46 – The End of Time
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“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. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
Why does Jesus say that there will be signs, if we are not able to know when the end will come?
How does the description of the second coming of Jesus in all his glory make you feel?
Jesus now moves on to say what will happen at the end of time. We are not sure how long the period of suffering, wars and sharing the gospel will last. Jesus himself admits that it is only God the Father who knows when the day of judgement will be. These words from Jesus are not intended to help us work out exactly when he is going to return to the world. What he wants us to do is to live in a way that shows that we are always ready.
The description of Jesus Christ returning to the world is terrifying. The largest things we are able to see – the sun, the moon, and the stars – are going to darken and fall. Jesus himself will come with many angels and the whole world will see him in all his power: King of the universe in all his glory. Also, although these words make us afraid in one way, they are very exciting for the Christian. This is the time when Jesus is coming to gather all his people together, to pull them out of the suffering and darkness of the world. This is the day when everything wicked and unjust will be punished and when the new creation, the kingdom of God, will fully arrive. The old heaven and the old earth will go, and new ones created where we will be able to live with God for ever.
As we noted yesterday, in one sense, all the signs Jesus mentioned have happened already, and some are still happening today. Listen therefore to Jesus’s warning – we do not know exactly when he is going to come, and therefore we need to make sure that we are ready and waiting to welcome him.
In what ways can we be watchful?
If you knew when the end was coming, how would this change the way you are living?
for strength to carry on until the end, and that people will turn to Jesus before the end comes.