By Martin Girard

Anyone who reads the biblical records of our Lord’s teaching will be aware of the emphasis that He gave to His return. At the close of His discourse on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple in Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus stressed the need for His disciples to watch. He had warned them of deceivers and false messiahs, of wars and unrest, of opposition and situations of grave danger for His people, and of unusual signs in the heavens. Repeatedly, He cautioned them to be on their guard and not to be deceived. While speaking of “the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mk. 13:26 KJV), He emphasized that the day and hour of His return is known to no human being (v.32). “Take ye heed,” He continued, “watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is” (v.33).

We can never be reminded too often that we simply do not know when Christ will return, and it is not within our ability to determine the date. Many have attempted to do so and have failed miserably. The Lord Jesus compared Himself as “the Son of Man” to someone taking a lengthy journey. The man in His brief parable gave authority and instructions to his servants before departing. There were tasks for them to complete in his absence, and – most importantly – the porter, or doorkeeper, was to watch. Making a very practical application, the Lord Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” (vv.35-36). He could return at any time!

Coming Again
The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. He has left us with a definite promise, “I will come again” (Jn. 14:3). We may believe the promise with our minds, but sometimes we do not allow it to affect our hearts as it should. We need reminding, often, of our responsibilities in His absence. Each believer has his or her own “work” in which to be engaged. While He is absent we must not sleep and fail to grasp the opportunities which there are for service! As we do not know when He is coming, it is vital that we watch. Shame is implied in the thought of our sleeping at His return – shame on our part as well as on His. For this reason the Lord Jesus concluded His message to the disciples with the statement, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (v.37). It was vital for them to remain in a state of alert, constantly aware of their responsibilities as His followers.

Those final words, “What I say unto you I say unto all,” make it plain that the teaching was not for those disciples alone. We who are living some 2,000 years later are included in this practical application. We must:

  • Live our lives in the light of His return,
  • Watch for opportunities to serve Him while waiting for Him to come, and
  • Pray.

Although we cannot predict the day when Christ will return, we have been given certain “pointers” to consider. The Lord Jesus spoke of “the days of Lot” preceding His return (Lk. 17:28-30). Believers in many countries today are aware that, with the legalizing of sexual immorality, those days have returned. In Lot’s day such behavior merited the judgment of God, and fire and brimstone fell from heaven. This behavior which God detests will result in His judgment once more, but this time it will be at the coming of Christ. The emergence of “Sodom” indicates the nearness of our Savior’s return.

Another sign we have been given is Israel. After a long exile from their homeland, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14th, 1948. On the same day U.S. President Harry S. Truman gave recognition to the new nation. A new nation, yet it was an ancientnation which had been restored to its homeland. The Bible teaches that Israel will exist in its own land at the return of Christ, and that the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Ancient rituals have been researched and plans drawn up for a functioning temple once more in Jerusalem.

Scripture teaches that before returning to this earth, the Lord Jesus will return in the air to gather His Church (1 Th. 4:17). We do not know when that event will take place, but many Bible scholars think that the scene is now being set for it. The Lord has not seen fit to tell us when, but He has told us to watch. He has enlightened us so He may not find us sleeping when He comes. We must cling to that final word in His discourse and seek to be living in such a way that we shall be ready to meet Him, without being ashamed, when He comes. His word is this: “Watch” (Mk. 13:37).

This article has been adapted, with permission, from Skyway Messages


What Does The Rapture Mean For Christ?
It is the event Christ is waiting for now. He is the Bridegroom, and it will be a joy for Him to take His bride to be with Him. It is good to think about this aspect, as Paul said, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ” (2 Th. 3:5 jnd; see Rev. 3:10). When still on earth, the Lord prayed, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory” (Jn. 17:24 KJV).

What Does The Appearing Mean For Christ?
It will be the moment of glory and display. He had refused to be made king by men (6:15), presented Himself to Jerusalem in meekness (Zech. 9:9; Mt. 21:7-10) and had been rejected shortly afterwards. But at His appearing, He will be universally recognized (Phil. 2:10-11), “glorified” and “admired” (2 Th. 1:10). The One who once bore the crown of thorns – a curse – will then wear “many diadems” (Rev. 19:12 JND), “the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v.16).

—By Michael Hardt