"I am the vine, you are the branches"
What Will He Find?
In our last newsletter we looked at the Fall Feasts and how they correspond with the second coming of Yeshua. In this newsletter we want to look at what Yeshua said about His second coming and what we need to do to be prepared. We want to start by looking at four Scriptures where Yeshua tells a parable and then says, "When the Master comes back what will He find?" They are the beatitudes of His second coming. So let's take a closer look and see what we find.
In Matthew 24 starting at verse 46, Yeshua, after talking about His second coming, says, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming." He then tells this story: "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom the master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions" Yeshua tells His listeners that they must be alert, for we do not know when the thief may come. Paul uses the same analogy. He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8, "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night or darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation." So we see here in this parable that the faithful servant was one who was sober and alert.
Then Yeshua goes on to say that the faithful servant also was one who gave food to the other servants in the house at the proper time. What does Yeshua mean by this statement? Well, what did He tell Peter? "If you love Me feed My sheep." Peter later tells us in his Epistle that we who are elders, those who are mature in the faith, ought to feed the flock of God which is among us, not under compulsion, but willingly and not for gain, but of a ready mind (1 Peter 5:2). He goes on to say a few verses later, "When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." Peter learned from Yeshua's words that those who are mature should be alert and ready and feed the flock of God. This is not only food for the body, but food for the soul. Yeshua tells us in His parable that, "Blessed is that servant whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions."
So do we find ourselves as faithful servants feeding the flock? Are we taking advantage of every opportunity to speak the Word of God in season and out? Maybe we are like the servant in Yeshua's parable that thinks that his master will not return for awhile and so he begins to live like the world and loses his readiness.
Mark 13 tells the same parable but with a little different twist. Here the master goes on a journey and before he leaves, assigns each one of his servants with a task. He also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Yeshua then gives this warning, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrow, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'" Paul tells us that there are many members to the body of Yeshua and they all have a different job to do and we ought to be doing those jobs according to our gifts and abilities; but who is the doorkeeper that he should stay awake? The Psalmist writes, "For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold (doorkeeper) of the house of My God than dwell in the tents of wickedness." So why should the doorkeeper stay awake? Because Yeshua is the door that each one of us must go through to be saved, and so the doorkeeper is the one that opens the door; in other words, when we preach the gospel to an unsaved soul, we open the door that leads to Messiah. If we are asleep then we will not be able to recognize when an opportunity comes along where we need to open that door. The doorkeeper would greet those who would pass by. His welcome would be to those who wished to come in, but to those who would do harm he would sound the alert to warn of an intruder. Peter tells us, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
So, do we find ourselves asleep at the door of the house of God? People come and go and there is no one to welcome them in. Have our eyes become heavy and our hearts become complacent so that we no longer see the urgency of the hour? Do we find ourselves not as sharp as we used to be in giving a response to why we believe as we do? Has the devil entered in and no one was there to sound the alarm in our lives? Yeshua tells us, "Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is. What will Yeshua find when He returns?
Luke tells the same parable, but again he has a little different take on it. Luke 12 starting at verse 35 says, "Be dressed in readiness and keep your lamps alight and be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them." So what does it mean to be dressed in readiness? Let's look at the Exodus narrative to find out the answer to this question. Exodus 12:11 tells us that the Israelites were to eat the Passover meal with their loins girded, their sandals on their feet, and their staffs in their hands and to eat in haste. This is a picture of someone who is ready. Today we would probably equate it to a fireman ready to rush to a fire. When we think of keeping our lamps burning, we think of the parable of the Ten Virgins. Here too they were waiting for the return of the bridegroom. Here too the bridegroom was delayed and they all became drowsy and began to sleep, but at midnight the shout came, "Behold, the Bridegroom!" Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps, but the foolish virgins were not prepared and did not have enough oil in their lamps; and when they left to get oil, the Bridegroom came and they all went in and the door was shut behind them. Yeshua tells us that we are the light of the world and that we need to set our light where everyone can see it.
Next we want to take a look at where it says that the servant that is ready and waiting is one who waits to hear the knock at the door. In the parable of the Fig Tree, Yeshua tells us that when we see the signs of His coming that He is near, right at the door. In Revelation Yeshua says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and I will dine with him and He with Me." Are we hearing God's voice today? Is He knocking, wanting to come in? Are we ready, waiting with our lamps burning? "Blessed are those servants that the master finds on the alert when he comes."
Be Full of Faith
This parable is not like the other parables that we looked at. This time the master is not going on a long journey, but instead it is about a widow who persistently petitions a judge for legal protection from her opponent. Because she is so persistent coming before him, even though he was just as persistent in not helping her, he finally grants her request in fear that she would eventually wear him out. Yeshua ends the parable by saying, "I tell you the truth that He will bring about justice for His elect speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" This parable on prayer is interesting because it shows us that when we pray continually, earnestly, and faithfully that God hears us and grants us our request. They used to call it praying through. I don't think people pray like that any more. We want our answers now. We want results instantly. It is a product of our society: fast foods, fast cash, fast living. There is no more travailing in prayer. We no longer mourn and weep before the altar of God. We are no longer a people who seek God's face. We barge into the presence of God and make our demands. Faith has no root. It is unable to grow and exercise itself; consequently, we become weak and we lose heart and eventually walk away further and further from God. Yeshua says to His disciples in the garden, "Simon are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?" Paul tells the Corinthians, "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." We are to grow in our faith and to do that we must learn to persevere and to quietly wait upon the Lord with patience. If Yeshua were to return today, would He find faith in the world? Would He find faith in me? Maybe if life was going my way, but what if tribulation came my way or persecution? Would my faith wane or would it increase because I have learned to exercise my faith and grow it so that when I need it, it will be there to carry me through no matter what the road ahead may bring?
What will the Lord find when He returns? Let's take a closer look.
What Will be Found?
Paul writes to Timothy, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they deny its power; and avoid such men as these." The world will be in such moral decay, but what about the church? Paul also writes to Timothy, "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth."
Yeshua makes it very clear that there will be believers who will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. In His parables, Yeshua says in Matthew 24, "But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth." Again He says in Luke 12:45-47, "But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, at an hour he does not know, will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers and that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes." In the parable of the 10 Virgins, those who went to buy oil for their lamps found themselves outside with the door closed to them and when they cried "Lord, Lord open the door to us," He answered "Truly I say to you, I know you not."
Yeshua tells the Pharisees regarding discerning the weather, "Do you not know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?" Are we looking to the sky for our salvation draweth neigh? Do we see Yeshua standing at the door knocking, waiting for us to open that door and let Him in? Do we hear the sound of the shofar as it is blown every Sabbath eve and every feast day and every New Moon to remind us of the coming of Yeshua and that we need to repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand?
The Beatitudes of His Coming
Let's begin to practice the Beatitudes of His coming. Let's be ready. Let's be awake, let's be waiting, let's be full of faith. And when the Lord comes, He will find His servants with their lamps trimmed and He will say, "Come into My Kingdom for you have been faithful, ready, waiting, and awake looking for My coming. Now I will gird Myself to serve and have you recline at the table, and I will come and wait on you."