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I have said these things to you so -

I think I mentioned, in a earlier post, that I was now the co-leader of a bible study. This will be the second week in a row that I have had the floor. 

I opened last weeks study by talking about the struggles that I had preparing for that week. Strangely I found myself feeling like I was in a fog. I think part of my problem is how do you keep the word of God fresh, when the men you are leading are not novices, and one in particular is theologically trained and used to lead this study himself. 

Mind you I think that openness and honesty can sometimes lead to some great conversations, and in this case, when the fourth man showed up, it did. 

I had a plan and barring interruptions it would have gone well. But, there are always interruptions, especially from our in-house theologian. I realize that I can take full advantage of the theologians training if it were not for the fact that he will go on for 20 minutes without breathing (just kidding about that; I think.) I think my interpretation of “well” has to really be tempered by the idea that we are a “life group”, and as such need to afford the men an opportunity to integrate their lives into the scriptures as we progress through them. (By the way, I tend to dissect scriptures)

One of our regulars did not show this past week but showed up within the last couple of minutes as we were about to end with prayer. He came in with two of his boys; one was clearly in some distress, and he asked us to pray over the boy as he could not open one eye. We rallied to our feet and gathered around him. Prayer time was good and when we were done he thanked us and left. Mind you, he did have to take the boy to the doctor but scripturally we did what the word commands us to do - “lay your hands on the sick and they will recover.” So I deemed the morning a success.

The previous week our other leader had finished up John chapter 15. But, if you look at John 16:1 you can quickly discern that it starts mid-sentence, so I had to back up at least a couple of verses. 

A quick recap: John 15:26, 27; the lead into chapter 16, has Jesus attempting to keep them settled in their spirits, as He has told them that he has to go away. 

This man, Jesus, has been their lives, their mentor, and they have had need for nothing, for three years. How could it get any better? 

They don't understand what his death is about to buy them. They do not understand that there is a hope of a future with him. And it is possible that Jesus knows to well what Peter is about to go through. This is the nature of John 16:1, but he continues: 

Now comes the hard part.
John 16:2-3 ASV They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour is coming, that whosoever kills you shall think that he offers service unto God. (3) And these things will they do, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 

I asked the guys, why would this be important to them?
I say this because my gentile mind, for years, never registered that these were Jews. 

What changed my thought on this? Every time we see Jesus in action it is the Sabbath and he is in or near a Synagogue. For three years they rarely missed a Sabbath; the people that he interacted with were Jews, and many that he healed went immediately into the Synagogue.

To be thrown out meant tremendous loss to them. This was family, community, and to some degree protection. Everything they knew and understood of God came from their training they received at the Synagogue, and lately from Jesus. 

It was not just the throwing out of the Synagogues that got their attention; the time is coming when those that kill you will think that they are offering a service unto God.”
Jesus had just said they would throw you out of the synagogue and now he is talking about them being killed. How do not think the two events are related to the same people?
What is about to take place? The Jewish religious leadership is about to brutally beat Jesus themselves, and then hand him over to the Romans for an additional beating that rarely a man survives, and the Jewish leadership insisted that Jesus be hung on the cross to die, not understanding all along that it was God that put him on that cross, that Jesus himself was going there voluntarily, and that he was to be the sacrificial lamb that would take away the sins of the world. (We all needed this price to be paid.)

I did point out that there is a religion, active today, that feels this same way; Islam. Do not for a minute think that the goal here is to incite hatred; I am though, wholeheartedly, trying to incite reasonable thought, so that if someone is trying to pass a law that states that Sharia law is the new and best way of dealing with things, you vote it down and vote them out. Do what is right. Be the voice that assists with withholding the anti-Christ spirit in the land. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 NASB (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out-of-the-way.

All this is the lead in to verse four.

John 16:4 LEB But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you about them. "And I have not said these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

The phrase “their hour comes” can be rather troublesome and here is why.
It carries three possible meanings depending upon the translation. Examples include:
  1. John 16:4 BBE I have said these things to you so that when the time comes, what I have said may come to your mind. I did not say them to you at the first, because then I was still with you.
  2. John 16:4 AMP But I have told you these things now, so that when they occur you will remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
  3. John 16:4 ASV But these things have I spoken unto you, that when their hour is come, ye may remember them, how that I told you. And these things I said not unto you from the beginning, because I was with you.
If you are focused on option one then you may be looking for a random inevitable time. To concentrate your attention on option two tends to lean toward some random action specifically against you. Jesus said it would come, so the question is really a matter of when.

