Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 25
     Esther 1
     Matthew 24
     Acts 24
''But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." ''But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:36-37)
            As the early Christians greeted each other, it was often with the word MARANATHA! That one word expressed exciting expectation of the coming of their Lord. They fully expected Him to come in their lifetime and their lifestyle demonstrated it.  They turned their world upside down for Jesus Christ as they anticipated His Second Advent.
No wonder they were willing to face martyrdom. They knew there was life after death and they fully expected the “upper taker” and not the “undertaker.”
            Almost every believer understands that Jesus Christ will come a second time to rapture out His people.  Following the exodus of God's people, the Scripture tells us that all hell will break loose on planet earth. This is called the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation. The signs set forth in Matthew 24 will be completed during the Tribulation. Even now we can see the beginning of the fulfillment of all of these signs.
            Down through the centuries, every generation of Christians have lived out their hours, days and years with the expectation of the Lord's return. Our verse mentions the sign of Noah. There are scores of other signs, but this one is very prominent. The generation to which our Lord will return will have the characteristics of the days of Noah - spiritual ignorance, indifference and immorality. The eminence of our Lord's return should prompt every lost person to turn to Christ in repentance and faith.
            It is also a source of great encouragement for the Child of God. That expectation and exciting anticipation have carried God's people through painful, lonely, sorrowful and tragic pathways. It has been to them the Blessed Hope giving them strength to carry on in the midst of incredible adversity, persecution, opposition and pain.
            Since the angels told our Lord's disciples that He would come again as they saw Him go away there has been great expectation among the people of God. Since then sailors have looked into starlit nights expecting His return. Discouraged missionaries and Christian workers have anticipated the encouragement of His coming. Slaves have looked up from their fields of labor anxious for His return. Persecuted saints have anticipated deliverance at the rapture and prisoners  have  longed for His coming from their prison cells. Jesus is coming soon. Maybe now, maybe today, maybe before I draw my next breath.
            Our text indicated that the events of today are neither coincidental nor accidental - they are providential, and they are irrefutable demonstrations that God is in complete control over all of human history and His will shall be accomplished.
            The clock is ticking down. We have almost reached midnight. The angels are preparing for the shout and Gabriel has his horn in his hand. It won't be long - the Messiah will come. The thread of history will snap and those who are unprepared will be caught up in the tribulation. All of God's prophecies till now have been meticulously fulfilled to the minutest detail - so will this one. Get ready!
            There are two signs for the mission field that indicate the nearness of Christ's return. Matthew 24:9 tell us of the increase of martyrdom throughout the nations in the last days. Matthew 24:14 informs us of the ability to take the Gospel to every nation in the last days. Both of these prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes and press upon us the urgency of the hour in taking the light of the glorious gospel to a dark world.
            “Millions of Christians live with the expectation...that in the next breath; the next blink of the eye; the next tick of the clock; the next beat of the heart; the next rustle of the leaves, the next sigh - the Lord Jesus Christ could descend from heaven with a shout and call them  home."
Tim LaHaye