A Prayer in the Face of Christ’s Return

The Bible is either true in it’s entirety, or it’s a lie in it’s entirety.

On doctrine taught by the Bible is the Second Coming of Christ. Three times in the final chapter of the Bible Jesus, in essence, says, “I’m on my way.” (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20)

For those who have professed their faith in him that day will be what Paul describes as Christ’s “glorious appearing.”

For those who’ve chosen to reject faith in Christ that day will be the beginning of an eternal nightmare.

I’ve been reading centuries-old prayers of long-gone Christians. About that day when Christ returns, one Puritan preacher prayed:

“That day is no horror to me,
for your death has redeemed me,
your Spirit fills me,
your love animates me,
your Word governs me.”

“This corruptible will put on incorruption,
this mortal, immortality,
this natural body, a spiritual body,
this dishonored body, a glorious body,
this weak body, a body of power.”

If you are unable to pray these words with confidence, please consider honestly investigating the claims of Christ.  His love for you is overwhelming.

Maranatha, Nick

Maranatha

“Maranatha”

This Aramaic word, used once in the New Testament of the Bible, meaning “Lord, come,” is used in Paul’s closing words in his first letter to the Corinthians.

In another letter written by Paul, after addressing the return of Christ, Paul wrote, “Encourage one another with these words.”

Allow me to briefly do that for you now.

The second coming of Christ is threaded throughout Scripture, prophesied repeatedly by the Old Testament prophets and given, both, in way of promise and warning in Matthew through Revelation.

Significantly, the longest answer (by a mile) Jesus ever gave to a single question was in regard to his second coming (cf. Matthew, chapters 24-25).

This return of Christ is veiled in mystery (“no one knows the day or hour”, Jesus, himself, said.) When teaching on this topic, I tell people, “If anyone ever tells you they have Christ’s return figured out just smile and walk the other way. On second thought, don’t smile – just walk away.”

That said, while responding to his disciples’ question about his return, Jesus did tell them we can, as his prophecy continues to be fulfilled, we can know his return is drawing near.  As in “when a tree begins to bloom you know Spring is near.”

You will never see me standing on a busy corner in Lubbock with a sign saying, “The end is near.” But I do pay careful attention to world events in light of biblical prophecy.

The most significant fulfillment of apocalyptic prophecy, in my opinion, was when, on May 14, 1948, Israel was recognized as a state for the first time in 2500 years.

Further, what are the odds that a country so tiny it’s difficult to spot it on a map appears to control the entire global climate? (Based on God’s plans for Israel during the end times, the odds are 100%.)

Former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, once said, “The Temple Mount is the most volatile square kilometer on earth.” And he’s right.

Lastly, both the prophet, Daniel, and Paul in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, prophecy the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt during what Jesus called a period of “great tribulation,” comprising the final years immediately before his return to earth. When you have time, google anything related to “building of the third temple.” (The first Jewish temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC, and the second by the Romans in 70 AD).

The Bible records Christ’s return will be a glorious time for Christians, but a time of terrifying judgment for the rest of humanity.

The Bible tells us there is a reality beyond what we can physically see. It’s a good – and healthy – idea to, on occasion, focus on that. It’s what Paul meant when he wrote, “Set your mind on things above.”

Just wanting to help remind all believers of a marvelous thing: three times in the last chapter of our Bible, Jesus says, “I’m on my way.”

Life is hard. But it will not always be this way.

NOTE: I’m attaching one of my favorite songs by Waylon Jennings. Fittingly, it’s titled “Revelation.”

Maranatha, Nick

“Behold, he is coming…”

“Behold, he is coming…” (Revelation 1:7)

I read a post the other day written by a person vehemently lambasting those who hold to the promise of Jesus’ second coming.  They wrote,

“Never mind that every preacher has been peddling that ‘we’re now in the end times’ bull-[crap] for 2,000 years now. And tragically, several billion people still haven’t realized it’s a con.”

Frankly, I don’t fault this person for their reaction. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have predicted the return of Christ at least 8 times since 1874. Edgar Whisenant made a ton of money when gullible people (including many Christians) purchased his book, “88 Reasons the Rapture Will be in 1988.” When 1988 passed, he promptly came up with 89 reasons Christ would return in 1989. (Horrible theologian; great business man.) And, I’ve lost count of how many times, recently, groups have spent a great deal of time and resources posting huge billboards with silly messages like, “Save the date: Christ is returning [fill in the date].”

Satan is a brilliant strategist, using these types of futile and biblically illiterate predictions to create a “chicken little” effect on the populace. Simply put, Satan would like us to dismiss the imminence of Christ’s return altogether. And these relentless predictions certainly help achieve that purpose.

