Return of Jesus – Matthew 24:4-14

The Time Of The End Is Imminent

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 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.

Diverse Deceivers

Since the time of Christ, there have been many who have claimed to be the Messiah.  Here is a partial list (and this only includes that last few hundred years!).  Even now, people are claiming to be the Messiah, and many are following them.  God’s word is truth, and this has come to pass…

Diverse Disasters

And while one or two signs don’t indicate anything, when all of them are occurring, it is indicative of the diagnosis:

  • Wars and rumors of wars – When are nations not at war with each other, even now?
  • Nation rising against nation – The precursor to wars
  • Kingdom against kingdom – More precursors to wars
  • Famines – Haiti, North Korea, and nations in Africa – The list goes on…
  • Earthquakes – We have better reporting on earthquakes today then ever before, so we are recording more accurately and completely than in the past.  Whether there are more earthquakes now than in the past may not be known, since we have incomplete records for even the recent past (the last century).

Religious Reversal

There is no nation in the (Biblical times) known world in which Christians are not persecuted.  We must recognize that when prophesy was given, that it was based on the knowledge of the  known world at the time that the prophesy was provided.  The hearers would have recognized that during the time of Christ, the known world was basically (in importance and distance from the epicenter, which is Israel-centric):

  • The Middle East
  • Northern Africa
  • Europe
  • Asia

With the proliferation of the “religion of peace” into all of these regions, there is now great persecution of Christians in each of these geographic areas.

Ample Apostasy

Paul indicated that the second coming of Jesus Christ would not occur until the great falling away.  In the known world at that time, there were many plantings by Paul and the early church.  In the Middle East, apart from the country of Israel, publicly declaring that you are a Christian will get you beheaded.  The Christian faith is very vibrant there, as those who chose to accept Christ know that it is only a matter of time before they will be martyred.  Elsewhere in the world, great persecution is occurring for Christians, including genocide in Africa.

But even in that, many are turning from their faith.  Churches in the once vibrant Christian nations in Europe are now being turned into Mosques as attendance dwindles and they are closed.  People are walking away from their faith in the face of post-modernism and secular humanism.  Culture is becoming the dominating change factor in people’s lives.

The moon is designed to reflect the light of the sun.  It has no light in and of itself.  In the same way, Christians reflect the light of Christ.  We are not light, but merely reflect it.  And as Christians turn from the light towards darkness, so the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

Powerful Preaching

Darkness has arrived, and no one can work.  In the Middle East, in countries ruled by Islam, Christians are unable to reveal Christ to the population in general, because they will be beheaded if they do.  It is impossible to evangelize if you aren’t able to deliver the message of the cross due to immediate and very public death.  Because of this, Jesus has been revealing Himself to people in dreams and visions.  And this is not just in the Middle East – China is experiencing one of the greatest awakenings they have ever had.  There is a great revealing of Christ going on now in areas that traditionally have been kept in the dark about Jesus.  The final awakening is at hand.

Righteous Return

And after all of these occur, the Son of the Most High God will return.  Many have believed that they were in the end times even during the time of Paul.  We have been in the end times for almost two thousand years.  But the great falling away (rebellion) has only recently occurred.  Prophecy written over two millennia ago – predicting the gathering of the Israelites back into their own land – has come to fruition.  And it was only after this occurred that the great falling away truly began.  Prepare for His arrival, for it is nigh.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I prepared for the imminent return of my Lord and Savior?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have provided us, through your word, the signs of the world before You send Your Son, Jesus Christ, back to the world.  He will come as a lion this time, for He has already come as the lamb.  Remember Your people, Father, that we would be faithful to the very end.  Help us to overcome the difficulties that we encounter as people fall away from the faith.  Keep us connected to the vine that is Your Son, that we may be nourished by him even during the most severe droughts and trials that come upon us.  Fill us with hope as we endure persecution and death.   Provide for us, and strengthen us for what is to come.  This I ask in the name of Your Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

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