Summary: There is a lot of confusion about the return of Jesus and when it is going to happen - but there shouldn't be. The Bible is very clear. Only the Father knows the time. Life will be quite ordinary when it happens. Don’t get confused about the purpose o
Last Days – A Biblical Understanding
Is Jesus coming soon? There are plenty of people who think so.
The world is becoming more evil.
There are more wars taking place.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes are on the increase.
Famines and floods have been occurring.
Christians are being persecuted all over the world.
It’s what the Bible says is going to happen.
Well that is what some people are saying … but is it true? Is that what the Bible really says? Can we pinpoint the return of Jesus on the basis of these events? Does the Bible even encourage us to do this? To set dates and times? That is the issue we are going to talk about this morning.
Now the key passage in this whole discussion is in Matthew 24:36-39
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
You don’t have to have a degree in theology to understand what it happening here. It is all pretty clear.
How many know the time? Just one … God the Father. He has the plan in mind. When the time for Jesus to come back is here the Father will tap the Son on the shoulder and say – it is now.
Gather the angels and head back to earth.
Show yourself in Your fullness and Your glory.
Jesus will come … and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Some will do it with rejoicing – having put their faith in the Son of God earlier.
Some will do it with trepidation – realising all too late that they have rejected the only path to eternal life.
We know some of the things that will happen when Jesus comes back. But only the Father knows the time. It is pretty clear that anything else is just going to be a wild guess.
What is also clear is that life at the time will be reasonably ordinary. In the days of Noah when the flood came, people were going on with their ordinary lives - eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. The normal events of the day were taking place, and the then the judgement came. That is how it is going to be when Jesus comes back – somewhat ordinary. In fact, when it does happen, people are going to be very surprised. A little further on in Matthew 24 we read these words in verses 42-44
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.
Again it seems pretty clear. If we are going to try and pinpoint the time when Jesus is coming back we are always going to be off the mark. People have been trying to predict the return of Christ for centuries – and then each date comes and goes – and we are still here.
This is the passage which sets the foundation. Any discussion that has anything to do with the return of Jesus has to start with these two criteria:-
1) Only the Father knows the time.
2) When it happens it will be unexpected.
It seems simple enough. So why is it that we still have so many people …
- good solid Christian people.
- people who are world renowned scholars.
- people who are not from the lunatic fringe.
Why is it that people still try and have a guess … or look for the signs of the times?
I think there are two reasons.
The first reason can be seen by having a closer look at a few verses earlier in Matthew 24.
You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.