Summary: The very next thing that will happen on God's prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church. It's when Jesus will return in the clouds and quickly snatch away His bride, the church.
I heard about a young, energetic preacher who was preaching in a small country church. He was preaching on the second coming and was quoting the words of Jesus from Revelation 22. He moved to the edge of the platform and shouted, “Jesus said, ‘Behold I come quickly!” Then his mind just went blank and forgot what to say, so he moved back and repeated his last statement as he rushed to the edge of the stage, “Behold I come quickly!” He still couldn’t remember what to say next, so he tried it a third time with more energy and volume. He rushed forward and shouted, “Behold I come quickly!” But this time he lost his balance and fell right into the lap of an old deacon who was seated on the front pew. The young preacher said, “Sir, I’m so sorry!” The old deacon said, “Don’t worry, you warned me three times you were coming!”
Jesus warned us more than three times that He is going to return. We’re in the thirteenth chapter of Mark where Jesus talks about the future. That’s why I am sharing three messages called Jesus’ Extended Forecast But Jesus isn’t forecasting weather, He’s forecasting the future.
In the first message in this series we looked at events Jesus predicted that have already come true or are coming true. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., His followers have been and are being persecuted, and the Gospel is being preached all around the world. In this passage for this message Jesus predicted things that still have not happened. They are in the future.
Remember, He is speaking these words to His disciples just hours before he will be arrested and sentenced to be crucified.
Mark 13:14-27. “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive the elect—if that were possible.”
“So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. ‘But in those days, following that distress, ‘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.’ At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
I’ve always loved studying history. But prophecy is history in reverse. We know history from the beginning until now, but in Isaiah 46:10 God says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:10) Jesus is God and in this passage He is pulling back the curtain to give us a glimpse of the future. Let’s explore three future truths Jesus mentions here.
1. AFTER JESUS TAKES HIS BRIDE HOME, THERE WILL BE A TIME OF GLOBAL CHAOS
Jesus said, “Those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.” (Mark 13:19)
Let me give you a simple timeline of the end-time events, as I understand them. The very next thing that will happen on God’s prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church. It’s when Jesus will return in the clouds and quickly snatch away His bride, the church. That’s us. And He will take us to His Father’s house. Jesus doesn’t talk about the rapture in Mark 13, but Paul writes about it several times. I’m going to mention it, because it is the event that ushers in the period of global chaos.
If you want to know more about the rapture I preached through 1 Thessalonians in 2013, so if you want to go to our website you can find that series in the message archive. I did a message entitled “Are You Ready for the Rapture?” You can download it as an audio podcast, watch the video, or read the full manuscript.