“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.” Mark 13:24-27 (Read Mark 13)
Today, I tell you: “Watch, the end is near!” I say this, not because I know the day of Christ’s return. As Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). I say the end is near because those things the Scriptures say will happen before Jesus returns have happened; and Jesus said, “when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!” (v. 29).
The four kingdoms in Daniel’s vision have risen and fallen. The little horn which comes out of the divided fourth kingdom has come and, though exposed at the time of the Reformation and losing much of his dominion, continues to speak pompous words and to war against the saints (cf. 2 Thess. 2:1ff). The tribulation described in the beginning of Mark 13 has come. The temple was destroyed and Christians have been and continue to be persecuted around the world. There have been wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines and troubles – “the beginnings of sorrows.” And, of even greater significance, the Gospel has been preached to nations around the world (v 10; cf. Matt. 24:14).
Therefore, I tell you: “Watch, the end is near!” Jesus could come at any time to judge the living and the dead and establish His everlasting kingdom in which only those who have heeded His Word and turned from their sinful and rebellious ways to Him for mercy will dwell. Don’t be caught off-guard and continuing on in disobedience and sin. Don’t be found unprepared and faithless at His coming!
How can we be ready? How can we be prepared for that day when Christ suddenly appears in the clouds of glory? The answer is repentance – to acknowledge our sinfulness and rebellion and to look to Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for mercy (Acts 3:19ff.; Ps. 32:1ff; 1 John 1:7 – 2:2). It is to look to Jesus in faith that He died for our sins and rose again and that God, for Christ’s sake, forgives, cleanses and counts us forgiven and righteous in His sight through faith in Jesus’ name (Eph. 1:6-7; John 3:14f.; Rev. 7:14ff.).
O dearest Jesus, grant that we be ever watchful for Your return and always ready through faith in Your blood shed for our salvation. Amen.
[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]