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Mark 13:24-27


Intro: We are in a time of year set aside to commemorate the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ into this world. We celebrate Christmas, which is a time when we remember the birth of God’s Son into the world. We are pretty familiar with all the details of His first coming.

        The world is familiar with Bethlehem, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, the wise men, the angels, the frankincense, the myrrh and the gold, along with the other parts of the Christmas story. But, the world is far less familiar with the Lord’s Second Coming.

        Before Jesus went to the cross to die for sins, He wanted His disciples to understand what would happen when He returned the second time. So, in very clear, concise language, the Lord Jesus tells His disciples, and us, what will happen when He returns. I want to share with you what the Lord shared with them that day.

        Let me just say that we need to live in the light of His coming, Titus 2:13. It is hope for the believer and it is damnation for the unbeliever. So, it is important that we have some understanding of the events that will surround His return.

        Jesus went away with the promise that He would come again, John 14:3; Acts 1:9-11. If He is coming again, and He is, then we need to be ready for that coming and we need to know what will take place, so that we can warn a lost world to prepare.

        I want to preach on The Second Coming Of Christ today. I want you to see the facts Mark reveals about His return. I want you to see The Sequence Of His Coming; The Setting For His Coming; and The Sign Of His Coming.


  I.  v. 24a     THE SEQUENCE

                      OF HIS COMING

·         We are told very clearly in these verses when we can expect the return of the Lord. He will come “after the tribulation of those days.”

·         The days He is referring to are identified in verses 14-23. Jesus will return after the days of the Great Tribulation. He will return to this earth and He will establish His kingdom “after those days”.

·         The days the Lord has just describes for us will be no ordinary period of time. They will be days of “affliction”, v. 19. That word means “trouble”. Jesus says that they will be days of “tribulation”. That word means “trouble, difficulty and distress.”

        We are living in troublesome times now, and there have been troublesome times in the past. But the days mentioned in these verses will be times so filled with turmoil and suffering that they are hard to imagine. In fact, we are told that there have never been days like them before, and there will never be days like them afterward. The tribulation described by Jesus will be the worst period of time the world has ever or will ever experience.

·         The days described by Jesus will begin at a specific time. Verse 14 talks about “the abomination of desolation”. This is a reference to the Antichrist, the future, demon-possessed world ruler. He will make a seven year peace treaty with the nation of Israel. They will rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem and will once again worship God by keeping the sacrifices mandated in the Law of Moses. Half way through that seven year period, the Antichrist will break his treaty with Israel. He will enter the Holy of Holies in their Temple and he will declare that he is god and he will demand to be worshiped. Thus will he “abominate” or “desecrate” the Temple.

        This event will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation. That period of time will last three and one-half years. It will be a time of warfare on an unprecedented scale. It will be a time marked by earthquakes, famines, disease, and false religion and false Christ’s. It will be a time so severe that Jesus says, “except the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved”, verse 20.

·         During that time, the Antichrist will try to kill all the Jews. Sadly, two-thirds of the Jews living during that terrible time will die, Zech. 13:8. He will also try to kill all those who name the name of Jesus Christ. That is why the people are warned to flee immediately when they see the Antichrist enter the Temple, vv. 14-18. The slaughter in those days will be on a scale that none of us can imagine.

        According to Bible prophecy, over one-half that world’s population will die during the days of the Tribulation. Let that number sink in! Given the world’s population today, that is over 3 billion people!

·         Those are the days described by Jesus. When those days are ended, He is coming.


  I.  The Sequence Of His Coming


 II. v. 24b-25    THE SETTING

                      FOR HIS COMING

·         It is amazing to see how the Lord sets the stage for His Second Coming. Earthly rulers announce their coming with parades, pomp and ceremony. They sound trumpets and attend their appearances with all manner of elaborate preparations.

        Jesus Christ will set the stage for His return by demonstrating His authority over all the universe. When Jesus comes back, all of creation gets in on the act.

·         To fully understand everything Jesus said would take place, we also need to look at what was recorded by Matthew and Luke.

Ψ  Here is what Mark says, “...the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken,” Mark 13:24-25.

Ψ  Here is what Matthew says, “...the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:,” Matt 24:29.

Ψ  Here is what Luke says, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken,” Luke 21:25-26.

·         Let’s take a moment to dissect these verses. All three of these writers tell us that there will be “signs” in the heavens. The sun will not shine. Imagine the implications of that! Man cannot live without the light of the sun. Temperatures will fall drastically. The earth will be plunged into utter darkness.

        In that darkness, even the moon will not shine. It can’t because it merely reflects the light given off by the sun.

        The stars that sit poised in the heavens will fall from their places. The heavenly bodies that are so constant in their movements that their position in the sky can be calculated with minute precision thousands of years in advance, will careen through the universe. The heavens above will be a scene of absolute chaos as the planets and stars fall from their orbits and travel through space with no design or direction.

