Jesus gave His disciples signs of His second coming to the earth at the close of His ministry to His disciples on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24, 25). When Jesus visited the Temple at the close of His ministry the disciples asked, When shall the temple be destroyed? What shall be the sign of thy coming? When shall the end of the age be, or in other words, when shall the kingdom age begin? Let’s take a look at the signs of His return.
SIGN# 1. The dispersion and regathering of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
The generation that witnessed the first coming of Jesus saw the destruction of the Temple. The Jews would be scattered into all the Gentile nations until the time of the end. Jerusalem would never know true peace until Israel accepts her Messiah. Jesus declared why this judgment came upon the nation. Israel missed the day of visitation of her promised Messiah.
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation (Luke 19:41-44)
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-24)
Hosea 5:15-6:4 revealed that Messiah would come to Israel two times. Messiah’s first coming resulted in the judgment and dispersion of Israel. His second coming will take place during the regathering of Israel which we have witnessed in our generation.
SIGN# 2. Increasing trouble and sorrow for the world.
Jesus declared that our would would experience trouble and sorrow that would only get worse till He comes. Jesus instructed us to guard our hearts from fear, anxiety and deception.
And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:4-8)
Since the time of Christ, millions of souls have been deceived through man made religions. Over one hundred million lives have been lost to wars, and tens of millions of lives lost through famines, pestilences and earthquakes. These are birth pangs that are increasing on a global scale in our generation, with the worst yet to come.
SIGN# 3. Israel would enter a time of tribulation.
We are witnessing the rise of anti-semitism on a global scale. Islamic nations do not want to coexist with the nation of Israel. This will continue to grow and fester till Jesus comes to deliver His Jewish people.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:9-13)
This time of trouble was revealed to the prophets beginning with Moses. Moses foresaw Israel’s return to the land and tribulation in their latter days (Deuteronomy 4:27-30). Jeremiah referred to it as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30). Ezekiel saw Israel back in her land with the nations surrounding her trying to destroy her (Ezekiel 35-39). Zechariah saw all nations gathered against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12-14). Daniel was given a timeline for Israel’s restoration culminating in a 7 year time of trouble (Daniel 9:27).
During this 7 year period, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). The book of revelation shows just how the Lord will bring closure to the preaching of the Gospel. God raises up 144,000 Jewish evangelists whose ministry brings in a harvest of souls into the kingdom. Angels are commissioned to preach the coming kingdom to the ends of the earth during the great tribulation. God is faithful and just to warn every man.
SIGN# 4. The Jewish Temple will be rebuilt and desecrated.
When the Temple is rebuilt it will be defiled by a leader called the Anti-Christ. This will take place in the middle of the 7 year tribulation resulting in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known. Literally, all hell will break loose on planet earth.
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:15-22).
Matthew states, “let the reader understand,” meaning the reader must understand the vision given concerning Israel’s timeline of restoration commonly called Daniel’s 70 weeks (Daniel 9:24-27). The timeline reveals the time of Messiah’s crucifixion and second coming to deliver Israel. The vision of seventy weeks represents 490 years to restoration. That is the number Jesus used when talking to Peter about restoring a sinning brother. Peter asked, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).
SIGN# 5. Great darkness will cover the earth.
Right before Jesus Christ descends from heaven there will be frightening celestial events that bring darkness to the earth. The Book of Revelation gives graphic details of cometary/asteroid strikes affecting the lands, sea, lakes, rivers and atmosphere. The sun will be darkened and the moon turned blood red. (This is not to be confused with solar or lunar eclipses). There will be no question about Christ return. Every eye will see The Lord Jesus Christ returning with His church.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:29-31).
The church will return with the Lord to the earth. Enoch prophesied, “the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints!” Daniel saw one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. Zechariah prophesied, “His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.” Revelation 1:7 says, “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” The clouds of heaven represent the church of The Lord Jesus Christ.
The parable of the fig tree.
The fig tree is representative of the nation of Israel. That has been illustrated in the Old Testament scriptures when God spoke to the nation through the prophets. This parable makes it clear that we are to view the rebirth of the nation of Israel as a key sign that Christ is coming soon!
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:32-35).
Israel is the fig tree that will bud again and indeed it has. Israel became a nation in 1948, Jerusalem came under Israeli sovereignty in 1967, and Jerusalem was declared the eternal capital of Israel by its leaders in 1980. Plans have been in the making for the rebuilding of the temple and the reinstitution of the temple sacrifices. We are the generation that has witnessed the fig tree come into full bloom. We are the generation that will witness the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Watch and be ready!
We are an historic generation, a people to be alive at the time of the second coming of Christ. How should we conduct our lives? We should be spiritually ready to stand before him and give account for how we lived our lives. A sobering thought for sure! The following text should not be confused with the rapture of the church. The coming of the Lord is likened to Noah’s day. In Noah’s day the flood removed the wicked population from the earth. This is what the phrase ‘one will be taken the other left” is referring to, it speaks of judgment. Only the righteous will inherit the earth during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:36-44).
Jesus gives three more parables concerning readiness for His second coming. The parable of the two servants (Israel was Jehovah’s servant)—Matthew 24:45-51; The parable of the ten virgins (Israel was Jehovah’s virgin)—Matthew 25:1-13. The parable of the talents (talents represent the great commission of the Gospel)—Matthew 25:14-30. These three parables relate to Israel and her Messiah’s second coming and not Jesus coming for His church at the rapture. However, we certainly should understand these parables are speaking about being faithful stewards and we should apply them to our lives. Let us to be ready and engaged in the work of the Gospel till He comes again.
Christ will judge all nations.
All nations will be judged based on their treatment of Israel. Christ will rule the nations from the city of Jerusalem for 1000 years. Mankind will then experience true peace and prosperity that comes through the righteousness of our Savior.
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-31).
A mystery will unfold before all these things take place.
Jesus reveals a mystery at the Last Supper that is not disclosed in Matthew 24-25. It is the mystery of His coming to recieve the church to Himself. This event is called the rapture or catching away of the church. Jesus is preparing a special place for the church!
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).
Much more revelation concerning the rapture of the church was given to the Apostle Paul which you will find in 1 & 2 Thessalonians. With the signs of Christ’s soon return all around us, I trust that you have made Jesus The Lord of your life! He is the only one who can grant you forgiveness from your sin. Simply believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and confess with your mouth that He is your Lord and you shall be saved. Find a good bible believing church where you can find Christ centered community and grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.