"Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man [Jesus]. 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 24:30-31
In these verses, Jesus continues to inform his disciples about his second coming. People are not to be misled by false messiahs (vv. 23-26), for his second coming will be unmistakable, like lightning (v. 27). He will come on the clouds of the sky with power and glory, and the people groups of the earth will mourn (is this a mourning of regret or longing?). A loud trumpet will sound, and Jesus' angels will gather believers from all corners of the earth. This will happen at the conclusion of the seven-year tribulation (v. 29).
Here's some applications: (1) we are to believe in Jesus' second coming; (2) we are not to be deceived by false messiahs; and (3) we are to believe in Jesus' power to gather all believers to himself at the end of the age. Although these verses apply specifically to people living through the tribulation, they are still instructive for us as church age believers.
Father, thank you for the great gathering of believers that Jesus described to the disciples. Jesus' coming is what we are waiting for. Help us to be ready. May we not be deceived by false messiahs but to wait patiently for the true one. Thank you there will be believers from the four corners of the earth who survive the tribulation. May we spread the good news of Jesus today, so that more and more people are ready for Jesus' return. In his name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman