Posts Tagged 'Second Coming'

Panic Podcast: The 7 R’s of the Second Coming, Part 2

Good morning all, and welcome. Today, we will be studying the resurrection of our bodies, which is the second of the Second Coming.

 

 

Grab your Bible and let’s dig deep into God’s Word. Don’t forget, if you’d like to support the work of our church, click here and you be whisked  away to our secure giving page.

 

 

Glory, Part 6

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When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.”   (Matthew 25:31 | NIV84)

In our sixth study of the how the word “glory” is used in the New Testament, we turn to The Olivet Discourse, so called because Jesus gave a series of teachings while on the Mount of Olives.  The Olivet Discourse is found in all three Synoptic Gospels and most of it deals with the the Second Coming of our Lord and of the end of the age.  

Setting the scene

Jesus began this lengthy teaching in Matthew 24, as He left the Temple grounds for the last time.   He had been soundly rejected by the leaders of Israel, and His word to His people was a solemn one:

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.  “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”  (Matthew 24:1-2 | NIV84)

Herod’s Temple was a magnificent structure, which took a long time to build.  Herod’s desire was to build a religious edifice as great and as glorious as Solomon’s temple.  He began to restore the old Temple around 20 BC and believe it or not, work was still in progress during the days of Jesus!  It must have been a shocking thing for Jesus’ disciples to hear that this great Temple would be laid waste.  The literal fulfillment of this prediction occurred in 70 AD.  Jewish historian Josephus was an eyewitness, and here is his account:

The Temple area was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.  

For their part, the disciples were befuddled; they needed more information, so they asked Jesus three questions related to His prediction:

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  (Matthew 24:3 | NIV84)

For some reason, Jesus started off by answering the third question first:  “What will be the sign of…the end of the age?”  Actually, in the verses that follow, the great Teacher gives no less than 10 signs of the end of the age.  

  1. False messiah’s will appear, verse 5, declaring that they are the Christ – the Messiah.
  2. Wars and rumors of wars will abound, verse 6.   Of course, there have been wars in every generation, though apparently near the end they will increase, probably in intensity and frequency.
  3. Famines,
  4. Plagues,
  5. Earthquakes, all in verse 7.  Famines and plagues frequently go together and, as in the case of war, while there have always been earthquakes, at the end there will be more of them in strange places.
  6. The sixth sign is persecution, found in verse 9.  The followers of Christ will face mounting stress and pressure as they seek to live out their faith in the face of constant persecution.
  7. The seventh sign, found in verse 10, goes like this:  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  (Matthew 24:10 | NIV84). That’s a frightening thought, that at some point in the future there will be a great “falling away” from the faith.  But read how the KJV translates this sign:  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  (Matthew 24:10 | KJV).   You begin to see what the end times will look like; a time of lawlessness when people both inside the church and outside will be “offended” or “scandalized” and many will just give up on God and the good life altogether.  
  8. In verse 11, the eighth sign is given:  false prophets.  This makes sense.  In a time of hopelessness and despair, devious people will come along with words of false hope.
  9. The ninth sign is a disturbing one:  In the last days, there will be a decided lack of love, verse 12.  
  10. The final sign is the evangelization of the world, verse 14.  

Conditions in the world just prior to the return of Jesus will be dreadful.  As we read through these verses in Matthew 24, we can see parallels in the book of Revelation.  Much of what Jesus predicted is what John saw in his vision:  the state of the world during the Tribulation.  

That brings us to this verse, which is linked to what Jesus had spoken about in regards to the Temple:

So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand…(Matthew 24:15 | NIV84)

That phrase, “abomination that causes desolation,” is seen three times in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel (9:27; 11:31; 12:11) and refers simply to an unholy, detestable thing that will cause the Temple to become useless or unusable.  In the far future tense, this prophecy of Daniel’s is seen when the Antichrist sets up an image of himself in the Temple in Jerusalem in Revelation 13:14 – 

Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.   (Revelation 13:14 | NIV84)

But here is a prophecy with several fulfillments throughout history.  In 168 BC, an altar dedicated to Zeus was set up on the sacred altar in the Temple, rendering the Temple useless for the Jews.  It was also fulfilled in 70 AD, some four decades after the Olivet Discourse, when Rome desecrated the Temple before it was destroyed.  But the final fulfillment of this prophecy will be happen during the Tribulation period of the end times.

The Second Coming

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.   (Matthew 24:22 | NIV84)

This is another one of Jesus’ predictions that carries a dual fulfillment.  In 70 AD, when the siege and fall of Jerusalem took place, Josephus tells us that over one million Jews were killed and up to 100,000 were sold as slaves.  But there will be a future fulfillment during the Great Tribulation at the end of the age.  

The main theme of the second half of this very long chapter is a call to remain faithful to the Lord no matter what; in the face of dangerous persecution and in the wake of many false messiah’s.  

