Jesus, speaking of the end of this abominable world, uses the following words, “For just as the lightening comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matt.24:27-31).
Jesus continues to say, in the same text, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone, for the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Man be” (Matt.24:36-39). We should note that this is the second coming of Christ, since the first one happened in the incarnation and the manger. In this second coming, when we compare it to the flood, all men are destroyed and killed, and only Noah and his family are saved. Jesus is explaining by this that, after his return, no one will stay alive in this world. It is, therefore, the end of everything. There will not be life on the earth left for a kingdom of a thousand years; and when Jesus says that two will be in bed and one will be taken and another will be left, and that two will be on the field and one will be taken ant the other will be left, those that are left are left dead, as it was in the flood (Matt.24:40-44). In the moment that Jesus gathers his chosen ones, the ones who were rejected are condemned and killed.
Jesus continues his prophetic sermon and says, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matt. 25:31-34). “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matt.25:46).
Luke, the evangelist, reinforces this same doctrine: “Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed’” (Luke 17:20). “For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by His generation. And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:24-27).
Luke also says that at the same hour when Jesus removes his saved ones from this world, all those that remain are consumed. And Luke goes on, “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30). The words of Jesus that Luke registered make it clear that, the moment Jesus takes his Church from this world, there will be fire coming down from heaven to consume the earth and its habitants. Nobody will remain to tell what happens then, or to rule for a thousand years. Paul describes this day in vivid colors: “But the present heavens and the earth by His word are being reserved for fire” (2 Pet. 3:7).
As a proof that, at the return of Jesus, there will come the Judgment of the world and of the Church, simultaneously, Jesus spoke by the mouth of Luke: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:33-36). What we can gather from the declarations of Jesus is that the saved ones will not be taken into the heavens and resurrected a thousand years before the sons of doom, but the unsaved and the sons of doom will be gathered at that same time, and then they will be separated. Jesus tells a parable to explain this truth.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt.13:47-50).
It appears that, when Jesus returns, there will be no one for the last week of Daniel 9:24-27. It also appears that the Anti-Christ is already ruling, and that Christians already have the sign on their foreheads (Rev.13:16-17). It appears that the Christians of the last days already are under the deluding influence (2 Thess.2:9-12). What seems right to us, and what prudence tells us, is that we, Christians, should be on our guard, that is, should be living in charity, being holy in all our manner of living having crucified the world and the flesh, living a life that is more of heaven than of this earth (Matt.24:42; 1 Pet.4:8; Col.3:12-14; 1 Pet.1:15; Gal.5:24; 6:14; Col.3:1-3).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira