- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about Jesus’ second coming?
Reasoning with God requires us to study the whole Bible, not just a few selected verses. It is context, which opens our reasoning to the complete meaning of verses, as we see them fully develop in the light of other verses, Is 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” So, let us explore what God has to say about Jesus and His second coming.
One of the most important themes in the Old Testament points us to Jesus’ first appearance. God provides prophecies fulfilled, as evidence of His existence, for those who are willing to consider them, Lk 16:31, “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” He gives us the free will to ignore His prophecies or to use them to elevate our faith. Many who saw the resurrected Jesus believed, including doubting Thomas, however, many others chose to deny the Truth Who stood before them.
Jesus was there before time began and He would be born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Jesus would be born of a virgin, Is 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Jesus would be the Prince of Peace for all who accept Him as their savior, Is 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Jesus would come the first time humbly, riding upon the colt of an ass to bring us salvation, Zech 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
One of the most important themes in the New Testament points us to Jesus’ second coming. He wants us to prepare for eternity.
When Jesus returns, He will bring the host of heaven with Him; a trump shall announce His coming, and those who chose to ignore Him will mourn. Those who chose to accept Him, as their savior, will rise to meet Him in the sky, Matt 24:30-31, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." The trump will sound without a warning, there will be no time to change our minds, 1 Thes 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” These are not the only times we have been told of Jesus’ return, 1 Cor 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Every eye will see His return, and many will wail at their loss, Rev 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
God has Peter explain the need for two thousand years of waiting for Jesus’ second coming. God does not want any of us to perish without being given every possible opportunity to change our minds, repent, and accept His offer. His longsuffering encourages us to have the patience necessary to wait for our savior’s return. The judgment awaits all; however, only those of us who willingly accept Jesus as our savior will be saved, 2 Pet 3:9-10, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
When we step before our Lord and Savior, we will either hear, Matt 25:23, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” or we will hear, Matt 7:23, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” In this life, we will choose which of these two greetings we will receive. Jesus wants all of us to be accepted; however, He will not force any of us to love Him, Eze 33:11, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
So, how do we turn from our evil ways? And, what are those evil ways?
To better understand this, let us compare this life to a great war. Two sides having opposing beliefs decide to go to war. The goal of God’s side is to bring the truth to all who would be saved. God uses love, truth, and freedom as His weapons in this war. The devil uses selfishness, hatred, lies, addictions, slavery, unnecessary laws, pain, and suffering as his weapons to keep us from the truth. We need to decide which side we will support, and thereby, which weapons we will use. In war there are victims, those injured and those who lose their lives. The spiritual war between God and Satan also has victims, some of those choosing God’s side will be injured, and some will become martyrs. Just as some of the soldiers who went to Europe, to free the continent, died by the hands of the evil Axis, some of us will become victims, as we choose to use love, truth, and freedom as our only weapons in this war against Satan. So, we turn from our evil ways when we choose to love everyone, tell the truth, and allow others to have the same freedom to choose for themselves. How do we do this?
We refuse to allow Satan to bind us with his addictions, Gal 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” We choose to use our freedom for good, not allowing maliciousness to creep into our lives, 1 Pet 2:16, “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” We choose to live the fruits of the Spirit, which God freely offers to all through the Holy Ghost, Rom 6:22, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” We do not allow corruption or vanity to enter our lives, Rom 8:18-21, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope” We work to free the oppressed, Is 58:6-7, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” We do not use the gospel to burden others, Acts 15:10, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” We do not judge others, 1 Cor 10:29, “Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?” We are humble and live in peace with all people, Rom 13:7-9, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” We willingly sacrifice some of our freedoms, when they would cause our brothers to stumble, 1 Cor 8:13, “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” We love our neighbors and allow them the freedom to love God, or not. We use only God’s weapons, love, truth, and freedom, in the war we face daily.
In short, we allow Jesus’ tender love to rule in our lives, by reading and reasoning with His Word, daily. It will make all the difference when He returns, and He will return, Jn 14:2, “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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” He promised He would return to take us home and He cannot lie, Tit 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”
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