“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28, ESV)

As we enter into Advent it is glorious for us to recite the words of Jesus in Luke 21:28. Indeed as we once again celebrate the season of His first Coming, we rejoice to know that His redemption of us poor sinners has been accomplished. Yet Jesus spoke of a time in the future. Toward the end of His earthly ministry Jesus taught a lesson about the coming dark times to His disciples that served as a warning to the leaders of the Jews. Because the Jews as a whole would reject Him and crucify Him, the Lord was going to punish them as He had to their forefathers centuries earlier. Then the Lord had sent the nation of Judah into 70 years of exile for blatant idolatry and selfishness. He was going to do the same shortly because of their continued disobedience. But the destruction and devastation would far exceed what had occurred under Babylon. The nation of the Jews was torn apart. The people were dispersed throughout the world. Their Temple was destroyed.

Jesus warned His disciples of the signs that would precede this destruction so that they would be prepared and so avoid the punishment that would fall on the Jews. The warning is for us as well for the signs He described will also occur at the end of time, when the Lord returns. But when that will happen we do not know, nor do we need to. We need not even speculate about it. Instead we Christians should continue to live in righteousness and shun the dissipation and materialism of the world. We must be ready at any moment for the return of our King, Jesus. Therefore we must continue to preach the salvation found in Him alone.