And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.All these are the beginning of sorrows.Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
“Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another”.
The true prophet is the Comforter.
The use of the word “offense” is widespread in the gospels and new testament. It is worth studying. The word is from the Greek:
1. to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend
A)to entice to sin
B)to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
1.to cause to fall away
2.to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority
3.to cause one to judge unfavorably or unjustly of another
C)since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed
1.to cause one displeasure at a thing
2.to make indignant
3.to be displeased, indignant
The root of the word is “Skandalon”, which is the trip stick, or trip mechanism of a trap. Reading Matthew 24:6 , one finds a progression:
“Then shall many be trapped, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another”.
When understanding the meaning of the word, certain sayings make a little more sense:
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
Even in nature, there is the example, as gruesome as it is, of a trapped animal that will gnaw off it’s own limb, in order to escape from a snare. The animal probably has no real concept of who and what is behind the situation it finds itself in, but the intent is to either make a meal, or a garment out of it.
The message is pretty clear. If I allow myself to be offended by everything and every one around me, it is I who am in a trap. The progression that follows, if I do not extricate myself, is to hate what I see in another person, and then set my hand to some work and effort to extinguish the thing about them, and all like them, that “offends” me. The prospect of successfully navigating through this life, without falling into the trap that brings me expressely into the “land of the offended”, is a daunting one, but I can not escape the exhortation:, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved”. Jesus was tempted in every possible way you or I can also be tempted, yet without sin. He overcame it all, and became the Prince of Peace. By his Spirit does he send , in and unto any that will have it, his peace, which is not as the world defines peace. So, within my own borders, I have peace. Always, I endeavor, to keep that peace, and not be snared by any “offense”.
Jesus said to the tempter, “Get behind me, you are always an offense to me”. In spite of this, Jesus endured, and was never “offended”. He was never taken in that snare. Never. Consider that once, something Jesus had said or done, offended a group of religious authorities. His own disciples asked Jesus whether he cared that he had offended them. The answer, “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch”.
Had Jesus “cared” about the trap they were in, he would have had a foot in the same snare, being in a state of “offense” about their “offense”. If you read of Jesus’ initial wilderness experience one on one with the tempter, you find that the tempter “departed from him for a season”. The resumption of it often manifested itself in the mouth of disciples. The same example is laid down in the book of Job, beginning in a heavenly arena, and concluding in the mouths of his three “friends”. Jesus, however, was never taken in it. Even in the act of betraying Jesus, Jesus called Judas “friend”.
“Let them alone”:
“ἀφίημι αὐτός ἀφίημι”
“We have our path, they have theirs”.
In other words, Jesus undertook no effort to find some common ground, some point of commonality. To look for such will lead to the same ditch that they blindly feel their way along, holding tightly to one another, and being herded by whatever course the “ditch” is taking.
We have His peace, the world has it’s form of peace. The two are incompatible. The world’s peace has no place of acceptance for what is in me. It is a tough road to navigate, but the alternative is a trade off. I am not willing to make that trade. I have learned, to the extent possible, to live peaceably with all men, without imposing myself on any, nor giving ground within. The parting of Abraham and Lot is a very interesting study. They could no longer live together. So it was preferable to separate, that to fight. It is very notable, that AFTER that Lot was departed from Abraham, the word of the Lord, by promise, came to Abraham. Abraham ended up dwelling in his own “tent door”, Lot ended up “sitting in the gate of Sodom”, which means he was a judge and an “elder”, involving himself for the good (so he convinced himself) in the affairs of the place. The tent door is a picture of your own heart. The gate of Sodom, a picture of the blind leading the blind. Remember the admonition, “As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of man”. In the days of Lot, all the promise of God, as a seed, abode by faith, in the heart of one man. The same one who abides in your heart by faith. The same one who says “Let not your heart be troubled”.