Keep Your Eye on the Sky
Read Mark 13:24-26 (ESV)
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its lights, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
Does today’s verse excite you or unsettle you? Why do you think you feel that way?
The first chapter in the book of Acts describes Jesus’ ascension. It says that He was lifted up and a cloud carried Him up to heaven. Then, two angels appeared to the disciples and they said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Isn’t it amazing how different accounts in the Bible confirm other accounts in the Bible? This account of Jesus’ ascension in Acts, recorded by Luke, affirms what Jesus said about His return in the book of Mark. The angels told the disciples that Jesus would return to earth the same way they saw Him leave—on the clouds. In today’s verses, we read that Jesus had already told His disciples that before His death.
The account from Mark gives us additional details of Jesus’ return as well. Not only will He come in great power and glory on the clouds but the sun and moon will go dark and stars will fall from heaven. It also says that heaven will be shaken. It’s interesting that similar supernatural signs occurred when Jesus died. The sky went dark but instead of the heavens shaking, earthquakes were recorded at that time (Matthew 27:45,51 and Luke 23:44).
So we know from today’s passage in Mark that after the Great Tribulation, that a great darkness will occur, the stars will fall from heaven, heaven will be shaken, and Jesus will return on the clouds in glory.
But the Bible also records other signs that will occur. One of those being the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 says, “Let no deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, unless the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?”
The Antichrist is the “man of lawlessness” and the “son of destruction.” He is also the “beast” mentioned in Revelation 13 that we studied last week. Paul gives us more details about him in 2 Thessalonians and warns us not to be deceived by him. He warns us that the Antichrist will exalt himself as a god and will even claim to be God Himself. He will oppose every other god or object of worship which indicates that he is going to demand that the world worships him and him alone. This is the “rebellion” that comes before the day of the Lord, according to Paul.
Another sign of His return is the salvation of Israel. We can read about this in Romans 9-11 and in Zechariah 12-14. Theologians debate exactly how this will play out and there are different interpretations. But it is clear from these texts that at least a portion of Jews will accept Jesus as their Messiah and repent of their previous rejection of Him.
Friends, we spent today and yesterday examining the Bible for prophecies concerning the signs of Jesus’ return. And scholars admit that there are different ways to interpret them. Some say these events have already begun. Others says they are off in the future. But we can be certain of this. Jesus will return and when He does all of these things will have happened. In light of this, how should we live? We should live like He’s coming back today! We should have an eternal perspective each day instead of just living for temporary, worldly things. Today, I encourage you to ask yourself if you are living for this world or living for Christ and His kingdom? Are you anticipating His return? His imminent return should excite us and change our perspective and our priorities.
Lord, thank You for revealing these signs to us in Your Word to give us encouragement, hope, and something to look forward to. Keep my eyes on the sky, ready for Your return at any moment, living here on earth but with a kingdom perspective and eternal priorities. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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