The Awesome Second Coming of Christ (Mark 13:24-27)

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

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The Awesome Second Coming of Christ

The return of the King–from the gospel of Mark 13:24 to 27

“I’m coming for you!” That doesn’t always mean something bad. When it comes to Jesus Christ, “I’m coming for you,” is not only good, but next to the cross, it’s the greatest event in the history of planet Earth. The return of the King is not merely the third movie in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy–it is what Christ is going to do.

Open your Bibles to Mark 13. Jesus Christ is coming back. His return will not be secret. It will be unmistakable, obvious, glorious, and awesome. And today in Mark 13:24 to 27, the Lord through the gospel writer describes His magnificent return to rule planet Earth. Look at verses 24ff, as I preach this one hundredth sermon from the gospel of Mark, and we celebrate the return of Christ.

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

These verses make three declarations about the Lord coming back. The Lord will permanently return to planet Earth, 1) in the midst of chaos, 2) in power and glory, and 3) it will be for His own. But before we open up the truth found in Mark, let me take the bag off the lamp and shed some light on this glorious event.

Do you remember any of the big events in recent history? No one here remembers the market crash of 1929. A couple may remember the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 that resulted in America’s entrance into WW2. Do you remember the Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963? Or the moon landing on July 20, 1969, or Mount St Helens exploding on May 18, 1980? Or the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986, or the terrorist attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001?

All big events people remember–so big people recall where they were when they happened. But all of those events pale in comparison to the next biggest, never forgettable event–the awesome return of Christ. But . . .

1.  Why?

Must Christ return? What reasons does God give us in His Word for His Second Coming? Because . . .

First  The PROMISES of God require Christ’s return

From the first book to the last book of the Old Testament, God’s Word has promised the return of Christ. In the Old Testament, there are around 333 promises of Christ’s coming. More than one hundred were fulfilled at His first coming specifically and literally, leaving over 200 promises yet to be fulfilled literally at His Second Coming.

Just one of them in Zechariah 14:5 and 9 say, “Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! 9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” Don’t you love that? He’s the only one! God’s Word repeatedly promises He will return.

Second  The TEACHING of Christ requires Christ’s return

Christ’s own words make it clear He will return. In fact, if Jesus doesn’t return, then He is a liar and not God. John 14:2 and 3, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” The Lord repeatedly taught He’d literally, physically return to earth.

Third  The BRIDE of Christ requires Christ’s return

Revelation 19:6 to 8, “’Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.’ 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

The Bible describes the Second Coming like a groom coming to claim His bride. New Testament marriages were arranged by parents, and dowries were paid, just like Christ paid the price for His Bride. The groom even took up to a year to prepare a place for his bride to live, just like Christ is preparing for us now. Then the groom returns with his friends, to take His bride to himself, just as Christ will do for His Bride. The true picture of the Church as the Bride of Christ requires Christ to return for His Bride.

Fourth  The WORLD’S sin sickness requires Christ’s return

Christ must return to judge the world. There is too much sin, too much injustice, rebellion, perversion, defiance, and too much wickedness for Christ not to come back and judge this world. Read these sober words in 2 Thessalonians 1:7 to 10. “When the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.”

Sin must be judged. If you are in Christ, your sin is already judged on the cross. You can stand in God’s presence because your sin was placed on Christ, and He gave you His righteousness so you can go to Heaven only because of Christ’s perfection. But if you’re not in Christ, then your sin must be judged, and judgment will fall upon you. You have no substitute. You have no imputed righteousness. You can’t stand in God’s presence. You’re doomed. The need for judgment for sin requires Christ to return. Why else?

Fifth  The PROMISES made to Israel require Christ’s return

God promised His people Israel He’d come and be their King. He says in Daniel 2:44, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”

Israel was promised a King and a Kingdom–their King came, but they rejected Him. But during the Tribulation, Israel will realize what they did, like Zechariah 12:10 describes, “They will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” In the future, Israel will finally acknowledge Christ as their Messiah, the one they missed and misunderstood, and they will deeply grieve and repent in their hearts for how they treated Christ, as they turn to Him in salvation.

