Night is coming when no one can work

The title of this message is taken from the Gospel of John 9:4, where is said:

Night is coming, when no one can work


When we read biblical passages about the last days, one of the recurring themes in them is what some believers referred to as an image or metaphor of the night.

In the following part, I will present some examples where the word ‘night’ appears in Scripture in the context of the Lord’s return, and will suggest an explanation of this metaphor.


I. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 Paul is writing:

1Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night3While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Here in the letter to the Thessalonians we have one of the instances where the word ‘night’ occurs. Paul writes that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”.


When the Bible mentions the Day of the Lord, its primary meaning refers to the DAY of the RETURN of the Lord, YESHUA, Jesus Christ. Of course, this term is often understood in the broader sense, which includes a whole series of eschatological events that will accompany the Lord’s return.


And so, in Revelation 16:15 it is written explicitly that it is the Lord, Jesus Christ, who will “come like a thief”:

15 ‘Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.’


This motif of Jesus coming like ‘a thief’ is being repeated also by Mathew (in Mt 24:42-44), Luke (in Luke 12:39-40), Peter (in 2 Peter 3:10) and twice by John in the Book of Revelation (Rev 3:3; 16:15).

However, what I want to focus on in this message is NOT how (what way) the Lord will return, but rather when (under what circumstances) will He return?

In the verse just quoted from Paul’s letter to Thessalonians, as we could see, was said that the Lord will return at night.


II. This metaphor of the night is also evident in Jesus’ parable of faithful servants.

In this passage from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus addresses his disciples and tells them the following words

Luke12:35-36, 37, 38

35‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 

In this parable, believers are compared to servants who have a master. We see here that the master is away. He went to a wedding banquet and will return at night. Therefore, it is said there to the servants to keep their lamps burning.

Also, it would not be good if the servants, on the return of their master, made him wait in front of his own closed door, while they, suddenly awakened by him, must first get dressed, light the lamps, and only then go and open the door.

Jesus is not saying here whether the wedding ceremony belongs to their master or to someone else. So, the emphasis here is solely on the readiness to open the door immediately.


37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will make them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.

The servants whom the master finds ready upon his return will be given a great reward.

These vigilant servants will be fortunate enough to have their master serving them as they have served him. What we see here is a great reversal of roles!


And in verse 38 it is added

38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or towards daybreak

So, here again we find this suggestion that the Lord will return in the night, and we must stay watchful and be ready for His return, even if we had to wait the whole night.


III. One of the clearest illustrations of the Lord’s coming at night is found in The Parable of the Ten Virgins.

We must remember that this parable is part of what is called The Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse is the main passage containing Jesus’ teaching about the last days, and is found in Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.

Moving on to the parable of the ten virgins, we find it in the following passage from the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 25:1-13

1 ‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 

Jesus begins this parable in a similar way to his other parables about the Kingdom of God, which, according to his teaching, became present in the world at his first coming.

And although the full manifestation of the Kingdom of God will occur at Christ’s second coming, God’s Kingdom is working in the world at present time and people have access to it through the new birth.

So, the Kingdom of God is working in the world right now, and believers can be compared to The Ten Virgins.

However, the difference between wise and foolish virgins will be especially critical at the time of the Lord’s return.


Next it is said

3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.  5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

Jesus tells His disciples that the difference between the wise and the foolish virgins was in this that the wise brought extra amount of oil in their vessels along with their lamps.

It is interesting to note that all of the virgins brought lamps, and all had some oil in them initially, however since the bridegroom had delayed his coming the small amount of oil in their lamps had been used up.

Only the wise virgins, who had brought an extra amount of oil, could refill their lamps.

In the Scriptures oil is often found to be symbolic of the Holy Spirit, and we can see that every virgin had just a small natural supply of the oil in their lamps. Similarly, everyone at New Birth is being given some measure of the Holy Spirit.

