In sport and media entertainment, people love series, episodes and sequels. The greatest story of all needs no external actors, lighting, special effects or extras because every human being has a part to play in it. Each one of us is in this story and now we are in Part lll, awaiting Part lV which is the grand finale! Part l’s title could be ‘In the Beginning’, Part ll ‘The Coming of The King’ and Part lll ‘Between The Ages’. That would then make Part lV’s title, ‘THE RETURN’! Not everyone knows the plot, their role, the importance of timings and that this is real life in the making, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second.
- ‘The Bible never divorces the truth of Christ's future return with our present-day responsibilities’ – Robert Jeffress
- ‘Every day that goes by puts us closer to the day when Christ will return’ –Joyce Meyer
- ‘The second coming of Christ will be so revolutionary that it will change every aspect of life on this planet. Christ will reign in righteousness. Disease will be arrested. Death will be modified. War will be abolished. Nature will be changed. Man will live as it was originally intended he should live’ – Billy Graham
There can only be a return because there was the first visit. The First Coming leads to a Second Coming, The First Advent to a Second Advent. This is to reveal the Great Plot which will be obvious to some but will mystify many – which are you? Here then is a synopsis to share secret insights that will be new to some but helpful confirmations to many.
- ‘Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumour spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”’ – John 21:22-23
- ‘Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven”’ – Mark 14:61-62
- ‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him’ – Luke 12:35-36
The First Coming of Jesus Christ was announced by angels, attested by shepherds, attended by wise men but ignored by most in the humble entry made in Bethlehem. Make no mistake, the Second Coming will be of a different order for there will be a very loud trumpet blast, shepherds will witness it with the rest of us and the wise will be ready.
‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ – Matthew 25:1-6
Many today are cynical, with little hope and have lamps that are burning low or not at all. When is this going to happen? Followers of Christ Jesus have been saying ‘it’s coming soon’ for 2000 years but where is it and why the delay?
- ‘... when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’ – Luke 18:8
- ‘Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ – 2 Peter 3:3-9
All the answers to all our questions are known by God and many of the answers have already been given if we know where to find them in his Word. The delay then is due to the grace of God. Jesus told us that there are many rooms being prepared for those he will gather on his return for those he calls and there are still more yet to hear his call for there will be no vacancies and no mistakes in God’s sovereign plans.
Are you taking the advice of Jesus to be watchful and note the signs of the times? Famines, earthquakes, wars and rumours of war, and yet we’re told not to be alarmed but to be ready. This will not be like an election date that leads to frantic activity leading up to polling day! It is altogether different:
- ‘For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other’ – Luke 17:24
- ‘So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him’ – Matthew 24:44
- ‘But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat’ – 2 Peter 3:10-12
Global warming on this precious planet indicates that with over 7 billion consumers, the earth is in a crisis. Weather patterns are causing fires that are devastating vast areas and killing untold numbers of animals. Added to this are typhoons, tsunamis, volcanoes and a melting ice cap. So how should we prepare? Keeping watch, understanding the times and maintaining faith is our part whilst the Lord himself is also working for you.
- ‘Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord’ – 1 Corinthians 1:7-9
- ‘May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones’ – 1 Thessalonians 3:13
How do you imagine the day of the Lord’s return will begin? Likely enough, somewhere the sun will rise, a baby will be born, workers will go to their offices and maybe buy a coffee or a newspaper on the way. People will be going about their business, shopping, checking their social media, farmers will be feeding their animals and sowing their seeds – it could all seem quite ‘normal’. Even if the media channels are reporting more unusual and awesome events that are foretold, it could look like just another day:
- ‘Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into’ – Matthew 24:30-43
Just suppose that you were to live each day as if it could be the day of the Lord’s return, would it change how you live? Seeking first the Kingdom of God would likely enough be a higher priority! Jesus Christ is the King of kings and his words are given for us to consider deeply as this current era of grace will give way to a future one of judgement on the Day of the Lord:
- ‘There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day’ – John 12:48
- ‘“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’ – Revelation 22:12-13
Keep watch and join with the Apostle John in crying out to the One Who is ‘Faithful and True’, ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus’ – Revelation 22:20
TAGS – justice, forgiveness, readiness, Armageddon, world, fulfilment, throne, discernment