The Lord, by His grace not only tells us He is coming again but He also gives us signs that will tell us His coming is getting closer. Lets take a look at Matthew 24: and see what are some of the indications that His coming and the end of this world as we know it.
Matt 24:1-51 (KJV)
In the above passages, we find the Lord giving us several “signs” or marks of His second coming and end of the age in which we are now living…
1) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to [him] for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Here, we find that the destruction of the Jerusalem temple would be the first sign, of many, that the Lord gives us to indicate when He is coming back. This temple destruction took place in 70 AD as the Roman general Titus came into Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. (Luke 19:41-44)
3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
The disciples linked the destruction fo the temple with Christ’s second coming and the end of the current age. Why did they do this? They recognized that all three of these events would take place during the same time period. It is the period that begins with Christ’s first coming and ends with Christ’s second coming. …
Hebs 1: 1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
The second sign of His coming is the appearance of many false Christs. The Bible talks about these men as “Antichrist”. In other words, they come to impersonate Christ, replace Christ or oppose Christ. In any case, they will be mislead many…
1John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
The third sign of His coming is war. Warfare and the threats of warfare indicate His coming is getting close.
7b) and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Here, we find three other marks of His coming…. Lack of food (famines), deadly diseases (pestilence) and earthquakes. All of these will take place in many varied, numerous places on earth.
8) All these [are] the beginning of sorrows.
These are just a beginning list of the sorrows we face before His second coming takes place. It is important to notice that “sorrows” is the Greek term for “birth pains”. Just as a woman that gives birth experiences an increase in intensity and frequency of her birth pains… so too, these marks will be gradually increasing in intensity and frequency as His coming draws nigh.
9) 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. 10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Martydom and hatred towards the true messengers of the Lord will increase.
11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
False messengers who claim to be sent from the Lord will come on the scene and mislead many people.
12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
The sinful condition of mankind will cause the natural love between men to become cold and perverted. Mothers being willing to kill their children through abortions, the increasing divorce rate and the rebellion of children against their parents and the homosexual lifestyle are just four of a multitude of examples of the natural love between mankind being replaced by selfishness and perversion.
13) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
The true followers of Christ possess a faith that will preserver even in the most troublesome of times. They will remain faithful to their calling and their Lord. This is the indication of a genuine salvation experience.
14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
The worldwide proclamation of the gospel is another indication that the Lord’s coming is drawing close. In today’s age of internet and satellite TV the gospel is going into many nations that had been closed to the gospel message. Keep in mind it was only during His first coming that Christ gave the authority and obligation to take the gospel to the Gentiles to the local church (Acts 1:8). Also, the gospel to the Gentiles was first accredited after His ascension at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:)
15) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
The abomination of desolation is referring to the acts of the Roman government as they attempted to bring an end to Christianity. (Luke 21:20 makes it plain that the A of D involved armies overtaking Jerusalem) It was done through the crucifixion of Christ, the martyrdom of the followers of Christ, and the destruction of the temple (see also in Daniel 9:). Keep in mind the A of D written about in Daniel 11: referred to the slaying of a pig on the altar of God in the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes a general in the Greek army. This was a public display that the true worship of Jehovah (Jewish worship) had ended and had been replaced by Greek Gods. Likewise the crucifixion and martyrdom of God’s people was a public display of Christianity being put to death under the Roman dictatorship.
16) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17) Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18) Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19) And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20) But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
The need to flee form Israel during the times of the great persecution resulted in Christianity being preserved, and spread throughout the world.
21) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
The destruction that takes place in 70 AD, is the greatest day of tribulation that the physical Jews will ever face as a nation. It signaled the end of the Lord’s using them in a special way to present Histruth to the world. Spiritually their desolation began with the accreditation of gospel going to Gentiles at Cornelius house. The spiritual desolation became complete when Titus destroyed the temple in 70 AD. Likewise, their physical desolation began with the Greek Empires occupation but came to completion with Titus total devastation of the city.
This tribulation upon the Jews was a foreshadowing of the great troublesome times that the world faces prior to Christ’s second coming. As bad as things may get in this world, we need to remember that things could be worse, and they will be worse during the Tribulation of the last days.
23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. 24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25) Behold, I have told you before. 26) Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. 27) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28) For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
As we look for His second coming remember, it will be in the clouds! He will not physically come to the earth during the rapture. He will gather up His children to be with Him much like eagles go skyward and group together over prey.
29) 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: 30) 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. 31) 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.
“Those days” refers back to the age of the appearance of all the signs of His coming (vs 4-27, not just vs 15-21).
This is a description of the 2nd coming of Christ taking place immediately following the troublesome times we have been looking at. At the very instant of His coming great changes in the sky will take place and Christ Himself will appear in heaven. (Isa 12:9-11)
32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36) But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
All these signs we have looked at give us an indication of the closeness of His coming but they do not give the exact time. Just like looking at a tree tells us what season it is, so too, these signs help to remind us His coming is close. We cannot know the exact time of His coming but we know it is coming based on the signs.
Note: in vs 34 – “all these things” refers to the signs of the leaves on the fig tree. This includes all the signs prior to His coming but it does not include the second coming itself. Every one of the signs of His coming (including Titus invasion) had appeared in the world by approx. 70-75 AD.
37) But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For the lost world, the second coming of Christ is not expected, nor prepared for. That is why He gave these signs to His people, so they would not be unawares. In Noah’s day, everyone was planning for tomorrow they were marrying and getting engaged, they were partying and not giving a thought to their lives coming to an end the next day.
40) Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41) Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
At the rapture, not everyone will be taken, only those who have trusted in Christ. The others will be left to face the Great Tribulation and the wrath of God.
43) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44) Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45) Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46) Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47) Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48) But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49) And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51) And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We are told all of this to help us be prepared for His coming. We are to be always looking and waiting, as each sign takes place it should remind us that His coming is soon and our opportunity to serve is short. This attitude will result in our receipt of rewards and blessings from the Lord.
For those who have received the Lord’s gracious offer of salvation, let us serve Him with our whole heart realizing that He is coming soon to take us home. Our opportunities to serve Him are limited.
If you have never trusted in Christ as your Savior, do it today. As you can see from the list of signs of His coming… we see them all taking place in today’s time. His coming is drawing near… we need to accept this message by faith and turn to the Lord to receive forgiveness and spiritual life.
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