Return of the King
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:2,3).
These were the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, who promised his followers that he will return one day to receive them to the home in heaven. Our Lord, who once came to the world to be the ransom for sin, is coming back a second time. He will return as the King of kings, with great power and glory. Together with him will be thousands and thousands of saints and heavenly hosts.
His coming will be a terrifying sight for those who have rejected him as Lord. "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him" (Revelation 1:7). No one may be able to escape the wrath of the Great King.
But the Lord's coming is a day believers eagerly look forward to. The Savior will welcome them home, and "he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4). This day will bring about the ultimate fulfillment of the Christian hope.
Resurrection and Transformation
An extraordinary event will occur at the Lord's coming. By the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, God will raise believers who have died. Believers who are alive will be "caught up" in the clouds. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, 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, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).
Without going through death, believers who are alive will transform into spiritual bodies. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
"Our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20,21). Just as the Lord Jesus was raised to life in a spiritual body, believers will also be clothed with a spiritual body--glorious, powerful, and immortal.
Our existence does not end at death. There is a judgment that comes after death. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body" (2 Corinthians 5:10). At the coming of Christ, God will judge everyone who has ever lived, according to the word of God. He is all knowing, and will bring to light things done in secret. We will all have to give account for every sin that we have committed. The outcome of the judgment will decide each person's eternal destiny.
God will execute his judgment on the unbelievers "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Sinners who did not receive the atonement of Jesus Christ will have to bear the consequences of sin--eternal death. "I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done.... This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12-15).
On judgment day, believers of Christ will be saved from the wrath of God because their sins have been paid for. "Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:28).
The saved ones will see Jesus the King face to face, and he will say to them, "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34). The King will also reward them a glorious crown for their faithful service.
They will enter the heavenly city and live in the splendid glory of God. "Night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 22:5).
No One Knows the Day or the Hour
No one can know when this moment will come. Great and unprecedented disasters will strike the whole earth suddenly. "When people say, 'There is peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
"As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot--they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all--so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed" (Luke 17:26-30).
A New Heaven and New Earth
This universe will not last forever but will come to an end at the coming of Christ. Following the initial tribulation will be great cosmic chaos. "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; (Matthew 24:29).
Finally, the last chapter of world history will close with a total destruction by fire. "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10). A new heaven and a new earth will then replace the former universe. This is the eternal home that God has prepared for his people.
Preparing for the Lord's Return
Accept Christ Now
Jesus has died for our salvation and has been raised to life. He now calls everyone to repent and believe in him. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:16-18).
The door of grace is now wide open. As we draw close to the coming of the Lord, enter the door of salvation while there is still a chance. "The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). He is the only one who can save you from the coming judgment. Your choice to accept him now will mean eternal blessings when he comes again.
Obey the True Gospel
"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Open confession of Christ alone will not get us into the gates of heaven. We must obey the words of our Lord and the gospel preached by the church, the body of Christ. Only in the church that God has established may we find the gospel of salvation. "It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:2-3).
When Christ comes, he will take the church as his bride (Revelation 19:7). Those who have obeyed the true gospel of salvation and who abide daily by God's word through faith will be saved. They will participate in the final and greatest wedding banquet.
Watch and Pray
Since we do not know when our Master will return, we need to be spiritually watchful at all times (Matthew 24:42; Luke 12:37). "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:34-36). Devotion to daily prayer also helps us examine our ways and enables us to be spiritually strong.
It is essential to constantly live a life pleasing to the Lord and wait soberly for the Lord's coming. "The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:12-14).
Be faithful in Service
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. (Matthew 24:45-47). We need to be diligent and persistent as we serve the spiritual needs of others through preaching, encouragement, and intercession. By regularly meeting with fellow believers, we can "stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
When our master comes, he will require from us what each of us has received and reward us for our labor (Matthew 25:14-30). Therefore, we must put our time, possessions, and talents to use for the Lord's work. Let us always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because we know that our labor in him is not in vain.
Love One Another
"The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another" (1 Peter 4:7-9). Love will be a standard of divine judgment on the last day. In the parable of Jesus, it was those who showed deeds of kindness and concern that received eternal life. So let us learn to give to the needy and pray for the spiritually weak.
In addition to helping others, we need to be patient with one another, because love is patient, and love endures all things. "Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors" (James 5:9). It would surely please the Lord if we forgive others just as he forgave us. True love bears the burden of another and "covers a multitude of sins."
"I Am Coming Soon"
Our Lord Jesus has warned us of the signs that will precede his coming, such as wars, famine, earthquakes, increase of crimes, religious persecutions, and rejection and confusion of the true faith. We can clearly see these signs occurring now, and with increasing intensity.
"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done" (Revelation 22:12). The Judge is standing at the door. Are you ready? Are you responding to his call to repentance? Do not wait until it is too late. Enter the gate to eternal life while you may. It is our prayer that you believe and obey the true gospel of salvation today and that you will joyfully welcome the Lord when the he comes.
|Basic Beliefs (10) - The Second Coming of Christ - Pr Liang - MND ENG
|Basic Beliefs (10) Second Coming - D Liang - MND ENG