Just as I was feeling a little bleh, I received this in my inbox. Great encouragement to the end time saints! I hope you take the time to read it and get recharged. (slightly edited for time)
One of the more colorful expressions found in Scripture, the title of the present work is a simple paraphrase of the LORD’s adamant warning concerning a treacherous trap – a “snare” which is mentioned in the context of His often cited parting statements, found in the Olivet Discourse.
The warnings concerning the Snare are embedded within the lengthy series of statements describing events which will transpire, and they occur in Luke’s version of Christ’s words in response to the disciple’s question, “when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?” (Luke 21:7).
Some believe that it is incidental that Luke’s recounting of the Olivet Discourse is arranged differently than Matthew’s in his 24th chapter. However, the placement of Christ’s comments concerning this Snare is significant. For instance, included in both versions is the parable of the Fig Tree, which just about everybody agrees is related to Israel; however, in Luke’s account, the reference to the Snare immediately follows the statements concerning the presumed end time’s arrival of the Fig Tree.
“Behold, the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (Luke 21:29-31).
As just noted, it is in the Gospel of Luke where the Snare immediately follows the parable of the Fig Tree. In fact, Christ connects the two segments of the sermon, by beginning the first verse of the portion of the text dealing with the Snare, with the word “and” – thus, indicating a continuation of the prior teaching about the Fig Tree being related to the disciple’s question concerning the “sign” which will be the indicator the LORD’s return is imminent.
“AND take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come…..” (Luke 21:34, 35)
Further, the Snare is never even mentioned in Matthew or Mark’s Holy Ghost inspired recollection of Christ’s words, so the connection to the Fig Tree is all the more pronounced, as it is uniquely tied to Luke’s Gospel. In pointing out the thread between the Fig Tree and the Snare, most believers will immediately jump to the conclusion the way we respond to the modern arrival of the Fig Tree is related to the trap being discussed; however, in this wicked and adulterous generation, huge numbers of Christians are already in profound deception concerning the truth of the Fig Tree parable.
After all, the entire sermon from Olivet is characterized by repeated warnings that this period of time will feature great deception:
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them” (Luke 21:8).
Years ago I was stunned when I learned the syntactical structure of this statement was not referring to pretenders who were predicted to arrive in the last days, claiming to be Christ, as I had been previously taught.
Actually, a careful analysis of this sentence indicates the LORD is saying there will be “many” who acknowledge that Jesus is indeed the Christ. And they will be the ones who will deceive the multitude. As this is a crucial point, I’ll rephrase it.
JESUS said that many will come “in my name” – as Christian prophecy teachers, preaching that Jesus is LORD.
Their doctrine will be characterized by the idea that “the time draweth near” – and the “time” in question would be related to the disciples own query concerning “when shall these things be?” (Luke 21:7).
In view of the fact that vast numbers of prophecy teachers – those who are preaching “in my name” as Jesus put it – are widely propagating the notion that “the time draweth near” because of the arrival of the Fig Tree nation of Israel, every believer should intensely seek the LORD over the truth of the matter. While there are literally hundreds of millions of believers who see the arrival of the contemporary state of Israel as a positive development, that is hardly consistent with Christ’s own cautionary statements.
To rephrase this thought, those reviewing the Scriptural passage which identifies those tying their prophetic message to the arrival of the Fig Tree nation of Israel, claiming this is the sign the disciples were asking about, are forgetting that when Jesus identified the “many” who will come in his name (who say the “time” of His return is at hand), He clearly characterized them as false prophets, and said “go NOT therefore after them” (Luke 21:8).
With millions of believers thoroughly convinced the emergence of the modern state is the LORD’s supposed “timepiece” (and a sign that Christ’s return is near), we must ask ourselves if this expectation is actually a part of the Snare itself -- but further elaboration on that ominous insinuation will have to wait for the next installment of Beware The Snare.
-- James Lloyd
The lesson of the Fig Tree
29And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.