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Take Heed How You Hear

A preacher claimed to have the power to heal people. He told his audience, “Anyone with special needs who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar.” A fellow named Leroy got in line. When he got to the front, the preacher asked him, “Leroy, what do you want me to pray about for you?” Leroy replied, “Preacher, I need you to pray for help with my hearing.”

The preacher put a finger of one hand in Leroy’s ear and placed his other hand on the top of Leroy’s head. He prayed and prayed for Leroy, and the whole crowd joined with him. After the preacher had prayed a blue streak, he removed his hands, stood back and asked, “Leroy, how is your hearing now?” Leroy answered, “I don’t know. It ain’t ’til next week.”

Many people make this mistake when they read the Bible. They see a familiar word and assume it means what it does in other usages. This is one of the most common errors in Bible study.

Suppose someone asks, “What does the Bible mean by ‘the end’?” The answer to that question depends on which verse we are reading. Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 24:14:

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

Many believe Jesus was talking about the end of time. They point to all the Bibles that have been printed and distributed throughout the world and to advanced means of communication such as television and the internet which have spread the New Testament in many nations. Since the Scriptures are being published in many languages and sent around the world, they believe Jesus will come in our time.

These people assume that “the end” in this verse is the end of time. That is not what Jesus meant. The Lord was talking about the end of the Jewish system in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Temple services ceased. The political and religious leaders of Israel were killed or taken captive. The nation of Israel as the Jews knew it came to an end.

Jesus Himself showed He was talking about the end of Judaism, not the end of the world. When this end came, the abomination of desolation would stand in the holy place (Matt. 24:15). Luke’s account tells us what this means: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20). Jesus told the disciples to “flee into the mountains” when they saw the Roman armies (Matt. 24:16). Jesus could not be talking about the end of time. What good would it do anyone to run for the hills when Jesus comes in flaming fire to destroy the world (II Thess. 1:6-10; II Pet. 3:10)?

Jesus plainly said all these things would take place in that generation (Matt. 24:34). They certainly did. The gospel was preached to every creature (Col. 1:23) and Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70. That was the “end” of which Jesus spoke.

Kerry

West End Bulletin 8/16/20

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