So far we’ve considered the Who, Why and When we’re to watch. Now to the rationale of this blog, as stated in its title’s strap-line, ‘Looking for the signs of Jesus’ return’ and we examine what Jesus told us to look out for:
Omitting those which apply to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, here’s a selection of signs stated in the first Gospel (Mark 13), augmented by Matthew (chapter 24) and Luke (chapters 17 & 21) plus insertion of Paul’s first and follow-up letters to believers in Salonika, to whom he stressed the origin of his teaching; ‘For this we say to you by the word of the Lord…’
- “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations [‘ethnos’ – people groups], and then the end will come.”
- Disciples will stand before and councils, rulers and kings, beaten in religious assemblies:
- Many will come in Jesus’ name, saying, “I am He,” and will deceive many.
- Wars and rumors of wars – nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom: “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet
- “And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven ; All these are the beginnings of sorrows.
- “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you and you will be hated by nations all for My name’s sake.
- “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another…Brother will betray brother to death – a father his child – children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death and…
- “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
- “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
- “SO, when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’, spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing where it ought not (let the reader understand!), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” [This refers not only to the Roman standard placed in the Temple’s Holy of Holies but also to profane objects or person therein at any time (including its mount?)]
- “…in those days there will be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
- “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days….
- “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it for false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
- For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven…’and the dead in Christ will rise first,
- ‘then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up [‘harpadzo’ = rapture] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…’
- ‘You know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety” then sudden destruction comes…’
- ‘Let no one deceive you…for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first (Apostasy), and
- ‘the man of sin (lawlessness) is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped,
- ‘so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God…
- ‘The coming of the lawless one is according to the workings of satan with all power, signs and lying wonders, and
- ‘with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they didn’t receive a love of the truth, that they might be saved…
- ‘For this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie (!!)…’
- “As it was in the days of Noah, so also in the days of the Son of Man: “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
- “Likewise as it was in the days of Lot…on the day Lot left Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
- “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife: Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
- “I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”
- “After that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. (“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars…of heaven will fall and the powers of the heavens be shaken”)
- “and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
- “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth...
- “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
- “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
- “Then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” [The Rapture]
Jesus said, “Take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
Details from The Apocalypse, the book recording ‘the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants’ penned by His apostle John, will follow later.
IS THE END NIGH?
Not necessarily! I’m not of the alarmist brigade because, in my humble opinion, Jesus is coming back for a bride who’s ‘made herself ready’, which I understand to be a church that has been restored to move fully in the ‘greater works’ – one that has arisen with the glory of the Lord appearing over her and piercing the ‘thick darkness covering the peoples’ (see Revelation 19.7, Acts 3.21, John 14.12 and Isaiah 60.1-2). YET, it may be just over the horizon!
There’s clear indications this preparation is already happening through many ministries. Jesus did say, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16.18).
On praying to our Heavenly Father, He instructed us to petition, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matt 6:10).
The Lord’s Kingdom rule has yet to come in its fullness so, in my opinion, a reworking – even a significant sifting or pruning – may be necessary as the Lord finishes building his Church and believers make themselves ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Next, we’ll briefly consider theological nuances of the meaning of ‘watching’…
- The ‘Who?’ and ‘Why?’ of Watching
- The ‘When?’ of Watching > NOW!
- The ‘What?’ of Watching > Signs!
- Theologically “Watch” means…
- Expert’s Excitement – Few Know This…
- Pastor’s ‘Sign in the Sun’ Vision Warns of Coming Global Cataclysm
- New Ager Sees First Pieces of God’s ‘Jigsaw
- Daniel and ‘The Wonderful Number’ Jesus Christ
[Scripture taken from the New King James Version; copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.]
Do you think the Gospel being preached in all nations could include via the internet and TV? Is there any nation that has not heard the Gospel either directly or through these means? Would this include those reclusive and largely unaccessed small tribes in the S American jungle and elsewhere…or does this passage mean nations as a whole and not necessarily individuals?
Of course Jesus is perfectly capable of revealing Himself to individuals or remote tribes if necessary, but just wondered if all nations as such, not all individuals, have heard the Gospel.
Most definitely, this is how the Muslim world is hearing the good news (eg. Iran). Translations of the Bible use modern idiom, whereas Greek is ‘people-groups’ (‘ethnos’ – https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1484&t=NKJV), thus tribes but you’d need to check with the many missionary societies on full coverage.
See section 3 of The State of The Prophetic in UK where I write: ‘According to Barnabus Aid magazine: ‘by 2,000 there were indigenous Christians in every country of the world’ (A History of Christian Persecution, Pt 12 – October 2019).’ – https://richards-watch.org/2020/02/21/the-state-of-the-prophetic-in-the-united-kingdom/