Stay Awake for His Coming

Jesus added, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42). The verb “stay awake” is from the Greek gregoreo, which means “be on the alert, be watchful.” (Gingrich); “be watchful, vigilant, alert (MT 24.42) (Friberg); or “to remain awake because of the need to continue alert – ‘to stay awake, to be watchful.’” (Louw-Nida) Do you know of someone whose name is “Gregorio” or “Greg?” The name means, “stay alert, vigilant, watchful.”

This is the main purpose of Jesus in teaching about the future (eschatology). Jesus did not teach the future to satisfy our curiosity. Jesus did not teach the future to make us afraid. Jesus did not teach the future to make us relax until the last minute. Rather, Jesus taught us about future things so we will stay awake, be alert, and be vigilant.

Why should we stay alert for His coming? Jesus said, “For you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

What does it mean to stay alert for His coming? It means “being prepared” for His coming. (Hagner) It involves action, not inaction. It means activity, not passivity.

“An alarming photograph taken in the lobby of One World Trade Center shows a half-blind security guard sleeping on the job – but the security guard swears he was in fact ‘exercising’ his bad eyes.

. . . .

“‘To my knowledge, actually I was not sleeping. I was mistaken to be sleeping. I was exercising my eyes,’ he insisted to the New York Post.[1]

Jesus said, “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? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Matt. 24:45-46). This is what it means to be prepared for His coming. The faithful servant is prepared for his master’s coming because he is working when his master arrives. He gives food for the other servants at the proper time. He is diligent. He is faithful to the task. He meets the expectation of his master.

What has your Lord commanded you to do today? What has your Lord committed to you to do today? What has your Lord challenged you to do today?

Are you called to teach the Word? Then teach the Word diligently.

Are you called to make music in the worship team? Then make music faithfully.

Are you called to share the Gospel to others? Then share the Gospel to others persistently.

Are you called to give? Then give generously.

When the Lord comes, you should be working for Him. You should be serving Him. You should be living for Him. That is what it means to be prepared for the coming of your Lord. For you do not know what day your Lord is coming!

[1] “Half-blind security guard caught sleeping at WTC insists was just ‘EXERCISING his eyes’ exposing another security lapse at the building that rose from 9/11’s Ground Zero.” Cited October 15, 2017. Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2591303/First-line-defense-Half-blind-guard-caught-sleeping-WTC-says-just-exercising-eyes-exposing-ANOTHER-security-lapse-nations-tallest-building.html.

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The Time of His Coming is Like the Sudden Removal of Some People

Jesus said, “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left” (Matt. 24:40-41). Jesus tells a second parable about two men and two women doing normal daily activities of His time. The sudden removal of people doing their thing shows the suddenness of His coming.

The two men are probably farmers. One will be taken and one left.

In the East, hand mills are common in every village. Two women would sit at the hand mill facing each other. (Cambridge) The mill has two heavy stones, one on top of the other. The millstones are 2 feet in diameter. (Barnes) One woman holds the lower stone. The other woman turns the upper stone and grinds the corn. (Ellicott) The woman with the lower stone turns it to complete the revolution.

Jesus said that two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and one left. Thus, the time of Christ’s coming is as sudden as the abrupt removal of people from each other.

Now Jesus is not talking about a secret rapture of believers to heaven. Matthew 24 is not about the rapture of believers to heaven but about the coming of Christ to earth. The context is Christ’s coming in vv. 29-31.

Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 24:31). The angels will gather the elect from around the world. If the elect is working in an office, they will take him from there. If the elect is sitting in a house, they will take her from there. If the elect is your sister, they will take her. If the elect is you, they will take you.

Jesus said one will be taken. Since the angels will gather the elect, the one who will be taken is the elect, the Christ-follower. The one who will be left is the unbeliever.

The Unexpected Time of His Coming is Like the Flood in the Days of Noah

Jesus said,

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. (Matt. 24:37-39)

Jesus cites the flood in Noah’s time to illustrate the unexpectedness of His coming. Jesus’ coming is as unexpected as the flood in the days of Noah. Before the flood, people were doing what they were always doing. They were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. They were partying, laughing, and dancing.

Over at A. Lopez, I look out of my office there and see people doing what they were always doing. People are selling and buying food on the street. Children are playing. Some are playing cards. Some are drinking “tuba” (coconut wine). Some are walking to and from their houses. Some are going out to work.