Today, Israel is still hardened to Christ, but one day they will be tender to Him. That day is coming–Paul proves it in Romans 11:25 to 26, “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved.” God repeatedly promised Israel a King and a Kingdom, and in the future, they will come to see that it was and is Christ.

Sixth  The WORK of Satan requires Christ’s return

Christ must vanquish the devil. Though Satan is already a defeated foe, he still exercises a kind of dominion over this world–he’s even called the ruler of this world three times in the gospel of John. So Christ must return in order to reestablish His righteous rule over this planet, and do away with the unrighteous usurper.

We ought to cheer when we read Revelation 20:1 to 3, which tells us, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer.” Christ will return to finish the work of the devil. And finally . . .

Seventh  The HOPE of every Christian requires Christ’s return

Our God does not give false hope. He knows what we’re waiting for, He knows the longing of our hearts, and it is only His return which fulfills the deepest longings of our hearts. We long for peace, justice, righteousness, fairness, love. Every true Christian longs for 2 Timothy 4:8b, “… the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” We long for and love his return. Our hope for our future is all based on His return. But . . .

2.  HOW?

Will Christ return? How does the Bible describe the return of Christ? Christ will return personally, literally, visibly, suddenly, dramatically, gloriously, and triumphantly. The angels at Christ’s ascension say, Acts 1:11. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Jesus is not returning spiritually, religiously, symbolically, or mystically–nor is Christ coming back incognito nor secretly. No one, saved or lost, will be questioning, “Who is this? It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s the God-man!” No, not one person will wonder, misunderstand, or mistake Christ for someone else. Everyone will know for certain. Revelation 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him.”

No one will know the exact time of His coming. Revelation 3:3, “I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” But when it happens, it will be dramatic and glorious. Matthew 24:29 and 30, “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 the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 . . . then . . . they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

But make no mistake, Christ will return as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, riding on a white stallion. He’s coming back to conquer, and it will be no contest. Victorious generals in the Roman Empire rode white stallions after great victories to symbolize their conquests. And Jesus rides a white stallion as He goes forth to fight the final great battle on earth, Armageddon. Victory is sure. Christ will win.

All the armies of the earth will be amassed to meet Him, yet amazingly there is no struggle recorded. All Jesus has to do to completely vanquish His enemies is speak—“You’re done.” Read about it in Revelation 19:19 to 21, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, [“You’re done!”] and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”

The Second Coming is so spectacular it is difficult to even imagine. Nothing the world has ever seen can even come close. But we can be assured, it’ll happen in exactly the way the Lord has said.

3.  WHERE?

Where will Christ return? We actually have a good idea of the exact spot. I’ve stood there. The Bible says when Jesus returns, every eye will see Him. He makes Himself known to the entire planet, but the Bible seems to indicate that the Lord touches down at one particular spot. It is probably the highest spot on the Mount of Olives.

Zechariah 14:4 says, “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” As the Lord teaches about the future, He is actually sitting on the Mount of Olives with His men in Mark 13. I wonder, don’t you, if He is not actually teaching at the actual place of His return?

Every time I book a flight, it asks me if it is one way or round trip. My precious family, every genuine believer here has a round trip ticket–you’re coming back to a remade, back to the Garden Earth, to rule with Christ for a thousand years. When you do return with Christ, what will you witness and do?

4.  WHAT?

What will Christ do at His Second Coming? This is awesome news. Christ will defeat Satan, the Antichrist and his armies. Revelation 19:19, “The beast was seized, and with him the false prophet. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire.” 20:2, “He laid hold of . . . Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”

Christ will re-gather and restore faithful Israel. Isaiah 11:12, “He . . . will gather the dispersed of Judah . . . from the four corners of the earth.” Ezekiel 20:34, “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered.” Some say this re-gathering started in 1948 with the restoration of Israel to the land, and that it’ll continue during the Tribulation, when peace is established, then broken by the Antichrist.

