The Coming of the Son of Man (Mark 13:24-37)



2011-11-27 The Coming of the Son of Man (Mark 13:24-37) Advent 1

Mk. 13:24-37 “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, 25  AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26  “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. 27  “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. 28  “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29  “Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 30  “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 32  “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 33  “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. 34  “It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35 “Therefore, be on the alert– for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning– 36  in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. 37  “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!'”

 

  • Faith in Christ is based on actual historical events, two already taken place and one to go:
    • The incarnation of Christ in humility
    • The death and resurrection and ascension of Christ
    • The return of Christ in glory

 

  • In the Christian year, traditionally the Second Coming of Christ is celebrated and considered on the first Sunday of Advent.

 

  • The Scriptures led the Hebrew people to adopt a view of history that is not cyclical, but linear. The universe, they said, was not locked into an endless cycle of repetition, but is moving toward a future single goal. They believed, as we do, that there will be a final resolution to history in which God banishes evil and establishes a permanent age of salvation, peace and righteousness.

 

  • Christ’s first advent, or coming, is called the inauguration of the kingdom, while his yet future second coming is called the consummation of the kingdom. We live in the period between these two, in what is called the continuation of the kingdom, the “already and not yet.” (Dictionary)

 

 

  • So in this season we look back to his first advent and look forward to his second advent.

 

  • No shortage of references in the Bible to the second coming of Christ.
  • One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence.
  • In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ–an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses.
  • Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to it. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second! Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27.

 

This passage is found in what is called Olivet Discourse found in Mark 13, Luke 21, Matt 24.

 

Much more can be said about the second coming but…

 

This passage tells us six things about Christ’s second coming.

  • The Timing of His Coming
  • The Nature of His Coming
  • The Purpose of His Coming
  • The Certainty of His Coming
  • The Knowledge of His Coming
  • The Preparation for His Coming

 

 

  1. The timing of his return –
  • at some distant point in time after the desecration and demolition of the temple in Jerusalem; and,
  • immediately following cataclysmic signs in the heavens

 

24 “in those days after that tribulation”

 

  • Verses 14-23 begin to answer the question the disciples posed in verse 4.

 

  • Jesus had said earlier while he and the disciples were visiting the temple that the temple in Jerusalem would be completely demolished.

 

  • The disciples later asked him when this would take place, and what signs would show them these things are about to be fulfilled.

 

  • Jesus explained that a number of things would take place in their generation including the demolition of the temple – wars and rumors of wars, the arising of false messiahs, nations would arise against other nations, earthquakes, famines – but these would only be birth pains – there was more to follow

 

  • They would be handed over the local councils and beaten, they would stand trial bc they were Xians – but this would be an opportunity to share the good news about Jesus.
  • Finally, the Jewish people would be threatened and the temple utterly destroyed – as history later proved true in AD 70 when the Roman military commander Titus slowly but surely advanced upon and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple

 

  • Jesus said all this to warn them to watch out for these false messiahs so as not to be deceived by them and to prepare them to use their trials as an opportunity to proclaim the gospel.

 

  • However, in verse 24 Jesus describes events that would take place at some distant, unknown time, as we will see in a few moments – “after the anguish of those days” or “after THAT tribulation”

 

24b THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, 25  AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.

 

  • Some take this to be a literal darkening, of the sun and moon and falling of the stars from heaven.

 

  • Others take it to be figurative for the falling of the human ruling powers of the earth or the falling of the evil powers in heavenly places or both at the coming of the son of man

 

  • The passage in Isaiah 13:10 from which it is quoted uses this language to depict the wrath of God falling on historic Babylon in 539 BC and is representative of the fall of all wicked and arrogant nations in the same way as does the book of Revelation in the fall of Babylon the Great. (Rev 18).

 

  • I suggest that perhaps in the future coming of the son of man it could be both representative and literal in some sense.

 

  • If the Son of Man is “coming with the clouds” and those clouds are dark and ominous – as were the clouds over Mt Sinai at the giving of the law, they would blot out the light of the sun and the moon and the stars in the process.

