Signs of Jesus Second Coming(?)
Is the COVID-19 a pestilence (plague/disease) that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:7; is it a sign of the end of times? Are the cultural clashes a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecies in Matthew 24:10: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” Isn’t this a sign of Jesus’ second coming?
This question is on the minds of many today. It is also being preached by many who have not studied Matthew 24 in its context. Some get caught up in sensationalism and fail to comprehend Jesus’ words.
The context begins in Matthew 23. Because the Pharisees and scribes had rejected Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus pronounced woes upon them. Jesus concludes this pronouncement by telling them their house would be left desolate. Desolate means empty, wasted, deserted. In chapter 24 the disciples are showing Jesus the buildings at the temple. Then Jesus clarifies what he means by “desolate.” He says, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
The disciples are concerned, and asked 3 questions: #1 Tell us, when will these things be? #2 And what will be the sign of Your coming, #3 and of the end of the age?
The signs that Jesus gave: deceivers, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, offences, hatred, betrayal, false prophets, lawlessness, lack of love, were all signs of the desolation of the temple of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 23:37-38 and 24:3. In Matthew 24:34 Jesus plainly said that all those things would come upon that generation. If someone says that these signs are for this generation they make Jesus a liar.
Evidence for this is seen in the fact that in that generation the temple was laid desolate by the Roman army in 70 A.D. Luke 21:20 records these same words of Jesus but he give some details that Matthew did not. It says, “ But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.” That happened about 37 years after Jesus made this prophecy. That prophecy is completed, over and done with.
But Jesus 2nd coming will be like a thief in the night. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus said that only the Father knows when He will come again. Then Jesus uses the illustration of Noah and the flood. Then the thief in the night. Then, in chapter 25, Jesus uses the illustration of the five wise and the five foolish virgins to show that Jesus will come at an hour that you do not expect Him, and that we need to be prepared each and every day for Jesus second coming.
In Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus warned, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.” How can you avoid being deceived? First, study the context (2 Tim. 2:15). Second, read other passages on the same subject (Jn. 5:39). Third, make notes as your read of the who, how, when, where and why (2 Tim. 4:13). Fourth, meditate and pray for wisdom (Ezra 7:10). Fifth, ask other mature and faithful students of God’s word (Acts 8:34). Remember Acts 17:11: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”