However, if the virgins hadn’t gone to lengths to make sure that they had a reserve supply of oil, then – as it is shown later in this parable – when the bridegroom came, they wouldn’t be ready to proceed with him.

We have read that ‘the bridegroom was a long time in coming’. It seems that even at the very end it will seem that the coming of the Lord is delayed.


6‘At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”

Finally, the bridegroom came. He came at night. It was already dark and late, and by now all the virgins were sleeping from weariness.


And as we all know, not all virgins were ready to meet the bridegroom. In the same way, it seems that not all Christians will be ready to meet the Lord when he returns.

Part of the problem is that the Bridegroom will come for the Bride during the night!

This night will be a difficult time for many Christians to go through. And not all believers will be sufficiently prepared for that time.


IV. Another illustration of the Lord’s coming at night can be found in the Song of Songs. There also the Bridegroom coming for the Bride during the night. (SS 3:1)

In the third chapter of the Song of Songs, we see the Bride longing for her Bridegroom to come. She can’t wait for him to come. She even goes out into the street looking for her Bridegroom.

Song of Songs 3:1-4

1All night long on my bed

I looked for the one my heart loves;

I looked for him but did not find him.

2I will get up now and go about the city,

through its streets and squares;

I will search for the one my heart loves.

So I looked for him but did not find him.

3The watchmen found me

as they made their rounds in the city.

‘Have you seen the one my heart loves?’

4Scarcely /ˈskeə had I passed them

when I found the one my heart loves.

I held him and would not let him go

till I had brought him to my mother’s house,

to the room of the one who conceived me.


Here, in the third chapter, the Bride is ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. When she finds Him, she is not letting Him go.


Next, in chapter five, we find a description of the events after the bridegroom goes away for a time.

Song of Songs 5:1

1I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;

I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.

I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;

I have drunk my wine and my milk. (…)


In this first verse of the chapter 5, we can notice several references to Jesus’ death at his first coming.

  • In the word ‘garden’ we can find a reference to the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • The word ‘myrrh’ points to the suffering and death of Jesus, because myrrh was commonly used to prepare bodies for burial.
  • Even the words ‘I have drunk my wine’ reminds us about Jesus’ words, when he prayed to the Father, ‘may this cup be taken from me’ (Matthew 26:39).

So, we see the bridegroom left to return at a later time.


However, later, when the Bridegroom comes, in the night, and knocks, the Bride is not ready. She is hesitant to climb out of her bed and open the door.

2I slept but my heart was awake.

Listen! My beloved is knocking:


The bridegroom is saying

‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,

my dove, my flawless one.

My head is drenched with dew,

my hair with the dampness of the night.’


This time, however, the Bride responds

3I have taken off my robe –

must I put it on again?

I have washed my feet –

must I soil them again?


Far from being adorned and ready, she has removed her dress and is not content that He has arrived at that particular night.

Her dress is representative of the garments of salvation. We see her here without the robe of salvation on her.

This image reminds us of the foolish virgins in Jesus’ parable. This second time the Bride was not ready for the Bridegroom’s coming, as some of the virgins.


Let’s take a look at what happens next.

4My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;

my heart began to pound for him.

5I arose to open for my beloved,

and my hands dripped with myrrh,

my fingers with flowing myrrh,

on the handles of the bolt.


When she finally gets herself out of bed, the Bridegroom has already left. Now the bride is dripping with myrrh and is the one anointed for burial. We see in this a picture of the Great Tribulation against believers in the days of the end.


6I opened for my beloved,

but my beloved had left; he was gone.

My heart sank at his departure.

I looked for him but did not find him.

I called him but he did not answer.

7The watchmen found me

as they made their rounds in the city.

They beat me, they bruised me;

they took away my cloak,

those watchmen of the walls!

The watchmen begin to beat and persecute her.


As I mentioned,

on the one hand, what we see here is a reference to the persecution of believers in the days of the Antichrist;

however, on the other hand, this, in figure, speaks of the fate of those who will not be raptured, when Christ returns. The unraptured church will face the same fate as the rest of the world – they will be left for the whole night.


