My Words Will Not Pass Away
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation [race or kind] will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven [the atmosphere] and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Jesus now speaks rather cryptically to His disciples about what The Last Day will look like and, might I just say, these words don’t tell us much. And so, we must hold our understanding loosely, as God has chosen not to reveal the details with much clarity. And let me say that it is okay that we mere mortals don’t have to know all the mysteries of God. He has chosen to keep some things hidden from us and that is most certainly His prerogative. He is God and we are not.
What we do receive is a fairly clear picture of those last few moments as time ceases to exist and the Lord transforms His creation yet again. And I do say “yet again”, as we have seen Him alter what exists and what doesn’t on a couple of different occasions; first at the creation of all things out of nothing, then a fresh start after The Flood, and finally when He returns and all sin is wiped away to be replaced by His glorious recreation. He is God and His glory certainly shines in what He creates. In this picture that Jesus draws for the disciples, we see a time when Jesus returns “on the clouds” and He once again promises a physical resurrection for all people. From this text, it sounds like the angels will be instrumental in gathering all the dead back up so that they can be a part of what He will do to make all things new. Paul discusses this same scene in 1 Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 4:16–17
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Finally one must take heed of “but my words will not pass away.” This is important as we are once again reassured that God protects His message. The Word of God is real and precious. It is a gift into our lives for from the Word we learn of God Himself and His plan for our salvation. We cannot read it too much or delve into it too deeply. We must never worship the Word, but we most certainly must make it our source and norm for everyday life and the way of salvation.