But assuredly, at the Second Coming, Christ will re-gather the believing Jews together and restore them as His people. Christ will also judge the living. The believing sheep will enter into the Kingdom, and the unbelieving goats will be sent to their torment in Hades. Matthew 25:32, “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

Once returned, our Lord will resurrect Old Testament believers and Tribulation believers who died. Daniel 12:1 and 2, “Everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake.” Also, Revelation 20:4, “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus . . . and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”

And then Christ will establish His Kingdom, and reign as absolute King from His glorious throne in Jerusalem, and rule over the earth. Who will rule with Christ? First, the disciples will rule with Christ. Matthew 19:28, “The Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Second, you and I, all who are in Christ will rule with Christ too. Revelation 20:4, “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.”

So today, Jesus in Mark declares what His coming will be like. I love that the Lord knows all of this in detail, in advance. Our Lord is all-knowing, eternal, and in control. After the rapture, there will be a seven-year Tribulation. Then at the end of the Tribulation, Christ will come again and set up the thousand-year millennial Kingdom. How does Christ describe His glorious return?

After the prediction of the Temple’s devastating destruction, as a type of the coming Tribulation devastating destruction, in verses 1 to 4. After the prediction of today’s troubles, the birth-pangs of war, famine, earthquakes and persecution, in verses 5 to 13. After the midpoint abomination of desolation in verses 14 to 18, and after the atrocities right before the coming of Christ in verses 19 to 23.

We’ve finally come to the return of the King. And as King, Jesus Himself says three amazing things in Mark. These three are the signs of the Second Coming. Jesus says . . .

#1  I will come in the midst of CHAOS  Verses 24 to 25

Hang on as you read verses 24 to 25. “This is difficult to believe, but in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.” Whoa–this is a cosmic crisis. The universe is spinning apart. The sun darkened, a lightless moon, the stars falling, heavenly powers shaken?

Scientists who study cataclysmic events have worked through what would happen. For example, if a heavenly body was loose in space and happened to pass close to the earth, causing the earth to tilt just a fraction on its axis, here’s what would happen. “At that very moment, an earthquake would make the earth shudder. Air and water would continue to move through inertia. Hurricanes would sweep the earth and the seas would rush over the continents carrying gravel and sand and marine animals and casting them on the land. Heat would be developed. Rocks would melt. Volcanoes would erupt. Lava would flow from fissures in the ruptured ground and cover vast areas. Mountains would spring up from the plains and would travel and climb on the shoulders of other mountains causing faults and rifts. Lakes would be tilted and emptied. Rivers would change their beds. Large land areas with all their inhabitants would slip under the sea. Forests would burn and the hurricane and wild seas would wrest them from the ground on which they grew and pile them branch and root in huge heaps. Seas would turn into deserts. Their waters flowing away.”

Christ will come in the midst of chaos–but this is not new. The disciples were not shocked by the Lord’s words here—no. The language in Mark 13 is seen throughout the Old Testament. Signs in the heavens are linked to the Second Coming of Christ. Isaiah 13, the day of the Lord is coming, “for the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; the sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will not shed its light.”

Isaiah 24, “the earth is split through . . . shaken violently . . . reels to and fro like a drunkard . . . the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts will reign . . . in Jerusalem.” Ezekiel 32, “I will cover the heavens, and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.” Joel 2, “The day of the Lord is coming . . . the sun and the moon grow dark, and the stars lose their brightness . . . I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth.”

Joel 3, “The sun and moon grow dark, and the stars lose their brightness.” Revelation 6, “He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.”

From the Old Testament, the disciples already know that Jesus will return in the midst of worldwide, universal chaos. Look at the beginning of verse 24, “But in those days,” the adversative “but” tells us this is a new phase of the end times. Jesus is contrasting the false christs of verse 21 and 22 to now, verse 24–this is the true Christ. So don’t be fooled by anyone saying, “Here is the Christ, this is the Christ, He has come.” No, when the true Christ comes, no one will mistake that event. Everyone will know this is the real Christ, the true Christ. There will be no mistaking the Second Coming of Christ–no uncertainty.

