Summary: Are we the generation that will see the return of Jesus? All indications are the answer is "Yes."
Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matt 24:3)
We have all asked that question, believers and non-believers alike. People are concerned about the end of the world. People are worried about the Mayan Calendar and Dec. 21, 2012. Will we be destroyed by a solar flare? Will the earth be pulled apart by some astrological alignment between us, the sun, and the center of the galaxy? Is there a mystery planet heading for earth that is being blocked by the sun and will crash into our world? Even the disciples wanted answers. Do you want some answers about this subject?
Last week we looked at being the bride of Christ. We followed the steps of being chosen, of accepting his offer, of believing in the marriage contract (the Bible) and waiting for his return to take us to the bridal chamber. That is where we remain, in the waiting period.
Jesus told us “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” (Matt 24:36) However, He did give us eight things to alert us to his return.
1) Life will be normal “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People did not realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. (Matt 24:37-39)
So what was the like in Noah’s time? “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” (Gen 6:5)
Can we deny that this is a growing concern in our world? Man’s capability for wickedness knows no boundaries. We have acts of terrorism around the world. There has become a total disregard for human life from the tables of abortionist to mass shootings almost weekly. Yet people continue to live their life devoid of any knowledge the sin around them. They continue to feast and party as if all is well.
“But Noah found favor with the Lord. This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” (Gen 6:8-9) Noah represents the Body of Christ. We have found favor with the Lord through his Son. We are considered righteous and blameless, walking in close fellowship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Thus, the Church and the world exist together. We preach a gospel of love with a warning of coming judgment while the world ignores our pleas, as it was in the day of Noah.
2) There will be many cults
“Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.” (Matt 24:4-5)
A cult is defined as a religion or religious sect generally considered being extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
Often these leaders will portray themselves as a form of Christ by having an exclusive means of knowing the “truth” by a supernatural revelation. Therefore, they are always right. There is no accountability to a higher authority. They will not tolerate being questioned or criticized.
They hold secret any financial disclosures. Followers are controlled through unreasonable fear of impending catastrophes and evil conspiracies. They are caused to feel not good enough.
If a follower leaves, they are held in high disregard.
Most of these religions concentrate on works as opposed to grace. Three cults that are listed as main line religions have become some of the fastest growing denominations in the US.
3) There will be wars.
“Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matt 24:7) This is nothing new. There have always been wars and always will be.
In 1648, the most devastating war known to man ended. It was called the Thirty Years’ War. The Thirty Years War is one of the great conflicts of early modern European history. It consisted of a series of declared and undeclared wars, which raged through the years 1618-1648 throughout central Europe. Cautious estimates say that about 7 million lives were lost.
When we come to modern times, we find that World War 1 cost the lives of 20 million people in just 4 years. Twenty-one years later World War 2 began resulting in the loss of 62 million lives.