WHY DO WE HAVE SIGNS OF THE SECOND COMING?
“A fire shall devour before him,” “he shall destroy the sinners,” “light is darkened in the heavens,” “heavens and the earth shall shake,” “shall be desolate,” “hailstones, fire, and brimstone,” “the abomination that maketh desolate,” “gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle,” “I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way,” “the day cometh that shall burn as an oven,” “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,” “in the last days perilous times shall come,” “I shake not the earth only, but also heaven,” “opened the sixth seal,” “desolation of abomination in the last days,” “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire,” “sun and the moon shall be darkened,” “like a refiner’s fire, and the fullers soap,” and “desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked.”
Every one of those snippets comes from the King James version of the Holy Bible. Each of those quotations was taken from passages that were talking about how things would be in the last days prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
If you are a student of the Bible, these quotes probably don’t disturb you, at least they shouldn’t. But to the casual observer, and the occasional reader of the Bible, the snippets sound terrible. Who would want to live in a time that is described in the first paragraph? Like it or not, we are living in those days, the last days.
The Bible teaches hope, love and peace. The Bible teaches of a loving, kind, compassionate and merciful God. So why then are their such terrible descriptions of the last days?
If you were to read each one of the passages of scripture where these fragments were taken from it would paint an even darkert and depressing time in which to live. These days are known as the “last days.” These are the days that will occur just before the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There are a few reasons why the Lord mentioned so many references to the sin, wickedness and tumultuous times of the last days. As the events happen or begin happening, we can take comfort in the fact that the Lord knew it would happen. He told his prophets and apostles about the wickedness and catastrophic events that would precede the second coming.
We can take comfort in the fact that the Lord is warning us through the Bible, about the last days. As we experience these events in the last days (or our daily life) and as we read about them in the Bible, we can prepare ourselves to be ready for the second coming of Jesus Christ. As we prepare ourselves for the second coming, we are also preparing ourselves to be able to deal with all the wickedness in the cataclysms of the last days.
That first paragraph is just a small sampling of all the signs of the times of the last days. There are countless more descriptions of how the last days will play out. As we study them from the Bible and look for them to happen, it is much like the parable of the fig tree found in the book of St. Mark:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”
The last days will be in commotion, but the last days will also be much like it was in the days of Noah when he was preparing the ark for the coming flood.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30)
In the last days we will live our lives, work at our jobs, eat, sleep and go about our ordinary business with the backdrop of gross wickedness and commotion, which is just about how it is right now in our day, today.
Looking at a Scripture from St. Matthew, we can see that we are already living in the last days, and we can see that many things are already happening that were prophesied of the last days, and there will be even more wickedness than we have now.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:6-13)
The key to enduring the last days, to be able to live in a positive way, with joy and happiness in spite of all that is going on around us and to prepare ourselves spiritually so that we can cope with all the commotion of the last days and to overcome the temptations all around us during the last days.
“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. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21: 25-27)
When reading about these scary activities and events of the last days and reading about all the wickedness and turmoil that is going on just before Christ comes in his glory, we should let it be a positive thing and not a negative experience for two reasons:
The first reason is that we know like the parable of the fig tree that as these events unfold before us, we are drawing closer to the great and dreadful day of the Lord and secondly, we have been warned by prophets and apostles to be prepared for the last days. By being prepared we need not fear.
What can we do to be prepared so that we can live successfully in the last days, or put another way, how can we be prepared to live our life right now? We are living in the last days, with all the sin, the commotion and the wars and rumors of wars. We are living in the last days, so if we are prepared, great! But if we are not prepared, then we are probably having trouble with our life right now. Let’s fix it (our life), and prepare ourselves so that we may live in peace, joy and happiness during troubled times.
Just as the Scriptures teach us about the signs of the times preparatory to the second coming of Jesus Christ, they also teach us how to be spiritually prepared and how to overcome sin and temptation and how to live our life so that when we die can live with our Father in Heaven.
The two most important things we can do today for our own personal preparation are to read the Scriptures frequently and to pray often.
As we read the Scriptures, we will be told what to do, and how to do it. There are countless things we should do and many ways on how to do it. One example is… we are told not to commit adultery or to fornicate. The Scriptures tell us not to even lust after a woman (or a man). If we have lusted after someone, we had committed adultery already in our heart.
This example tells us what not to do and how to watch out for it. Don’t do it and avoid thinking impure thoughts. Keep our minds clean from lustful thoughts.
The Bible also teaches us about repentance and how important it is to our salvation. The merciful gift of repentance allows our sins that are red like crimson to be white as wool. After humble and sincere repentance it is like we’ve never committed the sin.
But reading the Bible alone is not enough. We need to put the teachings of the Bible into our daily lives and live like the Bible teaches us to live. That takes practice, we will make mistakes, and as we do make mistakes we can repent as the Bible teaches us to do.
The Bible also teaches about prayer, and how important prayer is, which is why it is the second item in my list of personal preparation. There is no limit to how often we should pray each day.
“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (St. Luke 21:36)
As we see from the verse in Luke, we are specifically told to pray for our own personal preparation in the last days.
From the Book of Revelation it says: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12)
From this verse in the book of Revelation we are told that we will be rewarded according to our works and efforts. Some of that reward will be helping us to overcome temptation and have the strength to resist the mighty temptations we are faced within the last days. The Bible teaches us want to do, so we need to do it. “Doing it” is a form of work.
So if we keep the commandments of the Scriptures and watch and pray often we will be blessed with success in overcoming the trying times of the last days.
As a reward for reading the Scriptures, watching and praying, and keeping ourselves clean and unspotted from the world we can receive a very joyous and righteous reward outlined in this passage of Scripture:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thess. 4:16-18)
So if we daily read the Scriptures, putting into action the Bibles teachings and pray often, we will find ourselves well prepared for the trying times of the last days we live in.
Additional Blessings Of Person Preparation
If we are prepared or are diligently preparing ourselves for the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, that preparation will help us face life’s challenges. If we should happen to get seriously sick or if a loved one should happen to die, the personal spiritual preparation we had made will give us great strength in dealing with those types of challenges.
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