Matthew 24:3 …”Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?”
The end is near. But exactly how near? What events lead up to this ‘conclusion of the system of things’? This is what Jesus’ disciples wanted to know. Jesus gave a detailed answer (read in full here) in the rest of the chapter. Here are just some of the signs:
— ‘For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.’ (Matt. 24:7) There will be many wars, famines and earthquakes. Already we see that these things are increasing all over the world.
— ‘For then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.’ (Matt. 24:21) Things will be very bad on this earth. ‘In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.’
— ‘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.’ (Matt. 24:29) These are huge signs that no-one could miss… it is so near the end.
— ‘And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.’ This is one of the last things that happens. I would really want to be on God’s side at this stage; to be one of his chosen ones. The angels here have been sent to gather them and keep them safe.
Matthew 24:32 goes on to say: ‘Now learn from the fig tree as an illustration this point: Just as soon as it’s young branch grows tender and it puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors.’
So when exactly is the end coming? People have many different ideas. Lots are saying that the world will end in 2012. But will it? Matthew 24:36 ‘Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.’
So only one person actually knows, and that is Jehovah God.
Matt. 24:37-39 ‘For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.
People will carry on their lives as normal. Most will choose not to see the signs. “They took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.”
We want to be on the ark, as Noah and his family were.
‘But know one thing, that if the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. On this account you too prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.’ (Matt. 24:43,44)
At an hour that you do not think to be it. A time you don’t expect. A surprise. If you wanted to catch a bus, and you didn’t know what time it was coming, you would want to be standing out there on the roadside watching for it until it came. Especially if catching that bus meant your life. There’s only one bus there, just the one chance… we need to ‘keep on the watch’ and ‘prove ourselves ready’ so we don’t miss it.
Don’t go to sleep on the roadside and let the bus roar past without you… Catching the bus – being ready, and on Jehovah’s side when his Kingdom comes – means everlasting life. I’d encourage you to read the rest of Matthew 24, and even chapter 25 too, they’re very interesting, and useful, scriptures.
It’s not ‘The End of the World,’ so to speak, it’s the beginning of a new world, the new system, a perfect kingdom that rules forever. It’s a beautiful prospect. I want to catch that bus… do you?