“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near"(Luke 21:28).
studied Jesus' second coming in the previous chapter. We learned how
and why He will return. In this chapter, we are going to study when He
is planning to return. In the Bible it is recorded, "No one knows about
that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only
the Father"(Matthew 24:36). Why didn't God reveal the date of His
coming? This may be because God always wants us to be prepared. Even
though He did not tell us the exact time, He has prophesied that He's
was once the capital of Judea, and it was also a political religious
center. In Jerusalem, there once stood a temple, and when Jesus lived on
the earth, it was where people came to worship. This temple was built
by thousands of people for more than 40 years. It was said to be made of
marble, 21.2 meters long, 10.6 meters wide, and 15.9 meters high. God
foresaw the destruction of this temple and wept, "O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how
often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers
her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house
is left desolate"(Matthew 23:37,38). When the disciples heard this, they
pointed at the temple and asked Him what He meant, and Jesus answered,
"Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here
will be left on another; every one will be thrown down"(Matthew 24: 2).
When the disciples heard this they were shocked. They weren't able to
imagine the temple being in ruins, and if that did happen they thought
it would happen in the end of the world and they asked Jesus, "Tell us,
when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of
the end of the age?"(Matthew 24:3). Jesus answered them concerning the
destruction of Jerusalem, "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by
armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who
are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and
let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of
punishment if fulfillment of all that has been written... They will fall
by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.
Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the
Gentiles are fulfilled"(Luke21:20-22, 24). The Word is so clear that it
needs no explanation. It clearly warned them to flee when armies
surrounded Jerusalem. Was this true? A famous English philosopher named
Dr. Samuel Clark (1675-1725) recorded "In the 12th year of the reign of
Nero, Cestius Gallus, invaded Jerusalem with many troops."
Josephus(37-97), a historian living in Jerusalem of the time recorded,
When Cestius surrounded Jerusalem and was ready and prepared to take
over Jerusalem, he retreated without no reason. This happened in 66 A.D.
and it was really hard to understand. Anyhow, all the Christians in
Jerusalem took advantage of this chance and fled from the city. In 70
A.D. the Roman general, Titus surrounded Jerusalem and attacked it. In
this invasion, 1 million Jews were slaughtered, and died of starvation
and infection and not one stone of the temple remained on top of
another. Dr. Clark wrote that it is quite surprising that no Christian
was killed in the war. From this we can learn the importance of studying
the Bible and its prophecy.
1. The sun will be darkened.
Jesus continued to tell his disciples regarding their questions about the end of this world as following:
then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the
world until now-and never to be equaled again. If those days had not
been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect
those days will be shortened. Immediately 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
A very strange event occurred
around New England in America on May 19, 1780. Suddenly the sun got dark
during the day. The Webster Dictionary published in 1869 explained this
event as follows, describing that day as the dark day.
some place, residents who were outside couldn't read any prints. After
having sung their night songs, birds soon disappeared and got quiet.
Hens went to roost and livestock began to look for barns. People
rekindled candles. The darkness started from about 10 a.m. and kept
going on until that night. No one knew the reason why this had
occurred." According to a record, the front surface of the moon became
red like blood that night. People were so afraid that they tended to
feel it was the end of this world at last. By the way, according to the
Bible "after the great distress, immediately, the sun will be
darkened," The great distress could apply to Christians who live on the
basis of faith in Jesus, having been from 538 to 1798, for 1260
years.(Reference section: Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:6, 14) But Jesus
said, "those days will be shortened," according to history, freedom of
Religion was given to the public about the middle of 18th century. His
words were proven true and the dark day actually occurred in 1780 after
the Persecution ceased. This showed the prophesies in the Bible are
2. The stars will fall from the sky
sign after the dark day is "the stars will fall from the sky".
According to Revelation in the Bible, "and the stars in the sky fell to
the earth as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong
This prophecy was fulfilled on
November 13, 1833. Omsthet, a professor of Yale University, wrote this
happening in the name of shooting stars in the American encyclopedia,
"Those who could see the shooting stars on the morning of November 13.
1833 saw the most surprising shooting stars since the dawn of history.
And the scene could be seen all over North America. Those who saw this
magnificent scene compared these shooting stars to snow flakes or
Charles Young wrote his opinion about this
scene in his book 'Manual of Astronomy," Of all the rains of shooting
stars on the earth, there has never been a wonderful star show like
this. It kept going for about 5 or 6 hours, and they could imagine that
they counted about 2 billion shooting stars." Since the beginning of
history, the shower of stars is surely one of the signs of Jesus' second
coming. In this way, God shows us that this world is going to end.
most tangible feature of this age is increasing knowledge. The Bible
indicates that this is one of the signs of Jesus' soon second coming.
the Bible, Daniel said, "But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words
of the scroll until the end time. Many will go here and there and
increase their knowledge"(Daniel 12:4).
The prophecies of
Daniel in the Bible hadn't been understood up to recently as well as
this one. But people could solve the keys of those prophecies in the
19th century. As a result, knowledge of the Bible has rapidly increased.
