In our previous post you could read how Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives and talked to his disciples who had asked him to tell them when this destruction of the temple, about he talked earlier, would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?
Jesus answered their question, telling about days or moments and things as the prophets had foretold it, and to make sure that no one would mislead them, but at the same time warns us to be careful not to be deceived and not having us lead into error. (Matthew 24:4) We may not forget that many will so come in Jesus his name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to the sent one from God], saying,
‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. : after the distress of those days, (Matthew 24:5)
Jesus told his disciples that they would continually hear of wars and rumours of wars, and that is also what happened throughout the ages. Several students of the Bible were not at all frightened, because they knew and we know that those things must take place (Matthew 24:6)
Throughout the ages we have seen that nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Throughout the ages there have always been wars and lots of problems, like droughts, famines, heave destructing storms, earthquakes in various places. Jesus told his disciples generations would encounter such things, but them would all be merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. (Matthew 24:7-8)
Jesus told us in advance about many signs which shall occur at certain times. It would be to his followers and readers of the Scriptures to come to know those signs and not to be left in the dark. What should bring us out of the dark is what Jesus further told:
“29 “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.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Mt 24:29-30 NIV)
Even when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken it should not be a time of distress for us, whilst it might be for many in this world.
For Students of the Bible it shall be that time to be recognised as the sign of the Son of Man [coming in his glory] for which many of us waited such a long time. For centuries fellow members looked forward for signs to appear in the sky, when they would come to see all the tribes of the earth and especially Israel to come to mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah] (Matthew 24:30)
We still wait and look forward to that day when we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendour] (Matthew 24:30). Waiting already such a long time we should not be weary, the return of the Christ is imminent.
When looking at what is going on in the world we may be sure that one day, not so far in the future, the sun will grow dark, and the moon will not give its light, people coming to see the stars falling from the sky [heaven] (Matthew 24:29).
When Jesus was talking about all this he had already told them that he was going to have to go to Jerusalem to have his final days there, because him being betrayed, falsely accused, tried, beaten, and eventually put to death. He had spoken about his reason for his (first) coming to earth. He told about his primary mission being to serve as the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. Having told them that he would be killed he also assured them that this would not be the end of him, because he would be restored to life and there would come a day when he would return to earth a second time.
But there was much that would have to take place before that return. And the date of his second appearance was and would be a mystery for many years. He told the disciples,
“No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mt 24:36 NIV)
Yes, even Jesus himself did not know the day. He as a son of man, not being like God, an all-knowing god, was in darkness about the moment God would allow him to come back to earth to fulfil his task.
The short time Jesus had his public life, he warned people to return to God and to prepare themselves to be worthy for entering the Kingdom of God, because everybody had to know there would come a day of death, or end of living, and a judgement day, when it would be all too late to change anything. All choices for the way of living have to be made whilst living, so before the moment of death arrives.
Jesus has warned those around him several times,
“ So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Mt 24:44 NIV)
The point Jesus seemed to be making had to do with preparedness. He wanted not only his disciples to live with a sense of eager expectation, anticipating that his return could happen at any moment. Jesus wanted to warn everybody and tried with his many parables to show what the Torah implicated and how there would come a time we would have to come before the Elohim to justify us.
People had to come out of the darkness of the world before another sort of darkness would frighten them even more than all the previous events. This led Jesus to tell a few parables to drive home his point. As such people could hear him tell a story about the wedding banquet or ten virgins who were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. In the story, all ten virgins share a common expectation of the bridegroom’s arrival. They are eagerly anticipating his coming, but five of them are prepared, while five are not. In the story, the bridegroom has not shown up as expected. But, as part of the welcoming party, they were to have been ready, because, as Jesus had said, the groom was
“coming at an hour you do not expect.”
With the parable of the fig tree Jesus is attempting to open the eyes of his disciples and wants to help them (and us) develop a long-term perspective regarding his Kingdom. From the books of the Messianic writings (1st and 2nd part of the New Testament) we can clearly see that the apostles were focused on the here-and-now, and having trouble understanding that the talk of their master teacher his coming death in Jerusalem was anything but bad news or something to be avoided at all costs.
This entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew contains the surprising and difficult-to-comprehend words of Jesus as he reveals the bigger picture regarding God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ death on the wooden stake would be just the beginning of the much larger, comprehensive Plan of God. It would also include his resurrection, God calling him out of the hell where he was for three days, as well as his return to his Father’s side. Jesus to be taken up in heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But, even more importantly, it would require his eventual return to earth as the conquering King.
Jesus trusted his God, the God of Abraham, and knew very well his position and his task here on earth. But he also had confidence that what was written in the scrolls all would become a reality. Jesus knew that there would be a long delay before his return would take place, and therefore he wanted to assure his followers that they should not worry too much but should always prepare themselves, always being ready for when the moment would be there.
Jesus wanted his disciples and followers to live with a sense of eager anticipation. If they expected it to happen and kept their eyes open, looking for the signs of its approach, they would be able to endure the struggles that were coming their way.
Jesus used the visual lesson of a fig tree in order to help the disciples understand that there would be visible, recognizable signs associated with His coming. The budding of a fig tree is a natural indication that summer is near. It is unmistakable and irrefutable. In the same way, Jesus stated that the signs of his return will be undeniable. He even assures his disciples that
“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mt 24:34 NIV)
From the Scriptures we do know that Jesus always wanted to do what God wanted. He even put his own will aside to do the will of God. From the Scripturues we also do know that Jesus was without fault, i.e. did not sin and as such always told the truth.
In this chapter he was not saying that the events associated with the end times would take place during the lifetimes of his disciples. But while they were alive, they would already begin to see the early signs of his return. The budding of a fig tree provides a premonition or portent of something to come. The buds do not mean summer has arrived, but that it is coming. In the same way, the disciples would live to see signs that would point to Jesus’ coming.
In a sence they would be alive when he returned, because after his death he appeared to them. But the signs he warned them about would not be then, but much later. Jesus gave those warnings so that those who would come after the disciples could see clear indications that it was going to happen.
Each generation of believers has been given signs that Jesus his coming is imminent and inevitable. These signs act as assurances of God’s faithfulness and are meant to encourage us to continue to wait eagerly and hopefully.
The earth would continue to go through all kinds of struggles, including earthquakes, famines, floods, disasters, and even wars. The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth:
“ those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1Co 7:31 NIV)
The apostle John wrote,
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (1Jo 2:17 NIV)
This gives already something to have hope for. Because even when we die, there shall be the prospect for that time coming, when Jesus would call the living and the death to raise and to come before his judgement seat. When having lived according to God’s Law the lover of God should not have to worry, because all promises of God shall come true.
In this world of darkness, not many intereted in the Only One True God, Who is One, for many, the second coming of Jesus will be a surprise. Because the majority not being interested in God, His commands nor His Words, the second coming of Christ will catch the majority of people living on earth at the time completely off-guard and unprepared.
Jesus used the days of Noah as an apt point of comparison. In a way, Noah’s building of the ark was a clear sign that something was coming. And Peter seems to indicate that Noah warned his neighbours of God’s coming judgment and the availability of salvation made possible by the ark.
“ if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;” (2Pe 2:5 NIV)
From the Scriptures history telling we know that the people in Noah’s day ignored the signs and refused the message of Noah. Instead, they busied themselves, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark (Matthew 24:38). Like in the days of Noah, today we also see how people continue their way of life like they want to enjoy life. They go on with their lives, oblivious to the warning signs and ignorant of what is about to happen. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the same thing as in Noah’s time was going to happen when he finally shall return. It would catch the world unprepared and completely off-guard.
Let us make sure we are prepared!
Find also to read
- Today’s thought “They flattered … they lied” (February 14)
- Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
- Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
- Looking into the Future
- Looking forward for what is to come
- The resurrected Lord
- Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
- Jesus Christ will return to earth
- You know neither the day nor the hour
- To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
- The New Testament and Judgement
- Prophecies over coming days
- Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
- Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
- Signs of the Last Days
- Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
- Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
- Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
- Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
- Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
- To be prepared and very well oiled
- Preparing for his coming
- Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
- Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
- God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
- What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
- As you see the Day approaching
- The Rapture Wars
- Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
- The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
- The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth
- The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 13 Noah’s ark and the flood
- Today’s thought “A Damaged and Wicked World” (January 03)
- Today’s thought “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (January 04)