A dimly-lit room with a Bible open on a table, highlighting the verse "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

What Did Jesus Say About The Last Days?

The end times and Jesus’ second coming have long fascinated Christians. If you’re wondering what Jesus himself said about the last days before his return, this comprehensive article has the answers you’re looking for.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Jesus said there would be wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution of his followers, false prophets, a falling away from the faith, the gospel being preached to all nations, the Abomination of Desolation in the temple, astronomical signs, and the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds.

Jesus’ Olivet Discourse on the End Times

The Setting and Timing of the Discourse

Jesus delivered his major discourse on the end times, often called the Olivet Discourse, during his last week in Jerusalem. As he was leaving the temple, his disciples pointed out the magnificent buildings, perhaps prompting questions about the temple’s coming destruction (Matthew 24:1-2).

Jesus took the opportunity to teach them not only about the temple’s fate but also about his return and the end of the age.

Scholars debate whether Jesus’ return will precede or follow the tribulation events described in the discourse. But his core message was to be prepared no matter what:

  • “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34).

General Signs: Deception, Wars, Natural Disasters

Jesus warned his followers not to be deceived by false Christs and those claiming to represent him (Matthew 24:4-5). While such deceivers have surfaced throughout history, many futurists believe an ultimate “antichrist” figure will emerge in the last days before Jesus’ return.

Jesus also warned of wars, conflicts and unrest among nations in the end times (Matthew 24:6-7). Sadly, 20th century wars produced over 100 million casualties. And global military spending still exceeds $2 trillion per year.

In addition, Jesus predicted famines and earthquakes, which may indicate natural disasters intensifying closer to his second coming (Matthew 24:7). From 2000 to 2009 alone, natural disasters killed over 780,000 people worldwide.

Persecution of Believers

Jesus explicitly warned that his followers would suffer persecution, even to death, in the end times (Matthew 24:9-10). Currently, over 340 million Christians face persecution worldwide, with over 90,000 killed for their faith each year, particularly across Africa and Asia.

As God’s people endure persecution in the last days, Jesus calls them to stand firm in faith:

  • “By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:19).

Global Spread of the Gospel

Despite rising persecution, Jesus assured that the gospel would reach all nations before his return (Matthew 24:14). This steady advance worldwide affirms his promise. With over 2.5 billion adherents currently, Christianity has become a truly global faith.

Internet access has also opened doors for spreading the gospel digitally. For example, the Jesus film website and app have over 63 million visits each year, introducing thousands to Christ daily.

The Abomination of Desolation

The abomination of desolation is an important event that Jesus predicted would happen in the last days before His return. It is mentioned specifically in the books of Daniel and Matthew.

In Daniel 9:27, the prophet Daniel predicted that an “abomination that causes desolation” would come at the time of the end. Over 165 years later, Jesus affirmed this prophecy, making it clear that the abomination of desolation was still yet to occur in the future.

The Abomination of Desolation in Daniel

In Daniel 11:31, the abomination of desolation is described as something that would defile the sanctuary and halt the daily sacrifices offered to God. Some scholars believe this prophecy was fulfilled in 167 BC when a Greek ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the altar in the temple in Jerusalem.

However, Jesus implies the ultimate fulfillment still lies ahead.

Jesus’ Prophecy of the Abomination

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus is giving His disciples signs to watch for that will signal His return and the end of the age. He says:

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16)

Jesus expected those hearing His words would understand what He was talking about because of Daniel’s prophecy. But rather than focus on the detailed specifications, Jesus emphasizes the urgency of fleeing quickly when this event occurs.

Interpretations of the Abomination of Desolation

There are several views on what the abomination of desolation might involve:

  • A rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem is defiled by an antichrist figure or false messiah.
  • The antichrist places an idol or image of himself in the temple to be worshiped.
  • Jerusalem is attacked or invaded by foreign armies.
  • The daily sacrifice of the Jewish temple is disrupted.

The exact fulfillment is not yet clear, but Jesus indicates the abomination of desolation will be an obvious sign that the end is near. It will be a decisive event causing immediate distress and tribulation.

Be Ready at Any Moment

While we cannot know precisely when Jesus will return, He instructs us to be alert and ready for His coming at any moment. The prophecies about the end times are meant to inspire watchfulness, wisdom and faithfulness in Christ’s followers as we eagerly await His glorious appearing.

The Coming of the Son of Man

Astronomical Signs Preceding Jesus’ Return

Jesus stated that prior to His return, there would be “signs in sun and moon and stars” (Luke 21:25). Many biblical scholars believe this refers to astronomical anomalies and strange weather patterns that will occur at the end times.

