Discerning Prophecy And End-Time Signs

Devotional

(All Scripture verses are taken from the New King James Version.)


The Truth About Jesus’ Coming


Will Jesus really come back to earth? The idea of His return is not an empty theory or human calculation. God’s Word is a trustworthy source for understanding Christ’s coming. In addition to the Old Testament prophets who proclaimed the Messiah’s second coming, the Scriptures provide us with several powerful witnesses to the truth of Jesus’ return. This truth is found in the prophetic testimony of Jesus Himself; of His apostles, who heard it directly from Him; of God’s angels; and of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus Himself


Jesus announced His return in a number of places in the Gospels. (See, for example, Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27.) He will not return as a servant to die for us again but as ruler over all. “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16). Jesus confirmed He would return; He even expressed this fact in the book of Revelation when He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).


Jesus’ Apostles


Jesus taught His disciples about His second coming. “Now 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?’” (Matthew 24:3).


Later, the apostles, including Paul, instructed the church about the return of Christ. (See, for example, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:1–2; Hebrews 10:25; James 5:7–9; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 John 3:2; Jude 1:14.) In fact, they believed He would return in their day:


For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17)


Note that those who have died in Christ will be taken up first, followed by those of us who are still alive. We will be transformed in an instant.


Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51–52)


In the first century, the end-time signs that Jesus described had yet to be fulfilled. Today’s generation of believers can know with great certainty that Christ’s appearance in the clouds is imminent—not just because we believe this to be the case, but because the signs are being fulfilled.


God’s Angels


Now when [Jesus] had spoken these things, while [the apostles] watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9–11)


These “men” in white clothing were angels. They testified to the disciples that Jesus’ departure confirmed His promise to come back. The manner of His leaving foreshadowed the manner of His return. Jesus left by ascending to the heavens, and He will return by way of the heavens. 


Additionally, the angel who spoke to John when the apostle received the vision of Revelation affirmed the gospel message, which includes Jesus’ second coming. John wrote, “I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’” (Revelation 19:10).


The Holy Spirit


“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’” (Revelation 22:17). The Holy Spirit cries out in our hearts, testifying of Jesus’ return. We who are the bride of Christ call on the Lord to come because the Spirit gives us the revelation of His impending appearance.


The voices of all these witnesses speak to us through the pages of the Bible. By the work of the Spirit, Scripture comes alive in our hearts. Through the testimony of Jesus Christ, His apostles, God’s angels, and the Holy Spirit, the Word of God reveals to us that Christ’s coming is near.