In answer to questions concerning the second coming of Christ, Jesus provided what is termed, “The Olivet Discourse” in Matthew Chapters 24 and 25. These passages are understood in radically different ways depending if you look through the prism of Dispensationalism or Amillennism. Both groups agree that Matthew 24:1-2 is a prophecy of Jesus concerning the destruction of the Temple which occurs about 40 years later in 70 A.D. However in verse 3 (Matthew 24:3) they ask Jesus three questions that actually provide the correct prism of understanding for the text: When will these “things” be, what will be the sign of your coming, and what will be the sign of the end of the age. First, what are the “things” being referred to in verse 3? The most inclusive view accepts this first question as referring to the destruction of the Temple, the Second Coming and the End of the Age. The sign of the second coming, presented by Jesus in Matthew 23:39, quoting Zech. 12:10, must be understood to be shrouded in falsehoods, i.e. the false claims of false Messiahs. Others will say they are the Messiah, but these claims will be false and we must see that no one misleads us. Next a sign of His second coming will be wars and rumors of wars. Again, this provides little help because we have had this sign for 2000 years. Tribulation will be a sign, but again, fallen mankind has been in tribulation, suffering earthquakes, famines and wars among nations for 2000 years. Jesus tells us these conditions are merely the preconditions, existing during the age, and therefore not a definitive sign of the second coming or the end of the age. Thus, the destruction of Temple is part of the birth pangs and not a sign of the second coming. In verse 9 (Matthew 24:9) Jesus starts talking specifically about the end of the age and His second coming. The “you” refers not to the individuals living 2000 years ago, but to those living at the end of the age. So the first sign of the end of the age is that Christians will be hated by all nations. So as we rightly toil to sustain acceptance of Christian beliefs to facilitate the spread of the gospel of Christ, we must know that when the secularists and those of other faiths become intolerant, this is according to the words of Jesus. Another sign will be those professing to be Christians will turn away, joining those in the majority and in power. These false Christians will rat on one another, eroding the trust that is essential of the proper functioning of the body of Christ. Our local assemblies will no longer be safe havens. The end of the age will be marked by the rise of many false teachers, folks who say they proclaim the word of God but lead folks astray. And the second to the last sign, because we see lawlessness within the body of Christ, our love and commitment to our brothers and sisters in Christ will grow cold, we will not boldly proclaim what is right and acceptable to God to edify others, rather we will hold on to those close to us silently, as we cross to the other side of the street. I lump verse 14 (Matthew 24:14) in with the signs that are birth pangs, something that will occurring during the age and not being as specific as those above as an earmark for the end of the age and the return of Christ. Turning now to Matthew 24:12-13, the one who endures with his or her love of Christ and love of the least of His, shall be saved. How is the temperature in your local assembly? Is it growing cold, are people following after men and not after Christ? Are the fault-finders in ascendance? Are we building up or tearing down? Will your love of Christ endure when the cost is your safety and security?