Second Advent
Luke 21:25-36
And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; and on the earth, fear among the nations and doubt because of the loud noise of the sea and the waves; Men’s strength will go from them in fear and in waiting for the things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of the heavens will be moved. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. But when these things come about, let your heads be lifted up, because your salvation is near. And he made a story for them: See the fig-tree, and all the trees; When they put out their young leaves, you take note of it, and it is clear to you that summer is coming. In the same way, when you see these things taking place you may be certain that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, This generation will not come to an end till all things are complete. Heaven and earth will come to an end, but my words will not come to an end. But give attention to yourselves, for fear that your hearts become over-full of the pleasures of food and wine, and the cares of this life, and that day may come on you suddenly, and take you as in a net: For so it will come on all those who are living on the face of all the earth. But keep watch at all times with prayer, that you may be strong enough to come through all these things and take your place before the Son of man.
1. Always, at the beginning of a new time period in God's eyes, meaning, always, when He started something new, the Lord God accompanied it with great and outstanding signs. Remember all the great and outstanding signs when He was going to lead His people out of Egypt. These were glorious signs, good ones and bad ones. Remember the frogs, the grasshoppers, hail, and pestilence; all of which created an amazing amount of damage in Egypt. Remember how all the firstborn died in one night, and Pharaoh's huge army died in the Red Sea. For the Egyptians these were terrible signs -- to the Jews these were good signs. God had led the Jews across the Red Sea on dry ground while their enemies drowned; He gave bread from Manna, etc. These were signs that God intended to begin something new concerning His people Israel. He gave signs when He began to build His Kingdom of Mercy here on earth. While the Lord Christ hung on the Cross of Calvary, the graves were opened and the dead came out alive and walked through the city of Jerusalem. Also, the sun was darkened during daytime, and the curtain in the temple was torn. All these were the beginnings of a new time period, and the decline of the old time period. The time of worship in the temple, along with the sacrifices, ceased to be; the Lord Christ had started something new. He was the ultimate sacrifice; there was no need for sacrifices in the temple anymore.
2. The Jews knew something different was going to begin. That is the reason why they asked the Lord Christ what signs would happen before the temple would be destroyed, and when would be the end of the world. They were thinking that after the end of the world the eternal Kingdom of Christ would begin.
3. About Jerusalem's destruction the Lord only said, “When you see that Jerusalem is surrounded by an army -- then know that the end is not far.” Because of this He had advised them, that they should flee into the mountains. In Jerusalem they wouldn't find any mercy, the city will be destroyed.
4. He taught them, and told them of the End-times, and what it will be like, “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; and on the earth, fear among the nations and doubt because of the loud noise of the sea and the waves;   Men’s strength will go from them in fear and in waiting for the things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of the heavens will be moved.   And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. But when these things come about, let your heads be lifted up, because your salvation is near.”
5. Do these signs all happen before the End-times? We do not need to ask such a question. The Lord Christ says, “When these things start -- watch.” The Lord teaches us by saying where these signs will be seen: in heaven, sun, moon, and stars, on people and in the sea. If we experience them, we are supposed to wait. When we see these signs begin, we shall lift up our heads, and look into the future.
6. Signs will appear with the sun and moon: first, they will loose their shine. This happens sometimes and is nothing new to the scientist, he even can foretell when it will happen, however, when this happens, remember what Christ says in the Gospel of Matthew. Besides these signs, other things can happen which our scientists can't foretell; they will happen suddenly and against any law of mathematics -- just like the sun eclipse at the time of Christ's crucifixion. The laws of nature tell us that a sun eclipse always happens at the beginning of a new moon. If it happens, as it happened then, at the time of a full moon, or at any other time, then it is completely un-natural. That's why the sun eclipse was such a great miracle. Even though we haven't seen anything like this as of yet, it could happen anytime.
7. Over the years we have seen many unusual things happen. At one time I have seen a rainbow around the sun; it looked as if the sun was divided in multiple suns. For me, it is no problem to believe that things can happen which never before have happened. So be careful, don't just watch out for signs. Watch out for blessed coming of the Lord Christ.