        Luke tells us that even the earth is affected. Tides are no longer predictable and tidal waves will sweep over the land.

·         These verses describe a scene of utter bedlam as the universe literally disintegrates into chaos. This scene is described in Rev. 6:12-14 and in Isaiah 13:6-16.

        One writer describes what would happen on the earth if some heavenly body happened to pass close enough to the earth to cause it to tilt on its axis a mere fraction of an inch. “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 rest 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.”[i]

·         Luke 21:26 says, “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:” This means that the events of those days will be so terrifying, so frightening, that people will literally die of heart failure when they see these things happening. The phrase “hearts failing” literally means that they will “breath out”. In other words, they will expire. Millions of people will see the events in the heavens, which will be clearly visible because the sun will not be shining, and they will die of terror. You do not want to be here for that terrible day!

·         What causes all this mayhem in the universe? Our text says, “the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.” The word “power” refers to “influence or control.” In Hebrews 1:3, we are told that Jesus “upholds all things by the word of His power.” The Lord Jesus created this universe and He holds it all together. He controls the movement of every planet, every star and of every particle of dust in the universe. Nothing moves anywhere without His permission. That is why the movements of the planets and the stars can be calculated with such precision. On that day, Jesus will remove His controlling hand from the universe. He will allow it to spin out of control as He sets the stage for His return to the earth.


  I.  The Sequence Of His Coming

 II.  The Setting For His Coming


III.  v. 26-27     THE SIGN

                     OF HIS COMING

Matthew 24:30 records the Lord’s words this way, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven...” If you will remember, this whole sermon on the events of the end times was precipitated by a question from our Lord’s disciples in verse 4. Jesus had told them that the Temple would be destroyed, v. 2, and they want to know when this will be, v. 4.

        They expected that it would be very soon. They believed Jesus was on the verge of setting up His kingdom. After all, He had cleansed the Temple, Mark 11:15-19. He had also demonstrated the hypocrisy of the religious elite, Mark 11:27-12:44. They did not understand that, while the Temple would be destroyed in just a few short years, the rest of the Lord’s prophecy would not be fulfilled until thousands of years later.

        They wanted to know the “sign” of His coming. In verses 5-25, He gave them a list of general signs that do not predict when Jesus will come, but they do teach us what the world will be like when He does come.

        So, the events of the Tribulation will occur. The Lord will put out the sun and the moon. A terrifying scene develops in the heavens as the planets, stars and other heavenly bodies rampage helter-skelter through the universe. Then we have the “sign” of His coming.

        What is that “sign”? The early church fathers believed that after the heavens went dark, the Lord would fill the darkened sky with a bright red cross. The Bible doesn’t say anything about that. Other theologians believed that the heavens would be filled with the “Shekinah” glory of God. They believed that the glory of God will light the heavens. That is closer to the truth.

        So what is the “sign”? It isn’t a cross. It isn’t some light sent from God. The “sign” is the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in the clouds above the earth. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to consider how Jesus will come and what His coming will be like.

A.  He Will Come In Splendor – Verse 26 says that He will come “in the clouds with ... glory”. When Jesus comes back, He will appear in His unveiled glory.

                The world has had glimpses of that glory before. In Matt. 17, Peter, James and John saw a little of it. Adam caught a glimpse of His glory when they walked together in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. Israel has a glimpse of it when the Shekinah glory of God dwelt between the wings of the cherubim in the Tabernacle and the Temple. They saw it when it led them as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of could by day. They also saw it when it departed from this world.

                When Jesus appears, He will appear in clouds of glory. This idea of Jesus being in the clouds in all through the Word of God.

                When Jesus ascended back into Heaven, Acts 1:9-11 tells us that a “cloud received Him out of their sight”. Angels standing there told the disciples that Jesus would “come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”, v. 11. Daniel 7:13 tells us that He will come “with the clouds of Heaven”. John says that He will come with the clouds, Rev. 1:7. Mark, Matthew and Luke all say the same thing. Jesus is coming in the clouds when He return to this world.

                What’s the point? Well, the Bible is clear that our God rides on the clouds, Psa. 104:3 says He “maketh the clouds His chariots”. Isaiah 19:1 says that “the Lord rides on a swift cloud”. Rev. 1:7 says “He cometh with clouds”. I personally believe that these are special clouds. Clouds of glory, if you will. They are bright clouds that will arrest the attention of all who see them.

                Now, I want you to turn to Zech. 14:6-7. The prophet tells us that the day the Lord comes will be a strange day, It will be neither daytime or nighttime. How is this possible? Well, without the sun, the moon or the stars, there will be no way to discern the time of day. In this total darkness, the Lord Jesus will appear riding the glory clouds. He will appear in the heavens and the whole world will see Him, Rev. 1:7. He will circle the globe and every inhabitant on the earth will see His glory!


