KEY THOT: After the vision of the four beasts (Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires), Daniel was given a vision of the end of time, the final judgment when the last beast was killed and burned. In this particular vision, he saw what seems like a “son of man” coming before the throne of the Ancient of Days (God) to present himself before Him. To this Son of man was given “dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.” This vision describes the end of time when Jesus would return “with the clouds of heaven” to destroy the nations arrayed against him and to set up an eternal kingdom.
When Jesus was asked by the high priest at his trial if he was the “Son of the Blessed,” his reply infuriated the high priest: “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Jesus’ reply implies that he is the “Son of man” in Daniel’s vision who would come to judge the nations with the “clouds of heaven.” So, Jesus, having seated himself at the right hand of the Father, who is the Ancient of Days, will one day return to judge and to redeem his people: “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 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” (Mark 13:24-27). Note that the second coming takes place “after that tribulation”—the time of trouble.
Our hope in these days of tribulation is that Jesus would return as the “Son of man” with the clouds in glory to gather his elect from the ends of the earth before the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the nations. Jesus would return in great power and glory—and if we are still alive then, we will experience an instantaneous translation of our mortal bodies into immortal and spiritual ones: “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (1 Cor 15:51-52).
The Pope was asked if he thought the current Paris terrorist atrocities was another piece of the Third World War that has already begun, he replied in the affirmative. We are witnessing the beginning of third world war for which the consequences have yet to be played out. If biblical prophecies are accepted, it would end in some kind of nuclear catastrophes, Jesus said that before he returns, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken" (Mark 13:24-25). This may be a reference to some kind of nuclear fallout which will shake up the very foundation of the earth and throw up enough of earth into the sky to shut out the light from the sun and moon, creating what scientists call the "nuclear winter".
We cannot carry on living as it nothing has changed: we are witnessing the beginning of birth-pains that will lead eventually to the world-wide persecution of believers before the return of Christ. The ISIS is deliberately creating the chaos as part of their apocalyptic vision of the end time. And as believers, we are called to re-order our priorities—to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
Father, even as we witness more and more evidence of the coming of the Son of Man, may Your Spirit stir within us a new sense of urgency to proclaim the gospel so that by all means we may save some. Amen.