"The End Times"
April 19, 2024, 4:31 PM

The End Times

The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

There is, it seems, a never-ending flow of books on prophecy and the end times. Self-proclaimed experts hold the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other. Warnings are issued to mankind that either the world will end on a specific date that is based on some current events or that an unsuspecting public will be “left behind” when the infamous rapture occurs.

Before looking at the words of Jesus regarding the end of the world, consider one important truth. The one truth that all Christians agree upon concerning the end is that Jesus is coming back, and He will judge the whole world. Therefore, we all ought to be ready to meet Him! (See Matthew 25:1-13.)

Few experts or those who promote one of the many versions of the “left behind” theory ask the one expert, Jesus.

“As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age’” (Matthew 24:3)?

These questions were motivated by Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. He said that not one stone would be left upon a stone (Matthew 24:2). Jesus foretold what would happen in A.D. 70. The great siege of Jerusalem by the Roman army led by Titus documented by the ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, recorded the destruction of the temple and the barbaric actions of the Romans toward the Jews which fulfilled Jesus’ words.

The disciples also wanted to know what Jesus’ return would be like as well as the day of the end of this world. The first answer concerning the sign of Jesus’ second coming was answered very directly by our Lord. He said that His coming would be like lightning. The book of Revelation describes Jesus’ coming in these words, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Revelation 1:7).

The Apostle John was allowed to see Jesus’ coming and he sought to explain the unexplainable in words. Yet no words are adequate to describe pure glory. But the Revelation of Jesus Christ which was given to John was intended to reveal the certainty of Jesus’ return. All the nations will mourn because of sin. There will be great wailing by all because the time for salvation will be ended. When Jesus comes again, He will come to judge both the living and the dead. He will come not as the Savior but as the Judge.

John saw more. He saw that Jesus’ return would not be a secret! Every eye would see Him in His glory. There is no “secret rapture” recorded in the Bible. I am aware that there are some who have built an entire theology on one word that is derived from the Latin translation from which the word rapture is derived. The word in the original language is translated “caught up”. It is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Paul described what would happen to the believers who were alive when Christ returned. He said that the dead in Christ would rise first and those who were alive would be caught up in the air to meet Christ as He descended.

Likewise, Jesus spoke in a figure of speech when He said that “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left” (Matthew 24:40-41). He followed that statement by calling the disciples to “Stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). In other words, Jesus was exhorting disciples to remain prepared for His coming because no man knows when He will return. In fact, Jesus declared that in His human nature, He didn’t know when He would return. “No one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36). But Jesus said that He would return when all the elect are gathered in. That is, when all those whom God chose from eternity have professed faith in the Person and Work of Christ, the end will come.

Therefore, the vital “end time” question is not when is Jesus coming back; but are you ready to meet Him?