Remember the questions the disciples asked back in verse 4? “When will it be, and how will we know?” Now we get our answer. Jesus adds a double statement in verse 24. “But in those days, after that tribulation,” explicitly telling us the timing. Here it is, friends–when is Jesus coming again? After the Great Tribulation just described for us in verses 19 to 23. And how can we be certain Christ is returning? Four signs . . .

Verse 24, ONE) “the sun will be darkened,” and TWO) “the moon will not give its light,” verse 25, and THREE) “the stars will be falling from heaven,” and FOUR) “the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.” You say, “This can’t be literal–this must be symbolic or metaphorical.” Wait. Did Jesus just literally predict wars, earthquakes and famines? All those have happened throughout the last 2,000 years, literally. Plus, they will intensify literally during the Tribulation.

Ask yourself, is Jesus literally and physically returning to Earth? So you think Jesus can literally return in the clouds, but you don’t think He can darken the sun, shut off moonlight, mess up the stars, or shake the heavens?  If you believe Jesus is coming back, there is no reason to become allegorical with the description of what happens just before the Lord literally returns.

Jesus means what He says, and the Lord repeats Himself through the apostle John in Revelation 6:12, “the sixth seal . . . and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” Right before the return of Christ, our universe is going to unravel like it never has before.

ONE  The sun will be darkened

The prediction that the sun will begin to grow dark at this moment is repeated at least seven more times in your Bible. Do you know what it means? It means the sun will be darkened. During the latter part of the Tribulation, the sun is going to grow darker and darker as the universe begins to disintegrate prior to the Lord’s return. We don’t know how the Lord does it–some speculate our atmosphere will be thick with dust, or poison or overt unnatural cloud cover, or nuclear fallout, or bad air.

Or it will actually be our Lord, who holds all things together, who will affect the sun directly–but the sun is literally going to grow dark. As a result, since it is dependent upon the sun for its light . . .

TWO  The moon will not give its light

If the sun goes dark, then there’s no light for the moon to reflect

THREE  The stars will be falling from heaven

The Greek word “stars” here is not limited to suns, but can and does include the idea of meteorites and comets. So some say this refers to meteorites—could be. Movies have made all of us familiar with the idea of what it might be like for giant meteors to hit our planet. All of us have seen actual craters left by meteors that have hit the earth. So we can all imagine the destruction meteorites would cause if they came falling.

Or even more frightening, this phrase, “the stars will be falling from heaven,” could be describing actual heavenly bodies, or stars careening out of control randomly through space, throwing everything in the universe out of sync. Remember what I just read from Revelation 6:13? ”And the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.” Whatever it is exactly, it will be frightening.

One writer said, “When the Lord withdraws the least of His power from the universe, every aspect of the physical world will be disrupted beyond imagination… Heavenly bodies will careen helter-skelter through space, and all navigation, whether stellar, solar, magnetic or gyroscopic, will be futile because all stable reference points and uniform natural forces will have ceased to exist or else, become unreliable.”

Don’t ever forget who binds this universe together. Who is the glue who keeps this universe together? Who is the power who holds this universe functioning in order? Answer–it is Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:16 and 17, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and [what?] in Him all things hold together.” This helps us understand the fourth sign before Christ returns.

FOUR  The powers that are in the heavens will be shaken

It’s as if Jesus releases a little energy He uses to hold things together. It’s as if Jesus lets go, and all the forces of energy that hold everything in the heavens, in outer space, in their orbits are now released, causing everything to become random and chaotic.

How will the people on the earth react to this? Luke tells us, Luke 21:25 and 26, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Underline the words “dismay”, “perplexity” and “fainting”. The people on Earth are going to go into shock. Dismay means anxiety, anguish, and terror. Perplexity is only used here in the New Testament. It means confusing. People won’t be able to comprehend this. They’ll have no rational explanation for what is happening.