8. The other sign the Lord Christ talks about here in this text is the loud noise of the sea and the waves. A dying man usually also sees it coming by the signs of disease: he begins to have fever, pestilence, or another disease; these are all signs that he is going to pass on soon. So also the world will be at dis-ease: heaven, sun, moon, stars, people, water, and everything else will be at dis-ease before the world goes down completely.
9. One sign we have experienced already; this has to do with people. The tiresome Pope has preached that it is a sin leading to death if someone doesn't go through the Catholic rite of confessing sin (it is good to confess sin, but it's evil to turn it into a rite), prayer rites, fasting, going to mass, etc. The poor people have been scared to death, and have not known where to turn. Because the true comfort, the forgiveness of sin through Christ Jesus, has not been there. Then the poor people have began to torment themselves with this and that, different works; I truly believe it has been a terrible misery here on earth. Having been a monk, I have experienced how terrible it is to rely on one's own good works for salvation. This can not comfort one. It leads one into terrible despair and fear of having to face God's Judgment one day.
10. The sermons of the Pope made us fear Christ, the Eternal Judge -- it was a fear onto death. I did not have any good hope in Christ; I only regarded Him as a stern judge, and so I called on the “Virgin” Mary to stand by me and defend me from this terrible judge, Jesus Christ. We did not know any better. Christ we had lost, but still we had to repent that we were bad men. One could only fear Christ, the terrible judge. That is the reason why I think this sign already has happened. I even think the other signs already have happened too. There might be more signs to come, and they could come any time.  Still, we have to do our work and duties -- as the Lord Christ taught us.
11. At the end of His speech, the Lord Christ told us of an especially frightening experience: “Men fainting, from fear and expectation of the things overtaking the inhabited earth.” Here He spoke of great fear so great in people who are watching for the signs of the Last Times. These people are not godless and unbelieving, no, they are pious and God-fearing. That is the reason why they take heed of this warning; the godless, however, despise Christ's warning; they feel free and secure; they think these things (we call them signs) have happened before, there is nothing special about them, so they think. From that, they conclude that Judgment Day can not come. And so they do not care about Christ's warning, and do their business as if nothing has happened. They do not change their lives, do not straighten up, and are generally just careless and selfish.
12. The Lord Christ lets go of such godless and self-assured people; He does not hold them back since they do not care about the signs of the End-times. The pious, who pay attention and who are frightened by these signs, the Lord Christ kindly comforts and says to them, “Because they believe in Me and love Me, and because they do not fall away from Me, or deny Me -- they don't need to be afraid of these signs, no matter how frightful and scary these signs look.
13. Christ continues by saying that they will see Christ come with the clouds in great power and glory. This will be a different splendor than what the emperors and kings of our days display. The air will be full of angels and the true saints of God; they will shine brighter than the sun; the Lord Christ will be among them and pronounce the judgment over all the damned which will stand down here on earth along with the devil, looking up in fear and trembling.
14. Christ advices us that when we see all this happening, to lift up our heads, be happy and merry,  and know that it all will work out according to His plan. When a person is dying, he moves about, sighing, moaning, twisting his eyes, he becomes pale in his face, etc.  That's how it will be before the world is destroyed; it will be like it's twisting in it's deathbed.
15. I tell you: do not be afraid of these things which are going to happen. Lift up your heads, as people who are happy that these things are happening. Know then that your salvation is near. He says, “your salvation…” The others who do not believe will not be saved; they will be damned. They are right to be afraid of these coming times. The Lord Jesus will bring both with Him when He comes back to earth: heaven for those who are faithful and pious -- hell and damnation for the others who did not believe in Him.
16. These things the Lord says to the pious; they also will be afraid when they see the sun, moon, and the stars twisting and sighing, and when the world is filled with fire. The “saints” will not be able to help. St. Peter, or any other saint of God, would also be afraid seeing these signs, if they were still alive. “I comfort you,” the Lord Christ says to us, “You will be miserable and full of fear when these things happen; however, these things do not happen for you to be afraid of; I send them for the devil and all the unbelievers. To you I send bliss, and happy salvation, for all this time you have prayed to Me, you have asked that My Kingdom would come, you have asked Me to forgive your sins and to deliver you from all evil. These things which you have asked for for such a long time will come to pass now.”
