Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. (Mark 13:26)
What’s this world coming to? Have you ever heard that question? Well, the Bible tells us! The paradise that was lost be the disobedience of the first Adam will be reclaimed by the obedience of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. Because the first man of the earth, Adam sinned, death came into the world and because the second man from heaven, Christ died and rose again, God’s eternal kingdom is coming! But the birth of that eternal kingdom is like that of a woman in labor—whose birth pains intensify until the child is born (Mark13:7-8). So it is that this world has experienced these pains and now as we are approaching the end, we are beginning to see them become more frequent and more agonizing. Following the rapture of the church, seven years of wrath will come upon a Christ-rejecting world. The last three and a half years—the Great Tribulation—are the worst ever known on planet earth (Mark 13:19-20).
Mark 13 presents this period as a time of PERIL (v.14-23). The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and enter the rebuilt temple and declare himself to be God. The world will think their Savior has come. Most in Israel will believe their Messiah has arrived. Jesus warned that this would not be the case (v.5-6, 21-23). If a Jew is to survive—he or she must flee Jerusalem immediately (v.14-17).
This is a time of POWER (v.24-27). God’s power will be seen in the shaking of the universe. We have heard it said that the darkest hour is just before the dawn—and it will be true before the dawn of earth’s new age and the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ as he comes back to earth in power and glory. That is how it is portrayed here.
This is a time of PROMISE (v.28-31). What a promise! The faithfulness of God is seen in the fruitfulness of the fig tree (v.28-29). We are told to be observant. In the spring, we may not know the date of the last frost, but we can tell as the earth warms that spring is approaching. No man knows the day or hour when Christ will return, but we should be able to discern the season!
It is a time of PREPARATION (v.32-37). The key thing about Christ’s return isn’t whether we get all the details right, but whether we are right with God. Prophecy isn’t given to satisfy our curiosity but to move us to get ready! Jesus didn’t tell us these things for information or even inspiration but for preparation. The message over and over is, “Prepare to meet your God!” (Amos 4:12) God intended to leave a certain uncertainty about the timing so no one would presume on His grace (v.33-37). What difference would it make if you knew the next 24 hours on earth would be your last? They may be!