Signs of Christ’s Coming
This series that I’m beginning this Sunday (just a two-week series) will continue next Sunday. This series has been on my calendar to preach for a long, long time and, yet, we see the hand of God even directing us to this portion of God’s Word on a day like today. I’m sure that to some extent you’ve been following what’s been happening in Israel in these past days, and the incredible events, the tragic events that are happening there.
On my news feed this morning came these words – here’s the headline: Israeli Cabinet Officially Declares War for the First Time Since 1973. The story continues: “Israel’s security cabinet voted to officially go to war for the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973 this weekend.” It continues: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already declared that Israel was at war on Saturday, but the high-level security cabinet decision unlocks “significant military activities,” Netanyahu’s office announced, according to the Times of Israel.”
Then it continues: “Hamas terrorists have killed at least six hundred Israeli’s and wounded at least two thousand more in a surprise rocket attack this weekend. The group has also taken dozens of hostages within Gaza and the Israeli military is preparing to engage.”
I hope you join with me in praying for the people of Israel today. I’m thankful to God that the United States continues to stand with Israel. I think that’s so important. The Bible promises that God will bless all those nations that bless Israel. It’s so important that we stand with Israel. And so I’m thankful to God for that.
I want us to look at the Word of God today and I want to talk about what Jesus Christ has to say about the future – not just the future, but the future for Israel, and the future for the city of Jerusalem, and the future for us as His people. So if you will, stand with me as we read God’s Word together in Luke chapter 21. We’re beginning in verse 5 of the text.
You’ll remember that Jesus and His disciples are in Jerusalem. It’s the week before Jesus will be crucified. He knows that He is going to lay down His life on the cross of Calvary. And, yet, during that week, He pours out His heart for the people of God and for the city of Jerusalem. He and His disciples are walking away from the city, making their way up the Mount of Olives to the other side of the Mount of Olives to the little town of Bethany where they are staying at night during this week.
As they walk away, they’re walking past the temple. And they see the beauty of that temple standing in Jerusalem. Beginning in verse 5 of the text, the Bible says this:
5 And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”
This is the Word of God.
I want you to notice: The disciples asked two questions that followers of Jesus have been asking ever since: when and what? When will these things take place, and then what are the signs that these things are about to take place? And Jesus begins to give answers to those questions. We’ll see that as we move along today.
Right now, join with me as we pray.
A PRAYER FOR ISRAEL
Father in heaven, we come before You. We thank You and praise You that You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You are the Holy One of Israel. Lord, we pray for the nation of Israel today. We pray especially for those who are in very dangerous places. Lord, we pray for missionaries serving, that You would protect them and give them grace and use them for Your glory in the midst of this turbulent time. We pray, God, for those who have been taken hostage. We pray, God, that You would give them peace and, Lord, we pray that you would grant the release and safety. We pray, God, for those who have lost family members and loved ones as a result of these horrific attacks. And we pray, God, that You would give them a measure of Your peace and Your hope in this difficult time. We pray, Lord, for leaders of Israel – for the prime minister and others who are making decisions, and leaders in the United States who will be called upon to stand with Israel in these days. And God, I pray that You would give them the steadfastness and resoluteness to stand with Your people, Israel. So Lord, we lift up all of these things to You. And Lord Jesus, we pray that even in this, even in this horrific circumstance, Lord, that You would show Your power and Your grace, and that You would turn people to You. Lord, we know that You love the people of Israel and, yet, most of them have not turned to You as Messiah. Lord Jesus – Lord, use even this to turn people to Yourself that people might be saved. And now, Lord, in these moments we pray that You would speak to our hearts through Your Word. For we pray these things in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.
Amen. God bless you. You may be seated.
As I was preparing for this message where Jesus talks about the future I just began to think about the different predictions that people have made about things that are going to happen in the future, and about how many times we just miss altogether what’s going to happen.
For example, in 1903 the president of Michigan Savings Bank warned Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest with Ford. He said, “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” I don’t know whether the guy invested or not, but he got bad advice about the future.
Then I read this: In 1962 a Deca Recording Company executive told manager Brian Epstein, “We don’t like their sound and groups with guitars are on the way out.” And he turned down the Beatles. That was a big mistake in predicting the future.
