Biblical Prophecy and the End Times

Everyone is interested in what the future holds.  Only in biblical prophecy do we have any assurance of what will truly take place however.

God has given us a roadmap to what the future holds for humanity.  It is not easy to understand prophecy however, just as many Jews missed the coming of Jesus despite all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him.  Fortunately the Bible has an abundance of passages that clearly do tell us what will take place in the future.

Every time a major disaster happens, some people get swept up in wondering whether we are facing the end of the world.  The wise student of prophecy keeps a close eye on Israel and the Middle East as they play an important role in prophecy.  Today the pieces may be coming into place for the return of Christ but we cannot know for sure.  All we can truly know is that Christ’s return may come at any moment and that we have signs to look out for.

Prophecy scares some people but it should give us hope.  We know that God wins.  Jesus is victorious over sin, death, and Satan.  No matter what confusion people may have about prophecy, we can all rest assured in this fact.

There are many ways to discover what you may be looking for in this prophecy section.  The easiest is to just use the search box on the upper left.  You may also choose to select an article by checking out the categories or by looking at the commonly used tags.

Interpreting Biblical Prophecy Looking for the Antichrist
Is this the end? Daniel’s 70 ‘Sevens’ Explained
The Millennial Kingdom

The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ

Gog and Magog – A Big Battle Looms The Future According to Jesus
Mount Olivet Discourse Bible Study

More in depth looks at Bible prophecy on these sites within the Spreading Light Network.

The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ

The differences between the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ have confused a lot of Christians.  Scripture describes several differences between the two events.  Because most post-tribulationists lump the two events together, sometimes as one event, sometimes as consecutive events, this may appear to be an attack on the post-tribulational position.  Likewise, it may appear to have a pre-tribulationist slant to it but the truth is, these arguments may be used in favor of both the pre or mid tribulation views of the rapture.  It is not meant as an attack on the post-tribulation position but simply an attempt to separate the two events.

There are four main passages to read when looking at differences between the events of the rapture and the events of our Lord’s Second Coming.  The rapture passages are 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15.  The passages concerning the Second Coming are Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19.  These passages won’t be cited for each difference looked at but anything outside of these passages will be cited with each point.

See a quick chart comparing the two events:

in pdf format
in excel format

Location of Christians

The first difference to observe is the location of Christians for the events.  In the rapture, believers are called to meet Christ in the air.  In an instant the dead in Christ will rise and the believers who are left will then be called away.  In the case of the Second Coming, Christ returns with angels and thousands upon thousands of His holy ones.  He sets foot on the Mount of Olives and Battles the armies gathered against Him in the Valley of Armageddon.  This can be derived from Rev 16:16, 17:14, 19:11-19.

If not for other descriptions of these two events, it would be feasible that Christians are raptured to meet the Lord in the air and then immediately descend to earth with Him.  This is a mistake many make because they do not look at the other differences surrounding the two events.

Who does He return with?

The next difference is who will be with Christ.  When the rapture is described we are lead to believe that Christ returns alone.  It is an argument from silence because nothing is mentioned one way or another.  When the Second Coming occurs, Christ returns with angels and other Christians.  Jude 14-15 describes this in addition to Zechariah.

Purpose – mercy or judgment?

The purpose of the rapture and the Second Coming must be examined as well.  The rapture is viewed as an act of deliverance as believers are taken from a fallen world to dwell with Christ forever.  The Second Coming will be an act of judgment however.  This is the advent of the conquering king that the Jews looked for in His first coming while missing the suffering servant aspect of His mission.  When Christ returns it will be a glorious day for those who belong to Him as He establishes His kingdom on earth but it will be a dreadful day for all those who stand opposed to Him.

The key to understanding the rapture revolves around God’s mercy and His wrath.  Scripture makes it clear that Christians will not suffer God’s wrath.  In addition to 1 Thessalonians is Revelation 3:10, Luke 21:36, and Romans 5:9.  Many have drawn the conclusion that the Rapture is God’s way to prevent Christians from suffering His wrath.

Who is taken?

The focus of the rapture and the Second Coming is placed upon two different sets of people.  The rapture focuses on Christians as ones who are looking for and awaiting the Lord’s return.  In addition to 1 Thessalonians 4, Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Those who had extra oil and were waiting and prepared for the return of the bridegroom were taken while those who were foolish and ran out of oil were left.

The Second Coming paints just the opposite picture.  It is the foolish unrepentant ones who did not anticipate the Lord’s return who are taken.  In the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13, Jesus instructs that harvesters to allow the weeds to grow among the wheat until the time of the harvest.  Then the weeds are gathered together and thrown into the fire to be burned.  We see a similar picture of judgment in Matthew 24:37-39.  Here Jesus speaks of the how the days will be like that of Noah and His coming would be unexpected.  Many have mistakenly interpreted this passage to be in reference to the rapture.  However, the subjects of the illustration are important.  In the days of Noah, it was the unrighteous who were not looking for the Lord and went about as they pleased.  These people were swept away in the flood while righteous Noah and his family were all that remained.  The coming of the Lord will be like the flood and will sweep away the wicked.

Who will see it?

From our passage in 1 Corinthians we find that the rapture will be instant and “secret.”  No one will be able to witness it, only the effects afterward.  On the other hand, the Lord’s return to the earth will be very visible.  Matthew 24:27 & 30 and Revelation 1:7 declare that all will see him as He returns.  The people of the earth will mourn as they witness the Lord’s return.

We also learn that Jesus will return in the same way in which he left.  Acts 1:11 tells us that Jesus “will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”  The prior verses tell of a slow return that was visible as the disciples watched until He was hidden by the clouds. 

The timing

It is clear from scripture that no one knows when the Lord’s return will be in regards to both His return in the air and His coming to earth.  However, we find from scripture that the rapture is imminent while Christ’s Second Coming follows certain events.

Our rapture passages make it clear that the Lord’s return is imminent.  We find from Matthew 24:43-44 and Revelation 3:3 that the Lord’s return will also be like a thief in the night.  Those who are not watching will be surprised.

The Lord’s Second Coming must be preceded by certain events however.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 we learn that the man of lawlessness must first be revealed.  He will then be destroyed by the splendor of Christ’s coming.

The events of Matthew 24:4-30 need to take place before Christ’s Second Coming as well.  This passage is often used as “proof” that we are living in the end times and that Christ will soon return.  Indeed we have seen a rise in many of these things in our very lifetimes.  However, there will be a much greater increase during the days of the tribulation.  We know that this passage is not simply referring to the days before the rapture because in verse 15 it speaks of the abomination that causes desolation.  We learn from Daniel chapters 9:27 that this abomination occurs in the middle of the final “seven” – the middle of the tribulation.  Likewise, the return of the Lord at verse 30 refers to the Second Coming as we saw above.

The Lord’s return will occur 1260 days after the abomination that causes desolation. (Daniel 9:24-27& 12:11-12.)  Likewise, it will occur after the final 42 months (1260 days or “time, times and half a time” depending on the wording) according to Rev 12:6,14 & 13:5.

Finally, perhaps the weakest argument in favor of events that must precede the Lord’s return to earth – but still in need of mentioning – is the fact that numerous events are recorded in Revelation chapters 6-19 before the Lord’s Second Coming is recorded.  Often prophecy is not recorded chronologically as from our human perspective, but this is still worth mentioning as these are events that must take place and most understand that they will occur before Christ’s return.

The Millennial Kingdom

The Millennial Kingdom follows the Second Coming according to a literal interpretation of scripture.  This causes problems for putting the rapture and the Second Coming together or immediately one after the other.  At the rapture, Christians are immediately changed, made imperishable.  This is found in the discussion of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 as well as 1 John 3:2 which tells us we will be like Christ.  We know that Christ’s resurrected body is not like His earthly body but rather it was changed.

On the other hand, those who are in the Millennium have very mortal bodies as they have not yet been changed.  Isaiah 65:20 records that death will still occur, even if it is at a much slower rate than we presently see.

If the rapture occurs at the same time of Christ’s Second Coming, all Christians will be changed.  This begs the question of who enters the Millennial Kingdom if not the saints who survived the tribulation.  These people would likewise have been raised imperishable and death would not affect them.  Nor would they have children who would be subject to death as Mat 22:30 instructs that there will be no marriage.

It should be noted however, that this is only applicable if one takes a pre-millennial view of the return of Christ.  Other views see the millennium to be figurative rather than literal.  To some, we are living in the millennium currently as the church has inherited the blessings promised to Israel.  According to others of the amillennial view, there is no literal Millennium at all.

The conclusion

This is just one piece of the puzzle in the mystery of what will occur during the end times.  This is not an attempt to persuade one to a certain point of view but rather to show the differences between the rapture and Christ’s Second Coming.  One should educate themselves on the views of the rapture as well as what will occur during the Millennial Kingdom and when it will occur.  (See more on the Millennial Kingdom.)