People in Noah’s days were busy doing their thing until the day Noah entered the ark. They “were unaware” until the floods came and swept them away. As people were unmindful in the days of Noah, so people will be unmindful of Christ’s coming. As the flood was unexpected in Noah’s days, Christ’s coming judgment will be so unexpected to an unprepared people.

The Unexpected Time of His Coming

Today, we will look into the unknown timing of His coming. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Verse 36 sets the theme for the rest of the speech in 24:37-25:46. The theme is the unknown, unrevealed, and undisclosed time of Jesus’ coming. In vv. 37-44, Jesus uses three pictures of the unexpected time of His coming—the days of Noah, two men and two women, and the thief in the night.

In v. 33, Jesus said that you can know the nearness of His coming. But in v. 36, Jesus said that you cannot know the time of His coming. The nearness of His coming is predictable because of the signs. But the time of His coming is unknowable to all except the Father.

We do not know the time of His coming. The angels do not know the time of His return. Even the Son of Man does not know the time of His arrival. Only the Father knows.

Now many have asked the puzzling question, “How can Jesus, the Son of Man, not know the time of His coming? Isn’t He God in the flesh?” That is a good doctrinal question. I will give a doctrinal answer.

Yes, Jesus is the God-man, God in the flesh. He is fully God and fully man–100% God and 100% man. He has two natures—the divine nature and the human nature. The divine nature is distinct yet inseparable from the human nature. These two natures co-exist and unite in one person of Jesus, forever. Thus, Jesus is one person having both divine and human attributes.

As fully God, Jesus possesses the divine attribute of omniscience–the knowledge of everything. Yet as the God-man, He set aside His omniscience willingly. Jesus can choose to know everything (Matt. 12:25; Lk. 6:8; John 6:64). But as to the time of His coming, Jesus chose not to know everything. He voluntarily limited His omniscience. (Blomberg)

Paul wrote,

Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born    in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8).

Jesus is God. But He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. The noun “a thing to be grasped” (harpagmos) means “greatly desired, a prize, a piece of good fortune, something to hold on.” (Gingrich)

Have you received a gift check? A long time ago during our office Christmas party, I received 5 gift checks of Php 500.00 each. That’s a total of Php 2,500.00. It was a lot of money at the time. I held on to it dearly.

Jesus is God. But He did not count equality with God something special to hold on. Yet He made Himself nothing, Paul wrote. The verb phrase “made himself nothing” (kenoo) means “to completely remove or eliminate elements of high status or rank by eliminating all privileges or prerogatives associated with such status or rank—‘to empty oneself, to divest oneself of position.’” (Louw-Nida) When Jesus “made himself nothing” in his incarnation, He divested himself of divine privileges inherent in His divinity. He did not empty Himself of His divine nature. Rather, He set aside His divine prerogative of omniscience in obedience to the Father. Yet though Jesus set aside His omniscience, He did not surrender that divine attribute.

Regarding Jesus’ return, then, Jesus chose to limit His knowledge about it. Thus, Jesus can say honestly that even the Son of Man does not know the time of His coming.

 

 

The Conviction of His Words About His Coming

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). The verb “pass away” (parerchomai) means “come to an end, disappear Mt 5:18a; Mk 13:31; Lk 21:32; 2 Cor 5:17; Js 1:10; 2 Pt 3:10).” (Gingrich) On the day of the Lord, heaven and earth shall be destroyed.

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner” (Isa. 51:6).

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Pet. 3:10).

Heaven and earth will come to an end on the judgment day of the Lord.

Then Jesus said, “But my words will not pass away” (v. 35). In relation to Jesus’ words, the verb “pass away” means “lose force, become invalid Mt 5:18b; Lk 21:33b;” (Gingrich) or “left unfulfilled (MT 24.35b).” (Friberg)

Jesus is not talking about His teachings in general. Rather, the context points to His words about the future—about the signs of His coming and the nearness of His coming. Heaven and earth will pass away but His words about the future will not be left unfulfilled. It will happen exactly as He said it will happen.

Ray Pritchard tells the following story of a businessman who took his young son along with him to the office.

“He asked the boy to wait on the steps while he went inside to do his work. Soon he became so engrossed with his business that he forgot about his son waiting outside. Leaving the building by a different door, he went home alone.

