Summary: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear…Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your h
Theme: Christ who comes to deliver us from fear
Text: Jer. 33:14-16; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36
God never hides from His people what He is about to do on earth. Instead He always sends some signals or signs that are designed to warn us and get us prepared for what He is about to do. Before the flood God warned the world about what He was about to do using the preaching of Noah and the building of the ark as a sign of the destruction that was about to take place. Before the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, He sent Moses to Pharaoh and brought ten plagues upon the Egyptians as a sign of what was about to happen. Before He sent His Son to be born of a virgin, He put a star in the heavens as one of the signs to let the people know of His birth. Just as the first coming of Jesus was preceded with signs, so also will His Second Coming be preceded with signs? There will be signs in the world that will correspond with the signs in the Word of God. When these signs appear the result will be fear and panic. It is the way the world reacts to what is unusual and fear and panic are themselves signs. They are signs of unbelief and Jesus said, “When these signs begin to develop, look up for your redemption draws near.” Whenever God appears to humans, the message is always, “Fear not” and when the signs of His return are evident to the believer it is Christ who is coming to deliver us from fear.
The signs of the end times according to our Lord would include outward signs that will cause a lot of distress but offer no way of escape as then it would be too late. We can avoid this intense suffering that cannot be overcome by accepting Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Not only does Christ offer solutions to our problems and difficulties at this time but also offer us His provision at the end of time when everyone else is faced with fear. This fear is the inward sign that would characterise the end of time. Man would be filled with such great fear and then finally understand the hopelessness of his or her situation. He would then realise the many opportunities that had been offered for him or her to deal with sin and its consequences.
All over the world we are experiencing distressing conditions. The daily bombings and loss of innocent lives, famine and the depletion of water bodies, the ozone layer problem and the green house effect, the serious economic and sociological problems such as unemployment, crime, robbery, and violence. When we remember that God destroyed the world in the days of Noah because of man’s evil thought patterns, we can understand that the end of the age is near. What are the outward things today that tells us about what man thinks or believes? Archaeologists today can figure out what people thought and believed by studying their value systems. Today we can study our value systems by studying what men read and watch today for entertainment. It tells us a lot about our morality, our thinking and our beliefs. Today’s entertainment consists mainly of things that have to do with sex and the occult. Films are mainly filled with sexual scenes and bestseller books are those dealing with the occult. The most important sign however is the sign of Israel and Israel plays an important part in the time plan of Christ’s return. When Jesus reminds us to keep our eyes on the fig tree He was referring to the nation of Israel. When it begins to blossom we should know that the end is near. The nation of Israel is a miracle. It can be said that it is the historical miracle in world civilization. This is because Israel ceased to exist as a nation in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, killed many of the Jews and forced the remnant out of their own country. But she was born again in one day, as Isaiah predicted would happen. On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation again with the Hebrew language, a language that had not been spoken for many centuries, as its medium of expression - the fig tree has truly budded. Jesus said when the fig tree buds the kingdom is at hand. He said, “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Indeed God’s Word is true. Israel, the Hebrew race would not pass away until all is fulfilled. There would be calamity, chaos, war, woe, bloodshed and battles, but this race will not pass away until all is fulfilled. Even though there are wars and rumours of war in the Middle East, Israel and the Hebrew race are here to stay as a sign of the times before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The signs are evident and we should not allow the attractions of a sinful world to dull our senses. Let us not listen to the many voices trying to deceive us that we still have a lot of time left. Let us not compromise our position by seeking the things the world offers us believing that we would still have enough time to turn from them. The time to receive Christ is now.