I happen to think the focus of the passage is more like option three; where the concentration is more on a specific time frame, and has everything to do with the end times.

Revelation 3:10 LEB Because you have kept the word of my patient endurance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come upon the whole inhabited world, to put to the test those who live on the earth.

Mat 24:21 For at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not happened from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will happen.

This testing is God's wrath being poured out upon the earth (it comes in many forms), and we as believers were not meant to be partakers of it.

Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Revelation 6:16 NASB and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;

Daniel 12:1 YLT `And at that time stand up doth Michael, the great head, who is standing up for the sons of thy people, and there hath been a time of distress, such as hath not been since there hath been a nation till that time, and at that time do thy people escape, every one who is found written in the book.

These passages speak to our hope of salvation from the wrath.

Romans 5:9 LEB Therefore, by much more, because we have been declared righteous now by his blood, we will be saved through him from the wrath.

Revelation 3:10 AMP Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth.

Daniel 12:1 YLT `And at that time stand up doth Michael, the great head, who is standing up for the sons of thy people, and there hath been a time of distress, such as hath not been since there hath been a nation till that time, and at that time do thy people escape, every one who is found written in the book.

Yes, I understand that we get daily reports of atrocities being performed upon believers and those outside of Islam, but this is not the end, or “their time” spoken of in scripture. We may be moments away from “their time” but Jesus, in Matthew 24, spelled out that our comparison is Noah. This comparison has little to do with the violence or attitudes seen in Noah's story, but has everything to do with the fact that the day that it started to rain is the day that God shut Noah up in the boat, removing him from the wrath being poured out.
The Apostle Peter expounded upon what Jesus said in 2 Peter 2 when he included Lot. If you know the story of Lot, then you know that they were beating on his door trying to get in. The Angels had to blind the men outside, and physically remove Lot and his “family” to safety saying, "Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there." Genesis 19:22 NASB

Why would I say that the comparison has little to with the violence and attitudes seen in both examples? In both cases there is no denying that the elements exist, but there is a clear distinction in the level of violence.

Matthew 24:21-22 YLT for there shall be then great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world till now, no, nor may be. (22) And if those days were not shortened, no flesh would have been saved; but because of the chosen, shall those days be shortened.

There you have it, the tribulation period will make these current struggles seem like just a bad vacation. 

We have a solid assurance that we are to be excluded and saved from the WRATH that is to come.
Everything Jesus said to the disciples, contained, as part of his message, the establishment of hope within them.

John 14:3 NASB "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:16-18 LEB And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, in order that he may be with you forever-- (17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see him or know him. You know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. (18) "I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

Hosea 6:3 NASB "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth."

And yet there is still a wrath that is coming. The Good News Bible rephrased it like this:
John 16:4 GNB But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for them to do these things, you will remember what I told you. "I did not tell you these things at the beginning, for I was with you.

I wish we could understand a couple of things here. Jesus felt the need to emphasize that hard times will come. Yes, they come all throughout a typical life, but the Great Tribulation will go far beyond what we understand now. If He can make the statement that the time period has to be shortened or no one will survive, then there is a deadly seriousness to it. But you also have to remember that we have a promise of Him coming back for us.

Revelation 3:10 MKJV Because you have kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the habitable world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.

Obviously the version I have given you above says temptation, and for many that means some vice you indulge in, but the word is also interpreted as tests or trials. So we (followers of Christ) will be kept from the hour of testing that is coming upon the earth. That period is the great tribulation.

This is about the way it works in bible study. I dive in and we camp on one verse for several minutes. This week I printed out my notes so that I would not have to spend as much time on one theme, and should our in-house theological person show up I might be able to keep him from side tracking us.
I believe that our Lord's return is imminent. Yes, that has been the theme of believers since the day Jesus left, but it is our directive and way of living. Having a world view like this keeps me paying attention and focused on Him. His glory and presence are becoming more real and vivid to me each day. I long for him.

If you do not understand then I suggest that you give you life over to Jesus Christ. He is the one that gave his life for you. Because of him offering himself in a brutal death, we now have the opportunity for his life to be in us. This put us back into relationship with the Father/God, and no, his name is not Allah. His name is Jehovah, but I call him Father.
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