Today's verses are Mark 13:24-27: "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven." Jesus now goes the the time after the great tribulation at the end times. The tribulation will not last forever. Though all the world will be taken through a very difficult and painful time period, it will be cut short because of God's elect. Then Jesus begins a time for the restoration of the world, a return to the garden of Eden, a once perfect world where no sin can be found.
But there will be extraordinary, powerful cosmic events that will precede the Son of Man's return. There are hints of literal darkness in previous Biblical accounts, like one of the plagues that God inflicted upon Egypt through Moses (Exodus 10:21-23). Many of the Old Testament prophets foretold great heavenly disturbances (Is. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10). Also, stars falling and the earth being rolled up is mentioned in (Hebrews 1:12; 2 Peter 3:7; Rev. 6:13,14).
Could "the stars falling from the sky" suggest a huge meteor shower? Could the sun darkening be a major eclipse like the world has never seen? We can only guess at what is meant by the "powers of heaven being shaken." What is clear is that these events will shake and shatter the entire universe, the earth included. Creation's groaning, all the past events of the great tribulation, like a woman in childbirth, is now ready to see the baby delivered.
Then the Son of Man, Jesus, will be seen in the gathering clouds. He will be seen everywhere in the world at once and he will be surrounded with "great power and glory." It will be unmistakable that he is Lord of all. All the world will know it!
Then, interestingly, he will send out the angels who will gather his "elect" from all the four corners of the world. From every nation, tribe and ethnicity God's people will be gathered, people who have trusted in Jesus for their eternal salvation.
Notice it's the angels, not Jesus, who will accomplish this work. The angels' job before the Father in heaven has been to worship him and serve God's elect while on earth, caring for us in ways we've never seen. Now they gather us to take us home. Will the one(s) who have personally overseen our earthly lives the the one(s) who personally come to us to take us to Jesus? How wonderful that would be!
Are you excited about this glorious day? Or are you still attached to the "stuff" of this world, clinging to it, thinking it will ultimately bring happiness? Are you ready for this day? Is your heart today filled with joy and worship? Is your life consumed with holiness, ready to meet the holy one of Israel?
This not is not a figurative day manufactured in the minds of old Biblical prophets. It's a day Jesus himself predicted would happen. It will happen. We have one responsibility as we think of this day: be ready. Whether it happens today or one hundred years from now, we are to be ready.
It's not a day that should frighten us. It's a day for which we should long.
But only if we're ready for him to return
Jesus is Lord over all the universe. One day it will be known...and seen...by all people in all times.
Are you ready for this great day?