Humble Hero


Signs of the Second Coming of Christ

This chapter is based on Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38.

Christ’s words to the priests and rulers, “See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:38), had struck terror in their hearts. The question kept rising in their minds about what these words might mean. Could it be that the magnificent temple, the nation’s glory, was soon to be a heap of ruins? HH 293.1

The disciples also shared this sense of approaching evil. As they walked out of the temple with Jesus, they called His attention to its strength and beauty. The stones of the temple were of the purest marble, some of almost incredible size. A portion of the wall had withstood the siege by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. In its perfect masonry it appeared like one solid stone dug whole from the quarry. HH 293.2

The view Christ saw was indeed beautiful, but He said with sadness, “I see it all. You point to these walls as apparently indestructible, but listen: The day will come when ‘not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’” HH 293.3

When He was alone, Peter, John, James, and Andrew came to Him. “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus did not answer by speaking separately of the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming. He mingled the description of these two events. If He had opened to His disciples the future events as He saw them, they would have been unable to endure the sight. In mercy, He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves. When He referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, His prophetic words reached beyond that event to that day when the Lord will come to punish the world for their iniquity. Jesus gave this entire discourse not just for the disciples but for those who would live in the last scenes of this earth’s history. HH 293.4

Christ said, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Many false messiahs will appear, declaring that the time of deliverance for the Jewish nation has come. These will mislead many. Christ’s words were fulfilled. Between His death and the siege of Jerusalem many false messiahs appeared. The same deceptions will arise again. HH 293.5

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end [of the Jewish nation as a nation] is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” The rabbis will declare that these signs are announcing the advent of the Messiah. Don’t be deceived. The signs that they say are indicators of their release from oppression are signs of their destruction. HH 294.1

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” All this the Christians experienced. Fathers and mothers betrayed their children, children their parents. Friends betrayed friends to the Sanhedrin. The persecutors killed Stephen, James, and other Christians. HH 294.2

Through His servants, God gave the Jewish people a last opportunity to repent. He revealed Himself in their arrest and trial, yet their judges pronounced the death sentence on them. By killing them, the Jews crucified the Son of God anew. It will be this way again. The authorities will make laws to restrict religious liberty. They will think they can force the conscience, which God alone should control. They will continue this work until they reach a boundary over which they cannot step. God will intervene in behalf of His loyal, commandment-keeping people. HH 294.3

When persecution comes, many stumble and fall, renouncing the faith they once advocated. Those who leave their faith in difficult times will bear false witness and betray their brethren in order to secure their own safety. Christ has warned us of this so that we will not be surprised at the unnatural, cruel behavior of those who reject the light. HH 294.4

Christ told His disciples how to escape the ruin that was coming on Jerusalem: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.” Jesus gave this warning to be heeded forty years after, at the destruction of Jerusalem. The Christians obeyed the warning, and not one died in the fall of the city. HH 294.5

“Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath,” Christ said. He who made the Sabbath did not abolish it. His death did not cancel the Sabbath. Forty years after His crucifixion His followers were still to hold it sacred. HH 294.6