Summary: End times... Being prepared for the return of Jesus, Watch and beware of the signs. Illustration: California fires....signs were present... were they prepared?

In Jesus Holy Name November 19, 2018

Text: Mark 13:32-33

“The Day? The Hour? It’s a Secret”

For days we Californians have been amazed, astounded, transfixed to our television and youtube videos because of the fires. We see streets lined with burned out vehicles. We watch people video their escape through tunnels of fire. A father is praying, trying to calm his children as flames brush across the hood of the car. The scenes are terrifying. People had no time to escape. Some have been found in their cars. Others in their homes.

Authorities searching through the blackened aftermath of California's deadliest wildfire released on Wednesday the names of about 1500 people who are missing. Many of those missing are in their 80s and 90s. Officials in Northern California said Tuesday that search crews had found six more bodies, bringing the death toll from the so-called "Camp Fire" to 75.

95% of Paradise, California destroyed. I can not imagine. Your car. Your home, your place of work… all gone. The Adventist hospital sent out an alert, kicking off a fevered scramble to evacuate the hospital’s patients and staff before the flames consumed the town. Patients, many on gurneys or wheelchairs, were loaded into ambulances, police cars, and nurses vehicles.

The Woolsey fire raged in Thousand Oaks & Malibu, causing more than 200,000 thousand people to evacuate .

Wendell Whitmore, a 62 year old resident of Paradise who tried to drive out said: “There were flames to the left of me and flames to the right,” …. “The flames were up in the trees, all the houses were on fire. The fire was three feet from my car. The rubber around the windows was melting. That’s when I decided to get out and run.” “There were embers on the road, it was so intense, crackling,”

Someday the whole world will be on fire. There will be no escape when the Lord returns. “be alert” “watch” The signs of his coming will be visible.

One man who survived the “Camp Fire” said…. “We knew this day would come. Brush was dry. The forest had dead trees. Old brush littered the forest floor. We tried to be prepared but the fire, and the 50 mile an hour wind was too much.”

Mark 13 tells us that Jesus had been preaching in Jerusalem. He and his disciples left the temple area and walked across the Kidron valley; I’d call it a creek, and walked up the Mt. of Olives. It is a fabulous view back across the Kidron Valley of about a ½ mile, towards the city of Jerusalem and the temple mount.

The disciples were also looking at the ancient city with its beautiful limestone walls Jesus said, “Not one stone will be left on another, everyone will be thrown down.” His words were shocking. You see, the temple, with its 40 foot columns; and foundation stones weighing more than 100 tons seemed to be indestructible. Indestructible as, well, as a building as big as the Pentagon, or as tall as the Word Trade Center towers. It was unthinkable that anything could destroy the temple.

So shocking was Jesus’ comment, that later, as the Savior and some of His closest friends, sat on the Mount of Olives, gazing at the wondrous panorama of the temple complex, the disciples, very privately asked, “Jesus can you tell us when, can You give us some identifying signs of when the destruction of the temple is going to happen?”

Already then Jesus knew horrible things were going to occur before the end of the world. He knew the Romans would bring down the temple in 70 A.D. Jesus told of wars, rumors of wars, persecution, problems pestilence, tribulation and trails, the coming of false prophets who could perform miracles an falsely claim they represented God. One thing Jesus did not tell them was “when.” Which is why to this very day, wishing to nail things down and be prepared, not wanting any lose ends…. People have been trying to pinpoint the last day, the moment the Savior will return to this world in judgment. I’m sure many of us remember Harold Camping and his numerous predictions….. all nonsense of course.

We human beings are curious lot. We want to know when. We want to

know the day, the time. The disciples were no different. The Christians in Thessalonica were asking the Apostle Paul about the return of Jesus. They had questions. Paul writes in his 2nd letter: “God is just. He will punish those who do =not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus when He returns.

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. ( I Thessalonians 1) …. “…He… will send his angels and gather his elect from the ….ends of the earth…..” (Mk 13:27) “The last Trumpet shall sound and the dead in Christ will rise from the dust of the earth…. To receive their glorified and resurrected body… ( I Thess. 4 & Philippians 3)

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