In this blog series we’ve been looking at the teachings of Matthew chapter 24.
In part one, the Lord has shown us that no man, nor angel, will know the exact time of Christ’s coming and the end of the world. From this we have drawn the conclusion that the 2012 theory cannot be relied upon, and therefore, must be discredited as pure speculation with no foundation in fact.
In part two, the Lord has taught us the ten groups of signs that reveal to us the general time frame of His coming and the world’s end. We have seen that these signs are present in our world and many of these are increasing in intensity and frequency. This allows us to know that the Lord’s coming is possible at any time.
Currently, we are in the time frame of waiting. As we wait on the Lord to come back and waiting for the world to come to an end. During this waiting period the world is slowly decaying around us. (Roms 8:20-23) The Lord’s second coming will begin the final phase of the world coming to an end. This final phase will greatly accelerate the world’s ending. So now, let’s see what will take place when the Lord actually comes back and the process leading to the world’s end as it enters it’s last stage.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mat 24:29-31)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”
The Greek word “tribulation” simply means to be burdened, to be pressured, or to face trials. What is the “tribulation of those days”? It is simply the different signs of his coming that we have already studied (false teaching, wars, famines, persecution of God’s people etc.). In and of themselves, they are tribulation that we face on a day to day basis. After Christ’s coming, however, far greater tribulation will fall upon the world.
In our text, at the coming of Christ, great changes will take place in the heavens. Christ’s glory and power are so great, He will outshine the moon, stars and even the sun. In comparison to Christ, all of these will appear as if they are dark. Or perhaps, the sun, moon and stars will actually be darkened and misplaced at His coming. Remember, this is God, Himself, coming in the heavens to take His people home to be with Him; who knows exactly what effect His coming will have on the created world?
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Please notice that the “secret rapture” of God’s people is not taught in Scripture. Here, we find that when Christ comes back to take us home to be with Him the entire world will see Him (Rev 1:7). Both lost and saved will see Him as He appears in the heavens. Again, when He comes, we see Him coming with “power and great glory” … this is probably why the heavens will grow dark at His coming.
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Here is the great purpose for His coming back in the heavens. It is to take the living saved (and the bodies of the dead saved) home to be with Him (1 Thess 4:13-18). This will entirely remove the saved from the world before His wrath falls against sinful mankind. Note, that the angels play a big role in retrieving the Lord’s people from the earth.
This event is the FIRST reaping as described in Rev 14:14-20:
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
The SECOND reaping is the beginning of His wrath falling upon sinful mankind in Rev 14:16-20:
And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”
The promise of His second coming, and of the saints removal from the earth before His wrath falls, is commonly described as “the Rapture”. This is the event we are talking about in Matt 24:29-31. This is the beginning of the last phase of the earth’s existence. Within a short period of time, immediately after the Great Tribulation, the earth will be totally renovated preparing the way for our Lord’s return to the earth to reign. (2 Pet 3:12-13, Isa 65:17, Rev 21:1-5) These promises are a source of great encouragement and strength to believers everywhere. (2 Thess 2:1-2)
Today, with joy in our hearts, let’s live our lives for Him! ….
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luk 21:28)
In our final part to this study, we will be seeing the end result of these events and what our responsibility is concerning these events.
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