 

  • In any case, this cataclysmic phenomenon seems to be distanced in time from the events that would have been witnessed by the disciples and to immediately precede Jesus’ coming with the clouds in the next verse.

 

  • Jesus’ point to the disciples was that there would be disturbing events on earth that would take place in their lifetime, but that his final advent would not be signaled by those events but by an event that would be yet future and signaled by something more cataclysmic than even the destruction of the temple

 

 

We’ve looked at the timing of his return. Now let’s look second at,

 

  1. The nature of his return

 

  • Jesus spoke of himself as the Son of Man during his earthly ministry, both to identify himself with his humanness, but also, at certain times to identify himself with the mysterious son of man in Daniel 7:13.

 

  • Daniel wrote of what he saw in his vision, “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.”

 

The nature of his return first,

 

  1. Will be Visible

 

26  “they will see…”

 

  • He was speaking to a few disciples, but he didn’t say “you will see,

 

  • He said “they will see” in the third person plural

 

  • Rev 1:7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him…

 

The nature of his return, second

 

  1. Will be Bodily and Personal

“the son of man coming in the clouds”

 

  • At his ascension, the angel told the disciples he would return as they had seen him depart (Acts or Matthew?) – this indicates that it will be in his resurrected body – bodily or personally by means of the clouds. He rose up into a cloud and disappeared. He will descend with or in the clouds in his resurrection body in which they had seen the nail prints in his hands and feet and the wound in his side.

 

The nature of his return, third,

 

  1. Will be Powerful and glorious

“with great power and glory”

 

  • He came in his first advent in humility and weakness
  • In contrast, in his second coming he will appear with power and glory

 

 

We have looked at the timing of his return and the nature of his return, let’s look third at

 

  1. The purpose of his return – To send his angels to gather the elect from the whole world

 

27  “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.

 

  • Reminiscent of the language of the parable of the wheat and the tares, it says Jesus will send the angels to gather the elect

 

  • Further it says using redundant language that he will gather them from every part of the earth – “from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

 

  • This is an OT reference to
    • Deu 30:4 “If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.” And…
    • Zec 2:6 “Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the LORD, “for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the LORD.

 

  • We know from other passages that he has other purposes, including the judging of unbelievers and the overthrow of the evil powers, but that’s for another time.

 

  • This is our greatest hope in persecution and trials and temptations – Jesus is coming to gather us to himself to be with him forever.

 

  • This is the The HOPE OF GLORY, to which ___________

 

  • We can’t say enough about this, but we must move on for now

 

 

Fourth, we are assured of

 

  1. The certainty of his return

 

 28  “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29  “Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 30  “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

 

  • First, when Jesus wanted to assure his hearers of the truth of his statements, he used the formula, “Truly I say to you”

 

  • Second, he told them that the truth of his word was more sure or steadfast or solid than even the elements of the physical heavens and the earth.

 

  • Neill Hamilton, who taught at Drew University for many years, once observed how people in our time lose hope for the future. It happens whenever we let our culture call the shots on how the world is going to end.

 

  • At this stage of technological advancement, the only way the culture can make sense of the future is through the picture of everything blowing up in a nuclear holocaust. The world cannot know what we know, that everything has changed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, that the same Christ is coming to judge the world and give birth to a new creation. And so, people lose hope.

 

  • As Hamilton puts it: This substitution of an image of nuclear holocaust for the coming of Christ is a parable of what happens to Christians when they cease to believe in their own eschatological heritage. The culture supplies its own images for the end when we default by ceasing to believe in biblical images of God’s triumph at the end.

 

  • The good news of the gospel is this: when all is said and done, God is going to win.

–William G. Carter, No Box Seats in the Kingdom, CSS Publishing.

