Signs of the Return of Jesus Christ
Dr. Benjamin George
(Geo-physical signs - green house, global warming, earthquake, environmental changes / cosmic).
The Lord’s Prophecy concerning the End-Times and His Coming
(Readers are encouraged to read through the whole of Matthew 24).
“Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must occur; but the end is not yet. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places”. (Mat 24:3, 6,7).
Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled. The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father.
But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark. And they did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Therefore watch; for you do not know what hour your Lord comes. But know this, that if the steward of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have allowed his house to be dug through. Mat 24:34-43.
The Expectant Early Church
Soon after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into the heaven, having prophetically told His enquiring disciples, there was great anticipation and even expectation amongst them and also the believers in the early churches that the Lord may come during their life-time! Some of the Lord’s parables and warning to the disciples also give them that impression. For example, the parables of the Strong man and his castle, Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the departing Master and His servants. They all mentioned about the need for the disciples to keep ‘watching and working’ diligently and faithfully so that they would not be caught unawares and miss His coming, losing their reward and even being left out!
In their eagerness, it was as though the disciples even forgot that the Lord had told them clearly the signs of the times of His return. The epistles of Paul, Peter and John which contained references, teaching and warning to the churches with regard to the second coming, prompted the early church to believe that the Lord may return even during their lifetime. Of course these kept the believers active in their ‘watching, waiting, preparing and working’ expecting the Lord anytime!
The Unconcerned Generations
However, the Lord’s return did not take place during their fathers’ days or theirs or even to the end of the first century. Some began to doubt the promised return of the Lord. Therefore the apostle Peter encouraged their faith by writing: “Beloved, I now write this second letter to you, in which I stir up your pure mind by reminder to remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the Lord and Savior by us, the apostles. First, knowing this, that there will come in the last days scoffers walking according to their own lusts and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:1- 4).
“But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden from you, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat. And the earth and the works in it will be burned up” (2Pe 3:8-10).
The Dark Ages that had been Totally Forgotten!
By and large the generations of believers of the early, middle and later centuries had generally forgotten the promise of the Lord’s return and few were those who ever thought of it! This is not surprising for the Lord had mentioned about these days and said, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark. And they did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of Man”.
Luke recorded further in his gospel, “So also as it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but the day Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from the heaven and destroyed them all. Even so it shall be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luk 17:28 -30).
Mounting Signs of the Last Days are being Fulfilled in our Generation
The ‘very specific signs’ Jesus told the disciples to look forward to Know the times of His Second Coming and the End of the Age are remarkable! Many of them are ‘Geo-physical’ if you observe carefully. Here is a list: “wars and rumors of wars; Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places”. But we often hear non-believers and even believers say, ‘but we had these things all the time!’ It is true but now there are significant differences!
The Predictions for the Future
One need not be a prophet to foresee the not too distant future of Global population explosion; Global ecological and climatic changes; Global economic crisis; Global calamities including earthquakes, floods and famines and Global epidemics and Global wars!
Most of these very things that Jesus mentioned are occurring more frequently, more extensively and more intensively affecting millions and even billions of people in different parts of the world and in diverse manner.
These happenings are common knowledge around the world today, because of the mass media. Newspapers, radio and TV news media like CNN, CNBC, BBC, Reuters and other regional networks like Aljazeera spread the news instantly and round the clock. Instant video pictures take the minutest details of these events from the remotest parts of the globe and broadcast world-wide! They cause to shake and tremble the hearts and minds of the national leaders and the ordinary people alike! It causes us all to despair for we do not know when and where some great disaster is going to strike next!
Prepare for the Lord’s Coming!
Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, as you wait for the Day of God….But we wait for what God has promised: new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home. So, my friends, as you wait for that Day, do your best to be pure and faultless in God’s sight and to be at peace with him” (2 Pet. 3:11-14 GNB).
Pray for Mercy in the Midst of Judgment!
There are biblical passages that give hope that the Lord would be merciful even in judgment and may even repent and avert it! Jesus told His disciples, “Pray to God that these things will not happen in winter!” (Mk 13:18).He also told the disciples, “Unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Mt 24:22).
Of old, The Lord God said, “I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have
I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, says the Lord GOD” (Eze 22:30-31 KJV).