Here’s another one: In 1966 Time Magazine published an essay that looked ahead to life in 2000 and predicted, and I quote: “Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop because people like to get out of the house, like to handle merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.” Tell that to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Then I’ll share this one: In 2007 Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft, said, “There’s no chance that the I-Phone’s going to get any significant market share. No chance!” I read that to you from my iPhone this morning.
All kinds of predictions that fail, and we could add to that list of failed prediction every prognosticator, every guesser, every so-called prophet who has tried to predict the events concerning the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself told us that no man knows the day or the hour of His return. And, yet, people keep on guessing and keep on missing.
Here’s the truth: The Word of God, the Bible, has a one thousand batting average when it comes to getting things right on the future. And the Word of God has a lot to say about the return of Jesus Christ. The second coming of Jesus Christ is mentioned twelve hundred times in the Old Testament, three hundred times in the New Testament. Every New Testament writer addresses the second coming of Jesus in some way. And so this is something that’s a major Christian doctrine that God wants us to know about. And in this passage of Scripture Jesus Christ preaches and teaches extensively about His own return. And as He does, He talks about three momentous times He wants us to be aware of concerning His return.
So I just want us to walk through these verses. We’re going to look at the verses we read, but then we’re going to go all the way down through verse 28 of the text today, and we’re going to see what Jesus Christ has to say about the signs of His own coming.
A TURBULENT TIME TO ENDURE
First of all, Jesus talks about a turbulent time to endure. A turbulent time to endure.
So the disciples and Jesus are walking away from the temple, and they look and they see how beautiful the temple was. It was magnificent. Stones, marble stones – some of them sixty feet long, twelve feet tall. People don’t know how they even got those stones up to the Temple Mount and then set them in place. And although the temple now has been destroyed – and we’ll talk about that as we move along today – the temple is destroyed, but the Temple Mount is still there. And even today in Israel, you can go underneath the Temple Mount and you can see these huge stones. It’s amazing – they’re the size of boxcars. Single stones that large, and no one knows how they put them in place.
So they saw these incredible marble stones, and then they saw all of the offerings – that refers to the ornamentation on the temple. Herod, himself, had ordered the construction of a golden grapevine with clusters of grapes, made out of jewels. Those clusters were as tall as a man. It was an incredible thing to see. In fact, an ancient historian said that when you came into the city of Jerusalem, if you came as the sun was rising, all of the marble and all of the gold on the temple were so spectacular and so bright in the reflection of the sun, that you could not even look at the temple. You had to shield your eyes. That’s how magnificent it was.
And, yet, Jesus said, “All of this gold, and all of these ornamentations, and all of these stones that are so large and so magnificent and seem so permanent – they’re all going to be torn down. Not one stone will be left standing upon another.” And so His disciples asked him those two questions: “Teacher, when?” Look in verse 7: “Teacher, when will these things be and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”
Then beginning in verse 8 of the text He begins to talk about the things that will happen as we get closer and closer to His coming. Now, in verses 8 through 19 of this chapter, we see Jesus describing what I believe will happen during the time of the Tribulation. The Tribulation is described in the book of Revelation. It’s a seven-year period when evil will escalate on Planet Earth. The Anti-Christ will come to power. God will pour out His judgment over and over again on Planet Earth as people rebel against God. I believe the Word of God teaches that before the Tribulation begins, before that seven-year period, the Church will be raptured. We’ll be caught up together in the clouds to be with the Lord, and then when the Lord comes again at the end of the Tribulation time, we’ll come to rule and to reign with Him.
So Jesus is describing what will happen during the time of tribulation. But I want you to understand: These things that will happen, at their most intense during the Tribulation, will magnify and increase as we get closer and closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ. So, these things are happening even now.
Just walk with me through the text and notice what Jesus says will happen. One thing He says will happen during the Tribulation: There will be spiritual counterfeits. Notice what Jesus says in verse 8 of the text: “8 And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.” As we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ, there’s going to be more and more false teaching. There are going to be more and more people who claim to stand for Jesus who walk away from the truth of Scripture.
