“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” – Matt. 24:32-34
Jesus has just finished teaching His disciples about the end times and His return. He told them about wars and rumors of wars, about famines and pestilences, about tribulation and persecution, about the rise in earthquakes in various places, about the rise of lawlessness and the love of many growing cold, about the rise of false prophets and teachers, and about the Gospel of the kingdom being preached to the world, about the rise of Antichrist and the Abomination of Desolation, and about signs in the skies. Then He tells them of His coming –
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” – Matt. 24:30, 31
As His elect go through these trials and testings, they will be crying out to Him in prayer for help and grace to stand. In Luke, Jesus answers these prayers –
“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:7, 8
Jesus gives us these warnings so we can remain strong in our faith because He knows that the persecutions and deceptions will be so great that when He comes ‘will He find faith on the earth’. In the Gospel of Luke, He tells us when we see these things to look up –
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” – Luke 21:28
The unbelievers of this world have a saying, “He is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good!” but, Jesus would say, “Unless you are heavenly minded, you will be no earthly good.” We are to be looking for His return.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” – Titus 2:11-13
Now we are living in the age where God’s truth has fallen in the street, as Jeremiah prophesied. An age where the UN, UK are treating Persecuted Christians as “Enemies”, and a California bill would ban Christian teaching on homosexuality. In fact the majority of men and women in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) no longer oppose homosexuality or same-sex marriage. And in the U.S., the Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace.
The UK just canceled 5 scheduled appearances of Franklin Graham because of his ‘anti-Muslim’ views. He dared to preach there is only one way to God – Jesus. People of faith have certainly grown cold in the world. But, in the midst of these things, we are to “look up” and “love His appearing. We are not to look at conditions of this world but at the conditions of heaven. I recently was sent a David Wilkerson clip that speaks to these issues so, I will close with it.
The fig tree has put forth its leaves and the fruit is forming and the end is near. I pray that we will all be ready for the soon return of Jesus.