And these heavenly events will be so overwhelming, they will be fainting from fear. Fainting actually means they’ll die, they’ll expire. It means to breathe out–to die. It will be so frightening people will be scared to death–not only because of what is happening, because what they fear is next in the sequence. Do you see it in Luke 21:25? As a result of the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world. Their fear will be lethal–they’ll experience emotional trauma causing rapid pulse, changes in blood pressure, and finally cardiac collapse. So Jesus comes in the midst of chaos. Yet in the middle of all of this, Jesus says . . .

#2  I will come in power and GLORY  Verse 26

Read verse 26, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” Here He comes! It’s the World Series, bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, down by three runs, and Jesus hits a towering homerun! All of God’s elect will go crazy at this moment, this is it! The first Greek word in verse 26, “then”, tells us in the midst of all this heavenly trauma Jesus comes.

Jesus calls Himself here Son of Man, the same title Daniel gave to the promised coming king Daniel referenced repeatedly. I believe Son of Man points to the incarnation, the God-man. The disciples knew Jesus was referring to Himself. He’s saying, “I’m the same Son of Man who humbly ministered on Earth, who will suffer and die for sins, will also return with “great power and glory.”

Jesus will return in the same manner in which He left. See the phrase in verse 26, “Coming in the clouds.” Psalms 104:3 pictures Christ riding the clouds like a chariot. And though they could be natural clouds, this is probably a reference to the supernatural glory cloud that represented God’s presence to Old Testament Israel. Like the Shekinah glory, the Lord’s return will be majestic, awesome, as if the Lord Himself were continual, non-stop lightning. Matthew 24:27, “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

When Jesus returns, it’ll not be a secret. He’ll not be hiding out–it’s not a symbolic return, or a mystical return–no. This is a literal, visible, personal, return of Christ–but now unveiled in full glory. Mark says in verse 26, “they will see the Son of Man.” Revelation 1:7 says, “He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him.” The Greek word “see” the Son of Man is vision, sight, perception. All will know this is Jesus Christ, the Creator-God returning.

And verse 26 adds, “with great power and glory.” Power means strength, ability, might, and capability. I work out with Rob Sousa on Saturdays, and he has strength. But that’s nothing like having all power, and all ability. Plus Mark adds, Jesus comes with great power–remarkable, jaw-dropping power.

And glory–that’s the summation of all his attributes. Glory also becomes a majestic, radiant light that displays the overwhelming perfection of all God’s character. Not only will Christ’s return be accompanied by clear, visible indicators of divine power and divine glory. The Lord will also manifest His glory and power as He returns to give salvation to His elect, slaughter all Christ-rejecting unbelievers worldwide, show His power over the entire created universe, all creation, easily overpower Satan and completely stop millions of demons, restore a devastated Earth, and set up His righteous rule here.

Remember, Jesus is not merely coming in the midst of chaos, nor merely coming in glory and power, but the Lord says . . .

#3  I will come for My OWN  Verse 27

Read verse 27, “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.” This is the definition of awesome–picture it. Returning with Christ are the angels–won’t that be a sight to see.

Matthew 16:27, “the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” Matthew 25:31, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” Mark 8:38, “whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

The angels are coming back with Christ. Angels are a supernatural race of beings created to serve God. They are powerful and cannot die–not equals to God, but creations of God. Even the chief one, Lucifer, who rebelled against God, becoming Satan, convincing a third of the angels to rebel with him–those fallen angels are now demons. So Satan and the demons are now unholy fallen creatures, but they are created.

Well the holy, unfallen, good angels have returned with Christ, and Christ commissions them (will send forth) to gather people. The angels are the ones who literally assemble people to stand before Christ. Matthew 13 tells us they gather unbelievers for judgment, and here Mark 13 tells us they gather the elect for glory. Matthew describes unbelievers in Matthew 13:49, “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.”

1  But Mark focuses on the ELECT–the elect, chosen believers, those God has given salvation, those owned by God. These include the 144,000 Jewish witnesses and their converts from every nation–all those who responded to the Gospel during the Tribulation are present.