17. Therefore, Judgment Day will be a day of damnation, but it will also be a day of salvation; it will be a day of sadness and also a day of gladness, a day of hell and also a day of heaven. Matthew 24:30 tells us about the anguish of all the nations … So God will, we will not have to experience this, but this awaits the Pope and his underlings, all these evil gangs of false teachers, the evil aristocracy, evil farmers and peasants, and evil citizens; all who willfully try to hinder the Gospel from being preached and who persecute the servants of the church, who preach the Gospel of Christ. Nevertheless, we who are humbled, who are now in deep sorrow, and who are persecuted for being true Christians -- we will laugh when they are thrown into the abyss along with the devil.
18. If everything around comes tumbling down and the earth seems to fall apart -- do not be afraid, instead joyfully lift up your heads knowing that Christ comes to get you, and lead you into heaven. The Lord Christ comes to save you, but before, He attacks those who have attacked you. Imagine how happy you would be if you were a prisoner in a castle -- you hear the mercenaries coming, you hear the shooting and the shouting and how the troops storm against the castle walls, but you are not afraid, because you know that they have come to free you.  
19. And this how it will be in the very last days: do not be afraid! The punishment is not meant to be for you, but for these who persecuted, attacked, and wronged you! This is your future, the future of your salvation. The Lord Christ does not come in order to destroy and to throw you into the abyss, no, He comes in order to save you from this evil, shameful, and sick world. He comes to save you from the devil and his hordes, and their servants. He comes to place you among the angels, where you will not have to suffer, but where you will live in eternal glory.
20. In order to comfort us, Christ tells us the beautiful parable of the trees.  The creation is wonderful, isn't it? After winter comes the spring season, the ground opens up, it becomes warmer and warmer, the naked trees sprout leaves again, and we see lush green growing everywhere. First the buds of the trees open up, and then the trees begin to sprout, and soon summer comes.
21. Let yourselves be taught by this parable. It teaches us to wait. As you wait for spring to come, so you should wait for the Lord's glorious appearance. As surely as summer follows spring, so the time will come when moon and sun will give up their light. Do not be afraid of this time. Just look at the little sprouts on the trees in spring: they are not afraid of the sun, and they are not afraid of summer when it comes. Take this example to heart, and as the sprouts are happy to finally see the sun and are not afraid of it -- so you are not to be afraid of the glorious appearing of the Son of Man, instead be happy for it. This life here on earth is just like the shameful, fruitless winter where everything dies down and degrades. However, there will be an end to this, and the wonderful spring season will come and with it bring life and joy, and finally eternal summer will come, which means the kingdom of the devil, which creates so much destruction and suffering here on earth, will be destroyed. Do not forget that you live among a godless, evil, and false generation, which blasphemes the Gospel, and long to do evil wherever they are able to. Daily you see this and hear about itHowever, the Lord Christ is soon going to save us from all this.
22. All of these terrible things which are bound to happen, are not meant for you, my godly friends, but for your godless enemies. Have joy that your salvation is near. Pious Lot lived among the evil people of Sodom, who tried to sin as much as they could. They tortured him with their
indecent life styles, and tortured his soul with their unbelievable works of unrighteousness. He had to watch them and listen to them until the day came when God could not stand it anymore to see their evilness, and was ready to judge them on the day of their judgment. Two angels came and lead Lot out of this evil town. It must have been a terrible day for the citizens of Sodom. The sky became black, thunder and lightning struck, the clouds opened up, and fire and sulfur poured down onto them,
finally, the earth opened up and swallowed them all up. Of course Lot was frightened, too. He was scared to see and hear all of that noise and destruction just as much as anyone else would be. However, he knew all these frightening things were not meant for him, but for these evil, evil Sodomites, who were not willing to straighten up. The Sodomites, though, not only were frightened, but they were sent straight down into the abyss. For Lot, it was as if he had looked at a beautiful tree, which had sprouted it's first leaves in spring.
