5) Conditions Surrounding The 2nd Coming
Adapted from – A Bible Study by Jack Kelley (Reformatted and complete scripture quotes added by myblessedhope.com)
A couple of days before He was arrested, Jesus had a private conversation with four of His disciples, His inner circle. They were Peter and Andrew, and James and John, two pairs of brothers. They had asked Him about the 2nd Coming and the End of the Age. His response is contained in Matt. 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It’s called the Olivet Discourse because the conversation took place on the Mt. of Olives. I called our study on it “The End Times According To Jesus” and have included a link to it at the end of this article.
Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; and Luke 21 – The entire scripture is included at the end of the study due to length.
In Matthew’s account, the most detailed, Jesus used several specific geographic and time references. He did this so His readers wouldn’t get confused as to the identity of His ultimate audience. Having commanded us to understand this passage in Matt. 24:15, He wanted to make sure we got it right. I’ll point them out and explain their significance to our subject.
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—” Matt. 24:15
Of course, making the timing of events clear doesn’t stop some from ignoring those references in an attempt to make the Lord’s words fit their preconceived ideas. The result is that some commentators have Him speaking to a different audience than He intended, and appearing to say things He never said.
For example, some take the erroneous view that since the Olivet Discourse is in the gospels it’s for the Church. But in Matt. 24:16 the Lord makes it clear that He’s admonishing a future generation of people in Judea (as Israel was called then) to pray that their flight from the anti-Christ doesn’t take place in the winter or fall on the Sabbath. The mountains of Judea are treacherous in the winter, and Jews are forbidden under the Law to travel more than 1000 paces on the Sabbath for any reason. The warning is intended for latter-day Israel, back in its Old Covenant relationship at the beginning of the Great Tribulation, 3½ years from the Second Coming. The Church is already gone.
“–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Matt. 24:16
In Matt 24:15-21 He explains that the Great Tribulation will begin with the Abomination that causes Desolation, the anti-Christ standing in the Temple declaring himself to be God. That’s the signal for the Jews to flee into the mountains.
15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. Matt 24:15-21
Then in Matt 24:29 He says that immediately after the tribulation ends, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. It’s now 3 ½ years later. The Great Tribulation has ended.
“Immediately after the distress of those days” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’Matt 24:29
Matt 24:30 has people on Earth seeing the Sign of the Son of Man in the sky, His visible return to Earth with power and great glory, and all the peoples of the Earth mourning. It’s now too late for them to be saved and they intuitively realize it. This is the Second Coming. (Contrast the use of the second person “you” and your” in verses 20, 23, 25 and 26 with the third person “they” in verse 30. Jews who heed this warning and flee are distinguished from the nations (Gentiles) who mourn at His return.)
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. Matt 24:30
Matt 24:36 begins with “No one knows about that day or hour …” What day? What hour? The day and hour of His Second Coming. Stay in context. That’s been His subject since verse 30. I believe the reason He said “day or hour” is so we would know for sure that He was talking about the actual Day and Hour of His Coming, not the general time.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matt 24:36
(Matt 24:40-41 are often used to show where a post-tribulation rapture takes place, but a little further along I’ll show you why that can’t be. First let’s continue with our review of the Lord’s time references.)
“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Matt 24:40-41
Matt 25 begins with the phrase “At that time, …” and contains three illustrations the Lord used to describe the time of His Coming. For the purpose of this study, I’ll just high light what they reveal about the identity of their intended recipients. For more complete studies on them, use the links at the end of this article.
The Parable of 10 Virgins
The first one is the Parable of 10 Virgins. It’s sometimes used to illustrate the precarious position of “backsliders” in the Church, but there are several problems with that view.
First, if oil is being used symbolically here, as I believe it is, then the principle of Expositional Constancy demands that it represent the Holy Spirit. Can we lose the Holy Spirit, or exhaust our supply of Him? Ephesians 1:13 and 2 Cor. 1:21-22 both say that the Holy Spirit has been sealed within us as a guarantee of our inheritance, and that it happened solely because we believed the Gospel message. Through out the New Testament, it’s clear that the Church’s position before the the Lord is based on belief, not behavior.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” Ephesians 1:13
“21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.“ 2 Cor. 1:21-22
But no such guarantee is mentioned for Tribulation believers. In fact Rev. 16:15 specifically warns them to stay awake and maintain their righteousness, symbolized by keeping their clothes with them. (Clothing is often used to represent righteousness, as in Isaiah 61:10). Rev. 16:15 implies that Tribulation believers are responsible for remaining steadfast in their faith to avoid losing their salvation.
