THE END IS NEAR but NOT YET
‘Prophecy is given not to satisfy our curiosity but to show that God knows the future and that He is in control.’
1 Chronicles 12:32
Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.
Pray that all of us would become men and women who have understanding of the times and seasons to know what we ought to do.
YOU CAN KNOW THE SEASON BUT NOT THE EXACT DAY OR HOUR
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
Mark 13:28-32 ESV
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Jesus clearly said that you can know the season: that summer is near.
However, He did say “No One Knows That Day or Hour”
32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
We do not know the exact day or hour but that does not mean we are not informed of the season of His return. We can know the season of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Disclosure to His bond servants
Revelation 1:1 Amplified Bible (AMP)
[THIS IS] the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries]. God gave it to Him to disclose and make known to His bond servants certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass in their entirety. And He sent and communicated it through His angel (messenger) to His bond servant John,
Here Jesus clearly stated that God will disclose to his bond servants the things that must soon take place. John was one of His bond servants, who was told to communicate to us ‘the future bond servants’ the disclosure of the future events:
Revelation 1:19 King James Version (KJV)
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Disclosure of future events is not meant for everyone; God will only disclose to His bond servants. The book of Revelation can only be understood by God’s bond servants. Do I qualify? Am I a bond servant of Jesus Christ?
As were the days of Noah
Matthew 24:36-39 Amplified Bible (AMP)
But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, [men] marrying and [women] being given in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah went into the ark,
And they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away--so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Noah and family were told of the impending flood but the rest of mankind did not know.
Noah was ‘500 plus’ year old when he was instructed to build the Ark. Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. He was given enough time to build the Ark and he and his family were told to get into the Ark seven days before the flood came (Genesis 7:10).
As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. This means that the servants of Jesus Christ will be informed of the season of His return, at least several years before his second coming. The exact date was not given to Noah but he knew the season and he made preparation. He was ready.
How about Jesus coming like a thief in the night?
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
Jesus will return like a thief in the night for those living in darkness. Those in darkness will be surprised at the sudden return of Jesus Christ.
However, God’s people will not be surprised because we know the times and the seasons of His second coming. We are children of light, children of the day, NOT of the night or of the darkness.
Detailed account of Jesus second coming
Matthew 24 (ESV)
Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
Signs of the End of the Age
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
The Abomination of Desolation
15“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
The Coming of the Son of Man
29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
32“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
No One Knows That Day and Hour
36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants[d] and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
1. Why would Jesus bother to give a detailed sequential account of the events leading up to His second coming if we are not supposed to know the season? He could have replied, “My return will be sudden and at any moment”.
2. Why would He bother to give them several ‘Signs of the End of the Age’? He could have said, “I am coming at any moment”.
Instead, from verses 3 to 14, Jesus told his disciples the following:
(1) Deception - many will be led astray
(2) Wars and rumours of wars
(3) But the end is not yet (v 6)
(4) Nations will rise against nations
(5) Famines and earthquakes
(6) Tribulation and death
(7) Many will fall away
(8) Lawlessness will be increased
(9) The love of many will grow cold
(10) This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world
(11) Then the end will come
Clearly Jesus wants his disciples (and future disciples) to know the sequence of events leading up to the End of the Age.
He described in detail when it was NOT YET, and when the End IS NEAR; his return will not be at any moment. We can know the season but not the exact day or hour.
Jesus then spoke of the great tribulation which up to this time has not happen yet. He said he will return after the great tribulation. The great tribulation has to occur first.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days … 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Jesus Christ will come again after the great tribulation.
We are not experiencing the great tribulation yet, so we can be sure Jesus is not coming today or tomorrow or even at the end of this year (2012). We are entering the season that will quickly lead us to the great tribulation. After that, Jesus will return, however the exact day and hour no one knows.
But, how about Jesus telling his disciples that it was not for them to know the times or seasons as in
Acts 1:6-8? “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority…”
Acts 1:6-8 (ESV)
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Notice that the disciples were concerned with the restoration of the earthly kingdom to Israel and not with the furtherance of the ‘kingdom of God’. Jesus was concerned with the kingdom of God. He wanted the Jewish disciples to focus on the expansion of His kingdom. He told them specifically to start in Jerusalem and then to the rest of the world. Only Jewish disciples can start in Jerusalem. Jesus knew that his second coming would be far into their future (about 2000 years from the time of the disciples). So, He told them to focus on being witnesses for the kingdom of God and not on the restoration of Israel. That is why He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority..”
Furthermore Jesus had already told them in great length regarding the events leading up to His second coming before His death and resurrection (in Matthew 24).
Daniel had a similar reply from the Lord
The Time of the End
1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[h] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”…..
8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.
13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days
In verse 8, Daniel asked,“… what shall be the outcome of these things?”
The Lord replied,” Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. … And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” The prophecy given to Daniel about 2500 years ago will be ‘unsealed’ at the time of the end. Daniel was told to ‘rest’ or ‘sleep’ and he will be awakened at the end of days.
The unsealing of the prophecy will occur at the time of the end. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. God will give wisdom to his bond servants to understand. “And those who understand will teach many” (Daniel 11:33, The Interlinear Bible).
Two signs preceding the return of Jesus
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
BUT RELATIVE to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we beg you, brethren,
Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here.
Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),
Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God.
The two signs are:
1. Apostasy (great falling away)
2. Appearance of the man of lawlessness
In the season of End Time, there will be a great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians. This is sad but it is what our Lord Jesus has predicted. The condition of spirituality during the End Time season is so bad that our Lord Jesus even asked, “Will I find faith on earth?”
I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Let us remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ until the end when He will return and receive us to himself.
Dr Philip Cheong