By Nathan Jones
Jesus Christ is coming back to this Earth very soon.
Now, Jesus Himself made it crystal clear that we cannot know the date of His return. He stated in Matthew 24:36, "of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
But, the Bible makes it equally clear that those who have the Holy Spirit living in them — that is, those who believe in Jesus as Savior — can understand the nature of the times that mark His return (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6).
And folks, the season of the Lord's return is now! We are coming to the end of one age and the beginning of the age of Jesus' glorious reign right here on earth.
Signs that Show How to Know
What does God reveal in the Bible that shows us that now is the season of the Lord's return?
Well, there are nearly 500 prophecies in the Old Testament and in the New Testament 1 in every 25 verses that describe Jesus' Second Coming. Included in these prophecies God gives us an abundance of signs to be looking out for to know how soon Jesus' return will be.
What are these signs? Well, one of the categories of signs to be looking out for pertains to the nature of Society. In Matthew 24:37 Jesus says that His coming "will be just like in the days of Noah." What the Lord is saying here is, "I'm going to come back in a time when the earth is in as bad a shape as it was in the days of Noah." In other words, world society will go full circle and return to being as evil as it was in those days.
Genesis 6 describes the days of Noah when mankind's "minds were focused upon evil." In the days of Noah, immorality and violence were everywhere. The Apostle Paul spells it out in detail (2 Timothy 3:1-4), "Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God..." Truly that is the condition of society today.
Another category of end-time signs pertains to the amazing advancements in Technology.
Daniel 12:4 said there would be an explosion of knowledge and an increase in the rapidity of transportation at the end of this age. The Bible describes scenarios that depend on mass communication, satellite television, the Internet, computer technology and medical advances that have become a reality only in our day and time.
For example, Jesus foreshadowed nuclear weapons in Luke 21 in speaking of people "fainting from fear" due to the "powers of the heavens being shaken," and how people will wish to hide underground to escape the devastation (Revelation 6:15).
Think how amazing it is that in the 20th Century people began on horseback and ended in a rocket.
Yet another category of signs pertains to World Politics. The Bible prophesies a very specific end time configuration of nations.
Israel is pictured as a nation once more that is surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors intent on its destruction. This, of course, has been the situation in the Middle East since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in May of 1948 (Ezekiel 35:1-36:7; 37:21-22).
Daniel prophesied that the Roman Empire would be revived. This began with the formation of the European Union (Daniel 2:36-41).
The Bible prophesies a great power located in the "remote parts of the north." This nation will menace Israel in the end times and will ultimately lead an invasion of Israel together with specified allies, all of which are modern day Muslim states (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16). Russia and its Muslim allies fit this description precisely.
More evidence that Jesus will soon return is that at the end of this age Spiritual signs will abound.
Three times in Matthew 24 Jesus warns that the end of this age will see many false prophets claiming to be Christ with a resulting rise in cult followings, misleading many people away from the true teachings of the Bible.
Satanism in the form of witchcraft, New Age, and the occult were prophesied to become mainstream, and so they have. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:1 that "the Spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons."
And, many churches will become apostate, denying Jesus and ignoring His moral law. Paul writes about those who profess to being Christian in 2 Timothy 4:3-4,"The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine... and will turn aside to myths."
But, the signs are not all bad news. We are told that there will be some very positive spiritual signs in these end times. For instance, Jesus said that the Good News of salvation will spread throughout the world. He said, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).
There also will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a greater interest in Bible prophecy and understanding of it (Matthew 24:14; Joel 2; Daniel 12).
As a result of all this turning away from God, God will increase the signs of Nature. Natural disasters of every type increasing greatly in frequency and intensity like "birth pains" are God's way of calling people to repent and return to a loving relationship with Him (Matthew 24:8). Jesus stated in Luke 21:11 that "there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."
The prophetic signs that relate to Israel, though, are the most important of all because the Jews are God's prophetic time clock. What this means is that the Scriptures often tie a prophesied future event with something that will happen directly to the Jews.
