Summary: Are we living in a way that anticipates the Lord’s return?
The Second Coming in Retrospect
1. Aerocondor was experiencing money problems in Peru and needed to cut back expenses. So, rumor had it they hired two blind pilots.
Story soon spread about these pilots, but no one believed it. So one day the plane was loaded and up came the two pilots, with dark glasses and walking sticks. The passengers laughed and said, "this must be a joke."
The plane taxied down the runway and then prepared for take-off.
The airplane sped off down the runway, faster & faster & faster & they approached the end of the runway. The passengers looked out the windows and saw the end of the tarmac and just as they were about to run out of airstrip, they all screamed.
The pilots then pulled back on the stick and the plane went up and away. The passengers all sighed in relief.
A moment later one pilot says to the other, "one day they aren't going to scream and we are going to be in trouble!"
2. Sometimes it seems like the world around us is being directed by a God Who is blind. But such is not the case. God can see clearly, and sees all at once. He has revealed His plans for the end time, partly, I believe, to reassure us that He is in control, especially during times when it would be easy to believe He is not.
3. If He is in control at the very worst of times, it is easier to believe He is in control during times that are not the worst. End time Bible prophecy strengthens our faith.
4. Our text is in reverse order. It begins with Jesus’ return to the earth, then addresses the Tribulation generation, and then addresses current believers, you & I.
Main Idea: Are we living in a way that anticipates the Lord’s return?
I. Yeshua’s SECOND Coming to Earth (24-27)
A. MANY Old Testament passages form the foundation for this teaching.
Daniel 7:13-14, ““I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
B. Heavenly bodies SHAKEN
We are all afraid of some things. On blogger writes, “Today, my school put on a
musical. I was one of the leads, and in the middle of my solo, I got a huge nosebleed. A little girl in the front row screamed.” Blood tends to shock us.
• Some things bother some people but not others; but the heavenly bodies being disrupted will bring fear and terror to all.
• Greek word asthr gives us asteroid, aster, Babylonian Esther
C. This is the VISIBLE return of Jesus to the earth.
D. Believers are GATHERED after he appears (unlike the Rapture).
Constable writes, “Jesus pictured all believers converging to Him at His Second Coming—whether alive or dead, on earth or in heaven. He will become the universal center of attention, and then He will begin reigning. Unbelievers will not experience resurrection until the end of Jesus' millennial reign (Rev. 20:7-15).”
E. The second coming consists of TWO phases.
1. Coming to the clouds and believers RESURRECTED
2. Coming through the clouds to the earth to REIGN and additional resurrection(s)
3. Debate: How much time BETWEEN these two events
F. Lesson: God’s way to LEARN and grow is little by little.
1. Progressive revelation
2. We begin with the bones, and then God adds meat to the bones
3. Don’t become frustrated, but faithfully accumulate and let things sit
II. The TRIBULATION Generation (28-31)
A. The fig tree: ISRAEL responds to Jesus.
This was Tuesday. A few hours before, the disciples saw the dead fig tree that Jesus cursed on Monday, when it was healthy. I think it is fair to suggest the parable and the cursing of the fig tree are connected.
The Rebirth of Israel in 1948 and Jewish control of Jerusalem in 1967 are indications that the stage is being set…
B. The generation of the ABOMINATION is the generation of Jesus’ RETURN.
28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.