Scripture reading for February 26th: Mark 13
As Jesus and His disciples were leaving the temple for the last time, the disciples were admiring the beautiful buildings. Jesus remarked that, “Not one stone will be left upon another, every one will be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2) This shocked the disciples and they asked Jesus when this would happen and what would be the signs that this prophesy would be fulfilled. Jesus proceeded to warn them about their need to be watchful and the signs to come!
“Watch out that no one deceives you.” (Mark 13:5) Jesus warned them that deception would come and many would fall for the false instead of waiting for Him. Many would claim to come as the Christ. Wars and earthquakes, conflict with nations, and famines would precede the coming as the ‘beginning of birth pains.’ (Mark 13:8)
“Brother will betray brother to death and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:12-13) Times would become perilous for disciples of Jesus. Persecution and hatred would be normal for His followers before the end and His return. Jesus warned them in advance!
“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:24-27) We who believe in Jesus Christ long for that Day!
Scripture reading for February 5th: Matthew 24:29-51, Psalm 25, Proverbs 7:6-23
“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more, When the morning breaks eternal bright and fair, When the saved diverse shall gather over on the other shore, When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.” (Gray)
This old hymn has a lot of theology in it from Matthew 24 and Jesus teaching His disciples what it would be like at the end of the age. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31)
Jesus told the disciples that He would come back on the clouds of the sky in power and great glory. When this happened, the people of the nations of the earth would mourn. This event would happen suddenly and many will mourn because they know that they have not made preparations that they could have made. Those who were ready would be gathered by the angels from all over the earth. This event is what we call the “rapture” or “catching up” of believers.
It is described in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18 in more detail. The trumpet will sound and first the dead in Christ will rise. Those who believe and are living on the earth will be caught up next to meet the Lord in the air. This will all happen in a moment, “in the twinkling of an eye” at the last trumpet. (1st Corinthians 15:51-53) We will then always be with the Lord.
Jesus warned His followers that they must be ready because this would happen suddenly and at a time when no one expected. No one would know the day or hour, but those who knew the Lord would live in a state of readiness. They would be trusting in Christ and doing what God had asked them to do. (Matthew 24:42-46) Those who were not ready and doing what Christ asked them to do when this event occurred would be left out! They would suffer with the hypocrites! Get ready for the trumpet!