An example can be found in Matthew 24 where Jesus prophesied that the re-establishment of the nation of Israel would be an end time sign. Using the fig tree as a symbol of Israel, He prophesied that when the fig tree re-blossoms, the generation that sees that happen will be the one that will witness His return. Well, the fig tree re-blossomed on May 14, 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-established, making our generation the one that will witness the Lord's return.
Jesus gave a similar prophecy about the city of Jerusalem. In Luke 21:24 He prophesied that the Jews would be dispersed from Jerusalem and be led captive among the nations. He then said to watch for their return to Jerusalem because, when they return, it will mark the season of His return.
In fulfillment of this prophecy, the Jews were dispersed from Jerusalem in 70 AD, and they returned in June of 1967, marking this day and time as the season of the Lord's return (Luke 21; Zechariah 8:4-8).
There are other prophecies concerning Israel that mark the end times when Jesus will return. One is found in Isaiah 35 where we are told that the decimated and barren land of Israel will flourish once again. In fulfillment of this prophecy, early in the 20th Century the Jewish settlers began to reclaim the land. Today, Israel has become the breadbasket of the Middle East.
Zechariah 12 tells us that Israel will become a military powerhouse in the end times, and today, the tiny nation of Israel is considered by military experts to have the fourth most powerful military force in the world.
Another key prophetic sign related to Israel in the end times is the one whose fulfillment we are witnessing today — the focusing of world politics upon the nation of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). All the nations of the world, including the United States, are coming against Israel over the issue of who controls the city of Jerusalem.
Truly, Israel's return as a nation almost 1900 years later is a miracle, proof positive that the Bible is the Word of God and that the prophecies in it have come true in this generation.
The Nature of Christ's Return
So why is God giving us all these signs to let us know about Jesus' soon return? Well, the key lies in why He is returning. Jesus is returning to deal with rebellion — sin — before setting up His Kingdom on earth. It is God's merciful and loving nature to let us know beforehand when He comes in justice and judgment to give us a chance to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 explains, "God does not wish that any should perish but that all should be brought to repentance."
God deals with sin in one of two ways — either in grace or in wrath. A person is under either the grace of God or the wrath of God. There is no third option. To be under the grace of God is a glorious thing. It means you have the promise that one day soon Jesus will appear and take you out of this world in an event called the "Rapture" before He deals wrathfully with rebellion (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The Bible promises over and over that those who have accepted Jesus as Savior during this age will be delivered from God's wrath. Romans 5:9 says that "we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." 1 Thessalonians 1:10 states that we are waiting "for His Son from heaven... who will deliver us from the wrath to come." The promise is repeated in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 — "God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."
But, if you're under God's wrath because you haven't ask for forgiveness of your sins and accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will stay behind and experience a wrath unlike anything you can even imagine. This will happen during what the Bible calls "The Tribulation" — seven years when the wrath of man, the wrath of Satan, and the wrath of God will be let loose upon this earth. For seven terrible and terrifying years the Earth will be devastated and billions of people will be annihilated before Jesus' Second Coming.
God is a God of love. Jesus says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." But, God is also a God of justice. The Bible says in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." It is God's very nature to love, but His love demands that evil be dealt with in justice.
The Bible clearly teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning for He is a just and loving God who does not wish that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). That is why He has provided so many signs to alert us to the fact that we are living on the threshold of the Tribulation and the soon return of Jesus Christ.
Where do you stand? Are you under God's wrath because you haven't accepted His free gift of salvation, or are you under God's grace because you have? Will you be one of those raptured before God's wrath, or will you suffer in it? Can you truly say that you are ready for Jesus' return?
You have a decision to make. If you haven't accepted Jesus as your Savior, then heed Mark 1:25. "The time has come...the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Believe in Jesus, God's Son, and have everlasting life.
If you have accepted Jesus as Savior, your sins have been forgiven and forgotten, and you can look forward with confidence to that glorious day when Jesus will appear in the heavens. Make sure in these last days that Jesus is also Lord of every area of your life, so that when He comes He will find you ready.
"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. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:35-37 NIV)