The Coming of the Son of Man – so much of what is to follow is symbolic confusing language to describe a timeframe. Hey, just give me the day and the time – I will set the alarm, put it on my calendar and go out and live my life.
But Jesus has given his word to live by faith – be ready.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
- This is Old Testament language talking about the last day – the conclusion of the universe (Isaiah 24, 34, Joel 2),
- Jesus, to speak of the last day uses this Old Testament language. It is a poetic way to say that the creation is becoming uncreated.
- This is where our rapture theology friends make the big mistake. In their effort to take the Book of Revelation literally, they end up with life on earth with 1/3rd of the sun burned out and literal stars falling in a literal sea.
- We would read these types of signs to mean just what they mean – THE END.
- I imagine that we will see this (whatever it is) when he comes to judge the living and the dead. What we will see is the destruction of the old and the new creation coming at once —- the new heaven and the new earth.
30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
- Here is the sign of his coming – this is the only sign we are to be looking for – not tornadoes, earthquakes, wars, dictators in foreign lands.
- Notice how the imagery has changed from the destruction of the temple into language of the last day? What is he talking about?
- The destruction of the temple is a foretaste of the last day –So pay attention folks.
- Son of man = Daniel language – power & great glory – divinity language.
- On the clouds = this is ascension language – we were told he would return the same way he left.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
- Now Jesus is gathering the elect – but wait – this is happening at the last day – not 7 years earlier at the rapture.
- Our rapture friends have this so wrong – how can you have a loud trumpet at the rapture? This is supposed to be a mystery for those left behind.
- But our friends have this figured out – it is the mysterious dog whistle trumpet that only the redeemed can here.
- Enough of the negative judgment – what about the positives of that judgment – that you are forgiven and given salvation on that last day.
- The judgment comes forward in the divine service, so when you hear the absolution proclaimed over you, when the pastor speaks forth the gospel, when you eat and drink the true body and blood of our Lord at the sacrament of the altar.
- According to the Lord’s word, this is the last day judgment for you! You are acquitted and Jesus says “come into my kingdom.”
- So it is each Lord’s Day – the imagery of the angels being sent out to gather the elect – the Lord gathering his people into his church around himself.
- We see this as a glimpse in miniature.
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.
- Learn this lesson – Jesus is so good at object lessons.
- From v 33 forward, Jesus tells a series of parables that say this one thing – Be Ready! – and you need to know this to be ready.
- What is Be Ready? I think 32 ff is a parallel to 2 Peter 3:11-12 –“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
- This about this – here is Jesus teaching the disciples and then as we read 2 Peter we then see Peter teaching this to the Church.
- We have signs of changing seasons – not so much in SoCal (we have summer and almost summer).
- We even try to make our own signs out of the seasons – Ground Hog Day.
33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
- We are to look forward to his coming as we would wait for the coming of summer. How do you d that?? With patience.
- The tree is budding, his coming is near and this they know by his sure and eternal word.
34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
- Which generation? How about the generation in his day?
- Matt 11:16 – Matt 12:39, 41-42, 45 – Matt 16:4
- All of the severity of God’s judgment on Israel, it’s history will not end with the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem – but their only hope is to be joined in the new and eternal people of God – called the church.
- What happens in Jesus’ generation points to what will continue to happen in all generations – and we need to be what? READY!
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
- This is a statement of certainty of what was said above
- Some people want to make a theology out of each verse – well what did Jesus mean? – and then dissect and come up with a statement of faith.
- I think it is not more than, ‘what I said, you can take it to the bank.”