23. We will also be frightened if we should still be alive at the Lord’s glorious coming. This day will be terrible. When heaven and earth will be consumed by fire. A Christian, though, does not need to be concerned or frightened. A Christian does not need to be concerned about what he sees on that day, but rather listen to what Christ says about that day. Christ compares that day to a juicy branch of a beautiful tree, which sprouts and blooms in spring. Remember that when these things happen, your salvation is near. For us Christians it is a good day, it is not an evil day as it is for the rest of the world. Whoever can greet Christ the same joyful way as the little tree sprout greets the sun -- in an instant he will be taken to heaven by Christ, where he will shine in radiant glory.
24. The Lord Christ wants us to learn about the day of His coming. He wants us to know what we can expect from the future. The Pope teaches that Christ is a severe judge; he says we can only stand up to Him if we have good works to show forth, and if we pray to the saints asking them to intercede for us. The Catholic church preaches that Christ Jesus is a severe judge who a sword and a rod coming out of His mouth which means He is full of anger. The Pope also teaches that because Mary and John are at His side, one can put his hope in the intercession of the saints. Padre Bemadus thought that if Mary, the so-called Mother of God showed her breasts to Christ, He can’t deny her any wish. This is an expression of their mistrust in Christ Jesus. They do not trust Him, but think that He comes only as judge. To those who did not believe in Him, and instead mocked the Christian faith and mocked the true Christians -- to those He will be a judge who punishes severely. “Believe in Me,” He said, “do not doubt Me! Have joy that I’ll come back in the future. You will have a wonderful future if you believe in Me: you will be saved from sin, death, the world, and the devil.” That is a great comfort, isn’t it?
25. Let us talk about something else. This is important, too. The Lord tells us that these things will come upon mankind sudden, quickly; there is no way out. You know the little bird in the forest; it sings, is chirpy, and flies around looking for his food. It finds some food, and suddenly the net of the bird catcher falls over it, and it is killed. Pious, God-fearing Christians think about this, they take it to heart. They know, they are sinners; daily they experience how they fall into sin again and again, and they feel terrible about it. They are afraid that He may come just then when they are in the midst of sinning. You sin, and all this day of joy becomes a day of sadness.
26. Even on such an occasion as that the Lord Christ wants to comfort us. He tells us, “Beware that you do not wear out your hearts with debauchery, with worrying about where your food comes from, or anything else. Because this day comes over everyone on earth suddenly, it will be like a trapdoor, which opens up underneath you and swallows you up. Be careful, be strong, and pray that you will be able to flee from all that, and be deemed worthy to stand before the Son of Man.”
27. We all need to pay attention to these Words of God and never forget about them. The Lord does not tell us to not eat or drink anymore; He also does not tell us to let go of everything and enter a monastery, as the tiresome Pope teaches. No, eat and drink, that is fine, and care for your food – that's why God ordered you to work -, but beware that these are not the only things you think of. Do not forget the future because of the things of the present. Be strong, be alert and ready, and expect the Lord to come back any moment. Tend your days in the fear of the Lord and have a clear conscience.
28. After this, pray that you will resist all temptation so that you will be worthy to stand before the Son of Man. The Lord teaches us to pray this way in the Lord's Prayer, “…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil.” If you do this, it will not matter where you are when the Lord comes: at supper, or in bed, or at work, or out in the fields, or in the market, if you are awake, or asleep; it all does not matter, the Lord will find you, and you will be under God's protection.
29. Nevertheless, do not forget that you cannot pray to God if you do not refrain from willfully sinning. Of course, you can pray, but He will not listen. Prayer is only worthy if you also repent and stay away from known sin; do not willfully sin anymore! Pray to God the Father that He keeps the fear of God in us. And ask Him that His Holy Spirit keep us from sinning and keep us in the right faith, until we part from this earth. Pray that the Holy Spirit will keep us in joy and expectation of the coming of the Lord. There is no doubt that God will hear such prayers. It is important that we listen to Christ's Word and put our hope in the coming Day of Eternal Salvation, and live as if the Lord Christ may come back at any moment. He really could come back at any moment. May our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ grant us this. Amen.