Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"You will indeed drink my cup." / Great Tribulation

Introduction done being edited

This is an lengthy post, both to read and to write.
I will list here below, the sections of this series. 
When totally completed, I will remove the top list of sections.
When each section is done, I will put a X after it, and post notice above.
Please read the scriptures as you come to them to derive the greatest benefit. Take your time, and please divide the study of each section up into portions that you can manage personally, to include the cited scriptures, as you read.

Introduction [ X ]
Section One [   ]
Section Two [   ]
Section Three [   ]
Section Four [   ]
Section Five [   ]

INTRODUCTION

"Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”  (Matt.20:20-23)



Those of us who are aware that God's spirit has elected us to belong to the Body of Christ,
thereafter manifest how our heart will choose to view and respond to, our calling.
In the case of James and John, they became focused upon their own position. Although it was their mother who made this request of Jesus, the apostles seemed aware that she was prompted by her sons (Matt.20:24). This awareness prompted Mark to record this occurrence, according to that perspective (Mark10:35).

James, John, and Peter had just witnessed the prophetic image of the Lord's Day (Matt.17:1,2,3,5; 2Pet.1:18,19).

James and John must have desired to fulfill these prophetic positions.

Jesus attempted to adjust the ambition of James and John, by calling their attention to the price of such a position. Jesus was letting them know, that the price for these "two" positions 
(Matt.17:3; Rev.11:3,4; Zech.4:11,14; John8:17; Rev.1:1; John15:26,27; Rev.3:22; 22:16,6; 11:3)           ("Two Witnesses / Elijah and Moses")
was much higher than they imagined....
Jesus said; “You don’t know what you are asking for,”.
Then, in order to show them what comes with such a position,
Jesus asked, “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?
   [Jesus had just described part of that cup, in the three previous verses (Matt.20:17,18,19) (Luke22:44)].



Like Peter,
James and John replied with overconfidence (Matt.26:35). Jesus was correct in his evaluation....
They were not aware of the full price of their aspiration, either when they requested it's fulfillment, or accepted it's cost.

Once these confident words passed their lips....
they agreed to the price while still ignorant of its' full demand.
  But their ignorance did not matter before Satan who witnessed their vow. Satan searches out any means to accuse and disqualify those devoted to God (Job 1:8,9,12; Zech.3:1,2; Jude1:9), especially the elected of Christ (1Pet.5:8; Rev.12:17).



Satan knows, that what the faithful vow, they must pay (Ec.5:4), even if it turns out to be more grueling than they ever expected 
(Ps.15:4; Judges11:35). Satan is determined to make it so. 
Satan battles for the disqualification of the faithful, as a means to delay the end of his world dominion, 
(Prov.27:12,11; Rev.12:7,8,9,10,11; 6:11), brought about by the accomplishing of divine assignments, by the faithful 
(Luke10:17,18; Rev.12:11,10; 2Pet.3:12; Isa.62:10,11,12; 2Cor.10:5).


This is why Jesus then followed their confident statement, with a reference to the consequence...
You will indeed drink from my cup.".
Jesus knew that Satan has demanded to fully test any candidate who aspires and strives to prove faithful to God's calling 
(Rev.2:10; 2Tim.3:12; Luke22:31; 1Pet.5:8; 1John2:13,14; Eph.6:12; Mark13:20; Rev.12:17; 17:14; 20:9). 
That "cup" includes a death for truth (Mark8:35; Rev.6:9,11; 2:10; Rom.6:5)....
not just for James and John, but for all members of the "144,000" 
(Rev.13:15; 11:7; 6:11; 20:4; Ps.110:2; Rev.14:1; Ps.2:9; Rev.2:26,27; Dan.7:18). 
That sacrifice is also fulfilled symbolically, by the final "two" (Rev.11:7).



The very day that James and John made this request, Jesus was preparing for his own impending trials and tests (Matt.20:17,18,19). 
He knew far clearer than James and John, what Satan was preparing for "his cup" (Matt.26:39,42; Heb.4:15; 5:8; Isa.53:5; Rom.4:25).
Yet despite what Christ suffered for his loyalty to the God of Truth,
he left any recompense for such righteousness, in God's hands (Luke23:46; Heb.5:7). 
Although Jesus knew the righteousness of God (Ps.18:25; 62:12; Rom.2:6; Heb.12:2; 6:10; 2Tim.4:8), 
his faithfulness was not a matter of selfish ambition (John15:13; 10:11; 1John3:16; Eph.5:2). We must imitate him (1Pet.2:21; 1John2:6).

Jesus tried to correct the egotistical ambition of James and John again...
"...to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."
If it is not for Jesus to grant, then it is certainly not for anyone to covet. In godly fear, we are slaves to the will of God, whatever He determines regarding the work He assigns each of His slaves 
(1Cor.12:18; 11:29,31; Gal.6:4; 2Cor.5:10; Isa.64:8) 
as well as it's reward (Mark10:40; Matt.25:34; Ps.75:7; Dan.7:22; 1Pet.1:4; Matt.20:13,15,16).
We accept whatever God has reserved for these "two" (Rev.11:3,4,5; Zech.4:11,12,13,14,2,3).

And so, after we have been called to become an heir with Christ (Rom.8:17; Gal.3:29),
we properly grow to have the mind of Christ (Eph.4:13,14,15; 1Cor.2:16; 1Cor.15:58; 1Pet.5:10; Col.1:28).
Rather than aspire that our valiant suffering will reward us with worldly glory...
we must in all sobriety, focus our exertion upon loyalty to God and our need to remain standing before God's inspection (Phil.2:12), as we endure the greatest of tests (Dan.8:19; 1Thess.3:3; 2Thess.1:5; Mark13:20; Rev.12:12; 20:3; Luke18:7; Rev.13:10; 14:12; Hab.2:3; Heb.10:37; Zeph.3:8; Rev.17:14; 16:13,14,15,16; 20:7,8,9; Rev.11:5). 
If, like Christ, we are motivated by a love for the God of Truth, and by the needs of the sheep for whom we toil and suffer 
(2Tim.2:10,24,25; 2Cor.12:15; Rom.12:1; 2Cor.4:5; 5:15; 6:4-13 <(click); Rom.14:7; Mark9:35; Gal.4:19) 
then God will empower such a heart to also have the strength to endure (Phil.4:13; Rev.2:2,3; 3:8; Isa.40:29,31; Rev.12:14).

We must be more concerned with pleasing God, than with an exalted position esteemed by men 
(Rom.2:29; John5:44,41; 12:42,43; 1Thess.2:6; 2Cor.5:9,10; Gal.1:10).
It is vital also, that we do not become overconfident as James and John may have been; but rather, search out in the Word of God,
His provisions for our vital, rare, and precious endurance 
(Luke13:23,24; Matt.7:14,21,22,23; 25:12,13; 24:22; Jer.42:2; Isa.1:8,9; 10:20; 65:8; Mal.3:6).

I hope to cover within the remainder of this series:
what trials the genuine brothers of Christ should expect to contend with...
why these trials have come upon them today...
how difficult are the trials of the Great Tribulation...
how the Great Tribulation can be endured successfully...
and where their trials today, originate.


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