What sign will signal the return of Jesus?
Bible Text: Matthew 24 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: End Times
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord – Joel 2:31
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord – Acts 2:20
Four blood moons on Jewish feast days are getting ready to appear for the fourth time in the last 500 years. According to NASA, they will occur on:
April 15, 2014—Passover
October 8, 2014—Feast of Tabernacles
April 4, 2015—Passover
September 28, 2015—Feast of Tabernacles
Matthew 24:1-8 …Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age…
And Jesus answered and said to them:
Deceptions: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many.
Wars: And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Sorrows: And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Zechariah 14:1-4 Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming…On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south
The disciples were standing with Jesus on the this place of prophecy, and they wanted to know two things:
When will these happen? (referring to the destruction of the temple)
What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?
Matthew 24:6-8 And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Historians note that war is one of the constants of history and is not diminished with civilization and democracy. In the last 3,421 years of recorded history, only 268 years have seen no war (7% of our history has known brief moments of peace or seen the absence of war).
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014. Almost all the hungry people, 791 million, live in developing countries and really don’t have to go hungry.
Earthquakes over the past 12 years:
The Roman Empire at this time was in significant moral and ethical decay
ungodly, self-centered leaders and society
religious practices considered a threat
abnormal emphasis being placed on the arts, sports, and athletic competition
high tolerance for unhealthy behaviors
high violence and crime
The people were hungry for change and redemption and peace and success! But Jesus warned them:
Matthew 24:9-14 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Jesus is warning us that we may face persecution
Following Jesus can get messy:
Basically Jesus saying that God’s people will not be “bubble wrapped” in our walk with Him. Jesus warns us that families will turn against each other.
People you considered Christian brothers might turn against you.
Admiration for your faith may give way to tolerance, then to spite, then to hate.
The justice system you believed would protect you may decide to oppress you, then threaten you, and then persecute and exterminate you.
What do we need to do?
Stay faithful to Jesus and trust in Him
Stay loyal to all who call him Lord and His church
Stay true to your calling and ministry and mission
Stay alert and focused and ready (do not sleep)
Stay true to God’s Word that is truth and His Holy Spirit
And many false prophets will arise…
To whom do you look when you want the truth? What’s your authority? It is the most important quest of your life.
As God’s only Son, Jesus has God’s power and authority; thus, His words should be our final authority. If a person’s teaching is true, it will ALWAYS agree with Jesus’ teachings.
Test everything you hear against Jesus’ words, the Scriptures of God’s Word.
Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Only Jesus’ faithful followers will enter God’s kingdom.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Jesus said that before his return, the gospel of the kingdom (the message of salvation) would be preached throughout the world.
Jesus had discussed His second coming and compared it to the coming of a thief in the night:
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…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 24:36,43-44)
What I have learned in my studies of Scripture is that we are taught to live each day AS IF the Lord is returning today.
And we continue to live our best while fulfilling our responsibilities as believers, parents, spouses, children, family and friends.
Therefore we ALWAYS live with expectancy of the Lord’s return, understanding we do not and will not know the when.
God ALONE decides when this world will come to an end.
HE ALONE IS THE DIVINE, ALL-KNOWING, ALL-POWERFUL, EVERYWHERE-AT-ALL-TIMES LORD OF THE UNIVERSE!
And when that time comes, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.