“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
And he said to the disciples., “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
In this devotional series, we have been considering the characteristics of the Coming Day of the Son of Man. What will this day be like? First, the day will be visible to everyone. Secondly, the Coming Day of the Son of Man will appear to be normal, in that, everyone will be going about their daily routines as usual. What else should we expect?
The third characteristic of the coming day of the Son of Man is that it will be a day of sudden destruction. Jesus referred to two events from the Old Testament to describe The Coming Day of the Lord: 1) the destruction of the city of Sodom by fire and sulfur, and 2) the destruction of the world by the flood. Look again at verse 27: “They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Verses 29-30 state, “But on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
What will this destruction be like? I don’t really know, nor do I really want to know, but here is what I believe. The armies of the world will conspire to wage war against the tiny little nation of Israel. You can already see this beginning to take shape. Israel will have its back against the wall and will be on the brink of complete annihilation but, behind the scenes, God will be at work on Israel’s behalf.
Joel 3:1-2 and 12-13 give us a picture of the last days when the armies of the world, unaware that they are actually going to war against God, invade Israel. The prophet Joel writes, “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (the Kidron Valley, a narrow valley between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives). There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided my land…Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness.”
In the near future, I believe that Israel is going to face the armies of the world. Woe to America if, and when, we turn against Israel. Just prior to this final battle, the world will seem safe. I believe politicians will eventually sign another peace treaty in the Middle East. It will be reminiscent of September 30, 1938, when Neville Chamberlain, former prime minister of Great Britain, announced “peace for our time” on the steps of 10 Downing Street, immediately after returning from Munich, where he and government leaders from France, Italy and Germany had signed an agreement over the division of Czechoslovakia in hopes of averting war. Chamberlain returned to England as a hero, but he was so naïve. On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from the west; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, beginning World War II. On September 17, Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east.
My personal belief is that in the near future the world will put its hope in another peace agreement. This time the leaders of the world will sign an agreement to divide Israel in the hopes of averting war. Once again, this promise of peace will be short-lived. Consider the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, “Now brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
The coming day of the Son of Man will be a day of death and destruction. On that day, there will be no need to go back to work or to take care of last-minute details. It will be too late to rethink past decisions. The end will be upon the world. Eternal destinies will be fixed. Nothing will be able to be changed. Thus, for those who reject Christ, this is a day to fear.
So, what should you do now? Make sure you are in Christ, and that Christ is in you (Romans 8:9). Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” When the Son of Man appears in the sky, the day of God’s favor will be over; the day of salvation will have passed. Next week, we will continue to look at the characteristics of this coming Day of the Son of Man. Stay tuned!