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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

February 20, 2015

"Watch therefore"

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

In answering the question asked by His disciples about the sign of His return Jesus outlined developments in His Olivet prophecy that would lead to His return. How should we respond to Jesus' prophecy?

"Then He spoke to them a parable: Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near" (Luke 21:29-31).

"These things" mean the developments that Jesus described in verses 8 to 28.

The parable of the fig tree is expressed in general terms. Jesus doesn't tell us that the leaves on the fig tree and the other trees have to be a certain size, nor does He tell us that only trees of a certain size are the ones that matter. We note with interest that we can generally expect the change of seasons. As winter draws to a close, it gets warmer and the length of the days increases, so at some point we can expect the leaves to start appearing on the trees.

In other words, we will be able to observe this general trend. But Jesus' prophecy does not deal in specific details with exact dates of all the events leading up to His return. However, He has given us enough information so we can recognize "that the kingdom of God is near".

Jesus combines our ability to recognize the general prophetic trends with a warning that we should pay heed to our spiritual condition: "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (verse 34-36).

Why should we watch and take heed to ourselves? So we can recognize general prophetic developments?

Jesus' Olivet prophecy was never intended to provide dates and an exact chronological sequence of the events leading to His return so we would have a "trump card" in our hands to use toward those who are not part of our fellowship. His prophecy should help us to recognize the general trend and use this knowledge as a prod for our spiritual development.

The unfolding of prophecy in the last 50 years has been slower than what we at times imagined in the church of God. However, the development confirms our general understanding of prophecy.

We are still waiting for that final budding of the leaves on the trees. So what's the state of our personal relationship to God?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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