Scoffers will scoff (2 Peter 3:3-4). Haters will hate. They most certainly have every right to do so.

But, for me – I can’t get around the reliability of Scripture.

If God’s promises to us through the Old Testament prophets regarding Christ’s first coming were fulfilled so accurately, I am compelled to believe His promises regarding His second coming will come to pass in the same fashion. (Given God’s track record for fulfilling prophecy I sure wouldn’t bet against it.)

How and when this will take place is enveloped in mystery. If anyone claims they have it figured out – thank them for the visit and walk away

One responsible theologian wisely wrote,

“While scripture teaches repeatedly that Christ is returning, the specifics regarding how and when it will occur are, by the testimony of Scripture itself, set in the midst of incomprehensible mystery. This is by God’s own design… Remember, despite the wealth of detailed prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus’ first coming, only a few people recognized it accurately. It could very well be that every one of the modern ‘experts’ in Bible Prophecy will turn out to be wrong about the timing and the details of Christ’s Second Coming as well.”

In a sermon preached in 1887, Charles Spurgeon, reminding his listeners of the present & future hope we have, confidently preached to a packed church in London,

“I have heard the chariot wheels of the Lord’s approach, and I have endeavored to set my house in order for his reception. I have felt the shadow of that great cloud that shall attend him, chilling the fervency of my worldliness. I hear even now in spirit the sound of the last trumpet, whose tremendous blast startles my soul to serious action and puts force into my life.”

Three times in the final chapter of Revelation, Jesus, in essence, says, “I’m on my way.”

The first time he came – he came as our Suffering Savior. The next time he comes – he comes as the Righteous Judge.

My friends, consider his love for you.

Maranatha, Nick

Christ is Returning. Until then…

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ answer to His disciples’ question about the end of the age occurs in chapter 13. Three times, Jesus gives instructions as to what we oughta be doing until He splits the skies wide open and “all heaven breaks loose.”

In vs 23, Jesus said, be on guard.” In vs 33, Jesus again says “be on guard” but adds the phrase, “keep awake.” Finally, in vs. 37, He instructs us to “stay awake.”

Three very similar English phrases translated from three different Greek words.

“Be on guard” – literally “look/watch”. It’s a very common word used for “watching” in the New Testament. In contemporary vernacular, think of the idiom, “keep an eye open….”

“Keep awake”Used only 7 times, in only 4 verses, in the New Testament, the word literally means, “to be sleepless, attentive, ready.” Paul used this Greek word in Ephesians 6:18 as he finished up describing the “armor of God.”

“Stay awake” – literally:  give strict attention to; be cautious; vigilant; active. This is the same word Jesus used in Matthew 26:38 when Jesus, in Gethsemane, is about to be under so much anxiety that He sweats blood. As such, He asks His disciples to “watch with me” (while Jesus prays.) Jesus, knowing the Jewish & Roman guards were even, at that moment, on their way (led by Judas) to arrest him, asked His disciples to be “cautious, vigilant, ready for action.”

Chris is Returning. No power on earth – or in the cosmos – can prevent this event. Three times in the Revelation’s final chapter, John records Jesus, in essence, telling us, “I’m on my way!”

Until that event….

1. Keep an eye open for it – it’s coming.
2. Don’t make the topic of Christ’s return an infrequent or occasional (or non-existent) thought. Be “sleepless” in your focus on His “glorious appearing.”
3. Be vigilant. Just as Judas and the Jewish leaders preyed on Jesus, so Satan preys on our thoughts, attempting to discourage us from the truth of Christ’s return. Be ready to respond with the “sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God.) In short, be vigilant, ready for action.

Speaking to the Thessalonian believers about this very topic, Paul wrote, “Encourage one another with these words.” Be encouraged, my friends.

Maranatha, Nick

“Behold, I Am Coming Soon”

Three times in the last chapter of our Bible Jesus makes the statement, “I am coming soon.”

The reason I bring this up is because over the holidays my family went to the movies. During the previews, the following movies were advertised, one right after the other: “Son of God”, “Heaven is for Real,” and “Noah.” Gone are the days when movies about Christian themes were unprofessional, low-budget endeavors. Even Hollywood knows that people are highly interested in Christian themes right now – and, for Hollywood, that interest translates into big money.

But there’s something much bigger going on, I believe. When the third straight Christian-themed movie preview came on the screen I leaned over to my wife, Michelle, and said, “God is setting things up for Christ’s return.”

Jesus, Himself, said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) How better to proclaim the gospel to the entire world than through modern media?

No “doomsday sermon” here. Just my own (hopeful) observation.

Maranatha, Nick