He's coming again!
a big word that simply means the study of end times or the study of final things. A topic that we could study for our entire lives and still discover more. there are so many symbols and events from prophets of old and also new testament writers that we could have a sermon series lasting a career......
but today I will just touch on a few points possibly encouraging you to further study this topic.
Its New Years eve and I am hearing a lot of people talk about what happened in 2017 and looking ahead to 2018 the year to come.
if you were here last week you remember we discussed the first coming of Jesus. it is something we look back to history because it has already taken place. but we look ahead, in the future for the next time Jesus will come.
there are many views which Christians take on the last days events that I won’t be diving into today but just making them known, there are dispensational premillennialism, historic premillennialism, post millennialism, amillennialism, and then we can get into pre, post, and mid trib dealing with the rapture as well. Depending on what time period you are studying and how you view the scriptures will help you understand what view you take.
or like one pastor I know that called himself a pan-millennialist, which I had no idea what that was, and he said he would wait and see until it all pans out.
all these are views of last days events that if you want to dig in deeper, there are plenty of references and studies out there to help guide you through it.
the question I like to ask myself before subscribing to a view or doctrine in scripture is “ how essential is this doctrine to salvation?” because the doctrine of salvation is primary, and there are many other doctrines that are secondary or debated by Christians. we call them in house debates, where two can be Christians and disagree on a non essential doctrine. but salvation is obviously not up for debate because that is what makes one a Christian.
as for eschatology,
they may differ in some details but they all agree on the return of Christ. scripture is very clear on this as well and that is were we will put our focus today.
we set the stage with the disciples.... listen to their question because the questions they ask reveal the concern they had.
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
first, lets discuss the first two verse, where Jesus gives the disciples a prophecy about the temple which does come true in 70 ad. look at the disciples perspective...... they were focused on the physical, worldly stuff and in awe of it. Jesus continually had to bring His disciples back to the true reality which was not the temporal stuff on earth but the kingdom of God. so He reveals the end of that temple to them. everything physical has an end. God’s kingdom does not.
also to mention,
this group of verses, all the way through chapt 25 are called the Olivet discourse because of where Jesus gave this message on the Mt of Olives, which we can find portions of it Mark 13 and Luke 21.
throughout the two chapters it lays out events and a time table of moments in time that will lead us to the last days of the earth all the way to the Son of Man coming in His glory.
as you study eschatology, you will find that the very last days are a time that are expressed in scripture that is like no other time on earth. the trials and struggles will be like no other moments… where the world is in utter chaos spiritually,
but scripture reveals this too us ahead of time and we look to the hope of Christ’s coming. We see in scripture that many people confirm this.
the angels confirmed after Jesus went up to heaven.
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
picture this..... the disciples gathered in awe of Jesus rising to heaven..... and then angels talking with them about future events. about the Christ who rose will be coming back. it had to be a time of wonder. a time of realization that there is more to come. it had to be overwhelming for them. I love when angels come on the scene because you know God was making sure that His message go through to the people.
we also have Paul discussing it....
Paul confirms the Lord’s return.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
now, the struggle some have with this passage, is not that Jesus comes back but does He come to take his church off the earth, then comes back again to deal with the end of the tribulation? this is where the differing views come into play.
what I know for sure is that He is coming back! Angels have confirmed it and Paul was sure of it.
Jesus confirms it.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
Now the book of Rev. is a book written about some very fearful images and wars on earth and in heaven. but the real purpose for the writing of the book was for encouragement to the saints. and for Jesus to declare His return is certainly uplifting....
like He told us in the book of John, He goes to prepare a place for us and He will come and bring us with Him so we can be where He is. and like this verse alludes, He is also coming to deal with the enemy and He will take care of satan for sure.
but when it comes to us, we can take the stand right now, today,
the believers prayer....
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
what a prayer, to pray in the will of God, come Lord Jesus. We know scripture is true and it confirms that Jesus will return, so we can all pray for His return and look forward to it. whether we live to see it or not, we see in scripture some of what it will look like...
and here is how Jesus says we will see Him coming.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
this could be after the rapture and Jesus is gathering His own after the tribulation.
there is a lot to study and differing points of views, but we know He is coming back and we also see in scripture the call for endurance.
He tells us to endure.....til the end.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
and like it says in your bulletin this morning....no one knows the hour or the day, so we can just be ready.
as for eschatology,
The major lessons that these visions of the end teach are the predictable spread of evil, the certainty of God’s wrath and judgment against evil, the need for endurance (Rev 13:10) and a stance of preparedness for what is coming from the Dictionary of biblical Imagery
Maybe you and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking on these things..... but we find them in the bible. Does it make you curious at all? does it make you hunger to study?
there is so much to learn in scripture, I encourage you today to study, question, pray, learn and grow.
God will guide through the Holy Spirit as we study in faith. amen.