“Several hours later the family sat down to dinner but the son was not present. His mother became anxious and wondered where he might be. Then the father remembered where he left his son. Hurrying back to his place of work, he found his son, tired and hungry, waiting as he had been instructed to do.

“I knew that you would come, father,” he said, “you said you would.”

Heaven and earth will pass away. But Jesus’ words about His coming shall not pass away. It shall not lose its force. It will happen accordingly, accurately, and absolutely.

Jesus’ words about His return are founded on Him whose word is true. Jesus’ words are absolutely true and trustworthy.

Conclusion

When you see the signs, you know that Christ’s coming is near. Heaven and earth will pass away. But Jesus’ words about the future will not pass away. His prophecies will happen exactly as He said it would. His words will stand true for eternity.

Since heaven and earth will pass away, how then should you live?

Peter wrote,

 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness . . . 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation . . . 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:14-15, 17-18, emphasis added).

The Generation of His Coming

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt. 24:34). In Matthew, the phrase “this generation” refers to the sinful, evil generation. Jesus said, “But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign” (Matt. 12:39).

I was shocked to know about the sins of this sinful generation in the Philippines.

“Recent (2014) data from the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) reveal that every hour, 24 babies are delivered by teenage mothers. According to the 2014 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) study, around 14 percent of Filipino girls aged 15 to 19 are either pregnant for the first time or are already mothers—more than twice the rate recorded in 2002. Among six major economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Philippines has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies and is the only country where the rate is increasing, per the United Nations Population Fund.”[1]

“Filipinos are the second highest consumers of alcohol in South East Asia after Indonesia, and number one in terms of wine drinking. A 2001 survey of the World Health Organization of those aged between 15 and 74 years found that the rate of drinking was 11.1% of the population, with 13% males and 5.9% females. Regular drinking is defined as drinking four days or more per week.”[2]

“The Philippines has more casinos than Macau, with twenty found in Metro Manila alone.” Legal gambling includes casino, sweepstakes, horse-betting, cock-fighting, street games (pusoy dos, mahjong, tong-its, and sakla), and online gambling. Illegal gambling includes jueteng, masiao, and last two.[3]

In Matthew, it is an evil generation because people are unrepentant of their sins. This adulterous generation is unbelieving of Christ, rejecting His kingdom. This sinful generation is ungodly, committing more sins than before.

The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah . . . The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon . . . When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless  places seeking rest, but finds none . . .  Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” (Matt. 12:39, 41-45; cf. 11:16; 23:36, emphasis added).

Jesus said that this sinful generation will not die until all these things will happen. Some scholars think that this sinful generation refers to the contemporaries of Jesus. But did all the signs happen to the evil generation then living in Jesus’ time?

Some think that all these things refer only to the fall of Jerusalem. However, all these things include all these other signs at the end of the age.

Did all the false christs and false prophets come in Jesus’ generation? Were there wars and rumors of wars? Were there famines and earthquakes in many places?

Was there rampant persecution and death of believers? Did many fall away from the faith? Was the gospel of the kingdom proclaimed to all the nations?

Did the Antichrist set up his image in the Temple in Jerusalem during the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries? Was there great tribulation and suffering in the world?

Did the sun darken? Did the moon lose its light? Did the stars fall from heaven? Did the heavens shake?

The answer is No. All of these things did not happen to the degree that Jesus predicted them in the generation of Jesus’ time.

Most likely, Jesus is not talking about His contemporaries but about the kind of sinful generation of His time. More, since the signs will occur in the future, at the end of the age, it refers to the kind of sinful generation yet living before His coming. This type of generation rejects Christ and His righteousness. This class of people will be around at the end of the age. This kind of sinful generation will not die until all the signs will take place in the end times.

[1] Carin Van der Hor, “Teenage pregnancy among today’s Filipino youth,” Inquirer.net, May 15, 2014. Cited October 7, 2017. Online: http://opinion.inquirer.net/74517/teenage-pregnancy-among-todays-filipino-youth

[2] Monina Garduno-Cruz, “Alcoholism and alcohol abuse,” Philippine Star April 27, 2015. Cited October 7, 2017. Online: https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/the-philippine-star/20150427/281711203195840

[3] “7.2% GDP growth: Gaming the numbers?”. The Manila Times. Retrieved 8 July 2017.