V. In another example, in the context of answering the Pharisees’ question about the coming of the Kingdom of God, Jesus says

Luke 17:34

34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’

Here again we see a reference to the night in the context of the Lord’s return. The Lord will come for the believers at night and not everyone will be taken by Him.


VI. In the book of Isaiah 21 there is a short and obscure oracle, called “A prophecy against Dumah”.

11 A prophecy against Dumah:

Someone calls to me from Seir,

‘Watchman, what is left of the night?

Watchman, what is left of the night?’

12 The watchman replies,

‘Morning is coming, but also the night.

If you would ask, then ask;

and come back yet again.’


Dumah may be a poetic, short form of the word ‘Edom’, a nation located southeast of Judah. Seir was another name for Edom. Alternatively, Dumah may refer to a city in northern Arabia. Surely this prophecy has its historical context related to the nations listed here, but it also has a prophetic context related to the Day of the Lord, to the end times.

The watchman in the verse 12 may be taken to refer to a real watchman, who is asked whether his watch has passed peacefully; or it may be metaphorical, referring to the night of oppression at the hands of the conquerors.

The watchman here is asked the same question twice: “what is left of the night?

The truth is the night of oppression is coming for the entire world.


VII. The last example comes from the Gospel of John, from which I also took the title of my message.

In the Gospel of John 9:4, Jesus is saying

4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.


This Jesus’ words apply first to his arrest and execution. However, I am convinced that they apply also to the specific events of the last days.

We know what happened to Jesus’ disciples after His arrest, and later, after His crucifixion. They were confused, afraid, expecting and hiding from persecution.

It seems that the same is going to happen to the last generation of believers, before Jesus’ return. There will be a night again, when no Christian can work.


What is that “night”?

What does it mean that Jesus will come in the night?

One of the possible answers is that the “night” in these passages means spiritual darkness. In other words, this word ‘night’ may describe darkening spiritual climate at the end of the age.


We can look at the world around us, and we can see that things getting pretty dark. We see that the world we live in is changing, changing for worse, becoming darker and more evil.

Even in the West, what was the Christian world in the past has become now post-Christian.

With the rejection of God, modern man is questioning everything that God has created. We live in a world where everything is being turned upside down. Everything is happening exactly as foretold in the Bible.


However, despite of what I just said, I believe that this term ‘night’ refers to much more than just general growth of immorality in the world, opposition to Christian values and the Christian God.

I believe that in its ultimate meaning the term ‘night’ refers to a period of time called the Great Tribulation.

The time of the Great Tribulation is ‘the night, when no believer will be able to work’, in a sense of doing the work of Christ.


Thus, in this segment of my message, I want to say a little bit about the great tribulation, or at least on my understanding of the great tribulation.


The Great Tribulation

What is this great tribulation of which Jesus warned believers?

In the gospel of Matthew, the following words of Jesus are recorded:

Matthew 24:21 (NKJV)

21 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.


When discussing the great tribulation, probably the easiest way to start from is to say that this will be the last three and half years of our history, before the establishment of God’s rule over this world, before the Millennial Kingdom of the Messiah.

References to the great tribulation as lasting three and a half years are found in the Bible in many places. It has been expressed, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in various forms, but always points to the same length of time – three and half years.


Here they are:

42 months – Rev. 11:2 and 13:5

1260 days – Rev. 11:3

½ “week” (half of the week / half of 7 years) – Dan. 9:27

“A time and times and half a time” (1 + 2 + ½ = 3 ½) – Dan. 12:7; Rev. 12:14 [1]


Let’s read just two of these passages.

Revelation 13:5-8

5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for fortytwo months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling-place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against Gods holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

The beast referred to here is, on the one hand, the Antichrist, and on the other hand, his kingdom, his system of control, and it is said that they will be allowed to rule over the people of the world for forty-two months, which is three and half years.