2  Plus, this great multitude of people gathered around Christ will include the Old Testament saints who were gathered out of their graves and united with their redeemed spirits–Old Testament resurrected believers.

3  Plus, the glorified saints of the bride of Christ–that’s us, have returned with their groom and are present at this amazing assembly. We’ll be with Him, because Revelation 3:10 says we’ll be kept from the hour that comes to try the whole earth. We will be preserved from the Tribulation. First Thessalonians 1:10 adds, “We will be delivered from the wrath to come.”

You ask, “Chris, does that mean we won’t get to see all this?” Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed [meaning, when Christ returns–when He comes in glory and appears to the entire world], then you also will be revealed with Him [where?] in glory.” When He appears, all you who genuinely know Him and love Him will appear with Christ in glory. You’re not down here–you’re already up there in glory. And when He comes in glory, you will appear with Him in glory.

Jesus is saying in verse 26, “No one is left out.” Look at verse 26, He says He will gather together His elect from the four winds. Gather from the four winds means the same thing as when we say from the four corners of the globe–everywhere. No one is left out. Jesus says at the end of verse 26, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of Heaven.

This literally means “from earth’s extremity to heaven’s extremity”, describing space in all directions. There is no spot in Heaven or on Earth where any of the elect will be, or can be, overlooked. None of the elect from Heaven (that would be the Church and Old Testament saints), and no one who lived through the Tribulation on Earth are missing. Jesus says no genuinely saved, chosen by God, elect believer from the past or the present or future is going to miss the Kingdom.

All the elect have gathered before Christ, the goats are judged and condemned to Hades in Matthew 25, then the elect will enter into the awesome, righteous Kingdom, ruled by the perfect, all-powerful, all-wise, loving, holy, just, King above all kings. Wow–are you excited? Come, Lord Jesus, come now! But do not merely hear about the Second Coming of Christ, but live Second Coming truth.

A  Grow in your LONGING for Christ’s return and Heaven

Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” You have a home you’ve never been to yet. We belong there as citizens. Keep focusing on things above in all you think, do and say. Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Pray more about Heaven, think about Heaven, talk more about Heaven. As you do, the grip and struggle of this world will lessen.

B  Start and finish each day saying, “COME, Lord Jesus

Revelation 22:20, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Growing Christians meditate on the soon coming return of the Lord. They make certain the return of Christ is a daily life altering truth. They consider His return in light of relationships, school, jobs, ministry, service, possessions, purchases, priorities, budgets, giving, time usage, friendships, marriage, parenting–in everything. Do you? Start living each day with the truth, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

C  When life’s unfair, remember God will one day make it RIGHT

God will bring justice in the midst of an unfair world. Second Thessalonians 1:6 to 8, “It is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

Justice is coming for each of you who do not obey the Gospel. Justice will fall upon the corrupt, the wicked, the evil, and unrighteous. Those who don’t know God through Christ alone will be justly judged.

D  Plead with those who are not born AGAIN

Only those in Christ, and in whom Christ dwells, are saved. Only the elect enter into the Millennium and go to Heaven. Let me plead with you–it doesn’t matter what decision you made or prayer you prayed. What matters is Christ is in you, which always shows by you wanting to please Him and follow His Word. And you plead with those who don’t want to please Christ or obey His Word to cry out for mercy, and in faith and repentance turn to Christ.

Exchange all that you are for all that He is. Surrender to Christ, who became a man and died for sin and rose from the dead and is coming again as King. Stop delaying, and ask Christ to open your heart—right now. And don’t miss the obvious–there had to be a Tribulation before Christ comes and rules in the Millennium. There is always judgment before blessing. And there will be no blessing for you, no Heaven, no better place, no eternal joy unless your sin is judged first by Christ. You must give your life to Jesus Christ–surrender now or die forever.

E  Rejoice, smile, delight, feel joy, burst, and CELEBRATE

Why? He is coming back—for you and for me. Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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