        (Ill. That would be something to see wouldn’t it? Well, if you are lost and you see it, it spells your doom. If you haven’t already died of a heart attack, you will be destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ, Rev. 19:15. If you have been saved during the Tribulation, you will rejoice at His appearance.

                What about us, will we see it? Not from the earth, and here is why. During the Tribulation, we will be with Him. He is removing His church from this world before the Tribulation, 1 Thes. 1:10; Rev. 3:10. We will be with the Lord enjoying the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Rev. 19:1-9.

                So, will we see it? Yes, but we will see it from Heaven’s vantage point! Look at Col. 3:4. Do you see it? When Jesus comes, we are going to be with Him. When He rides out, we ride out with Him. When He comes back in glory, His saints come back in glory with Him. Rev. 19:14 says that we will be clothed in “fine linen, white and clean”. Don’t worry about having to shop for an outfit. If you are saved, your garment is ready for you in glory! So, He comes in splendor.)


B.  He Will Come In Strength –  Mark says He will come with “great power”. The word “power” has the idea of “strength”. When Jesus comes, He will coming with “strength”. No power on earth will be able to oppose Him. When He comes, He will come with a display of His strength in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.

        His power will be displayed in the chaos of the heavens. It will be displayed in the darkness that surrounds the earth. It will be displayed in the clouds of glory upon which He rides. It will be displayed in the fact that He is able to defeat all His enemies with just His Words, Rev. 19:11-16. That is power!

        When His feet touch the earth, they will do so on the top of the Mount of Olives. The very place He gave the prophecy we are studying now. The very place from which He ascended. When His feet touch the top of that mountain, it will split from top to bottom, Zech. 14:3-4. That is power! When that mountain splits in two, the Mediterranean Sea will flow into the valley around the Dead Sea, Zech. 14:8. This will cause “the desert to blossom like a rose” just as Isaiah said it would, Isa. 35:1. That is power!

        I don’t know about you, but I want to be on the right side of that power. The only way to be on the right side of that power is to be in a faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? We are “saved from wrath through Him”, Rom. 5:9.

C.  He Will Come With Salvation – Mark tells us that, when Jesus comes, He will send His angels throughout the world to “gather His elect”. The remnant of Israel will be saved in that day and they bow at the nail pierced feet of the Messiah. The Gentiles who were saved through the preaching of the 144,000 and the angel of Rev. 14:6, will be gathered together and will be brought into the presence of the Lord.

        The language of this verse makes it clear that no one will be left out. Every single living saint will be brought to Jesus and they will stand before Him redeemed and rejoicing!


(Note: Not everyone will rejoice when Jesus returns. Matt. 24:30 says, “and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn”. As we have already seen, many will die of sheer terror when Jesus comes. Others will pray for the mountains to fall on them and hide them from His face, Rev. 6:15-17. Yet, they will not repent and they will not embrace Jesus by faith. Thus, His return will be a time of sorrow for them and they will be destroyed by His power. So, the Gentiles will “mourn”.
        The Jews will also “mourn” when Jesus returns. Zech. 12:10 says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” The Jews will finally see Jesus for Who He is and they will come to Him by faith. Then, Zech. 13:1 says, “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” When they believe on Him, as Romans 11:26 says, “so all Israel shall be saved.” What a day that will be!


Conc: That is how the Lord Jesus describes His Second Coming. I realize that prophecy can be complex and it can be confusing. So, I want to simplify what we have learned today. I want you to leave here understanding what you should about the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is what you need to know.

·         Jesus is coming again – John 14:3; Acts 1:9-11.

·         He is coming to take those who are saved to Heaven in the Rapture – 1 Thes. 4:16-18.

·         Everyone that is left behind will enter the Tribulation. It will be the most terrible time of suffering the world has ever known. You do not want to be here for that period of time.

·         At the end of the Tribulation Jesus Christ is coming back to this world. All that will matter on that day is where you will be. Will you be looking up when He comes, or will you be looking down? Will you watch Him come, or will you come with Him? I am glad that I have everything settled so that I can come with Him. Somewhere in Heaven, I have a white garment and a white horse, and when He comes, I am coming with Him.

·         What about you? If you have never trusted Jesus Christ for your soul’s salvation, you are playing a dangerous game. You are gambling with your soul. You need to come to Jesus today, ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to save your soul. I pray that you will do that.

·         I also pray that we who are saved will carry a burden for those who are not. I pray that we would pray for them that they would be saved from the wrath to come.

·         If the Lord has spoken to your heart, you need to come as He leads you.

[i] Quoted in a sermon by John MacArthur “http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/2371”

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