"But in those days, after that tribulation, 'the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars of heaven shall fall,' and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then they shall see 'the Son of man coming in the clouds' with great power and glory. And then he will send his angels and will assemble his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." Mark 13:24-27 (Read Mark 13)
Today, I tell you: "Watch, for the end is near!"
I say this, not because I know the day of Christ's return. As Jesus said, "But of that day and that hour no man knows, not even the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32). I say the end is near because those things the Scriptures say will happen before Jesus returns have happened; and Jesus said, "when you see these things come to pass, know that it is near, even at the doors" (v. 29).
The four kingdoms in Daniel's vision (Daniel 7) have risen and fallen. The little horn which comes out of the divided fourth kingdom has come and, though exposed at the time of the Reformation and losing much of his dominion, continues to speak pompous words and to war against the saints (cf. 2 Thess. 2:1ff).
The tribulation described in the beginning of Mark 13 has come. The temple was destroyed and Christians have been and continue to be persecuted around the world. There have been wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines and troubles -- "the beginnings of sorrows" (Mark 13:8). And, of even greater significance, the Gospel has been preached to nations around the world (v 10; cf. Matt. 24:14).
Therefore, I tell you: "Watch, for the end is near!" Jesus could come back at any time to judge the living and the dead and establish His everlasting kingdom in which only those who have heeded His Word and turned from their sinful and rebellious ways to Him for mercy will dwell. Don't be caught off-guard and living your life in disobedience and sin. Don't be found unprepared and faithless at His coming!
How can we be ready? How can we be prepared for that day when Christ suddenly appears in the clouds of glory to judge all the living and the dead?
The answer is repentance -- to hear God's Word and acknowledge our sinfulness and rebellion and to look to Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for mercy (Acts 3:19ff.; Ps. 32:1ff; 1 John 1:7 -- 2:2). It is to look to Jesus in faith that He died for our sins and rose again and that God, for Christ's sake, forgives, cleanses and counts us forgiven and righteous in His sight through faith in Jesus' name (Eph. 1:6-7; John 3:14f.; Rev. 7:14ff.).
O dearest Jesus, grant that we be ever watchful for Your return and always ready through faith in Your shed blood for our salvation. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. Moll may be contacted by email at [email protected] More of Moll's devotional writings may be freely read at https://goodsheherdonline.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]