George Poole - Matthew 24, 25, and 26 - Dettingen, Germany Convention - 1990

Jesus was warning the people. Matthew 24:15, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains; let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved but for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened."

He is telling of something that is going to happen in 37 years' time. This is the part that has already happened, and when we take out this part, we know that the rest that Jesus speaks about is yet to come. The scripture does not tell us how long it will be before these things happen, but the scripture tells us to watch. In these verses, it tells us of what has happened, the destruction of Jerusalem. The Roman army came to Jerusalem to destroy the city. Jesus told the people to pray about this. They could not keep it from happening, but they could do something about the day of the week, and they could do something about the season of the year. Jesus was telling the friends at that time that if you are interested in the season then Heaven in interested. If you are interested in the day, Heaven is interested. This is something that God lets man enter into with His planning. We know if this would have happened on the Sabbath day, the gates would have been closed, and also they were only allowed to travel so far on the Sabbath day. If it had occurred in the season of winter that they had to flee to the mountain, they would have to go with their little ones and it would have been very difficult, so He left it to them to pray. He gave them things to read and pray about. Then the news would come that the Roman fleet had arrived at Caesarea, which was the capital of the country. It would take so many days to unload the soldiers, to unload the cattle they were to eat, then they would start marching towards Jerusalem, which was a journey of 80 miles.

In Jerusalem, those who were watching were getting ready to flee for their lives. They were told that if they were out in the field they were not to go back into town. If they were upon the housetop, they were not to go into the house to collect something or they could lose their lives. There would have been a great number of people in Jerusalem for the feast, they would all hear the news of the fleet coming and they would flee to the city to be safe. Things looked safe in the city, they could see the great walls and the gates, and that great company that would be fleeing into the city would meet a little group fleeing out of the city. Maybe they would try to talk to them and tell them they were going in the wrong direction, but there was no time to talk now. Thirty seven years had been long enough time to talk about these things. The only thing that mattered now was salvation. The siege of Jerusalem was terrible. Verse 21 tells us that this tribulation was so great, not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Verse 22 tells of the "elect." It mentions several times in these chapters about the "elect." It says that there would be no flesh saved, but the days would be shortened for the elect's sake. Maybe the Roman army thought that they determined the time of the battle, maybe the Jewish resistance thought they determined the time of the battle, but no, that was not so. It was God watching His elect. God was watching a little group in the mountains, He could see that they had all gone far enough, they had had all that they could stand. The battle of the siege was over. Heaven was interested in them. This is the part of the chapter that has gone now, but in the 12th verse, Jesus is warning about from that time till the end of time. Jesus was speaking of à greater danger for the people of God than the Roman army, when our love grows cold. "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. This was a warning for that day and also for the days to come. In verse 45, there is a man talking to himself. It tells us of people saying, "My Lord delayeth His coming," and they begin to act in a very unwise way. This man had money in the bank, and he gave himself very discouraging advice. David said one time, "I am going to perish one day at the hand of Saul." Saul was seeking his life every day, so he had to hide. Saul took away some of his courage, but we read that Saul never caught him, because he was hidden by God and was safe.

We could give ourselves good advice. The prodigal son gave himself good advice at the end of his experience, "I will arise and go to my father." Others may have tried to give him different advice, but the day when he started talking to himself right, there was something accomplished for good. In chapter 25, we read of the five wise and five foolish virgins. We have an example in the Old Testament, in Joshua 19. The promised land was divided. The land was given by lot to each tribe in front on the tabernacle. When each tribe received their lot, no one complained, because it was given them before the tabernacle. Simeon had his inheritance in the lot of Judah. Some of our inheritance is in the tribe of others. I am glad when I hear of those who speak and say, "Some of that belongs to me." Our inheritance belongs to ourselves. We cannot borrow salvation. Others can help us in the way of God, but we cannot borrow salvation from anyone, we have our own salvation, our own lot. The wise had oil but they could not divide it with others. They just had salvation for themselves.

