By Chuck Williams
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Milan
Focal Passage: Matthew 24:32-41
When is the server going to be up and running so I can get online (which may mean you are left out of your gaming.) I am so hungry. I can’t wait to eat (have you checked the scales lately or looked sideways in a mirror)?
Many of the items we are anxious for can wait. But when it comes to Christ’s return there are some things that can’t wait. But until then we have signs that give us insight confidence on what to depend on, and preparation to make for that day.
Signs of times (v. 32-33). The key words in these verses are fig tree. The fig tree is the last tree to blossom in spring, and in the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as a fig tree. It seems Jesus was alluding to the future restoration of Israel. He had already prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, plus the scattering of Israel throughout the nations. Now today there is the regathering of Israel to her own homeland, the ‘budding like a fig tree’ when His return is near — “even at the doors.”
For the last 80 years Jews have been returning to Israel. In 2022 because of the Ukraine/Russia war over 12,000 have returned to Israel. The largest group of Jews not to return to Israel would be found in the good ole USA — mostly in the northeast. It is said that because of their comfortable lifestyle they have little desire to return. That “lifestyle” could be changing quickly.
The last generation. In the 20th century those who lived from 1910-1990 were called the greatest generation because of all the hardship they suffered through.
The last generation will also have to suffer through many hardships leading up to and through the Great Tribulation. When will this be? This writer looks at the beginning of the countdown to be starting May 1948 when the U.N. proclaimed Israel as a nation. The question is, “How long is a generation?” Some say 70 years, others 80 years according to Scripture.
We can say that things are rapidly moving towards some kind of one world order and the rise of the Antichrist.
The promise of His return is more certain than the existence of heaven and earth.
Preparation for that day. What will it be like? This writer believes in the rapture, so therefore it can be said that it will be a day just like any other day on earth.
Suddenly the Lord will call His Bride to heaven before the Great Tribulation. No one knows when, but it will be quickly (in the blink of an eye) and dramatically.
The world will be thrown into chaos, creating the need for a supreme leader to bring things back to normal. His “new normal” will be the greatest damaging deception in history.
Until that day we should do three things: (1) Get your spiritual affairs in order. (2) Tell others about the Lord’s soon return. (3) Pray this prayer every day, “Maranatha, even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)! B&R