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"Therefore You Also Must Be Ready"
by Wayne Blank
"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:
"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."
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."
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."
Fact Finder: Why must Christians live as though the return of Christ could happen now?