Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
It was 31 A. D. when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem. Three and a half years later the Sanhedrin erupted in their final act of rage against Jesus, marking the end of the 490 years of national probation God had given them (see Daniel 9:24ff.). They stoned Stephen, the servant of Jesus (Acts 7:54-60; stoning their Messiah as they did so). Thereafter in a double sense, their "house [was] left to [them] desolate" (Matt. 23:38). Over the doomed city (and the nation) hung the woes pronounced by Jesus on the women who wailed at His crucifixion (Luke 23:28-31).
Between 31 and 70 A.D. stretched nearly 40 years. Did life in Jerusalem go on as usual? Yes, businessmen haggled over their bargains; weddings were conducted with merriment; children played in the streets; people carried on "as in the days of Noah before the flood" (Matt. 24:37, 38), unconscious of the ruin coming so soon, ruin unprecedented in world history up to that time.
But were they unknowing? Not really; Jesus' disciples preached the message faithfully, cooperating with the Holy Spirit. Some people listened and humbled theirs hearts, recognizing in Jesus the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah to come. They formed "churches," not magnificent cathedrals but congregations here and there, praying and studying together. They remembered what Jesus had said about their Temple that they had thought would stand forever in worldly grandeur, "not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matt 24:2).
If there had been TV then, the Christians in Jerusalem would not have laughed at the comedies, nor been engrossed in "soap operas." No, they didn't go around with long faces, but they were dead serious and sober. They had little heart for playing games. They were living in "the last days" before the final end of Israel as a nation. Prophecy said it was certain. They walked softly before the Lord, and they loved to pray. They spent those 36 years since 34 A.D. realizing that all that they had known of Jewish civilization was soon to end.
And it came--70 A.D.
America as a nation after 9/11 was sober and serious--for a brief time. But the enticements of the world soon came back. But there are some today heeding the call of Jesus, "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" (Luke 21:34).
Some are living in the serious awareness that this is the great Final Day of Atonement. Join them!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 22, 2003.
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