Ok, so we are back on track of walking through a little bit of some End Times Bible studying. Sorry for the break in action, but someone decided to leave a car in the middle of the interstate for me to hit. Anyway, so here we go...
I believe the last thing we/I talked about was some of the signs of the end of the age (false christs, famines, earthquakes, Global timing indicators, etc - click HERE to read the previous post). Then Jesus begins to answer the disciples 2nd question: "What will be the sign of your coming?" There is a statement floating around most churches and maybe even houses that we will not know the exact hour or day Jesus will return. To this I would say that you might be right and/or that you might be wrong. It does say in verse 36 of Matthew 24 that "no one knows the day or hour...only the Father." So obviously, that would be the argument in favor of that statement. However, Jesus did not say that the Church would not know the day and hour in the generation the Lord returns and neither did He say that we could not know the season or conditions surrounding His return. We all agree that only the Father knows when Jesus will return. But as we learned in Amos 3, "surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret" to us His friends. The Lord revealed a very specific number of days to both Daniel and the Apostle John as to when Jesus will come again.
Please read Daniel 7:25 and 12:7; also read Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 13:5, 14
The Lord made it clear that the Messiah would come EXACTLY 1,260 days after the abomination of desolation. So Jesus answered the disciples question as to what will be the sign (and the when) of His coming by reminding them what was written by the prophet Daniel. Once the abomination of desolation has been set up, then we can flip ahead 1,260 days on our calender (roughly 3.5 years) and circle that day as THE DAY!
But what is the "abomination of desolation?" I will hopefully get into this more in the future, but basically it is an idol that the Antichrist sets up in the temple in Jerusalem and it has the power to "speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed" (Revelation 13:15). This occurs right in the middle of the final 7 years before Jesus' return where a false universal peace will be over the earth, and this will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation (final 3.5 years of this age). This is also when the 7 seals will be opened, the sounding of the 7 trumpets will occur (Revelation 6, 8-9), and the 7 bowls of wrath being poured out on the Antichrist's empire happen (Revelation 15-16). All of this I again hope to cover soon...there's just so much!
Scripture references: Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4, Revelation 13:11-18
Starting in verse 21 of Matthew 24, Jesus begins to describe the Great Tribulation, which he describes as "great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again." Jesus goes on to say in verse 22 that if these days were not cut short, then "no one would survive." But there is a blessed hope Beloved! Daniel 12:1 says, "But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book (is yours?) - will be delivered." Hallelujah!
Jesus next says that "immediately after the distress of those days," everything will go dark, the stars will fall out of the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (verse 29). THEN!!! the Son of Man will appear in the sky with "power and great glory!" The rapture then begins and the final battle ensues. We will take a more detailed look at what this will look like later! So hang in there!!
Just as back then they knew when summer was near by the fig leaves coming out, we will also know that His return is near when the above things take place. Jesus tells us that we will know the hour and the season and He also tells us that the days of Noah will be like the days when He returns. What does that mean? Well Noah was told 120 years before judgement was coming to the earth in the form of a great flood, and then the Lord reminded Noah 7 days before the impending judgement on the earth (Genesis 6 and 7). Again I refer to Amos 3:7...read it, pray it, live it!
Paul taught that the Church should know the times and seasons related to the Lord's coming:
"Concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are NOT in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. Therefore...let us watch and be sober." (1 Thess. 5:1-6).
So what was Jesus' concluding command? "Keep watch." We need to keep our lamp stands filled with oil!
Grace and peace.