Michael Youssef - Global Catastrophes
Throughout Christian history, as you read Christian history, you'll find that faithful, true, genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ throughout church history, they have waited for the day of the return of the Lord. All have looked forward with anticipation of our Lord's coming back. True, genuine, faithful believers in every generation were motivated to live righteously and look forward to the day of his return. Here is an interesting observation, at least on my part. While the whole world come to a standstill and celebrate his first coming, just about everywhere in the world come to a standstill to celebrate Christmas, there are very, very, very few people, very few of his children, faithful believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who truly look forward to celebrating his second coming. That shouldn't surprise us.
And in just three verses, that's verses 29, 30, and 31, our Lord gives us the supreme signs of his return. The sun will darken. The moon will not give its light. The stars literally will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heaven will be shaken. A mere few years ago, we would not probably have understood what that means, but now scientists, as they're able to observe the laws that God has placed in his universe, they're able to see things that they could not see before. But in the parallel account to this one in Matthew 24, there's a parallel account in Luke's gospel, Luke 21, verses 25 and 26, and there it says there will be dismay among the nations. That means the whole globe. It tells us that the whole world is gonna be in chaos of utter confusion. People will be perplexed at the size of the tsunamis and the earthquakes. Men's heart, the Bible said, will faint out of fear.
Now, the Greek word for "faint" here is a strong man literally will stop breathing out of fright. As you heard me say this throughout this series of messages, we've always had things like this happen. We've had earthquakes, we had floods, and we had... all these things have happened throughout history. But at the end times, what our Lord is saying about the birth pains is that the end times, from the understanding of the labor pain, is that the expected mom knows this labor pain, when they come in greater intensity, and when they come in greater frequency, you know that the baby is about to arrive. Don't ever forget that God, our God, is not only the Creator of the universe, but he's also the sustainer of the universe.
In Hebrews chapter 1, verse 3, Jesus is the one who upholds all things. What are the all things? The whole universe, by the word of his power. He sustains the universe by his power. He upholds all of the stars in the galaxies by his power. And on that day, when just for one nanosecond, he withholds that sustaining power, and you're gonna see that some thousands of stars are going to pile up in the sky. They're going to create catastrophe in the universe. The reason astronomers and scientists are able to predict some things because of this coming stellar events and they're able to see that ahead of time is because God ordered the laws that control the stars in their orbits, and they've been able to observe their patterns and able to give us some predictions. But when our Lord decides to withdraw his hand in the slightest, these stars are going to careen through the space.
Believe it or not, 700 years before our Lord Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah prophesied exactly the same thing that will happen at the end times in Isaiah 13:10. "For the stars of the heavens and their constellation will not give light; the sun will darken at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light". Beloved, listen to me. Our Bible is nothing if it is not consistent. The Word of God is consistent. When will his coming will be? Immediately after these things take place. These events will truly be global, will be global. And it will be seen from every corner of the globe. Everyone is going to look up, and they're going to see it from their corner of the globe, and that's what the words "every nation" means. This is their way of saying it'll be global. No one is going to miss it, no one is going to miss it. Every part of the universe is going to observe these signs. And as one watches these things, then immediately the Son of God appears. I can't wait.
Verse 30 indicate that Jesus's appearance will be the very final signal. When the world is in a state of shock, as it were, horrified at these catastrophes, our Lord Jesus Christ is going to manifest himself with all of his splendor, glory, majesty, and righteousness. In the darkness of midnight, he will shine like the noon hour. In the midst of the devastation of tribulation, he will appear in his glorious, unparalleled power. The sight of his blazing glory will make all those who have rejected him seek to hide, but there will be nowhere to hide. Those who have rejected him, those who have scorned his name, those who have hated his followers, those who have sought to improve his image because they didn't like the image that they have in the Bible, and they want to improve his image, they will be ashamed. Those who have blasphemed his name, those who have persecuted his children, those who sought to remove his name from public life, the Bible said they'll be mourning, and they are going to writhe in pain of sorrow and regret. Don't miss this, don't miss.
I want to give you five words I pray to God you'll never forget. Verse 30, that's where they come from. I'm not making them up. "With power and great glory". You got these? Let's see if we can say them together. You see, his power is already demonstrated in the events that already have shaken in the heaven, but, but that's not all. He will demonstrate his power by overthrowing Satan and his demons once and for all. He will not be there to torment a believer. He will not be there to tempt the believers. He will not be there. He and his demons are going to be thrown into the lake of fire. He will demonstrate his power by protecting all of his elect. Not one of them will be lost. He will demonstrate his power by establishing his rule and righteousness. He will demonstrate his power by conquering all of his enemies. He will demonstrate his power by destroying the antichrist. He will demonstrate his power by destroying those who worship the beast. He will demonstrate his power by ending sin and the power of sin. He will demonstrate his power by bringing everlasting righteousness and peace.
Demonstrating of his power will be seen in his eliminating of droughts and tornados and floods and starvation, but that's not all, that's not all. Equal to his power is his great glory. Just, I want you to think about this. We're gonna see him as he is on the throne of his glory. We're gonna see him. Beloved, no human being ever seen God as he is, no one, no one. Adam and Eve saw a glimpse of his glory, even though he walked with them in the cool of the day in the garden of Eden. The children of Israel caught a glimpse of him as he passed on Mount Sinai. Isaiah, in chapter 6, he only saw a glimpse of his glory and he got unglued, literally unglued. Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, they saw the face of Jesus, and they said it shone like the sun, and his garment were white as light. But they only saw a glimpse of his glory.
