Can we know when Jesus is coming back? No. No one knows the day or the
hour of His return (Mark 13:32). However, we can know the general season
of His return. Why do I say this? Because Jesus told us so. He said
certain signs will indicate His return is near. And today, we see them.
Those signs include (but are not limited to): the rebirth of Israel as a
nation (Jeremiah 23:7-8)… The Jewish people in control of Jerusalem
(Luke 21:24-28)… A marked increase in travel and knowledge (Daniel
12:4)… and many more.
Centuries ago, Jesus and the prophets pointed to dozens of signs just like these. Jesus said when you see them, you should “look up, because your salvation draws near” (Luke 21:28). But I want to focus on just one of those signs. It’s a sign so obvious, people take it for granted. It may even be the most important sign. Yet, while it’s in full view of every man, woman, and child on earth, most people still ignore it. Hard to believe isn’t it? But it’s true. One of the foremost signs of the Second Coming is either ignored or dismissed by almost everyone in the world.
The Most Overlooked Sign of the Second Coming
So what is this sign? It’s the Gospel. That’s right. The spread of the
Gospel is the most overlooked sign of the Second Coming. When Jesus was
asked, “When will the end come? And what will be the signs of your
coming?” He said, “the Good News will be preached to the whole world so
all nations will hear it, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Our generation is on the verge of fulfilling this sign. Right now, the
Gospel is being preached in every nation on earth. It’s an unmistakable
sign of the times in which we live. Yet, it’s the #1 most overlooked
sign. The world, and even many Christians, take it for granted.
Those people say, “What’s the big deal? Why wouldn’t the Gospel spread across the world? We live in an age of satellite TV, the Internet, and global travel.” True. Technology partially explains the recent explosion of the Gospel. Print books, e-books, websites, television, radio, and more take the Gospel to millions on a daily basis. But is technology solely responsible? No. Technology alone will not make a message go global.
So what will? The power of the message. God is the one behind the spread of the Gospel. Don’t doubt it. As Gamaliel observed, “If the Gospel is not from God, it will soon fade away. But if the Gospel is from God, no one will be able to stop it” (Acts 5:38-39). How many others have tried to spread a different message and failed? The Gospel has spread because it’s the Word of God. The Bible says the Word of God always produces fruit. It will accomplish all God wants it to and prosper everywhere He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). No one should take this for granted. After all, the global spread of the Gospel is nothing less than a miracle.
Think about it. A first century carpenter on the outskirts of the Roman Empire said His message would be proclaimed to the ends of the earth. He said “the whole world” and “all nations” will hear it. That’s a bold claim. Remember, Jesus only had a few followers at the time. He had no great wealth. He didn’t hold a high or important government position. He wasn’t a conquering hero. He was a poor wandering preacher in an all but forgotten province of the mighty Roman Empire. He lived in a time when TV, radio, the Internet, and the printing press did not yet exist. Nothing indicated His name and message would spread to all nations. Yet, here we are today, where the name of Jesus is known throughout the world.
Do we really grasp the significance of this? When Jesus made this bold claim, His followers didn’t even understand what “the whole world” was. Perhaps they had heard of India and China, but Japan? Australia? North and South America? All these places were unknown to the disciples. No one at the time knew how large the world was or even how many nations existed. The idea of reaching them all was absurd. Yet Jesus knew. As God in the flesh, He knew how big the world was. And He said the global spread of the Gospel would be a sign of His return.
The Spread of the Gospel
Following the crucifixion, the Gospel spread throughout Israel. But it
took several decades to reach the rest of the Roman Empire. For the
first 1,000 years of Christianity, the Gospel rarely left western Europe
and the Mediterranean region. So for fifteen centuries, no Christian
could point to this sign of the Second Coming. Many honoured the Lord’s
command to “go into all nations and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19), and
they tried to fulfil this sign in their time. But only in recent years
could anyone claim this sign is nearing fulfilment.
Today, the Gospel circles the globe on a daily basis. Missionaries take it to the most remote corners of the world. Radio and television transmit the Word of God into nations hostile to Christianity, and the Internet brings the Gospel to everyone with an electronic device. Yet, despite all this, the spread of the Gospel goes largely unnoticed. Jesus said this would be a sign of His return. He said in the days of Noah, people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all (Luke 17:26-30). The people of Noah’s day did not believe a flood was coming. But the flood did come, and so will Jesus.
Remember, Jesus said, “The Gospel will be preached to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). He didn’t say, “The Gospel will be preached to all nations, and then I’ll come 50 years or 100 years or 1,000 years later.” No. He said, “And then the end will come.”
Our generation is on the verge of seeing the Gospel preached to all the nations. That means Jesus is right at the door. He’s coming soon!