Daily Readings & Thought for July 23rd. “THEY WILL GATHER HIS ELECT … “
Today we have the dramatic chapter 24 in Matthew to read – about the climax Jesus said would come on the Jews and then on the world because of utter godlessness. Much of what we read has two applications, first to the Jewish people because they had not recognised their Messiah – and had killed him – and then on the world as a whole because the message of Christ after “being proclaimed … as a testimony to all nations” [v.14] had, as Jesus predicted, become corrupted “for false Christs and false prophets will arise … to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”[v.24]
Just as “there will be great tribulation” – and was – at the end of the Jewish nation, there will be greater tribulation at the end of the times of the Gentiles, “such as has not been from the beginning of the world … And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.” [v. 21, 22] The tense of the language here reflects how God sees things, “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done” as we read recently in Isaiah 46 v.10.
Back to the words of Jesus, some wonderful words that – at that time ‘he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds …” [v.31] out of “the great tribulation.”
These words of Jesus are very familiar to most of us – maybe too familiar! Is there a possibility our “hearts have grown dull” [ch. 13 v.15] as we read last week? Surely all the present troubles in the Middle East centred in and around God’s regathered people should be making us think – and become as mentally prepared as possible, for, said Jesus, ”concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but the Father only… For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying … they were unaware until the flood came … so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” [v.36,37]
Our chapter ends with a telling parable about servants not being ready for the return of the Master, but says Jesus, “blessed is the servant whom his Master will find so doing”[v.46] when the angels are sent forth to “gather his elect.” Are you a servant who has responded to the Master’s call? May you and I be in that situation and be found to be among those who are seen as “faithful and wise.” [v.45]