His Second Coming
The Rapture: Sudden and Secretive – “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:40-44).
While Jesus’ Olivet Discourse mentions many signs to indicate the end is approaching, many believe that few or none of the events prophesied in the book of Revelation need to occur before Jesus returns “like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2) for His saints. In this view, Continue reading “His Second Coming”
Disturbances in the Heavens – “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (Matthew 24:29)
We are not specially told how the sun will be darkened. However, it does not seem to mean that the stars will literally fall. Rather there will be certain signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, of such a violent commotion that the stars themselves will seem to fall. Luke also adds that there will be a dreadful commotion of the sea, with the sea and the waves roaring to such an extent that men will faint through fear and alarm.(1) Some of the more popularized potential explanations of such an occurrence are as follows. Continue reading “Disturbances in the Heavens”
Anti-Christ – “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” (Matthew 24:23-28).
The actual term anti-Christ, used extensively in modern commentaries and literature, occurs only four times in the Bible. All are in John’s epistles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). Continue reading “Anti-Christ”
Great Tribulation – “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
As we read the foregoing signs, Jesus instructed us to “not be alarmed” that these are only the “beginning of birth pains.” See Figure 2.5.
This only makes his prediction about a period of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world” and “if those days were not cut short, no one would survive” all the more alarming.
The preface of “for then” in this verse implies that this period of great distress occurs soon after “the abomination that causes desolation.” This period of distress, because it is “unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” can only be the Great Tribulation (see Figure 2.6) that was discussed in Chapter 1, Taming the Terminology.
Next Up – Anti-Christ.
Abomination of Desolation – “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand.” (Matthew 24:15)
As noted in Chapter 1, Taming the Terminology, the phrase “the abomination of desolation” refers to the presence of an idolatrous person or object so detestable that it causes the temple to be abandoned and left desolate. (1) Continue reading “Abomination Of Desolation”
Worldwide Spread of Gospel – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Despite the widespread apostasy, despite the increasing spread of evil, and despite the downward spiral of love as it grows colder and colder, the end will not come until the Gospel is spread worldwide. This probably seemed like a dauntless task when Jesus commissioned the twelve. Yet within a generation, the Gospel had spread as far as Caesar’s household with the imprisonment of Paul in Rome. By the third century, Constantine had made it the state religion of the Roman Empire.
In the first century, the Roman networks of roads, the Roman peace (pax Romana) and a universal language (Greek) facilitated Continue reading “Worldwide Spread of Gospel”
Love Grows Cold – “…the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12b)
The love spoken of here is the highest form of love defined in Scripture (agape). It is one in which “spiritual energy is blighted or chilled by a malign [ant] or poisonous wind.” (1)Love growing cold is being cultivated by the increase of evil (“because of the increase of wickedness“). Continue reading “Love Grows Cold”