“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Rev. 16:15
“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
Matt. 25:8 agrees, telling us that all 10 virgins had oil in their lamps at the beginning, but the five foolish ones didn’t have enough to carry them through. Remember, all 10 virgins are caught sleeping when He returns. They all behaved badly. It’s the oil that distinguishes one group from the other.
“The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'” Matt. 25:8
Second, scholars never call these 10 the Bride, but often call them bridesmaids. The Church is the Bride, not a bridesmaid! When did you ever hear of a bride having to plead with the groom for admission to her own wedding?
Third, it looks like they’re trying to get into the Seudas Mitzvah (wedding feast) a banquet that follows the wedding ceremony. If so, none of them made it to the actual marriage ceremony, oil or not, so none of them can be the bride. In fact there’s no bride mentioned anywhere in this parable.
These virgins aren’t the Church. They’re Tribulation survivors trying to get into the Millennial Kingdom. Five were saved during the Great Tribulation, signified by the oil, remained steadfast, and are welcomed in. The five without oil when He arrived did not remain steadfast and are excluded.
This parable teaches that His return signals the deadline after which even the request to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit will be denied. (The foolish virgins, as the parable calls them, were on their way to replenish their oil when the bridegroom arrived.) The door will be closed, and the Lord will deny ever knowing those who’ve come too late.
The Parable Of The Talents
In Matt 25:14, at the beginning of the Parable of the Talents, the word “again” means he’s giving another illustration from the same time period as the parable of the 10 Virgins, the Day of His Coming. Though our use of talent as being a gift or ability derives from this parable, a talent was a Greek unit of measure, usually monetary.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” Matt 25:14
The key to interpreting a parable is knowing that everything is symbolic of something else, so in this parable a talent represents something valuable to the Lord that he wished to have invested. Upon his return, He asks those to whom he had entrusted it what they’ve accomplished.
Those who teach that the talents are gifts given to the Church to be used wisely, producing a measurable return, haven’t read the last verse of the parable. The servant who buried his talent in the ground and produced nothing with it was thrown into the outer darkness, the eternal destiny of unbelievers. Is the Lord teaching a works based salvation here? Threatening us with the loss of our salvation if we don’t produce enough with the gifts He gave us? It can’t be!
Reading the Bible, it’s clear that money isn’t important to the Lord. But Psalm 138:2 says that He values His Word above all else. I believe the talents represent His Word. Those who sow it into the hearts of others find that it multiplies in new believers. Those who study it find that their own understanding grows, multiplying their faith.
“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” Psalm 138:2
But those who ignore His word find that it’s like burying it in the ground. Out of sight, out of mind, until what little they began with is lost to them. This proves it never held any value for them, and condemns them as unbelievers, to be cast into the outer darkness. They had heard the truth and ignored it. Now it’s too late. In 2 Thes. 2:10 Paul describes them as those who perish because they refused to love the Truth and so be saved. Some will bear the further responsibility of having led their followers astray by their refusal to teach the truth.
“and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”2 Thes. 2:10
In His Word, the Lord laid out every action He would take regarding His plan for Planet Earth. “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets,” He said. (Amos 3:7) He did this so man would never have to wonder what He was up to. And where the End of the Age is concerned He had more to say than about any other subject. No one can plead ignorance. Again the point is that some who survive the Great Tribulation will be welcomed in to the Kingdom and some won’t, and faith is the determining factor.
The Sheep And Goat Judgment
Matt. 25:31 leaves no doubt as to the timing on this one. It begins “When the Son of Man comes … ” and goes on to talk about the Lord setting up His throne on Earth after His return for the Judgment of the Nations, actually a judgment of Gentile tribulation survivors. The Lord doesn’t judge nations in the eternal sense, only individuals. The Greek word here is ethnos, and means “people of every kind.” They’ll be judged by how they treated “His brothers” during the Great Tribulation. It’s called the Sheep and Goat judgment, with the sheep being those who helped His brothers through the horrific times just past and goats being those who didn’t.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.” Matt. 25:31
Some say His brothers are believers, whether Jew or Gentile, and others say they’re specifically Jews, but the most important point is that these tribulation survivors aren’t being judged by their works. Their works are being cited as evidence of their faith, as in James 2:18. To give aid to a believer, especially a Jew, during the Great Tribulation will take even more courage than it did in Hitler’s Germany, and will be an offense punishable by death. Only a follower of Jesus, certain of His eternal destiny, would dare do it or even want to. Those who helped “His brothers” will have demonstrated their faith by their works and will be ushered live into the Kingdom. Those who refused to help will have condemned themselves to the outer darkness by this evidence of their lack of faith.