 

 

Fifth, let’s look at

 

  1. The knowledge of his return

 

  • the disciples are told that though they can know the timing of the immediate events in their generation, that no one knows exactly when the son of man will return

 

32  “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

 

  • He makes the point by saying first that no one knows, then emphasizes it by saying that neither do the angels nor even the Son, but only the Father knows.
  • His point is that they should not spend their time speculating over the timing of the event, but rather – as we will see – they should be working and ready when he comes.
  • Have you ever heard of the Millerties?
  • After 14 years of studying the Bible, William Miller (1782-1849)–a U.S. revivalist who predicted the second coming and earned a large but temporary following of  50,000-100,000–became convinced that Christ would return in 1843. When Miller announced April 3 as the day, some disciples went to mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in reunion with their departed loved ones.
  • Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God’s kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for Christ’s return. They still had until March 21, 1844. The devout continued to make ready, but again they were disappointed. A third date–October 22, 1844–was set, but it also passed.  —Today in the Word, MBI, December 20, 1991.

 

  • More recently, followers of Harold Camping enthusiastically promoted his predictions of the return of Christ last October then again in May, but were likewise disappointed when his predictions proved untrue.

 

  • The point is, if someone says they know when it’s Christ will return, they are mistaken or deceived or a deceiver. Don’t waste your time with them. Only the Father knows the timing and has chosen not to reveal it to us for reasons known only to him.

 

Finally, let’s look at

 

  1. The preparation for his return
    1. Since you don’t know when it will occur, keep working
    2. Since it may occur suddenly, keep watching

 

 33  “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.

 

34  “It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35

 

“Therefore, be on the alert– for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning– 36  in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. 37  “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!'”

 

 

Jesus told the Parable of the faithful steward:

  • Peter said to him, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everybody?”
  • The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has.
  • But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn’t know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the unfaithful. That servant, who knew his lord’s will, and didn’t prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes, but he who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

— Luke 12:35-48, World English Bible

 

 

There’s an old story about St Francis of Assissi, author of All Creatures of our God and King, lived in 4th century.

 

  • He was a Franciscan monk. And he spent time each day reading his Bible and praying. One afternoon, he took some time to work on his vegetable garden. And a guy came up to him and said, “Hey, Francis. What would you do if I told you that Jesus was coming back tomorrow?”

 

  • And Francis thought about for a second. And then he said, “I think I would probably turn around and go back to working in my garden.”

 

  • What Francis was trying to say was “Look. If Jesus comes back tomorrow, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I live a life of faith, hope and love every single day. I read my Bible. I pray. I don’t live a life of moral indifference. I don’t go out and get plastered every night. When Christ comes back, I’ll be ready.” –Dr. Marc Axelrod

 

Little girl

  • After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.
  • “Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?” “Yes.”  “Today?”   “Yes.”    “In a few minutes?”   “Yes, dear.”   “Mommy, would you comb my hair?” –Don Hussong.

 

 

My stolen bike at BGSU

  • Normally rode the old 2 speed
  • At end of semester rode the new 10 speed
  • Others brought up to their dorm room, but I left mine in the rack with only a thin lock
  • It was stolen and I was mad at myself.
  • Because I knew deep down that we should have taken the necessary precautions. And I didn’t. I wasn’t prepared for a thief in the night.That’s the way it’s going to be when the day of the Lord comes. Jesus is going to come back. When people aren’t expecting him. When they have failed to make the necessary preparations. And they will be in for the shock of their lives.

    Now for you and I, the day of the Lord is a great day. It’s the day we get to meet Jesus in the air. It’s the day we are reunited with our deceased loved ones. It’s the day that Jesus will begin to take over the world.

This passage tells us six things about Christ’s second coming.

  • The Timing of His Coming
  • The Nature of His Coming
  • The Purpose of His Coming
  • The Certainty of His Coming
  • The Knowledge of His Coming
  • The Preparation for His Coming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WCF 33.3

  • Christ wants us to be completely convinced there is going to be a day of judgment, as a deterrent to sin for everyone and as an added consolation for the godly in their suffering.1 He has also made sure that no one knows when that day will be, so that we may never rest secure in our worldly surroundings, but, not knowing what hour the Lord will come, we must always be alert and may always be ready to say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”2 Amen

 

 

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