” Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit, be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks…… If he comes during the middle of the night or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.” (Luke 12:35-36, 38, NRSV).

The most popular teaching on the return of Jesus is that He can return at any time. I hear over and over when I discuss the end times with someone that “no one knows the day or the hour.” However, within several parables, Jesus presents us with clues as to the time of His return. The main message is to be alert and prepared. In Mark 13:35, Jesus actually tells us that the master can return anywhere from evening until dawn. We learn from Luke, that the return may be anywhere from midnight until dawn. The King of the Universe wants us to be able to answer the call when he returns and those who are ready will not be surprised or caught off-guard. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8).

The Olivet Discourse stresses the need to be on high alert and the faithful servant who is obedient will be given more authority when the master returns. (Matthew 24:45-48). The parable of the 10 bridesmaids shows the difference between the foolish and the wise. They all waited for the bridegroom but he was delayed. The unwise virgins did not have enough oil for their lamps so they had to go buy more. While they were gone, the bridegroom (who represents Jesus) returned and took only the obedient and prepared maidens into the wedding banquet. (Matthew 25:1-13) Midnight (Jerusalem time) is the common denominator in all 3 gospels. God is not delaying His return but is patient wanting all to come to repentance. Yet that Day will come like a thief in the night for those who do not heed the Scriptures. (2nd Peter 3:9-10). EJ

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