If scripture were clearer on these issues, there would be less room for argument.  However, this does not excuse us for holding to a certain view and knowing why we believe what we believe.

As Christians we have every reason for hope for the future and we should look forward to the day that the Lord returns for us.

The Millennial Kingdom

The Millennial Kingdom is found specifically in Revelation 20.  Elsewhere throughout prophecy there are events mentioned that will occur during the Millennial Kingdom.  As with all prophecy and all of scripture in general, there are varying viewpoints on the Millennium.  For the purposes of this article, we will be examining the dispensational premillennial view.  We believe this to be the most literal view although we recognize other viewpoints to be derived from the Bible as well and do not look upon them as unbiblical.

Some differences that the other views hold (this is not exhaustive) 

Amillennial – 1,000 years is not literal.  The Millennial Kingdom is occurring now within the hearts of Christians.  The church has taken the place of Israel and has inherited all the blessings promised to Israel. 

Postmillennial – The Millennial Kingdom follows this present age.  It is brought about by an advance of the gospel as the world continues to get better and better.  The church has taken the place of Israel and has inherited all the blessings promised to Israel.  (It should be noted that this view was popular through the 1800’s but lost a lot of followers in the 1900’s after two world wars.) 

Historic premillennial – The second coming of Christ and the rapture occur at the same time just before the millennium.  Christ is currently reigning in heaven but will return to earth but necessarily for a literal 1,000 years.  Israel and the church are distinct but God is not finished with Israel.

To understand the Millennial Kingdom, one must have some understanding of what occurs before it.  Just before or at the very beginning of the tribulation is the rapture of the church.  This is followed by seven years of tribulation.  At the end of the tribulation Satan calls together all of the armies of the world to Armageddon to battle against God.  Christ returns with the armies of heaven of defeats those who are gathered to wage war against him.

At this time the beast and the false prophet are captured and thrown directly into the lake of fire.  Satan is thrown into the abyss and bound for a thousand years.  At this time there is a separation of the sheep and the goats.  There are those who were too young or too old to travel to wage war against Christ but are nevertheless against God.  Also, there are saints who were saved during the tribulation who were not killed.  All people will be called before Christ at this time.

Matthew 25:31-34 describes this: “’When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.  All 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.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  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.’”

At this time, those who were martyred during the tribulation will be resurrected.  They will reign alongside those who were raptured earlier and had returned with Christ at Armageddon.  Revelation 20:4-6 describes this: “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”

Those who have died or were raptured will reign with Christ over the living during the Millennial Kingdom.  During this time it will be a return to what life was like in the Garden of Eden.  Creation will be restored to the way God had intended it, but not fully.  There will still be sin and death.  Sin will be dealt with quickly however, and death will be rare as the one who dies at 100 years of age will be considered a youth.  Isaiah 65:20-25 describes this.

“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.  They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.  They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.  Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.”

This passage is why we believe that some other views of the millennium must be rejected.  This does not describe heaven because there is still death.  But likewise, it does not describe our current state.  It must occur sometime between now and when we reach heaven and someplace that is not in heaven.  It is feasible that if given enough time medical science may reach these heights but it has not to this point nor has it for the past 2,000 years.  It is not possible to reason that this is occurring in a spiritual way in the hearts of Christians. 

During the Millennial Kingdom we see God complete His promises to Israel.  This is why the distinction between the church and Israel is important.  If the church has taken the place of Israel as the “spiritual Israel” the promises of God to Israel can also be fulfilled spiritually and not literally.  Promises that have to be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom involve restoration of land to Israel.  (They have never occupied all of the land that God granted them and possess only a small part of it today.)  Likewise, David was promised an heir would sit on his throne but David’s throne has remained empty for almost 2,600 years.  Jeremiah 33:14-21 speaks of this:

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.  “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.  In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’  For this is what the LORD says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel,  nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.'”  The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:  “This is what the LORD says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant with David my servant–and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me–can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 

Those who believe in a spiritual Israel must believe in a spiritual Millennium because of what takes place during that time.  A separate and literal Israel is in line with the view of a literal Millennium.  Undoubtedly the view of a literal Millennium has gained followers since 1948 when Israel regained a national identity and took hold of Jerusalem and a significant part of their Promised Land.

