Jesus said that the Son of Man, which was what He called Himself, would come (back) in Majesty and Glory. The End of the World has been called His Second coming, and is also known as the Parousia, using the Greek word for the same.
We have, in the 16th Chapter of Matthew,
“27 For The Son of Man is about to come in the Glory of His Father with His Angels, and then He will Reward each one according to his deeds. 28 I Assure You that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King.”
In the earlier verses, Jesus had spoken of His Suffering and Death. Now, when He says that He would come in Glory, with His Angels, to Reward, His Disciples understood that this signified a Second Coming, a Return after Death.
Verse 28 had given rise to the Expectation, even in the minds of Early Christians, that Christ would be Returning, that the Second Coming would take place, during their Life-time.
I write: ‘Even in the minds of Early Christians’ because Many Christians, all through the ages, have expected the Parousia to occur in their life-time. Two instances stay in my mind: One, some years ago, people had congregated in Australia expecting this, and, many years earlier, a (so called) Christian community of some 800 people had taken their own lives, perhaps thinking that this would aid them to join the Lord at His return at the End of the World.
People seem to have Totally Ignored the word ‘Some‘ in the words of Christ. That these ‘Some’ would witness his Glorious coming brings out the point that He comes in His Majesty for Each one of Us.
Regarding His Second coming, Christ Jesus spoke much more.
The Parousia would be His coming to Receive us. (John 14:1-3).
“It will be as it was in the time of Lot. Everybody kept on eating and drinking, buying and selling. planting and building. On the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and killed them all. That is how it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:28-30.
From the above We see that the Day of the Son of Man would be: Unexpected, and Cataclysmic and Fatal.
So, Many have taken to Any and Every Cataclysmic event as the foretelling of the Second coming! Particularly in the light of the fact that Christ Himself had made allusions to them.
Wars, Plagues and Calamities like Earthquakes are taken by many to be signs of the Second coming. But these things, though mentioned, are also followed by the words: “But do not be Troubled. Such things Must happen, but they do Not mean that the End has come!” See Matthew 24:6-8.
Jesus spoke quite a lot about the Last days. In the gospel of Matthew alone, much of the 24th chapter, and the Whole of the 25th are allotted to this.
When Would the Last Days come?
Despite what We might call the ‘curiosity’ of the Disciples in this regard, as evinced by the (repeated) questions to this effect, Christ had One answer: “Only the Father knows that Day and the Hour.” (Matthew 24:36, 25:13, 24:44, Luke 12:40).
I have found that a short analysis of Matthew 25 helps. The TEV, etc, give broad headings, and for this chapter, they give:
- The Parable of the Ten Virgins,
- The Parable of the Three servants, and
- The Final Judgement.
The first of these very clearly speaks of being Prepared, in terms of Time, for the Coming. The Lesson being, It will arrive Not Really When We are Expecting it!
The second two headings, though seemingly very varied, speak of being Prepared to Give Account of Our Deeds.
Whenever the question of Deeds/Actions have been raised, Many have objected, twisted it even, to mean ‘following the law.’ But No! In the last verses of the 25th chapter of Matthew, Christ is saying that We will be Judged by What We Did, or Did Not Do, to Our Fellow Human Beings.
The Issue Christ raises here are:
- Being Abandoned, Left as a Stranger
- Lack of enough Clothes
- Taking Care of the Sick
- Visiting, Aiding and Helping the Many who have put into Prison, often on False Charges.
As I have written elsewhere, it is of NO use to Us to know the timing of the end of the ‘World.’ We have to Keep in Mind Our Own Personal Nemesis!
From the list above We see that Christ would count ‘Earning Money,’ or even calling it as ‘Providing very effectively for my Family’ counts as Zero for Him. What He wants of Us is CONCERN.
The Sun, the Earth, the Moon and all the planets will definitely pass away. Talking in modern terms, I do not know whether these will become Black holes or White ones. No Carl Sagan I. But If I get Hit by a Tsunami or a Drunken Driver today, that, to all Practical purposes, is the ‘End of the World’ for me as I know it.
According to Christianity, I would be spending the Rest of my Eternity in the Satisfaction of having lived a Useful Life, or in Dissatisfaction.