Listen:  102 Question 5

When the Lord Jesus spoke to the Jewish people about His coming back to the earth, He instructed them about the signs of His coming.  Let’s read Luke 21:20-28, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”  Here, and in other places, there were signs given to indicate when the Lord would return to the earth to establish His kingdom.  While no one could know the exact date and time, there were signs given to show that the Lord’s return was near.

In this Church Age, we are not watching for the Lord’s return to the earth; rather we are waiting for the Lord’s return in the clouds for His church as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  The church was a mystery which was revealed to us by the Apostle Paul as we read in Colossians 1:25-27, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Also, the return of the Lord for His church was a mystery as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  Notice how the believers in Thessalonica were not looking for signs of the Lord’s return, they were simply waiting for Him.  1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 says, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

Until the Lord revealed to us the truths concerning the church and the rapture of the church, these things remained a mystery.  It’s important to realize that when the Lord Jesus speaks of His return in the Gospels, He is speaking of His return to the earth, not His return to rapture His church.  While we may see beginnings of events that will take place during the Tribulation Period, there is no sign given that we are to look for that would indicate the Lord’s soon return.  It is so important to realize that the return of the Lord to gather His church is nigh.  The Lord could come at any time.  We read in Romans 13:11, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”  (102.5)