The word "jealousy" is a good word in the right sense. One time, I walked into a book- store, and I noticed a title of one book, "The art of jealousy." I thought that was crazy, because who would want to be jealous? I opened and read some, and there was good advice in this book. This doctor was writing and trying to explain that we are not to let others rule our homes or our lives, we must have protection and be guarding jealously what belongs to us, that we would not let others come into our lives with the wrong things. We need to be jealous about the things that we have that are right. To illustrate this further, we could tell you about a family where a boy got away for some time. We sometimes hear of young people getting away from home for a while. These parents found the boy again, and do you think that the boy apologized? No, he never apologized for being gone. He just said, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" He was zealous about His Father's business, and this is a good jealousy to have. His Father's business came first. This jealousy is right.

Matthew 25:14-15, the parable of the talents - given to every man according to his ability. You could not expect the same from every one, but God knows what to expect from each one. One time, we were visiting a farmer in the prairies where the wheat grows, and our friend asked us if we would like to go and see the different fields of wheat. We came to one very good field that looked good, so I said to the farmer, "This is a very good field." The farmer said, "No, it is not good." We came to another field, and I said, "This is a poor field." The farmer said, "No, it is very good." I started thinking to myself how stubborn is this man going to get! Suddenly, the thought came to me that this man knows his field. The Lord knows His children. The Lord led His children through the desert. They walked so far and so long, but never a foot swelled. God understood His children. He did not expect more from them than what they could do. One man did not invest his talent. He saw things as he saw, not as they were, and this was a great loss to him. He should not have thought that he had less than the others, but he should have thought of what he was, and what he could have been. We should not be angry with anyone else for what they have. I hope that not one of us would be angry with ourselves, for it is not what we are that counts, but what we can be. Joseph told his brethren, "Don’t be angry with yourselves." They were distressed after their father ad died, and they were looking at what they had been, but God wants us to look at what we an be. We hope that in our investing in God's way, we would not be angry with ourselves.

Chapter 26:1, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples..." Sometimes things are said to everyone, and sometimes the message's just for us. I was walking to convention one day and I met a young man who stopped me and said, "I have a question and I do not know the answer." I hoped in myself that he would not ask me, because I might not know the answer either. I said to him, "You just listen good, and you’ll get the answer." The next day I saw him again, and I asked him, "Have you got the answer?" He said, "Yes." A few months later, this man was my companion. All that is said today, there is something in it just for us.

In verses 26 and 27, we read of Jesus breaking bread, and giving thanks for the privilege of shedding His blood. We often give thanks for life, but have we ever given thanks for death? Jesus was giving thanks for His own death, He broke the bread which was His own body. Verse 32, "But after I am risen gain, I will go before you into Galilee." This was going to happen. The Shepherd would be smitten, and the sheep would scatter, but after He was risen, He was going to walk before them in Galilee. He was saying, "Next week, there would be a resurrection from the dead," but the disciples did not understand, neither did they hear. It could be that we are also taken up with our own problems, that we have not heard. There is something in our listening that we don't always hear right.

Sometimes after convention, someone will speak of that was spoken, and I will say, "I never heard that." There was the message of resurrection. Jesus would rise from the grave. What is left in the grave is only dust, and it is just as if the power of resurrection opens the grave again, and releases the person again that went into the grave. It seemed that when a person was buried, that death had victory, but now the resurrection of life. In Matthew, it tells us that when Jesus rose again, the graves were opened and the bodies of the saints arose, and appeared to people. If you were to ask me, I couldn't tell you what they were. Were they dust that was changed? Was it a resurrection body? I don't know. But we know that on the resurrection morning when Jesus comes again, that every place where the ground has had victory, it will be opened then, and the Lord's people will rise again. "Death where is thy sting? 0 grave where is by victory?" It is almost as if the spirit knows where the dust is of all of God's people throughout all the ages, that where the grave seems to have had victory, all must give it up again. The power of resurrection will have the last victory.

Verse 36 tells us of Jesus taking three of His disciples a little further to pray. I have often asked the question, "What did the other nine disciples think when Peter, James and John were taken, because a number of times, these three went with Jesus?" We do not read that the others complained. We have a hymn that says, "Ready to have Thee use me, or not be used at all." I am ready to go, and I am ready to stay, according to His mind and will. Jesus prayed in the garden three times that the cup would pass from Him, but that God's will would be done. He prayed until He was ready to do God's will. We pray for things, but do we pray till we are willing? Job said one time, "God's word have I esteemed more than my necessary bread." In another rendering, it says, "I have bent my will to the words of His mouth." This is the work of Jesus.