At the end of the Millennium will be one final time of rebellion.  Despite living with Christ and witnessing the miracles of the Millennium, the hearts of men are still hard and some will rebel.  At the end of the thousand years Satan will be released from the Abyss and he will deceive many and gather them for battle against God’s holy city.  However, a battle won’t even take place as fire from heaven will devour them.  At that time, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown a thousand years earlier.  Thus ends the Millennium.  After the millennium all people will be judged and there will be new heavens and a new earth created. 

Some scholars note that the thousand years may be figurative and may be representative of any long period of time.  While this may be so, we find no reason for not taking the number as literal.  Other views of the Millennium must take the number as figurative because if it is the reign of Christ in the hearts of Christians, we have long since exceeded one thousand years.  Ultimately, we do not believe that the number of years is as important as the fact that the events should be understood to literally occur in the future.

The Future According to Jesus – Part 2

by Pastor Bob Conway

Matthew 23:29 -25:46

Read part 1 of this sermon

THE THIRD PROPHETIC SIGN THAT WILL SIGNAL CHRIST’S RETURN IS A RISE IN FAMINE AND PESTILENCE. There will be an increase of devastating, widespread famine. In our generation, we are faced with severe drought and famine conditions throughout portions of Africa , India , and southeast Asia. many nations in these areas are already unable to properly feed their large populations.  Because of severe drought, millions of acres of fertile, agricultural land have been transformed into arid wasteland.

Large quantities of precious topsoil are lost each year. Tropical rain forest, which contribute significant amounts of our planet’s oxygen and water supply, are shrinking every year. 

Compounding these problems are the staggering statistics concerning the growth rate of the world’s population. Every day more than 225,000 people are added to the earth’s population with the largest percentage born in third world nation where food supplies are already compromised.

Luke 2:11 adds “pestilence” as a sign here. In our generation, health officials have discovered more than 25 new infectious diseases for which there are no known cures or treatments. Growing urbanization, poor sanitation and the increase in air travel have all helped to spread these deadly diseases throughout our world. Though we try to protect ourselves with antibiotic drugs, health officials now find that we may have compounded the problem. Increasing numbers of diseases are showing resistance to traditional antibiotics. Many diseases of the past—bubonic plague, smallpox, diphtheria, yellow fever, malaria—are remerging as strains that are resistant to standard treatments and are becoming deadly threats to human populations. Sexually transmitted diseases are also on the rise. Of these, the AIDS virus is the most dangerous plague in history.

Toxic substances are also proliferating in our environment. Untested chemicals created in laboratories every year are casually introduced into the earth’s biosphere without adequate tests of their effects on humans, animals or plant life. Scientists readily recognize that a large percentage of cancers and cancerous tumors are caused by exposure to hazardous substances in our environment. In addition, the pestilence of pesticides has created an emergence of a new strain of germs highly resistant to chemical eradication.

Plagues and epidemics typically follow famine and war, compounding their terrors. Jesus warned that worldwide pestilence would signify His imminent return. During the coming holocaust of the tribulation, these epidemics will decimate one-fourth of the world’s population according to Revelation 6:8 —

I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

tribTHE FOURTH PROPHETIC SIGN PRECEDING CHRIST’S RETURN WILL BE EARTHQUAKES IN VARIOUS PLACES.

Both Jesus Christ and the OT prophets prophesied that the last days would see an increase in the number and severity of earthquakes. Jesus also indicated that earthquakes would occur in diverse places. In our century, we have experienced an unparalleled increase in the frequency and intensity of “killer” earthquakes that register 6.5 or higher on the Richter scale.

In 1964, when I was in the War Room, I got the rescue operation started for the Alaskan Earthquake, which was one of the biggest at 9.0.

The reported number of severe earthquakes between 1900-1970 totaled only 37. There were 56 occurrences in 1970s, and the 1980s witnessed 74 major earthquakes. The first half of the 1990s posted a record of 125 killer earthquakes worldwide, a significant jump in the geological annals.

Seismologists can calculate an estimated time when the strain along the fault would be great enough to cause an earthquake. As an example, after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake of 7.0, the measurements showed that in the 50 years prior to 1906, the San Andreas fault accumulated about 10 feet of displacement, or movement, at points across the fault. The maximum 1906 fault slip was 21 feet, so it was suggested that 50 years x 21 feet/10 feet, about 100 years, would elapse before sufficient energy would again accumulate to produce a comparable earthquake. If that calculation is correct, we are about three years away from another killer earthquake along the San Andreas fault .

