Riots in Great Britian, Israel, Sapin, Greece, Portugal, Philippines, China, & Syria.  600+ drop in U.S. Stock Market one day… recovery the next day… then another 400 point drop yesterday.  In Norway a fanatic sets off a car bomb in Oslo and kills teenagers on an island… and claims to be a Christian.  Financial collapses of countries in Europe.  Continued terrorism.  Widespread famine in Somalia.  Housing market is nill in the U.S..  Our nation is virtually bankrupt financially…. and I could go on without mentioning drought, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

Do all those things signal Jesus is about to come back?  The answer is: Possibly… but then again, maybe not.  Think with me.

There have been times that were much worse than they are now.  World War I took place during 1914-1918.  There was a flu pan-demic that killed between 20-40 million people world wide in 1918.  During the 1920s & 1930s crime swept through the country with the likes of the Mafia in New York, Al Capone, Bonnie & Clyde, Machine Gun Kelley, and many others.  The Great Depression of 1929 resutled in an international trade plung by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%.  There was another World War during the 1940s.  Consider the social unrest of the 1960s: Three prominent leaders were assinated (JFK, MLK, RFK), the sexual revolution took place, there were riots in many cities, rebellion on many college campuses, & racial issues were volitale.   Some Christians strongly warned that the 6 Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1972) in Israel were the immediate precurosrs to the return of Christ.

I suggest this is life as normal in a world broken by sin.  Therefore it is best to interpret events in light of Scripture, NOT Scripture in light of events (Read that again).  So what does the Scripture say?  These are the words of Jesus…

Matthew 24:4 See that no one leads you astray.  5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Matthew 24:23 If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.  26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:30 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.  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.  (Note: THE sign of Jesus’ return is… HIS RETURN)

Matthew 24:36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.  42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

What then are we to understand from Jesus about His return?

There will be wars, famines, & earthquakes… that it is NOT the end (Mt 24:6-7),

Christians will be persecuted… that is NOT the end (Mt 24:9-11),

People will claim to be Christ… they are liars (Mt 24:23-26),

Jesus’ return will be sudden and get everyone’s attention (Mt 24:27),

Jesus return will be signaled by… HIS RETURN (Mt 24:30),

Jesus’ return is known only to God the Father (Mt 24:36),

When Jesus returns, life will be just as every day before it (Mt 24:37-39),

Therefore… regardless of anything else… be ready for Jesus’ return, no matter when it may be (Mt 24:42-44).