In addition, knowledge of Science has also developed; we are now in the
atomic and cosmic age. All things that we are using very conveniently
today were hardly invented before the 18th century. We can also travel
in space thanks to the advance of technology, but the one fact that
scares us is that morality and courtesy can't catch up with the advance
of technology. Whenever we think about nuclear power and space rockets,
we might also think about nuclear weapons and are scared of the result
of the misuse of these things.
Then, what does the Bible predict about wars?
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars"(Matthew 24:6).
the end time of the world, we'll be able to hear of rumors of wars more
than ever. B.A. Sorokin, a professor of Harvard University presented
some very interesting statistics about wars.
his study, 902 wars and 1615 civil wars had occurred in the past 2500
years. Since the 20th century, the number of wars and civil wars is 8
times as much as before. Today, the scale of wars is inclined to be
larger and larger while the number of wars is increasing. Jesus
predicted, "Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming
on the world"(Luke 21:26). This word expresses very well the fear of
nuclear weapons that people have today.
fear of nuclear weapons, peace movements have spread. Regarding peace
movement, we can't help thinking about the armament reduction conference
after World War II. At that time, 58 countries took part in this
conference and the number of each country's representatives was about
2,500. But because there were no good results, World War II broke out.
Since World War II, through the United Nations, the International
Security Council was organized. Conferences for armament reduction have
been held from time to time. But we know they haven't gotten good
results until now.
Religion is going to be the last step to
make this world peaceful, eventually. Then, the religion will have the
most important role making it happen. All religions in this world will
push for the union of religions. They will propose taking steps to keep
in step with the peace movement.
Isaiah predicted this
situation, "In the last days, many people will come and say. Come; let
us go up to the mountains of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. They will
beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning books.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for
war any more. (Isaiah 2:2-4) But Paul said, "While people are saying
'peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor
pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape"(1 Thessalonians
5:3). In other words, both the peace movement and the movement of union
of religions are going to be the last efforts of human beings. When we
think the world is peaceful, destruction will come suddenly, and
Those who haven't been taught by the Holy Spirit
can't know these movements had the secret of Satan who wanted to destroy
this world and "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the
testimony of Jesus"(Revelation 12:17) Therefore, we as Christians who
live in this age must receive the true light of prophecy.
will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be
famines and earthquakes in various places"(Matthew 24:7).
there have always been many conflicts, and power games among nations,
nations will rise. This is regarded as another sign of the end of the
Joel predicted, "Let the weakling say, I'm strong"(Joel 3:10).
World War II ended in August 1945, many small and weak countries
declared their independence. From the start of Indonesia's Independence,
they said, "We are independent, each country is independent. One
doesn't belong to another." Isn't the prophecy really true that "each of
them says he's strong"?
mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will
be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive,
disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love,
unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the
good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than
lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have
nothing to do with them"(2 Timothy 3:1-5).
These words are
talking about how godless people will be in the last days. Jesus also
said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the
Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered
the ark, and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood
came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the
Son of Man"(Matthew 24:37-39).
A flood once destroyed the
world about 4,300 years ago. "Then God saw how great man's weakness on
the earth had become.... and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord
said I'll wipe mankind, whom I created from the face of the
Those days, people were so degenerate
and corrupted, they threw away justice. That's why God couldn't leave
them alone. Jesus said the situation in the last days is the same as in
the days of Noah.
Today, we know that we are in the same
trouble. This world is filled with corruption. Prodigality prevails in
this age. These days, teenagers disregard sex principles and live
immoral lives. As a result, they are destroying both their bodies and
spirits. Values of morality have dropped more rapidly than ever before.
Sexual immorality fills this world to the brim. People are so selfish
and cold that they even break their own families so easily; people even
tend to look down on and despise God. We can know from these things that
the most serious crisis is coming and this world is coming to its end.
go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey
everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19,20)
According to this command, the good news of the kingdom has surprisingly spread.
of all, in Bible terms. In olden days, people regarded the Bible as a
very valuable book, because they had to copy each Bible by hand. Today,
thanks to development of the printing press, we can get the Bible
The United Kingdom Bible Society was organized in 1804 and the United States Bible Society was organized in 1816.
have distributed the Bible all over the world, which was translated
into more than 1,431 languages and dialects. This has lead many into a
better understanding of the Holy Spirit and a full knowledge of Jesus
Christ. In addition to that, in terms of activities of Seventh Day
Adventist church which has proclaimed Jesus' second coming, has spread
the good news into 197 countries in the world, though it was organized
only 100 years ago. The Seventh Day Adventist church is taking
advantage of very various kinds of methods to preach the good news of
Heaven; by word of mouth, communication, radio, TV, etc. "And this
gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony
to all nations, and then the end will come"(Matthew 24:14). The rapidly
spreading of the good news is the most tangible sign of Jesus' second
coming. Jesus also said natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes,
tidal waves, storms, famines, epidemics etc. are all signs. Today, these
things happen more and more. Each of them is warning us that the end of
this world is very near and we should repent of our sins and be alert.
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. Even so, when you
see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door- so
you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when
you do not expect him"(Matthew 24:32, 33, 44).