We’re even seeing that in our world today – people who at one time would have stood firm on the Word of God are beginning to walk away from the Word of God and to teach that way. So Jesus talks about that – spiritual counterfeits – people who will rise up and say they are the Christ, or that they know when He’s coming. He says don’t be deceived; don’t be led away by those spiritual counterfeits.
Then He talks about international conflict. He talks about conflict between nations. Look in verse 9 and 10 of the text. Jesus says, “ 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” Then in verse 10: “10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Now, war has been a part of history as long as there’s been history. There have only been a few just short periods of time in all of history when there has not been war on earth, so that’s just a part of living in a sinful world. And even what we’re seeing today in Israel is just part of living in a sinful world. There will be war.
But here’s what Jesus is saying: As we get closer and closer to His return, wars will escalate. There will be more and more international turmoil and conflict. And so He talks about that.
Then He talks about natural catastrophes. Notice what the Bible says in verse 11. Jesus says, “11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences.” Again, earthquakes have always been a part of living on earth. Same thing with famine and pestilence. But as we get closer to the return of Jesus, those things will escalate.
Can I tell you something? This does not mean that we just need to spend all of our time chasing after what type of natural disasters are happening. I’ve heard about people who keep meticulous track: Here’s how many earthquakes are happening. They keep charts. They’ll show you how they are increasing. I would say unless you are a seismologist, you don’t need to keep up with earthquakes. I would say unless you’re a meteorologist, you don’t need to keep track of every storm because, listen, those things are going to happen. You can’t stop them. And as they increase, getting closer and closer to the time of Jesus’ return, those things are going to happen. You can’t stop them.
Jesus just says that’s a sign that His return is getting closer and closer. So He describes natural catastrophes.
He describes celestial signs. Notice at the end of verse 11; He says, “And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”
And then the Bible says there will be contempt for believers. Listen: As we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, there’s going to be greater and greater hatred and persecution of believers. Notice what the Bible says in verse 12 Jesus says, “But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.” Now that happened to the earliest disciples. They were brought before the synagogues, and they were found guilty of preaching Jesus as the Messiah, and they were thrown out of the synagogue as a result. They faced persecution. They were arrested and they faced persecution. They were in prison. Some of the them were executed because of their faith in Jesus.
That happened then; it’s happened throughout the centuries of Christian history; it’s happening now. Friend, don’t forget that while we’re sitting here in comfortable seats in a beautiful place, there are people right now who are in prison, and who are under a sentence of death simply because they believe the same thing about the Bible, and God, and Jesus Christ that you do.
One of the things that we need to be faithful to do is to pray for the persecuted church. That persecution will increase as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ.
So He talks about that. But then He talks about some good things that will happen as we get closer and closer to the return of Christ, and it’s amazing; this is how God works. Because of the persecution, Jesus promises there will be increased opportunities for believers to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ.
Continue reading in verse 12; Jesus says – or verse 13; Jesus says, “13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness.” He says, “” Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.” He says, “Listen, when you’re being persecuted it’s going to be an opportunity for you to tell other people about Jesus.” And He says, “So don’t worry about those things. Don’t compose ahead of time how you’re going to respond. Don’t run through all the scenarios and say, ‘Well if they say this, I’m going to say that.” No; He says the Holy Spirit will show you what to say when you’re in that pressure situation. He’ll give you the words to say. He says you will confound your enemies. They will not be able to answer you.
He says that as the heat gets turned up it’s a time for us to share the good news of Jesus Christ as never before. That’s why I’m so excited to be living in these days. We can make a difference for Jesus in this generation. So the Bible says there will be chances for believers to witness.
Finally, Jesus says we’re going to receive as believers living in this time courage to endure. Look down in verse 16 of the text. He says, “16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.” During the time of tribulation, believers in that age will be delivered over to forces of evil. They will be put to death. He says, “17 You will be hated” – verse 17 – “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” But then He says this: “18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
Jesus says, listen: When the heat is turned up, and when we’re experiencing all this persecution that will intensify especially during the time of tribulation, Jesus will give us the ability to endure as we are simply faithful to Him.
