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"Therefore You Also Must Be Ready"

"For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man [see also Why Did They Face East?]. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."

"Immediately after the tribulation [see The Great Tribulation] of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man 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; and He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:27-31 RSV)

"Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect"

It seems curious to many that while Jesus Christ made some very specific prophecies about what would be happening just prior to the day of His return ("On that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east," Zechariah 14:3 RSV - the The Mount Of Olives is shown in the photo), He also warned that no one can know when the day of His return would happen (see also When The Final Countdown Will Begin). The answer to why it seems like a paradox may be found in the answer to the Fact Finder question below.

At the end of His famous Olivet prophecy (named from the Mount of Olives; the complete prophecy is found in Matthew chapter 24), the Messiah included parables to warn His people to always be ready for His return (again, see the answer to the Fact Finder question below). First, the parable of the fig tree:

The Mount of Olives

"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away [see also The End Of The World?] till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left [see also The Raptures]"

"Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." (Matthew 24:32-42 RSV)

He then continued with the parable of the faithful and wise servant.

"But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." (Matthew 24:43-51 RSV)

And further, the parable of the ten maidens. All of the parables were a warning of the same thing - always be ready for Christ's return (see the answer to the Fact Finder question).

"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept."

"But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'"

"Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'"

"But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.'"

"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut."

"Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.'"

"But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"

"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25:1-13 RSV)

Fact Finder: Why must Christians live as though the return of Christ could happen now?
See Could Christ Return Tonight?

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