For personal sanity and pastoral focus, I don’t allow myself to get too focused on the chaotic conditions of this world’s kingdoms.
I trust God’s sovereignty. Still, sometimes it seems like this world is spinning out of control.
But then my mind recalls the promise of my soon-coming King.
He says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
I find great comfort in His “I will.” It means He’s STILL coming back! The King of glory Himself is literally coming back again!
According to the renowned Bible teacher, Dr. David Jeremiah, Bible “references to the Second Coming outnumber references to the first coming by a factor of 8 to 1. Scholars have identified 1,845 different biblical references to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, no less than 17 books mention Christ’s return. The New Testament authors speak of it in 23 of the 27 books.”
Despite the Bible’s reliable accuracy, some people don’t believe Jesus is coming back. Why would those who don’t understand the significance of His first coming think He’s coming back? What’s most troubling is that some Christians doubt it. Our faith should be settled in the facts of God’s Word!
The Bible doesn’t reveal EVERY detail about the Second Coming. And some end-times symbolism remains open to varying interpretations. But this fact remains crystal clear! He’s STILL coming back, and I pray we’ll all be ready. Today, I’m sharing what I believe the Holy Spirit makes abundantly clear through the Holy Scriptures to help us all get ready and stay prepared.
The Rapture of Jesus’ Church is imminent.
At His Ascension, Jesus “was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight,” and the angel said He will “come in like manner” (Acts 1:9-11). He will come again in clouds of (Shekinah) glory and rapture His Church! Rapture comes from the Latin rapio, which means to catch away suddenly. The word rapture isn’t in the Bible, but the concept is clear. We’ll be raptured, or “caught up,” to meet Him (17). Read 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, 5:9-11.
The Bible says “the Lord himself” (16), meaning our Great High Priest will descend from Heaven, where He is now interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25). Church, we won’t be sneaking out of here. He will come “with a shout” of victory. We’ll be raptured with the “voice of an archangel.”
The “trumpet of God” will sound, and “the dead in Christ will rise” from their graves. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (17). God’s people will be raptured to our permanent Home, from here to where He is!
But when it comes to arguments and debates about end-time events and prophecy, don’t! The Bible says to “comfort one another” on these matters. Encouragement should be our modus operandi! Leave the details to God, build one another up, and focus on this fact. He’s STILL coming back!
The Return of Jesus Christ is glorious.
His Return is described by the Spirit in Titus 2 as “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (13). To the blood-bought Christian soul, we long for this with holy anticipation.
The Bible places the glorious return of Jesus Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation. He will return with His saints and angels at Armageddon and establish His Kingdom and reign on earth. The Antichrist will arise during the Great Tribulation period, and the Battle of Armageddon will be fought. Revelation 19:11-16 tells what He will look like at His Return.
Jesus is coming back as the absolute Lord and King in the fullness of His powerful authority. His Return will be different from His first coming into our world! When He came the first time, He was rejected, mocked, and crucified; when He returns, every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The Response of Jesus’ Creation is required.
But Jesus says, “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36). STILL, “the bridegroom is coming!” And “the wise” will keep “oil in their vessels” (Matthew 25:4, 6).
Since He could come back at any time, what preparations are required of us?
Let’s learn from the Early Church. These faithful believers lived during the first 300 years after Christ’s Ascension to Heaven. Those earliest Christians did not have an elaborately developed end-times theology. STILL, they held firmly to the truth that He could come back any day. They lived every day with expectant faith that the Day of the Lord is at hand.
Those Christians faced constant persecution from Rome. They were often put to death as traitors. The Roman government required everyone to declare Caesar as god. BUT they knew only one God and one Lord, Jesus Christ. And they could not call Caesar “Lord.”
Living under those adverse conditions, their morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord. “Maranatha!” (our Lord comes, 1 Corinthians 16:22) became the standard greeting of those oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting shalom (peace). Those early followers of Jesus knew there would be no (world) peace because Jesus had told them so. BUT they also knew the Lord would return to set up His Kingdom, and they drew great comfort from that truth. They were constantly reminding one another that the Lord is coming.
Like them, we live in a world of despair and fear. Wars, rumors of wars, and nuclear threats exist for us. But we have a “blessed hope” that outweighs the crises of this world! The Master told us, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come” (Revelation 22:17)! And together we pray, come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Like the Early Church, today’s follower of Christ is “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The same expectant faith they had is required of us. Maranatha reminds us to keep our eyes on the eternal things of the Spirit. To dwell on material things is to be in constant mental turmoil. But looking up, we know and see that He’s STILL coming back (“your redemption draws near,” Luke 21:28).
To those who are discouraged today, Maranatha! To those who are worried today, Maranatha! To those who are filled with anxiety over the problems they are facing, Maranatha! Our Lord is coming!
He’s STILL coming back, and I pray we’ll all be ready.
Jesus says, “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3). I assure you, “the Bridegroom is coming;” the wise will make preparations (Matthew 25:4-6).
So, let’s conclude with readiness. The Spirit tells us in Hebrews 12:14 to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
In 1st Peter 3, we read this end-times preparation. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy” (ESV, 13-16).
The key to readiness for the return of the Lord for your soul is simpler than you think. By grace, through faith, you can get right with God. And by faith through grace, you can live right for God. The “blessed hope” we’ve discussed requires an investment of faith. The return on fear is the horrible dividend of hopelessness. But the return on investing faith in what the Bible teaches is the gift of a better life now. And the gift of eternal life can be yours.
Christian, with certainty, we know our Lord is coming back, and we should be known as hope dealers. But you have some friends and relatives that aren’t ready. Do you care enough to pray for them today?
If you know you’re not ready or have uncertainty in your heart, it’s time to commit wholeheartedly to the Lord.