For example, the sun may be darkened, the moon appear blood red, and meteors streak across the skies. These ominous signs are meant to alert believers that Jesus’ coming is drawing near.

Some astronomers speculate that a rare alignment of planets or solar and lunar eclipses could produce the effects Jesus described. A massive solar storm or comet striking the earth could also block sunlight and make the moon appear red.

According to prophecy expert John Hagee, “God will orchestrate these signs in the heavens to signal the coming of His Son. “ So believers should look up and lift their heads when they see the heavens disturbed, for their redemption is surely drawing near (Luke 21:28).

Jesus Coming on the Clouds in Glory

All four Gospels record Jesus’ prophecy that He will return coming “on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). Many scholars believe this depicts Jesus descending from heaven enveloped in radiant clouds, accompanied by thousands of angels and the sound of trumpets.

The imagery connects to Daniel 7:13 where the “Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven” to receive dominion over all peoples. It also aligns with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 which describes the Lord “descending from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.”

Taken together, these verses paint an awe-inspiring picture of the glorious magnificence surrounding Christ’s long-awaited return as King.

When Jesus appears visibly “on the clouds” in great power and glory, it will be an unmistakable, epic event witnessed around the world. There will be no doubt the King of Kings has arrived. His return will fulfill the ancient prophecies about the Messiah setting up His everlasting, universal kingdom of righteousness and peace (Isaiah 9:6-7).

All believers eagerly await that triumphant day when “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).

Jesus’ Parables About Being Ready

Parable of the Ten Virgins

In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus told a story about ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and did not take enough oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise and brought extra oil.

While the bridegroom was delayed, the foolish virgins’ lamps went out because they ran out of oil. When the bridegroom finally arrived, the foolish virgins tried to borrow oil from the wise ones, but it was too late – the door was shut and they missed the wedding banquet.

Jesus warned that we must always be spiritually ready for His return.

Parable of the Faithful Servant

In Matthew 24:45-51, Jesus told a story about a servant placed in charge of the master’s household while the master was away. The wise servant was found faithfully carrying out his duties when the master returned. As a reward, the master put him in charge of all his possessions.

But a wicked servant would take advantage of the master’s absence and mistreat the other servants. Such a servant would be punished severely when the master came back unexpectedly. Jesus emphasized the need to be faithful and obedient as we await His return.

Parable of the Talents

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told a parable about a man who entrusted his wealth to three servants before going on a journey. He gave one servant five talents, another two talents, and the third one talent, each according to their ability.

The first two servants invested and doubled their money, but the third servant buried his talent. When the master returned, he rewarded the first two servants for their faithfulness. But he rebuked the third servant for his laziness and took away even the little he had.

The message is that God has given each of us talents and abilities, and He expects us to use them responsibly and diligently as we wait for Christ’s return.

New Heaven and New Earth

Jesus spoke of a coming time when there would be a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). This points to a future renewal and restoration of creation itself. The apostle Peter also wrote of this future hope, saying that followers of Christ “are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

What will this new creation be like? The book of Revelation provides some amazing glimpses.

No More Suffering or Death

For one thing, in this new creation there will be no more suffering or death. As Revelation 21:4 declares, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This is an incredible promise, as death and suffering have plagued humanity throughout history. But in the new creation, these things will be no more!

God’s Presence

Another key aspect of the new creation is that God will dwell closely with His people. Revelation 21:3 states, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.'” Throughout Scripture, access to God’s presence has been limited.

But in the new creation, God will make His home among His people in perfect fellowship.

A Restored Creation

The new creation will also involve a restoration of the natural world. Revelation 22:1-2 describes a river flowing from the throne of God, lined with trees of life bearing fruit. The curse on creation will be completely reversed.

As Romans 8:19-21 indicates, all of creation eagerly awaits this coming day of renewal.

The Centrality of Christ

At the center of this new creation will stand Christ Himself. Revelation 21:22-23 states that the glory of God and the Lamb will be the light within the city of God. All things will revolve around the exalted Christ, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end (Revelation 22:13).

His reign of righteousness will know no end.

This radical renewal of creation is central to the biblical narrative. God’s plan to redeem humanity through Christ will culminate in a restored creation, free from all effects of sin and death. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!


In his Olivet Discourse and various parables, Jesus gave many signs and details about the end times leading up to his glorious return. He covered everything from wars, natural disasters and persecution to the spread of the gospel globally.

And he urged his followers many times to be alert, ready and faithful until he comes back to establish his eternal kingdom.

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