In the book of Matthew in a similar passage, Jesus says this: “The one who endures to the end will be saved.” The way that you show you’re saved is by your endurance. So Jesus says it’s going to get worse and worse and worse as we getting closer to His coming, but Jesus says He’ll give us the grace to endure.
If you look at this text and sort of summarize the commands Jesus gives His disciples and us concerning these turbulent times that are ahead for our planet and for our world, Jesus says three things to us. He says, first of all, don’t be deceived. Make sure you stay in the Word of God and believe the Word of God.
He says secondly, don’t be afraid. Don’t let the things happening around you terrify you.
Then third, He says don’t be worried about whether God will use you. He will use you as you’re faithful to Him.
And, yet, His coming – it’s closer and closer and closer. It hasn’t come yet. In fact, look at the words that Jesus says at the end of verse 9. I want you to notice this. He says, “Do not be terrified for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” It doesn’t all just come at once. It escalates. It magnifies. It intensifies. Then Jesus will come. But He gets closer and closer to coming every day.
When I was pastoring in Florida we had a man who served on our staff in the physical facilities area. And his name was John. John’s job was to set up tables and chairs for events. All week long he would work setting up all the rooms of our church and making sure everything was what he called Sunday ready. So when everybody came together, he had all the rooms set up. And John was nearly blind. I mean you could stand right in front of him, and he might not recognize who you were.
I was walking around the campus one day and I came into a big room. John was near the front of the room. He had his back to the door when I came in. But as I came in he was setting up the tables and setting up the chairs. I came in the room and as soon as I walked in, he said, “Hey Pastor!” I said, “John, how did you know it was me?” I thought, “He can’t recognize me when he’s looking right at my face!” I said, “How did you know it was me?” He said, “I could tell by your footsteps!” He said, “I listen to you walk, and I know what your footsteps sound like. I know your pace.” So I guess I probably drag my feet or something; he knew what my footsteps sounded like. And he said, “As soon as I heard your steps coming, I knew it was you.”
Here’s what Jesus is saying: Jesus is saying that before He comes, before we see Him, we will hear His footsteps. And those footsteps get closer and closer and closer every day. And so the Word of God describes a turbulent time to endure.
But then secondly Jesus talks about this: He talks about a terrifying time to escape. A terrifying time to escape.
A TERRIFYING TIME TO ESCAPE
Now look in verse 20 of the text. Jesus says this: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Now I want you to look at those verses. Those verses were prophecy when Jesus spoke them, but they’re not prophecy now because those words have already been fulfilled. Jesus spoke these words and then about forty years later, the city of Jerusalem in AD 70 was surrounded by Roman armies. And the Roman military leader Titus sieged that city. People couldn’t come in; people couldn’t go out. He put them in a position where they were either going to have to surrender or starve. And he sieged that city. He wound up burning the temple. They wound up completely tearing the temple apart until not one stone was left standing on the other, and it remained so to this day.
Here’s what Jesus was saying: Jesus was saying there’s a terrifying time, a terrifying time that was coming for Jerusalem back then, and here’s why: because they had rejected Jesus as their Messiah.
I want you to take your Bibles and turn just a few pages back in your Bible. Look in Luke, chapter 13, and if you’ll look with me at verses 34 and 35 of that text. Luke chapter 13, verses 34 and 35. There Jesus again predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. Listen to what He says; He says, “34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken.”
What was the house in Jerusalem? The temple. “Your house [the temple] is forsaken.” And it would be destroyed. “And I tell you, you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Here’s what’s going to happen: One day Jesus Christ is returning to earth, and when He returns to earth He will split the Mount of Olives in half, and He will come up the Temple Mount into that area where the temple has been, and His people will proclaim Him as Lord. Israel, as a nation, will turn to Jesus as their Lord and Messiah and Master. Praise God for that! But until then, Jesus says – look again in our text – until then, Jesus says, “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Times of the Gentiles began long before Jesus was born. In 586 BC, when the Babylonians destroyed the temple that was standing then and took the people of Israel into captivity – since that time, the Bible says that Israel has been living under the times of the Gentiles. Here’s what that means: In Jerusalem, since that time, the enemy of God’s people have been living among God’s people. There’ve been times that Jerusalem was completely ruled by pagans. There’ve been times in its history that even when God’s people were there they were not fully in control of their city or their land.