The Manifestation of the Nearness of His Coming

In Jesus’ teaching about the end times, He called for discernment and obedience to His commands (Matt. 24:4, 6, 16–18, 20, 23, 26, 32).[1] Discernment means discrimination. You must discriminate between the true and the false. You must discern what is God’s Word and man’s word. We must be discriminating to every Pastor, teacher, and teaching. By implication, do not believe every Pastor, every teacher, and every teaching. Do not go to any church, for you will hear teaching that is not biblical.

Today, we will study the nearness of His coming. How do we know that Christ’s coming is near? Jesus teaches about the nearness in the parable of the fig tree. It is the first of seven parables in the Olivet Discourse.

Jesus said, “’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 all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates'” (Matt. 24:32-33). The parable is easy to understand. When the fig tree produces leaves, you know that summer is near. The fig leaves refer to the signs of His coming. The nearness of summer refers to the nearness of His coming. Thus, when you see all the signs of Christ’s coming, you know that Christ’s coming is near. When all these things manifest themselves, Christ’s coming is near.

What are “all these things” in vv. 33-34? “All these things” refer to the signs prior to Jesus’ coming in vv. 4-28. To review, Jesus said false christs and false prophets will come. There will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be famines and earthquakes in many places.

They will persecute believers and put them to death. There will be falling away from the faith. Many will betray one anther and hate one another. The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed to all the nations.

The Antichrist will set up his image in the Temple in Jerusalem—the abomination of desolation. Jerusalem will be destroyed. There will be great tribulation and suffering in the world.

The sun will be darkened. The moon will not give its light. The stars will fall from heaven. The heavens will be shaken.

Now when you see the fig tree sprouting leaves, when you all these signs happening, you know that Jesus’ coming is near. Jesus said that His coming is “near, at the very gates” (v. 33). His coming is not far off, out in the country. His coming is not even outside of the city. Rather, his coming is at the very doors! It is that near!

“Dr. Horatius Bonar, (the prince of Scottish hymn writers, 1800’s, served the Lord for 60 yrs.), when he’d draw the curtains at night, would say, “Perhaps Tonight Lord!”

Also, in the morning he’d draw open the shades and see the new day and say, “Perhaps Today Lord!”[1]

In terms of time, His coming is imminent, impending, and forthcoming. His coming can be at any time now, at any moment.

Peter wrote,

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Pet. 3:8-9)

E. B. Cranfield wrote, “The Parousia is near . . . in the sense that, since the decisive event of history has already taken place in the ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, all subsequent history is a kind of epilogue, an interval inserted by God’s mercy in order to allow men time for repentance, and, as such an epilogue, necessarily in a real sense short, even though it may last a very long time.”[2]

Between now and the soon coming of our Lord, God is patient with sinners, giving them time to repent. Meanwhile, our job is to go and tell them the Gospel. How can they repent unless they hear? How can they hear unless we go and tell them the Gospel. Because Jesus’ coming is near, we must go and tell people to turn from their sin and trust Christ as their Savior.

[1] W. C. Davies and Dale C. Allison Jr., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew.

[2] http://www.calvarymurrieta.com/assets/studies/new_testament/40-matthew-024-032.pdf

[2] C. E. B. Cranfield, “The Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Eschatology of Luke-Acts,” SJT 16 (1963): 300-301.

 

His Coming Shall be Associated with the Worldwide Gathering of the Elect

Jesus said, “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 others” (Matt. 24:31). Jesus will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call. The trumpet is linked with the gathering of the righteous. “And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem” (Isa. 27:13).

Now we should not confuse Matthew’s trumpet with Paul’s trumpet. Matthew’s trumpet is the trumpet of Jesus’ coming. Paul’s trumpet is the trumpet of the rapture. Paul writes about the sounding of the trumpet and the raising of the dead in Christ first (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16). But Matthew does not mention the raising of the dead in Christ. Matthew 24 is not about the rapture but about the coming of Christ.

Let me give you a glorious picture of Jesus’ coming to earth.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev. 19:11-16)

With the signal and the trumpet, Jesus will come and gather His elect. In Matthew, the elect are all those who repent their sin (Matt. 4:17). They follow the teachings of Jesus. They live by the principles of the kingdom of God.

Do you trust and obey Jesus today? Do you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness? Then you are the elect of Christ.

