Summary: on the signs and coming of Christ
September 13, 2002 Sermon Series on the End Times - 2
Judges chapter 5 relays a story of a Sisera’s mother - who was waiting for her heathen son to return from war with Israel. It says,
“Through the window peered Sisera’s mother; behind the lattice she cried out,
‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?’
29 The wisest of her ladies answer her; indeed, she keeps saying to herself,
30 ‘Are they not finding and dividing the spoils: a girl or two for each man,
colorful garments as plunder for Sisera, colorful garments embroidered,
highly embroidered garments for my neck— all this as plunder?’
Little did she know that her son had been put to death by a woman named Jael, who had driven a tent peg through his forehead while he was sleeping. With visions of glory, Sisera’s mother imagined him coming home with gold, riches, women, and fame. But as time went on, she knew that something had gone terribly wrong. Her son wasn’t coming home. He was dead.
As Jesus was ascending into heaven, the angels very clearly said, This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” It’s been over 2,000 years since Jesus ascended into heaven. After the century came and went, many people were disappointed that he never showed up. Some wondered if he ever would come, or if something had gone terribly wrong. How about you? Do you believe Jesus is still coming or not? And if he is coming, when will he come? Is it sooner or later? And what should you do? That’s what we’re going to consider today as we see how -
The Day is Surely Drawing Near
I. How close is it?
The Time magazine article said that 17% of Americans believe the end of the world will occur within their lifetime. They are looking for clues from God’s Word to know when. That’s good. But it’s rather strange to see how some are going about this. I found a web sight where a guy used the Hebrew letters of Numbers 22 and a mathematical formula to try and say that September 11th was predicted in the Bible. Of course he “figured this out” five days after the attack occurred. 25% of the people polled believed that the terrorist attack was predicted in the Bible though. There are some other strange signs that people are using as their “Biblical proof” that the end is near. For instance, some point to Daniel 12:4 which says, “Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” They say, “this is a prediction of cars and planes - showing that the end is near.” Others say that the “mark of the beast” is the Social Security numbers we have. Or many are leary of the New World Order and the forming of the United Nations - claiming the Antichrist will rise through these things. Others point to the forming of Israel in 1945 as proof that the end is near - and once all the Jews are converted to Christ the end will come. There’s all kinds of stuff out there - and all kinds of passages being used. People are on edge because of them, thinking that the end is just around the corner.
Of course, there’s the other group out there as well. The writer of the article stated, “Masses of people became convinced the end was nigh when Rome was sacked in 410, when the Black Death wiped out one-third of the population of 14th century Europe, when the tectonic shudders of the Lisbon earthquake in 1755 caused church bells to ring as far away as England, and certainly after 1945, when for the first time human beings harnessed the power to bring about their total destruction, not an act of God, but an act of mankind.” (45) What was he insinuating with this statement? He was basically stating, “don’t worry about it - people always talk about the end when this stuff happens.”
No matter what they say or think - make no mistake - Jesus is coming. In Mark 13 Jesus clearly said: in those days, following that distress, ”‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 26 “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 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. There will be no second chances - no people left behind.