That’s some of what we’re seeing right now. Why are the attacks occurring? Why are these things happening? Because the enemies of Israel live within their borders and want to destroy the people of Israel. That’s some of what we’re seeing. Jesus says that these times will continue. Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. When Jesus Christ returns, He will come to rule and to reign as King over Israel and all of the earth on His throne in Jerusalem. But until then, there are going to be times of destruction, and of disruption, and of evil, and of violence, and tragedy in that city where God has placed His own name: the city of Jerusalem.
So Jesus describes a terrifying time to escape
Now I want you to notice what Jesus says in verse 21 of the text. He says, “Then let those in Judea” – He’s talking about when the Roman armies come and circle that city – “Let those in Judea flee to the mountains.” History tells us this: That somewhere around AD 60 or AD 63, some years before the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, that Christians living in that city, maybe because they had read this text of the Lord Jesus; maybe because someone had a prophetic word to know that the time was coming – they left that city. They fled to the mountains. They went to a place in Jordan called Pella when the attack came.
It’s a reminder to me: The destruction that Jerusalem saw in AD 70 is just a dress rehearsal of what God’s eternal judgment will look like for those who have rejected Him. And there’s only one escape. Jesus said, “Flee to the rock.” And we know that Jesus is the Rock. Listen, there’s only one escape from God’s judgment, and that’s Jesus!
Come into a room, and the exits are always marked. Look in this room; there’s an exit sign there, and an exit sign there, and an exit sign there, and an exit sign there. There’s an exit sign there. We tell you all the ways to get out.
You get into an airplane. You don’t pay attention when they say it; we’ve got our earbuds in, and everything else – we’re doing other things. But those flight attendants are showing you all the exits and telling you all the ways out.
Jesus says there’s one exit from God’s judgment, and that is Jesus, Himself. There’s no other way. In fact, the book of Hebrews, chapter 2, verse 3 says this: “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord and it was attested to us by those who heard.” How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.
May I remind you of something? Everything that needed to be done for you to escape God’s judgment was done when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary. They took Him out of the city of Jerusalem, outside the city walls, and there, for six hours He suffered and bled and died for your sins because He loves you so much. There is no other way out, other than Jesus!
There are five ways out of this auditorium; there’s no way out of God’s judgment, except for Jesus Christ. God would not have sent His Son to die if there were some Plan B. There’s no Plan B. The only way you can escape is to call on Jesus and ask Him to save you, and to give you God’s gift of eternal life. And He promises that when you do, He will save you.
The Bible talks about a terrible time to escape.
Then thirdly, Jesus talks about a triumphant time to expect. A triumphant time to expect.
A TRIUMPHANT TIME TO EXPECT
Beginning reading with me in verse 25 of the text. The Bible says, ““And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars …” This is Jesus speaking: “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves…” Here Jesus is describing the very last days, I believe, of the tribulation time, as God is pouring out wrath upon wrath upon wrath, judgment upon judgment upon judgment on the earth. And the Bible says that there are going to be all kinds of things that are happening, and perplexity among the people, distress among the nations. And, yet, the Bible says that even in those times, even as God’s judgment is being poured out, that men will not turn from their sin and turn to God.
In fact, Revelation chapter 16, verse 9 says this; it says, “9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give Him glory.” God’s judgment is being poured out on the last days of earth. The Bible says sinful people will continue on in their sin.
Can I just stop right here? There are some of you who are here today and God has given you warning sign after warning sign after warning sign – personal things He’s done in your life to show you that you need to turn to Him and be saved. And, yet, you continue to shake a fist in the face of God and refuse Him. Right now, He loves you so much He wants to save you. He pleads with you to turn from your sin and be saved.
And so the Bible says in those last days judgment will be poured out and, yet, people will curse God. Look in verse 26; Jesus says, “… people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” And then He says this: “27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” When it’s gotten just as bad as it can be, when God’s judgment is being poured out on the earth, then the Son of Man, Jesus Christ will come in the clouds. He will come with power and glory. And He will come with all of His saints. Praise God for that today! There’s a coming time that we can expect; Jesus Christ is coming again.