Similarly, at the end of the book of Daniel (chapter 11 and 12) it is said about the Antichrist’s invasion of Israel.

At the beginning of chapter 12 it is written

Daniel 12:1b

1 (…) There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered.

The phrase “time of distress” – or time of trouble, in Hebrew [עֵ֣ת צָרָ֔ה] – is another name for the great tribulation. The same words are used in the book of Jeremiah in the phrase “a time of trouble for Jacob!” [עֵֽת־ צָרָ֥ה הִיא֙ לְיַֽעֲקֹ֔ב].


A little further on, when Daniel asks how long this ‘time of distress’ will last, he is told, in verse 7, that ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time’, which means ‘a year, two years and half a year’, or to put it another way three and a half years.

Daniel 12:7 

7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand towards heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’

So, we see that the Scriptures clearly speak of three and a half years of the Great Tribulation.


The next thing that is stated quite clearly in the Scriptures is that the great tribulation will begin with something, what is called the ‘abomination of desolation’.

In Matthew 24, Jesus – speaking about the great tribulation – explains

Matthew 24:15-22 (NKJV)

15 “Therefore when you see theabomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18“And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.21“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. 22 “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

Jesus actually is saying the same thing as prophet Daniel before him that the great tribulation will begin with the Antichrist causing an abomination of desolation in a temple in Jerusalem.


This prophecy of Daniel that Jesus refers to is found in the 9th chapter of the Book of Daniel, where in verse 27 is said about “the ruler who will come” that

Daniel 9:27

27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven”. In the middle of the “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. [2]


To understand what the abomination of desolation is, we must go back to the events of the 2nd century BC – to which this prophecy of Daniel is applying in the first instance – when a Greek king named Antiochus IV, the ruler of the Seleucid Kingdom, invaded Israel.

Antiochus IV is the most important prophetic type of the Antichrist we find in the Bible.  The events that took place in the political career of Antiochus IV will, to a great extent, be repeated by the Antichrist.

When Antiochus IV came to suppress the rebellion in Israel in 167 B.C., his forces entered the temple, stopped the regular sacrifices, set up an idol for Zeus, and apparently offered swine there as a sacrifice. This was an abomination because it was idolatry, and it brought desolation because it defiled the holy place of the God’s temple.

Thus, will the Antichrist do likewise. As it is said by Daniel, ‘in the middle of the seven years’, the Antichrist will enter the future temple in Jerusalem, and, as I understand it from the Scriptures, he will set up the Image of the Beast there, as mentioned in chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation. Moreover, as the apostle Paul will later write, the Antichrist, will take his seat in this future temple displaying himself if as being God.


In his 2 letter to Thessalonians Paul writes:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

The apostle Paul explains to the believers in Thessalonica (which was in Greece) that before the coming of the Lord and ‘our being gathered to him’ (which in his first letter he describes as the resurrection and the rapture of believers), first the Antichrist must be revealed.

This revealing of the Antichrist will take place by him taking his seat in a templelike structure in Jerusalem, and proclaiming that he is God.


Interestingly, similar statement we find in the prophet Daniel, who also writes about this future ruler of the world.

Daniel 11:36

36‘The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.


The next thing, which Jesus made clear, in his Olivet Discourse teaching, is that the manifestation of the Antichrist and the desecration of the temple by him will begin, as we have read in Matthew 24, a terrible persecution of the Jews in Jerusalem and Israel. This is called in the book of Jeremiah “a time of trouble for Jacob!

Jeremiah 30:4-7 (TLV)

4 Now these are the words that

ADONAI spoke to Israel and to Judah.

5 For thus says ADONAI:

“We heard a sound of trembling,

of dread – there is no shalom.

6 Ask now, and see

whether a man can give birth.

Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins,

like a woman giving birth?

Why have all faces turned pale?

7 Oy! For that day is monumental.

There will be none like it –

a time of trouble for Jacob!

