Watch and Pray Always
The Lord Jesus Christ's Olivet Discourse on His Second Coming
The Signs that precede the Lord's Second Coming
On the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple in Jerusalem the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to His disciples concerning His Second Coming, He instructed them to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Lk. 21:36)
What are “all these things that will come to pass” that we are told to watch and pray for? “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"(Mt. 24:3)
The Lord then gave His disciples no less than fourteen signs that precede His return. “And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”(Mt. 24:4-8)
Many signs that Jesus mentioned had already appeared and continue to appear, so we still have to watch for them and pray that we can escape from their results.
Persecution of Christians
The Lord Jesus Christ had warned His disciples about persecution. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”(Mt. 24:9-10)
In the First Century the disciples of Christ went through great persecution by the Romans. Throughout the centuries Christians that closely followed the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and had kept God's commandments have been persecuted for their beliefs. The Christians in Russia, China and other previous Communist countries have been greatly persecuted. Even in America the atheists have minimized Christianity by disallowing the name of Jesus Christ to be used in government functions, and have succeeded in banning prayer in public schools. Christians need to be watchful and pray more than ever before so that they can overcome the tribulation and keep their faith in the One True God in Jesus Christ.
The Rise of False Prophets
The Lord Jesus Christ warned, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”(Mt.24:11) He had previously warned the disciples, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt.7:15-20)Christians need to pray fervently and be very careful about false prophets.
Lawlessness and Love Growing Cold
What the Lord Jesus Christ spoke, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” He meant the condition in the Christian Church. He said the first and great commandment is to love God with all the heart, soul and mind, and the second is to love the neighbor as oneself. “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”(Mt. 22:36-40) Since many Christians in the End Time do not keep this Great Law of God “the love of many will grow cold”. Watch and pray that your love for God and the neighbor will grow stronger.
Endurance to the End for Salvation
“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mt. 24:13) Watch and pray that your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His truth be preserved, and also that you will endure the tribulation until the end.
Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached Worldwide
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Mt. 24:14) This prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ is being fulfilled in our time and age with the aid of modern technology in communication through the radio, television and the computer on the Internet. We should watch and pray more that we get more involved in world evangelism.
Flee to the Mountains
The Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to “flee to the mountains” when they see the “abomination of desolation” which refers to some vile action that is so hateful to God He would destroy the place and cause it to become desolate. Homosexuality is an abomination to God, and those that practice it are punishable by death (Lev. 18:22; 20:13). The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that practiced homosexuality are the only cities that are destroyed by God (Gen. 19:24-29; 2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 7).
The disciples followed the instructions of the Lord Jesus Christ, and fled to Petra, a city built in the mountain, that is situated about 120 miles south of Jerusalem. Christians in the End Time should watch and pray for God’s provision of a shelter.
The Great Tribulation
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.” (Mt. 24:21-22) The Great Tribulation is a fearful event that occurs throughout the whole world.
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."(Lk. 21:34-36)
The good news is that immediately after the Great Tribulation the Lord Jesus Christ will return to take all the true believers to His heavenly Kingdom (Mt. 24:29-31)
This Hub is based on the Sermon preached by Paul Wong to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on October 16, 2011