We've Entered the Season of His Return
The most important sign is when the Gospel is preached to all nations
What is the most important sign that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return? Some might say the re-establishment of the nation of Israel (Matthew 24:32-33). Others might point to the declining condition of our culture (Luke 17:26-29), or the growing apostasy in the church (1 Timothy 4:1-3). But to me, the clearest and most definitive sign is the promise Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 24.
The disciples had been admiring the temple and its courts, when Jesus surprised them:
And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”—Matthew 24:2-3
In response, Jesus delivered what we today call the Olivet Discourse, listing several events and circumstances that would occur before “his coming” and “the end of the age.” But then in verse 14 he said this:
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14
In other words, the disciples asked Jesus, “When are you coming back?”
He answered, “Only after the gospel has been preached to all nations.”
To understand Jesus’ answer and how it points to His imminent return, we need to consider the concept of “the nations” in Scripture and how close we are to seeing his command to preach the gospel to all of them fulfilled.