Yet out of it he will be saved.


We know from the book of the prophet Zechariah that two-thirds of the Jewish people will be slaughtered during this time.

However, the great tribulation is not just the persecution and murder of Jews. The Great Tribulation will also be a time of persecution and murder of believers in Jesus from every nation in the world.


In the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation, there is said of a war in heaven and the hurling of Satan and his angels to the earth.

In the following verses it is written:

Revelation 12:13-17

13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the snake’s reach. 15 Then from his mouth the snake spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring – those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

The woman referred to here is, of course, Israel, or the Jewish nation. That this is the time of the great tribulation we see by the reference to three and half years expressed in a form ‘a time, times and half a time’ (v.14) and 1,260 days mentioned earlier in the same chapter (v.6).

As the result of the persecution of the great tribulation, many inhabitants of Israel will flee to a wilderness, where the nation of Israel will have its second – after the Exodus – meeting with God.


It is worth for a moment to refer to the Book of Genesis, chapter 32, where the story of Jacobs wrestling with God is described.

It is said there, in verse 24, that ‘a man (אִישׁ֙) wrestled with Jacob all the night, till daybreak. This man, whom Jacob later calls God [אֱלֹהִים֙], must have been the Angel of the Lord, or more precisely, the Lord Jesus himself, in one of His appearances on earth before His incarnation.

After his encounter with the Angel of the Lord, Jacob becomes known as “Israel”.

Prophetically, Jacob before his transformation symbolizes the unbelieving Jewish nation in its present state, without the Messiah, without a true relationship with God.

However, just as Jacob – as it is expressed in verse 30 –saw God [אֱלֹהִים֙] face to face[פָּנִ֣ים_אֶל־_פָּנִ֔ים], during his wrestle with Him, and his name has changed, so also the Jewish people will see God, face to face, in their wrestle with the Lord Jesus, during the NIGHT which is approaching. And at the end of the NIGHT, they too will be changed.


Returning to the Book of Revelation, we see that after the flight of the woman into the wilderness, Satan in the person of the Antichrist will turn ‘against the rest of her offspring’, against those, who ‘keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus’.

In other words, Satan in the person of the Antichrist will start a war with Christians.

Therefore, John sees countless number of believers in Jesus who will die during this time.

In the sixth chapter of the Books of Revelation, John writes

Revelation 6:9-11

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.


In the next chapter it is clearly explained who these people are.

Revelation 7:13-14

13 Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes –

who are they, and where did they come from?’

14 I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’

And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation;

they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


Also, in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation, John writes about “those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God”. He explains there, in verse 4, that they are the one who “had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.” (Rev 20:4)

As we have seen, in the Scriptures is said about the number of believers in Christ who must be martyred in the days of the Antichrist.

Lots of believers in the future will have to pay for their faith either with their lives or with their freedom.


 However, the time of the Great Tribulation will be an extremely difficult time not only for believers but also for the world in general.

It is stated in the New Testament that even before the persecution of the Antichrist the world will experience what is commonly called the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

I believe that the first horseman symbolizes the Antichrist taking the control over the world. Therefore, it is written about him in Rev 6:2 that “he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest” (Rev 6:2). The seizure of power by the Antichrist will be a process that will take place initially by deception but eventually by force.

Therefore, the wars will follow, after the wars famine and next death, and only then the persecution of the believers.


But that’s not all. The Scripture says about earthquakes and other natural and cosmic disasters.


But even all of that does not exhaust the list of what is to come. The imminent return of the Lord will be preceded by a series of signs in heaven and earth, which will further aggravate  the already difficult situation on the earth.

Continuing to explain to his disciples the circumstances of his return, Jesus adds

Matt. 24:29 NKJV

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

It is clear from Jesus’ words that at some point of this last three and a half years, the inhabitants of the earth will see terrifying signs in the sky and on the earth.


