And Jesus begins listing things:
- He said many will come in His name and try to mislead them and many others, watch out for them. Many will say I am the Christ, do not believe them.
- You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but don’t be frightened. These things have to happen but that is not the end.
- Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom.
- There will be famines in some places.
- There will be earthquakes in some places, but all these things are merely birth pangs of what is to come. So things will get worse.
- Then they will deliver you to tribulation
- And they will kill you
- And all nations will hate you because of My name.
- At that time, many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another
- Many false prophets will come and will mislead many
- Most peoples love will grow cold
- The one who endures to the end will be saved.
- The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all the nations
- And then the end will come.
Jesus doesn’t pull any punches here. He says that things are going to get bad. Real bad. And just when you think they are the worst, it’s going to get personal and then it’s going to get even worse. But THEN the end will come.
Remember, He is answering their questions about signs for when He personally will return.
5 times so far Jesus is warning about False Christ’s and False Prophets. He warns over and over again NOT to be mislead by these.
I have to believe this is a very real possibility that believers may be mislead too. In vs 24 it says “even the elect”. We like to think that we have the gift of discernment but the fact that Jesus told His own disciples (who knew Him) over and over and over and over and over again not to be mislead says that we are at risk. They walked and talked and lived with Jesus personally for His 3 year ministry. None of us have ever met Him physically.
If Jesus was concerned that THEY might be mislead, how much more easily might we be mislead?
Not a good thought that one.
Twice so far Jesus mentions Tribulation. He says that the tribulation to come will be the worst the world has ever seen. There will be no mistaking it because what will happen will be worse than everything that has happened since the beginning of time. It will be the worst of the worst.
People generally fall into a couple of categories of belief when it comes to the “tribulation”. Some people think that it already happened, but if that is true, then history failed to record it and everyone seems to have missed it. I don’t believe for a second that anyone will NOT know the Tribulation spoken of here when it happens.
Some people believe that it’s not a literal thing. That the verses are just symbolism for something else.
Seems pretty literal to me. You can reread these statements for yourself and see if you fall into the symbolism category of believers.
Others, like me, believe these things are things still to come.
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31 “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
So these verses find Jesus telling us about what is to happen AFTER the tribulation. This is talking about Christ’s 2nd coming which happens after the Tribulation and before His 1000 year reign on earth begins.
Vs 32-41 Parable of the Fig Tree
Jesus uses an image of a fig tree just coming out with its leaves to show us that when that happens summer is near. So too, when we witness the signs of His coming we will know that he is close to coming too.
When will Jesus return?
Vs 36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Jesus admits here that He doesn’t even know when. God, the Father, has not revealed the timing to anyone yet.
Vs 37-41 Describes what we call the Rapture of the church when Jesus calls the elect to Himself. This isn’t the same as the 2nd coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. His 2nd coming will be when He once again steps onto earth for Armageddon and to Judge.
There are many beliefs regarding the idea of a Rapture. Some people believe it won’t happen at all. Some people believe it will happen before the Tribulation begins. Some people believe it will happen mid-way through the Tribulation. And there are those who believe it will happen after the Tribulation but before the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth. And some people believe this is just symbolism for what happens when a person dies.
The term “Rapture” isn’t found specifically in the Bible but it is the term that has been accepted for this event of Christ taking up His elect. And if you believe that will happen before the Tribulation, then you believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
Many non-believers read comments regarding the rapture or not, tribulation or not and sometimes the discussions can get rather heated. I mean, we are talking big stuff here you know? But…this falls into the 80/20 rule of thumb. There is about 80% of beliefs that all Christians should agree on and there is 20% that all Christians can agree to disagree on. This would fall into the 20%.
A decent case can be made for whatever belief you hold regarding the rapture or not.
I’m personally all for a Pre-Trib Rapture and at some point I’ll be posting research for that belief but not right now.
Vs 42-51 Jesus warns us to be ready…”be on the alert”. That means this is serious. Get right with God, do not delay!
No one goes on the alert until something is imminent.
Vs 44 For this reason you also must be ready. For the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
So for all those people who claim this day or that day for Jesus’ return – You’re Wrong.
It’s very simple. Jesus says – You’re Wrong!
All you cult leaders, you False Prophets- You Are Wrong.
If ANYONE on earth claims to know when Jesus is coming back, you can confidently say – You are wrong.
Vs 48-49 Shows us a slave, who beats his fellow slaves and eats and drinks with drunkards when his Master is away for a long time.
Couple of things –
- “a long time” Jesus is saying that He knows He will be gone for “a long time”. I missed this the first few times I read it.
- When the cats away, the mice will play.
Just because Jesus isn’t on earth right now does not mean He isn’t watching what we do. Even we have the technology of hidden cameras. This is an easy concept to understand. God doesn’t need cameras, but if we mere humans have a way of watching others when we are not there, God’s way is infinitely better. Better image, better sound, shoot – the ability to know our hearts and thoughts.
Do not be one of the playing mice.
Do not be like that evil slave.
Know that everything you do and think and feel while God is away, is seen.
Today is the day of salvation. You are not promised tomorrow. Get right with God.