In Matthew 24, Jesus delivered to his disciples his basic teaching on the end of the age. It involved wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in many different places.
He warned them that believers would be hated for His name’s sake, betrayed even by family and other so-called Christians. Because iniquity (lawlessness) would abound the love of many shall grow cold. Into this atmosphere the Antichrist will be able to set up his systems of control and abomination. But, surprisingly, He did not give them prophetic details of the wars that would come or specific deceptions the devil would use or even specific survival details. Instead, He began with the necessary attitudes that would be needed to overcome in the end days. First, was to be aware of Satan’s deceptions – how to recognize it and how to be protected from it. Second, He warned about the danger of stress and God’s secret to overcoming it. Third, Jesus reveals one of the main ways believers can overcome the coming Antichrist – Endurance!
The third strategy is to endure!
Jesus said, “he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” Many make a beginning but when the going gets tough they fall away.
As Jesus taught in the parable of the Sower, some have the seed stolen by the devil, some have no root and in time of temptation fall away and some are so taken up with the cares of this life or its riches that they bring forth no fruit to perfection. Those that have a good and honest heart hear the word and keep it and they bring forth fruit with patience. – Luke 8:11-15
A very important way to improve any ability is exercise. A runner’s heart and body grow strong with it. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Paul likens our Christian walk to a marathon race and states that the crown is given to the one who finishes the race. Therefore we should lay aside every weight and temptation which might slow us down! This is so easy to say, but, so hard to do!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” – Hebrews 12:1
When the prophet Jeremiah was weakening under the pressure of those against him, God had a word o encouragement for him –
“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” – Jeremiah 12:5
In other words, don’t give up – the testing may get worse! In this simple phase Jesus is preparing the disciples to stand against the Antichrist, as the prophet Daniel did years before –
“And he (Antichrist) shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” – Daniel 7:25
As we feel discouragement and our strength fails, that is the time to call out to the Lord, whose strength never fails. As David declares – “For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall. … It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.” (Psalm 18:29-32). Remember, Jesus promised He would never leave of forsake us, even when think we cannot endure. Remember what Paul said –
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13