Conclusion

Christ shall come after the Tribulation. His coming shall be accompanied by cosmic events and the sign of the Son of Man. The nations will mourn His glorious coming. He will judge the nations when He comes. He will gather His elect from the four corners of the earth.

Seeing that these will happen soon, what should be our attitude?

Paul wrote,

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed . . . 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter (2 Thess. 2:1-3, 15).

His Coming Shall Affect the Nations

Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 24:30). Matthew alludes to Zech. 12:10 and Dan. 7:13. “When they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn” (Zech. 12:10, emphasis added). “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him” (Dan. 7:13, emphasis added).

In Matthew, the “tribes of the earth” refer to the nations (Matt. 25:32). “All the tribes of the earth” refer to all nations. All the nations shall see the coming of Christ. All the nations shall mourn His coming.

The verb “mourn” is in the middle voice (kopsontai). In the middle voice, it means “beat one’s breast as a strong expression of grief or remorse; hence mourn, lament (RV 1.7).” (Friberg)

Why would all the nations mourn at Jesus’ coming? For believers, Jesus’ second coming is a “blessed hope.” It is a happy hope—a hope that makes us happy. But for all who do not obey Christ, His coming will make them mourn. They will beat their breast. They will feel sad. They will grieve, as one who grieves over the death of someone.

Why would all the peoples mourn at Jesus’ coming? Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done” (Matt. 16:27). Jesus will judge people according to what they have done.

Are the nations afflicting Jesus’ followers today? When Jesus comes, He will afflict the nations that persecuted His people. Are you doing something that offends God today? When Jesus comes, He will repay you according to what you have done.

Paul wrote, “God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2 Thess. 1:6-8, emphasis added).

If you do not believe the Gospel today, you do not obey the Gospel. If you do not obey the Gospel now, you will mourn when Jesus comes. If you do not worship God now or you do not give time for God or give to God, you will mourn when Jesus comes.

Now John combines both OT texts, Zech. 12:10 and Dan. 7:13, and quotes them in Rev. 1:7. “Behold, he is coming with the clouds [Dan. 7:13), and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him [Zech. 12:10], and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him [Zech 12:10]. Even so. Amen” (Rev. 1:7, emphasis added). Thus, the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in heaven. The nations will see Christ coming on the clouds with power and glory. Then all the nations shall mourn.

Are you ready for Jesus’ coming?

His Coming Will be Announced with the Sign of the Son of Man

Jesus said, “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:30). After the cosmic events, “then” the sign shall appear. The adverb “then” (tote) makes the sign of the Son of Man a separate event from the other cosmic events.

Matthew does not specify the sign of the Son of Man. But we note two things about this sign. It appears in heaven. It attracts all the tribes of the earth. Hence, it alerts the world to the coming of the Son of Man.

Perhaps the sign will be an “ensign” or a “standard” in the heavens.

Back in High School, I was trained as an officer in the MOCC—Marines Officer Candidate Course. The MOCC was a grueling 2-week training. We’d wake up at 4:30 AM and do push-ups, jog around the city, and go back and have breakfast at 6 AM. We’d eat in reverse—the water first, then the hotdog, the egg, and then the rice.

After Officer training, they assigned us to our units. I wanted to lead a platoon of 36 men. I imagined shouting, “Lousy! Give me 10 push-ups in 10 counts. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!” But they assigned me to a flag-bearing unit of four men. We carried the signal, the standard of our battalion.

“He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:12, emphasis added). The word “signal” (nes) means “standard, as rallying-point.” The “signal” or “standard” is a “signal of war . . . (esp. to the nations, for destruction or deliverance of Judah.” (BDB)

When God raises a signal, He gives a signal of war. “All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when a signal is raised on the mountains, look! When a trumpet is blown, hear” (Isa. 18:3, emphasis added)! God raises a signal and then blows the trumpet. In the Olivet discourse, we see the Lord raising a signal and blowing a trumpet. Jesus said, “There will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man . . . and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet sound” (Matt. 24:30-31, emphasis added). Thus, the sign of the Son of Man and the trumpet sound might be the signal of Christ that He is coming to judge the nations.

The cosmic events indicate the judgment of God in the end times. The sign of the Son of Man and the trumpet may also indicate the judgment of Christ upon the nations.

I will ask you the third time, “Are you ready for His coming?”