The Lord will return when his words have been fulfilled: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
This commission hasn’t lost its validity. He won’t return before his followers have fulfilled this commission, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has promised his children all the help they need, and He himself guarantees the fulfillment of his promises.
There is thus an important task waiting for us, as God’s servants, before He will return. He waits until “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25), when there are disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
The people of Israel
Before the Lord Jesus returns, the Jews will return to their country, as it was prophesied: “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24, Isaiah 11:12). Israel will be restored (Amos 9:11-15). Ultimately, Jesus’ feet “shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:4).
As long as the nation of Israel exists, Satan has tried to tempt them into idolatry and to destroy them. An example is the situation in the 2nd century BC, when a Syrian ruler tried to let the Jews renounce their unique destiny as a nation. But due to the brave resistance of the Maccabees, the Jewish nation came into existence later. This was the nation into which Jesus would be born.
“The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples …
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom He has chosen as his heritage!”
(Psalm 33:10, 12).
Both Jews and Gentiles
There is also resistance against Jesus’ return. But since Jesus has completely fulfilled God’s demands by his atoning death, He has conquered Satan once and for all! The full consequences of this victory will only be revealed when He returns – when “He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him” (Revelation 1:7).
Then the Jewish people will see Him, like it was prophesied in Zechariah 12:10: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him”.
Both Jews and Gentiles will be saved through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:29-30). The non-Jewish believers from the nations are “grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree” (Romans 11:17). In Romans 11:25-26, Paul addresses the believers from the nations and explains them a mystery: “a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved”.
Are you ready?
Reading about Jesus’ return, are you ready to meet him? Do you know him personally as your Savior and Lord? Are you devoted to his commission of worldwide mission? Do you pray for peace and the restoration of Israel?
But above all… thank Him for his loving plan with all the nations of the earth! We can and should proclaim Jesus both as Savior and as the coming Judge. This is a matter of serious urgency.
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus commissioned us to be His witnesses. And He promised to empower us so that we can fulfill this task (Acts 1:8). He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit. Let Him work in you, devote yourself fully to Him. Let Him prepare you for the coming of our Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Be His witness today – for the things Jesus announced in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are already happening now!
The return of many Jews to their land is a clear sign that Jesus’ second coming draws near. As the Lord’s servants, we thank him for the fulfillment of his promises, we pray for his return, and we have compassion on people who do not yet know Jesus.