What Has to Happen Before Christ Returns?
Jesus Himself provides us with the answer in Matthew 24: Jesus left the Temple and was walking away when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to its buildings. 2”Do you see all these things?” He asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in My Name, claiming, "I am the Christ," and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9”Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15”So when you see standing in the holy place "the abomination that causes desolation," spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22”If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ!" or, "There He is!" do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.
2”6So if anyone tells you, ‘There He is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”
So, what has to happen before Christ returns?
- Appearance of False Christs (verses 4-5, 11, 15-24) and prophets (verses 11, 24)
- Wars (verses 6-7)
- Famines (verse 7)
- Earthquakes (verse 7)
- Persecution of Christians (verses 9, 15-21)
- Moral depravity of culture (verses 10, 12)
- Gospel must be preached to all nations (verse 14)
The problem is that we have most of these things now. We have false Messiahs and leaders. We have wars and hunger and earthquakes and Christians are and always have been persecuted in some areas of the world. Our culture is certainly not godly, but, at the same time, through the efforts of missionaries and technology, the Gospel is being carried to more places than ever before. So, how are these things going to be a sign to us that Christ is coming?
Even though we have these things, Jesus says that things will get extremely worse (verse 21).
One clear Biblical example of things getting worse will be the appearance of the ultimate false Christ and false prophet, the Anti-Christ and his prophet.
This blog post is included in my book, Last Days: A Biblical Guide to the End Times.
|Kindle $4.99, Print $7.99|
Read the answers to more interesting questions on my Theology 101 - Simple and Surprising Answers to Your Questions! page.