No human being has ever seen him in full of his glory, unimpeded glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we will see him in all his glory. We will see him in the fullness of his glory. Oh, listen to me. It's going to be so overwhelming. It's going to be discombobulating. I know, for one, I'll be speechless. But that's not all, that's not all. Verse 31, those who have rejected him will be mourning, and they'll be weeping and writhing in pain. The angels will be blowing the trumpets. And the Bible always, when the trumpet is blown, it always indicates some very major, major, major event. In this case, it'll be the assembling of the elect from every tribe, from every nation, from every language, from every tongue. They will be assembled, and the trumpet will sound, and the assembly will gather to worship and bow down and cast our crowns at his feet.
Right after that, our Lord Jesus goes on immediately to talk about the parable of the fig tree. Jesus is giving them a parable that makes sense and is easy to understand. The children can understand it, the older people can understand it, everybody can understand it. Every generation understood what the fig tree is. I want to explain it. In the land of ancient Palestine, modern Israel, fig trees are everywhere, more than olive trees. Fig trees are, every back yard had a fig tree. Everybody understood what the fig tree is all about. They're familiar with the fig tree. And the fig tree often used in the Bible to illustrate one thing and one thing only, and that's where our Lord is illustrating in the same vein. What is it? That when the branches become tender and puts forth leaves, it is springtime! That's it! I told you that it's so simple. And springtime means that the summer is not far behind. Our Lord is saying that when you see these fig tree leaves, the day of judgment is around the corner.
When you see all these signs that he has talked about, when you begin to see the signs of the birth pains, our Lord is saying to the generation that is living immediately prior to the return of Christ that it is time to wake up. It is time to wake up. Learn from the fig trees and realize that the summer judgment is not far off. Look at verse 33 and 34. He spells it even further. "Even so, when you see all these things, realize that he's near". He's near. And then he goes on to say, "Truly, I say to you, this generation..." What generation is he talking about? The generation, are you listening? Say amen. The generation that will see these signs, their generation will not pass away. They will see the return of Christ. The generation that will witness the signs of the birth pains, the generation that will witness the tribulation, the generation that will witness these cosmic catastrophes, the generation that will be alive immediately before the return of Christ, that generation will see the return of the Lord.
That generation will not pass away until they see his return. That generation will be privileged to see him appearing in the sky with all the saints who have gone before us. They will be privileged to see his coming in his power and great glory. May this be our generation, may this be our generation. Whether you're watching around the world or whether you're here in this beautiful sanctuary, if all of this fills you with fear and anxiety, there can only be one reason: that you've never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ. And you can do that today. You can do that now and be assured of eternity with him in heaven. Those who will be terrified on that day are only those who have refused to accept his gracious invitation to repent of their sins and be forgiven of their sins.
Listen to me. Ever since Jesus's arms were stretched by others on that cross, he willingly stretching his arms, from that moment on, to whomsoever would come to him in repentance and in faith, asking for his forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. His arms are wide open, but they will not be wide open for very long. The day will come when that's going to end. We're going to talk about that more in the coming message, that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the day of the Son of Man. Have you ever seen days worse than the days of Noah, today? The difference between those who love Jesus and those who have rejected or ignored him is the longing for his return. That's the difference. See, they're both sinners, they're both sinners. The believers are sinners, but they acknowledge their sin, but they also acknowledge they desperately need the Savior to save them from their sin. The nonbelievers refuse to acknowledge their need for a Savior.
Number one reason why people don't come to Christ is pride. Certainly, they'll be terrified on that day, according to Jesus. Those who cursed him will have gnashing of teeth. Last words in this passage, as if our Lord making sure, just making sure; look at the last words here in this passage. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away". This prophecy will happen, will take place. The universe will fail. The galaxies will collapse. The stars will fall from the sky. Earth will be burning. And yet, what Jesus had prophesied will be fulfilled, just like he prophesied about the year 70 AD happened. Now, I want to conclude by giving you a historic motivation to pray for revival, to pray for revival. America has experienced dark days before. Immediately after the War of Independence, immediately after the War of Independence, a great victory... I always tell you be careful, because Satan has an opportune time; and the moment after great victory, that's his opportune time, and that's what happened as a nation.
The moral fiber and the spiritual condition of America were in a tailspin. Alcoholism was rampant. Crime was on the rise. Church attendance had plummeted. John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the day, had written a note, a letter to James Madison, the father of the Constitution. And in part, he says in the letter, "The Christian church in America was too far gone ever to be redeemed," end of quote. Thomas Paine, one of the intellectual leaders of the American Revolution predicted, he said, "Christianity will be forgotten in America within 30 years". In 1794, I want you to remember that date, okay, because it's important, 1794, as the new American nation was sinking into godlessness and depravity, a Connecticut pastor by the name of Isaac Backus began holding prayer meetings in his church. One purpose: "God, send a revival".
Later on, Backus formed an alliance with 24 New England ministers with the goal of praying regularly for a spiritual awakening throughout America. They called that prayer series a concert of prayer. Remember, that was the year 179... what? Four. In 1798, churches throughout the 13 former colonies were holding prayer meetings, confessing their sins and pleading with God for a revival. An amazing nationwide revival broke across America, especially on college campuses. My beloved friends, change can and will happen when God's people repent of their sin and turn to him. Revival starts with repentance, and repentance starts with us, not the outside world, not the government, not the political parties, not society, but us. When God's people repent of their sin and turn to him, and become fervent in prayer, then watch out, watch out, watch out. God is going to move among his people.