: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” The Pharisees were guilty of majoring on the minors while ignoring real needs.
 
Verses 25-28: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Do not be like the Pharisees. God wants our hearts to be right with Him.
 
Verse 29-31: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.” Pharisaism destroys the lives of others in the name of spirituality. Our goal is to bring others to Christ.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.12/28/2023 6:41:13 PM

Mary’s Praise - Luke 1:46-56
Around 1010 BC, God made a covenant (unbreakable promise) with a young king named David. The Davidic Covenant: God promised land and protection, as well as a Savior (2 Samuel 7:4-17, 1 Chronicles 17:4-15).
 
The angel’s message to Mary in Luke 1:31-33 reveals that the baby Mary was going to give birth to is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. This child is the Savior - He is the one promised in Genesis 3:15. He is divine  - Son of the highest. He is the one to continue David’s throne. He is the one Who will reign forever.
 
Mary submitted to God’s request as the Lord’s humble servant (Luke 1:46). In Luke 2:47-55, Mary praises God for Who He is.
1.  God is Mary’s Savior. Mary needed salvation because, we are all sinners. (Verse 47)
2.  God took note of Mary’s lowly estate - poverty, humility. (Verse 48)
3.  God is mighty. He is able to perform this miracle. (Verse 49)
4.  God is holy. God is separate from sin. His choices are holy, right, and just. (Verse 49)
5.  God is merciful. He extends grace instead of wrath. (Verse 50)
6.  God is strong. Nothing is beyond His abilities. He is able to keep His promises. (Verse 51)
7.  God is sovereign. He raises people up, and He can knock people down. (Verse 52)
8.  God is wise. God in His wisdom knows how to fill us up. (Verse 53)
9.  God is faithful. He keeps His past promises. (Verses 54-55)
 
We are a long way from a teenage girl giving birth to a baby in a manger and yet, we still talk about it. Why is this birth so important? This birth is the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises down through the ages. This birth, as recorded by Simeon, is salvation. Luke 2:27-32: “And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie, Jr.12/14/2023 4:53:53 PM