Now as I preach this message today, I’ve preached it from my perspective, based on what I believe the Word of God teaches about the end times. And I really believe, based on my study of Scripture – I’ve studied Biblical prophecy as long as I’ve been in ministry, and I’ve tried to understand what the Word of God teaches – I believe that the things the Bible is describing here will happen in those seven years of tribulation, and that it will happen after the Church has been raptured. The Bible teaches in the book of 1 Thessalonians the rapture of the Church – that dead believers will be resurrected, living believers will be raptured, and we’ll be caught up together in the clouds with the Lord, and we will escape these things. I believe that.
I want you to know there are people who have the same commitment to Scripture and the authority and inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture that I do who wind up in a different place on that. There are those who believe in a post-tribulational rapture. I was talking to one of my friends this week – had dinner with him. He was one of my students a long time ago. He said, “Doc,” he said, “I know that you believe in a pre-tribulational rapture.” I said, “I do.” He said, “I don’t.” He said, “I believe in a post-tribulation rapture.” He said, “Do you hold that against me?” I said, “Oh, no. I know you believe the Word of God. We just wind up in different places.” He said, “Well I believe in a post-tribulational rapture.” HE said, “But listen now: If I’m wrong and you’re right, Doc, I hope that I’m standing close to you at the rapture because I’m just going to grab hold of your pant-leg and rap right up with you.”
I’ll tell you this: Your position on these things will not affect what happens to you when these things take place. Here’s what I mean: If you a pre-tribber, and the world winds up being post-trib, then God will give you grace to endure. If you are a post-tribber, and the rapture comes pre-trib, you’ll get raptured with everybody else anyway. Praise God! There are some areas for disagreement on those things, even among people who believe the Word of God in equal ways. But listen to me on this: The Bible is absolutely crystal-clear on this point, and that is Jesus Christ is coming again. I said, Jesus Christ is coming again! Amen! And He promises eternal resurrection life to everyone who trusts in Him.
Look in verse 28 of the text. Jesus says, “ 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up [stand up straight.]” He says, “Raise your heads, [lift up your eyes] because your redemption is drawing near.” Are we seeing these things beginning to take place? Yes we are. We can just stand up straight and we can keep our eyes lifted. We’re lifting our eyes because we’re looking for Jesus to return. We’re lifting our eyes because we’re not going to walk around in defeat and pessimism. We’re looking to Jesus because we know He’s going to give us everything we need to endure.
Listen: Something happens in here when you keep your eyes lifted up. Something happens in your heart when you’re looking for Jesus to come back.
Something happened on July 4, 1952. Champion woman swimmer by the name of Florence Chadwick was trying to set a world record. She was trying to become the first woman to swim twenty-one miles from Catalina Island into the coast of California. She got in the water and began swimming. She swam for sixteen hours – hard swimming. She battled the waves. She battled cold water. She battled fog that just engulfed everything that day in the channel. There were even sharks that had to be fended off and kept away from her.
She swam for sixteen hours in that fog and in that cold water, and she signaled that she had to stop. And they got her out of the water and she stopped swimming. When she stopped, she found out she was only half a mile away from shore. She had almost made it, and she said, “If I could have just seen through that fog, could have just seen the shore, I think I would have kept on going.”
Two months later, she swam the same channel – twenty-one miles from Catalina to the California coast – and she swam all the way in because she could see the shore.
In the fog of a sinful world, in all of the turmoil that we’re surrounded with, Jesus Christ has given us a view of the shore. He has said He is coming back, and that He offers redemption. That means He paid the price with His blood for our sin to set us free. And the Bible says your redemption is drawing near! Lift up your eyes, Church! Stand up straight, Church! Keep looking to the shore; Jesus is coming again. Praise the Lord!
And now, I ask you the question: Is He coming for you? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? He died for you; He rose from the grave to give you eternal life. He promises to save you if you call on His name. There’s only one way of escape – only one way to escape judgment and hell, and that’s to turn to Jesus Christ.