Summary: Jesus revealed the events immediately preceding and surrounding His second coming as He talked with the disciples in the Olivet Discourse. It will be a time unlike the world has known.
The Second Coming of Christ
Mark 13: 21-27
As we continue to examine the conversation Jesus had with the disciples regarding the end times, we come to His description of the second coming. Jesus has already revealed the horrors of the Great Tribulation and the extreme difficulty it will present to those who dwell upon the earth during that time. Immediately following the Tribulation, Jesus will return in power and glory.
While Jesus does provide specific details regarding His second coming, this event remains shrouded in mystery. John records much for our benefit in the Revelation, and yet we lack the ability to fully comprehend all that will transpire during that time. Many Baptists hold a pre-tribulation doctrine which teaches that the church will be raptured, taken out of this world prior to the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Some hold to a mid-tribulation doctrine, teaching the rapture will happen mid-way through the Tribulation. Each of these believe the Lord will return for the church in the clouds, as Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, without actually returning physically to the earth. The second coming deals with the physical, literal return of Christ to the earth, when He will establish His kingdom to rule and reign for a thousand years during the Millennial Reign. Jesus spoke of His second coming in this passage, not the rapture of the church.
Let’s take a few moments to consider the details Jesus provided as we think on: The Second Coming of Christ. We find He spoke of:
I. An Abundance of Deception (21-23) – This culture of deception will not be reserved for the period following the Tribulation; it will also be present during the Tribulation. Consider:
A. The Warning (21) – And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not. During the Tribulation, there will be many who claim to be Christ and those who believe they have found the Messiah. Jesus warned of such deception as He began to describe the events that will transpire in the end times. Mark 13:5-6 – And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Many have made such claims since Jesus walked upon the earth, with some claiming to be Christ in recent years. These deceptive claims will continue until Jesus Christ Himself returns to establish His kingdom.
B. The Wonders (22) – For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. The false prophets and those empowered by anti-Christ will have unusual power to perform great signs and wonders. This will be much of the appeal that leads many to follow anti-Christ. Jesus declared these will be so convincing, that if it were possible, they would deceive those who had received salvation. We cannot imagine or comprehend the power that Satan and those who follow him will possess and reveal during that time. Those who are not saved by grace and settled in the faith will be taken in by the deception of these false prophets.
C. The Wisdom (23) – But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. Jesus challenged the disciples, and all who would follow Him by faith, to be wary of these false prophets. He has given us enough in the Scripture to know the times and events that would transpire. We know Jesus Christ has already come, living a perfect, sinless life, bearing our sin as He died in our place on the cross, rising triumphantly over death, hell, and the grave, and ascending back to the Father, where He is seated awaiting His return in power. Regardless of the power and influence some may possess, we know our Lord already came the first time, and we must not be deceived by those who claim to be the Christ, sent from God. We are witnessing the stage being set for the Lord’s return. We must be wise in the Scripture, settling our hearts and minds to defend against the deception that will permeate our world as we approach the second coming.
II. The Sequence of Devastation (24-25) – Jesus now begins to describe the sequence of events that will immediately follow the Tribulation. Consider:
A. The Darkness (24) – But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. Immediately following the conclusion of the Tribulation, the world will experience an ominous sign. The sun will become dark and the moon will refuse to shine. Joel 2:31 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. Can you imagine the horror that will grip humanity as these events begin upon the earth? For as long as men have lived upon the earth, the sun has shown forth her light. Without fail, each morning the sun has risen, bringing light and hope to the world. In that day the sun will be darkened, and mankind will be left to ponder the reason for such calamity. Even the night will be enveloped in a menacing darkness. Without the light of the sun, the moon will have no light to reflect. The darkness will continue day and night, leaving men alone with their thoughts and fears.