Most certainly Jesus has in mind Joel’s prophecy of explicit signs to the eschatological day of the Lord.

Joel 2:30–31

30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.


Luke presents the same words of Jesus, as the one recorded by Matthew, in this way

Luke 21:25-26

25 ‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

Let us note what is said here, namely that ‘nations will be in anguish and perplexity’ and ‘people will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world’.

All these signs that Jesus speaks of are described also in the Book of Revelation (chapter 6) as appearing after the sixth seal is broken.

We don’t know how long it will last. We don’t know how long the earth will be in darkness, and how long will these cosmic catastrophes last.


However, at some point during this celestial darkness (with the sun turned black, and the moon blood red), among global-seismic quakes, and raging seas, the shekinah glory of the coming Lord, will appear on the sky.


It is written in the Book of Matthew

Matt. 24:30 NKJV

30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Suddenly the darkness of the night (spiritual and physical night) will be pierced by the light of the returning Christ.

It was said there that ‘all the tribes of the earth will mourn’. The unbelievers will mourn in terror, terrified, because the one who wasn’t supposed to be, the one who they hated and blasphemed, exists and returns in power and glory.


After His appearance in the clouds, the Lord will rescue those who belong to Him. In the Book of Matthew Jesus is continuing

Matthew 24:31

31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.


The same is said by Paul

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.

Paul, like Jesus before, says that when the Lord appears in the clouds, visible to the entire world, He will take us, who are still alive. He will take to himself all believers, dead and alive.


What happens next after the believers are taken from the earth is the outpouring of God’s wrath upon a rebellious world.

This Judgment of God is described in the book of Revelation in the form of 7 trumpets and 7 bowls of God’s wrath.


Thus, we see that the great tribulation, understood in the sense of the last three and half years of this age, includes both the Antichrist’s persecution and the outpouring of God’s judgment upon the world.

All of this, including the removal of believers from the earth, will take place during these last three and a half years.


In conclusion

As we approach the time of the Lord’s Return, there is no other topic so urgent to talk about. What is clear from the Scriptures is that the things will get bad before the return of the Lord.

The time leading up to the coming of the Lord will be a really hard time.  The life will became very difficult because of wars, famines in the world, various diseases and pandemics, and later also persecution of God’s people.

But also, as I have tried to show, there will be all sorts of natural and cosmic catastrophes.

People will be terrified of what will happen with the world.

In addition to all these problems, there will also be false prophets and teachers who will try to lead believers away from believing in Jesus.

We must also remember the Apostle Paul’s warning about the great apostasy, the departure from the faith of many Christians in the days of Antichrist.

As Jesus said it will be a time such as has not been since the beginning of the creation of the world.

But even though there is warning after warning in the Bible about this approaching time, most Christians ignores it all, being convinced these warnings are not for them.


Many Christians say they’re waiting for the Lord’s return, however only few fully understand under what circumstances the Lord will return.

The Word of God seems to teach that the Lord will return at night, but most Christians are not prepared for that night.

They are not prepared because they have been taught that the Lord will come for them before the night. However, I am convinced that, this is not what the word of God teaches.


Everything what I said here will apply especially to the last generation of the church.

The most important question for us is, if God calls us to live in the last generation of the church to encounter the great tribulation, what will our reaction be to the persecution of believers and cataclysmic celestial disturbances that will shake the earth and heavens?

Will we “faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world”? Or, as I hope, we will be faithful and confident to – as it is written in Luke 21:28 – “stand up and lift up our heads, because our redemption is drawing near”.



[1] “A time and times and half a time” – was already decoded by Irenaeus in the 2nd century as 1 + 2 + ½ = 3 ½ (‘a year, two years and half a year’)

[2] Here, where is said ‘one seven’, in the Hebrew text is שָׁב֣וּעַ אֶחָ֑ד which means ‘one week’.

* The image: The Deluge by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851). Image released under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported)


Written by Artur Pluta

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