“Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken.” (Ezekiel 28:22, NASB) 

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

As one surveys the current landscape of confusion within the contemporary visible church it quickly becomes apparent something is terribly amiss. Much of the drift away from the proper Biblical approach of evangelical Protestantism can be traced to its embrace of the enemy’s Trojan Horse of the Emerging Church with its rejection of Sola Scriptura in favor of subjective Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism. And so it becomes critical for each of us to take a closer look at what the Bible actually says about Christ Jesus. 

In fact, many a lesson can be drawn about what to expect in the life of the true Christian today from the last week in the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth; for example, take our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey colt. In the Bible the donkey is an animal that has come to symbolize the Davidic royalty of the coming Messiah. Listen to this prophesy from Zechariah, which was written some 500 years before Jesus was born:

 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

While the Lord was riding into Jerusalem, people spread out leafy plants and palm branches–a custom with its root in Leviticus 23:40—where they were used in celebrating festive occasions. As you may recall upon Jesus’ arrival in the holy city, there was much rejoicing and celebration–with people shouting “Hosanna!” — a Hebrew expression that actually means “save,” — but by this time of Christ’s arrival it had become an exclamation of praise.

As the events of this historic Holy Week would unfold: by Thursday, Jesus would have the Last Supper with His disciples in the Upper Room, and the very next day He would hung on a tree and crucified. But how could things change so quickly? How could this triumphant ministry go so horribly off course in but a single week? On Sunday morning Jesus of Nazareth enters Jerusalem amid a celebration and shouts of “Hosanna” — being hailed as their long-awaited Messiah — but by Friday of that very week, most of these same people are shouting once again.

Only this time their cry was — “crucify!” Undoubtedly this was a time of great expectations, a sense that these people were actually living in the time when Messiah—the Deliverer promised by God in Genesis—would finally come. And everyone just felt they knew that when the Son of Man came He would overthrow the evil government—break the yoke of Roman oppression—and then set the captives free. And now they thought in expectation, just maybe, He had arrived.

This Jesus of Nazareth; perhaps He is the Messiah, and the time had finally arrived for Him to do what they’d always been taught by their religious leaders that the promised Son of Man was supposed to do. But wait; Christ Jesus spoke of a suffering Messiah Who must first die for the sins of the world—and so eventually the crowd began to think: This isn’t at all what we expected; what went wrong, we had it all neatly figured out? We just knew what God’s plan was.

Well the truth is that nothing went wrong. It was simply a case of what I like to call—unexpected expectations. You know, like when you’re a kid, and you just know that someday you’re going to play centerfield for your favorite professional baseball team. But then, one day you see a real curveball for the first time. Or, maybe it was that you finally meet that man of your dreams, but once you kiss your prince, suddenly he turns into a frog. Unexpected expectations.

Interpret The Signs of the Time

And so it is with the times in which we live. Things are not exactly as they might seem. Look up at the sky this morning. Although I don’t agree with everything Chuck Missler teaches, he does make an interesting point here, as he talks about something which made a lasting impression on him while he was in the Naval Academy. One day his instructor quoted what he called “an old proverb of the sea.”

Red sky at night;
Sailor’s delight
Red sky in the morning;
Sailor take warning.

And Missler said, “I just know I’ve heard that somewhere before. And then it struck me; it was Jesus.” The Scripture says: The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested Him by asking Him to show them a sign from Heaven. [Jesus] replied, “When evening comes, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the signs of the time” (Matt. 16:1-3).

Perhaps you’ve had an expectation that you would live in an age where you could just accept Christ as your Savior, and then just keep coasting right along all nice and smooth. Ah yes, the “normal” Christian life, as it’s always been. However, the pathetic shape of what passes for our Lord’s Church in these perilous times in which we live brings to mind these insightful words by Charles Spurgeon, who said: I believe the majority of churchgoers are merely unthinking, slumbering worshippers of an unknown God.

Or maybe you’ve had the expectation that you can just sit on the fence like too many so-called Christians have done in our generation; and then, just make Christ Lord of your life as it becomes convenient for you. Well, as ol’ Maxwell Smart would say: Sorry about that Chief. This is an unexpected expectation. There is no fence to sit on; and the truth is, there never has been. Do you remember, Jesus says: He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters (Matt. 12:30).

And after all, for years now, people have been saying — “according to what the Bible teaches, everything that needs to happen before the Second Coming of Christ has happened.” Really; has it? If this is true, then let us read the signs of the time. So tell me, did you see that red sky this morning?