“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” James 2:18
All three illustrations teach the same lesson. Surviving believers go live into the Kingdom. Some will have relied exclusively on the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith, as in the Parable of the 10 Virgins. Others will have multiplied their faith by studying and sharing His word, as in the Parable of the Talents. Still others have put their faith into action, risking their lives in the bargain. They’re the Sheep of the Sheep and Goat Judgment. But just like it’s been throughout history, all are saved by faith.
Where’s The Rapture?
The Sheep and Goat judgment is actually an expansion of Matt. 24: 40-41 “One taken and the other left … ” Beside the timing problem, here’s why these verses can’t be describing the Rapture. The Greek word translated taken in verses 40 and 41 means “received.” Captains choosing up sides in a sandlot baseball game point to someone and say, “I’ll take you.” It means, “Come over here. You’re on my team.” No problem so far, the Lord is taking some but not others.
“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Matt 24:40-41
But the primary meaning of the word translated left is “to send away” as a divorcing husband would “send away” his wife. In those days wives had no rights and except in very unusual circumstances didn’t own property. The marriage home was the husband’s property, usually built on his family’s land. If he divorced his wife, he sent her away to live somewhere else, excluding her from his presence. Unbelievers are not sent away in this manner at the Rapture.
This passage isn’t describing the Rapture. The timing, the context, and the disposition of the parties are all wrong. It’s a summary of the Sheep and Goat judgment. Those taken (received) go live into the Kingdom in their natural bodies and help to re-populate the Earth, while those left (sent away) are put into the Outer Darkness, forever banned from the presence of God. (If Matt. 24: 40-41 is the rapture, how would there be any sheep left for the upcoming Sheep and Goat judgment. They would have all just been taken!)
As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24:37) Let’s back up now and address this overview statement. In the days of Noah the people of Earth could be separated into three groups. There were the unbelievers who perished in the Flood, the family of Noah who were preserved through the Flood, and Enoch who was taken from Earth before the Flood. (Enoch was translated in Genesis 5. That means that God took him live into Heaven. The Flood came in Genesis 6.)
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matt. 24:37
Genesis 5-6: – The entire scripture is included at the end of the study due to length.
In The Time Of The 2nd Coming the people of Earth can also be separated into three groups The unbelieving world that will perish in the End Times judgments, Israel who will be preserved through the judgments, and The Church who will be taken from Earth before the judgments.
There are some interesting similarities between Enoch and the Church. His name means “teaching,” one of the primary roles of the Church. Jewish tradition holds that Enoch was born on the 6th day of Sivan and was translated on his birthday. The 6th of Sivan is the day in the Hebrew Calendar on which the Feast of Pentecost is celebrated. It’s the day the Church was born. Will we be raptured on our birthday as well? Time will tell. In any case, Enoch makes a good model of the Church. But you say, “Enoch was only one body.” So is the Church.
Additional Scripture – from the discussion area above. (Listed at end due to length.)
Signs of the End of the Age
1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29“Immediately after the distress of those days
” ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that itis near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
The Parable of the Talents
14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[g] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The Sheep and the Goats
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Signs of the End of the Age
1As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
9“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
14“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 17How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. 20If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. 23So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
24“But in those days, following that distress,
” ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
26“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
28“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
32“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “
The Widow’s Offering
1As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Signs of the End of the Age
5Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6“As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
7“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
8He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”
10Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
12“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By standing firm you will gain life.
20“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
34“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
37Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
From Adam to Noah
1 This is the written account of Adam’s line.
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.”
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 7 And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 8 Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.
9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.
12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.
15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.
18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.
21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters. 27 Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.
28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
9 This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. 16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
Click on the article title below for a link to original referenced articles by Jack Kelly.