When Christ Returns
Like Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 24:3), we wonder what is in store for this world. What will happen? The Bible lays out an enthralling picture. At least one-fifth of His Word is prophecy. The Second Coming is mentioned 318 times in the New Testament’s 210 chapters. Obviously, this is not a doctrine to ignore; God desires us to know about Christ’s return.
The Rapture: To Take His Church to Be With Him
Christ’s coming is imminent; all the prophecies which must be fulfilled before His return are completed. He will descend with a shouted command, the voice of an angel, and the trumpet of God. All believers, living and dead, will suddenly meet the Lord in the air.
Like and eager bride, the Church waits for the final culmination of her union with her Groom.
The Tribulation: Unrestrained Evil
The moment after the Rapture, the Spirit of God will remove any restraining influence on earth so that things will be far, far worse than even today. The seven-year Tribulation Period will see the climax of worsening conditions, the anger of God against the wicked, and the signs of Christ’s coming in judgment. Believers alive at the Rapture will miss those seven horrible years.
The Second Coming: To Judge the World
The Antichrist will rule wickedly. But just when it seems there is no hope, when the bottom is finally reached and evil rules, the Second Coming will finally come about and God’s Son will dethrone the Beast.
The Millennium: To Rule the World
The word “Millennium” simply means “one thousand years.” During those ten centuries of righteousness, Christ will rule on earth from His capital in Jerusalem. To add to the excitement, John tells us that the followers of Christ will rule with Him.
A New Heaven and a New Earth
Although the physical properties of the new heaven and the new earth are not described in detail, what we are told is enough to fill us with hope and joy.
What Do We Do Until Then?
John takes great pains to emphasize that we are responsible to keep the sayings of the book of Revelation. In Revelation 22:18-19, he pronounces God’s blessing on all who will read the book and His curse on all those who would try to tamper with it.
One of the most important themes in this book is obedience. It is because of the disobedience of mankind that God will judge the world, and His holy saints are charged repeatedly to distance themselves from the world’s rebellion by “keeping the words” of the book. We are to walk submissively according to God’s Word.
What does it mean to “worship triumphantly”? It means that we grab hold of the truth of God’s Word and give it back in worship to God. We praise His name triumphantly, with exuberance and conviction. Revelation makes it clear that praise and worship are the vital vehicles of our response to all that God is and does.
Evangelism will one day cease—but not yet. One major purpose of Revelation is to remind sinners that eternal judgment is coming and to stimulate believers to share the Good News of redemption in Jesus’ name. It is our duty to preach the Gospel, so people may hear and believe the Good News about Jesus, and so receive a new nature and a new character.
We have only a little time to work for the advancement of the Gospel, and we must use the time well. We must work, and work hard. The time goes by so quickly!
We should remind ourselves that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
We do not know when the Lord is coming back to this earth. But we do know His arrival is closer today than it was yesterday! He could come at any time to take His Church to His Father’s house. There will be no time to prepare. That is why we must always be ready.
The requirement for salvation is that we take freely what God offers us. He offers us life. He offers us joy. He offers us abundance. He offers us His only Son.
He could come today! Are you ready?