“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2Tim. 3:1)
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” (2Tim. 3:2)
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” (2Tim. 3:3)
“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” (2Tim. 3:4)
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Tim. 3:5)
These Scriptures describe the condition of society just before the coming of Christ. The Bible is filled with prophesies that pertain to the coming of Christ.
As a matter of fact, the Spirit of God through David declared that the entire Bible was actually given by God for the sole purpose of directing men to Christ and His coming.
“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.” (Psalm 40:6)
“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalm 40:7)
Jesus Christ is such the complete fulfillment of Scripture, that the Bible even calls Him the Word.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
It is God’s desire that in every Bible story, in every account of the tabernacle, in every jot and tittle of the Mosaic Law, in every Biblical record of the history of Israel, and in every prophecy, we would see Jesus, His fulfillment, and His coming.
If one were to categorize these prophecies of His coming, it would be evident that there are three distinct and different descriptions.
There are the prophecies pertaining to His coming as the suffering Messiah, our Redeemer.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Next there are the prophesies of His coming as the Bridegroom who goes away to prepare a place, but then returns for His Church, the Bride.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” (Matt. 25:6)
Finally, there are the prophesies of His coming as the conquering King of Kings and the Lord of Lords at the end of the world.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” (Rev. 19:11)
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” (Rev. 19:13)
“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Rev. 19:14)
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:16)
Most of the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus did not understand these three comings. They were hoping and looking for the conquering hero to rid them of the Roman Empire, so they missed the coming of the suffering Redeemer, the Lamb of God.
Then there were those during the time of the early Church, who because of false teaching that had entered in, said that the resurrection was past.
They preached that the Bridegroom had already come for His Bride, thereby causing their followers to lose faith and believe they had missed the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2Tim. 2:18)
It is important that we as believers know the times that we are living in so that we will have faith concerning His return and not be caught unaware when Jesus comes back.
Some are quick to say, “I’ve heard of Jesus coming my whole life but He hasn’t come yet, so I don’t even think about that.”
However the Bible says:
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matt. 24:44)
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb. 9:28)
Our salvation, our hope, our faith is based upon the fact that we believe the Redeemer of all mankind, the Savior of the world, our suffering Messiah has already come and gave His life a ransom for all.
The belief that Jesus Christ lived, died, was buried, resurrected, and ascended into heaven is the very core of our being “born again” and without which we are eternally lost.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)
By raising Jesus from the dead, God not only confirmed that every word Jesus said about Himself is true, but that every word He spoke concerning all things is true.
If we believe that Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God came the first time, then we must believe His promise that He is coming back again.
“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
The only question that remains is which return are we anticipating? The return of a Bridegroom or that of a Conqueror?
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.” (Matt. 24:1)
“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:2)
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3)
As Jesus and His disciples passed by the temple, they pointed out to Him its grandeur, but Jesus replied by saying that all the stones of the temple would be cast down.
They responded by asking Jesus three questions.
The first question was, “when shall these things be?” referring to the destruction of the temple.
Jesus went on to prophesy of events they would see happen in their generation and that there would be “wars and rumors of wars,” but “…the end is not yet.” (Matt. 24:6)
History tells us that after the Crucifixion of Jesus in circa 30 A.D., there were rebellions and wars amongst the Roman Empire until finally in circa 70 A.D. the Roman army took over Jerusalem and destroyed Herod’s Temple, even tearing apart every stone to retrieve the gold between them, thus fulfilling the prophetic answer to “when shall these things be?”
The second question was, “ what shall be the sign of thy coming?”
Jesus prophetic answer to this question was a long description of a time period filled with nations and kingdoms rising up against each other. He described famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes which He called the “beginning of sorrows.”
He told of a time of false prophets, persecutions, and betrayal. He spoke of afflictions, deceptions, and that “iniquity would abound.” He said that because of these things many believer’s love would “wax cold,” however; Jesus also said:
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13)
He then gave the greatest sign that answers the second question the disciples asked, “what shall be the sign of thy coming?”
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)
This long description that depicts an age of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, and persecutions aptly describes the time since the destruction of the temple until now, culminating to our time in which iniquity abounds and the “love of many” has “waxed cold.”
This day and age that we are now living in has seen the rise of unlimited internet access and satellite communications. Now like never before has the gospel through these mediums reached every corner of the earth and been “preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”
We are seeing the fulfillment of Jesus prophetic answer to this second question, “what shall be the sign of thy coming?”
We are the generation that is in anticipation of the return of the Bridegroom.
(TO BE CONTINUED)