According to Jesus, the intensity of earthquakes will increase like birth-pains before He comes. These are prelude to the great earthquake that is predicted in Revelation 6:12-17 “I watched as [the Lamb] opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” False Messiahs, Wars and Rumors of Wars, Famines, Pestilence, and Earthquakes are the beginning of birth pains. Birth pains are mild warnings compared to the pains that accompany birth. These ever increasing birth pains precede the Lamb opening seven seals of the Title Deed to the Earth that bring Tribulation upon the earth as has never been seen before nor ever will be seen again!

At the end of the seven years of Tribulation, Jesus will return to the earth to judge the nations and establish His kingdom.

Matthew 24:9-31 covers the Tribulation Period, and does not apply to our future since the Church will have been raptured before the wrath of the Lamb. So we will skip down to…
THE NEXT SIGN OF CHRIST’S RETURN THAT APPLIES TO US, MATTHEW 24:32-35 — 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. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
This sign relates to what happened on the second day of Holy week; we are told in Mark 11:12-14
“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig-tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he [literally] said to the tree, “No more into the age, no one may eat fruit out of you.” The fig tree symbolizes Israel .
Fruit represents righteousness acts, but Jesus looked, He found none!
Fig leaves picture self-righteousness works as it did with Adam and Eve.

Mark 11:20-21 tells us what happened on the third day of Holy Week —
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig-tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig-tree you cursed has withered!” Symbolically, Israel had withered! The nation of Israel had been set aside by God until it bears fruit. But before it can bear fruit its twigs must get tender and its leaves come out. In 1948, the fig tree’s twigs became tender and its leaves came out. The nation of Israel that had been dead for centuries came back to life — physical life; not spiritual life just as predicted in the Vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37.

Today, there is an unsaved nation of Israel that awaits its redemption! It is near, right at the door! I believe “summer” (the heat of Tribulation) that will bring about Israel ’s salvation is close. Why do I believe it? Jesus said that “this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Not the generation of Jesus’ day but the generation that sees the Israel the rebirth of the nation of Israel . How long is a generation? Psalm 90:10 tells us — The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. 

You do the math! Summer is near! Jesus goes on to speak of . . . 

THE SUDDENNESS OF HIS RETURN, MATTHEW 24:36-41 

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and 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. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Was Noah surprised by the Flood? No! God had warned Noah and told him to get ready 120 years before it came. The entire world was oblivious to the coming judgment, except for Noah and his family. When the time came, God commanded Noah to take his whole family into the ark and seven days later came the flood waters.

Noah typifies the removal of God’s people before wrath. The day of God’s wrath did not surprise righteous Noah or come as a thief in the night, but it surprised the ungodly!

The Second Coming of Christ will come in two stages. First, His coming in the air to Rapture the Church and take His bride to heaven, and then after seven years of Tribulation, His return to earth with the hosts of heaven to fight the Battle of Armageddon, followed by the establishment of His millennial kingdom on earth.

JESUS THREE PARABLES CONCERNING HIS RETURN, MATTHEW 24:42-51.

All three parables deal with the unexpectedness of His coming. The second parable of the Ten Virgins deals with His return at the end of the Tribulation Period. The third Parable of the Talents speaks of His judgment of one’s faithfulness or unfaithfulness, which results in rewards or Hell!

The first parable makes it clear in uncertain terms that we need to be watching, ready, and serving Christ when He comes. Matthew 24:42-51 — Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But 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. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

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? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow-servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus delay has unsettled some in the church and discouraged others. To counter this unsettling feeling, Jesus gave His disciples an ongoing sign of His death, resurrection, and second coming on Thursday night of Holy Week.
THE SIGN OF CHRIST’S COMING IN THE LORD’S SUPPER

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus has declared in this symbolic act the purpose of His first coming — the giving of His life for the forgiveness of our sins. But death is not the end for Jesus; there is resurrection and His second coming — for He goes on to say in Matthew 26:29 — I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom. Jews vows not to drink wine again until the “Father’s kingdom comes, which is Christ’s earthly reign on David’s throne.” The LORD’S SUPPER, therefore, points both to the past and to the future — to Christ’s death at Calvary and to His messianic banquet, which is His kingdom.

Every time we partake of the LORD’S SUPPER, we look back to our redemption as He hung on the Cross, where He died to exchange our sins for God’s righteousness.

And we look forward to “that day” when He will drink of the cup with us in His Father’s kingdom.

This is the ongoing sign for the Church that believes Jesus is coming again!

Scripture is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.