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible.  See, I have told you ahead of time.  (Matthew 24:23-25 | NIV84)

There has always been and will always be a very real temptation for Christians to “latch onto” the “next best thing or person” that comes along in the Christian sub-culture, especially during rough times.  During the Tribulation, that temptation will be all the more intense.  But Jesus described what His coming will be like.  He won’t be like the false teachers and false Christ’s.  When He returns, it will be miraculous, sudden, and surprising:

Immediately after the distress of those days “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  (Matthew 24:29-30 | NIV84)

It’s certain that the Lord will return and it is certain that difficult days are in store for believers.  And in His wisdom, Jesus gave His followers, both the disciples and us, these teachings so that we won’t ever be ignorant.  Nobody can know for sure when Jesus will return, so believers need to be ready all the time; no believer wants to be caught off guard at the moment of Christ’s glorious return.

Three parables

In chapter 25, Jesus keeps going with His end times teachings with three parables.  The first one, the parable of wise and foolish maidens (25:1 – 13), is a story emphasizing the need for believers to be prepared for His return.  Jesus could come back any time, and His people need to be ready – watching and waiting.   

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 | NIV84)

The parable of the talents, 25:14 – 30, deals with the believer’s responsibility to use his God-given gifts in the days prior to the Lord’s return.  While you’re watching and waiting for the Lord to return, you shouldn’t be sitting around, twiddling your thumbs.  Remember what Paul wrote:

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  (Ephesians 5:15-16 | NIV84)

And that gets us to the parable of the sheep and the goats, 25:31 – 46.  Of the three, this one is, to my mind, the darkest.  It’s simply about the final judgment.  In the parable, Jesus is the Judge, King, and Shepherd.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  (Matthew 25:31-33 | NIV84)

Why sheep and goats?  Sheep were prominent animals in the Jewish sacrificial system.  They were also very valuable sources of food and clothing.  Goats, on the other hand, are very destructive animals – they gorge themselves on vegetation, often ruining fields and contributing to erosion as they simply rip up plants out of the soil, roots and all.

The interesting thing about sheep and goats is that they grazed together in the same pasture, and freely mingled together so closely that from a distance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart.  At some point, though, the shepherds would have to go and separate the two because invariably the male goats would turn very hostile toward the sheep.

In the final judgment, Jesus as Judge, King, and Shepherd, will separate the sheep (His people, true believers), from the goats (non-believers) and the sheep will be invited to share in the Kingdom.  For the sheep, it will be a beautiful moment.  They lived lives, not just doing good deeds for people in need, but ministering to the Lord in how they lived.  Everything the sheep did, they did for the Lord.  People were just the beneficiaries of their Christ-centered living.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  (Matthew 25:35-36 | NIV84)

But not so for the goats:

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’  (Matthew 25:41-43 | NIV84)

The goats will be people who were so busy, they never gave a thought for Jesus.  God will  judge the people and nations of the world, based on their response to the Gospel and how they lived out their faith on earth.  

Peter and Jude, Part 5

For some reason, the doctrine of our Lord’s Second Coming has always produced division in His Church. And it’s not just a recent thing, either. Even back in the days of the apostles, this precious doctrine was mocked, laughed at, and doubted.

They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4 | NIV84)

For his part, Peter had absolutely no doubt that Jesus would keep His word and come back. Why would the apostle doubt it? With his very own eyes, Peter saw Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount and had experienced a slight foretaste of the future glory.

The people to whom Peter wrote this second letter were having their doubts; they were succumbing to false teaching and that resulted in a disbelief in the Second Coming. No Christian can afford to disregard or doubt this doctrine for to do so is to bring into question the veracity of the words of Jesus Himself! Not only that, belief in the Second Coming results in holy living, and that’s not unimportant.

Up to this point, chapter 3 in 2 Peter, Peter had been dealing with the libertines – these immoral and disreputable false teachers – and their victims. Of them, Peter concluded,

For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Peter 2:18, 19 | NIV84)

Some of their “empty, boastful words” dealt with the Second Coming. They didn’t believe it and they mocked those who did. With a new chapter comes a new line of thought. Peter wants his readers to think and think hard about the words spoken by the prophets and the apostles.

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. (2 Peter 3:1, 2 | NIV84)

As one scholar wisely noted,

No state of grace this side of heaven exempts men from the need of repeated reminders of the truths of the Christian message, and all of this becomes the more urgent in the light of Christ’s imminent return to earth.

It’s not that the readers of this letter were morally depraved, but they were in danger of losing the purity of doctrine they had once held so tightly to. They were having niggling doubts about the Second Coming and as a result, they were just beginning to take on the characteristics of their nasty false teachers.

It’s so easy for believers of any generation to get distracted from the truth. It’s one thing to get distracted, though, but very often a mindless distraction can turn into the wedge that separates us from the truth of God’s Word. J.C. Ryle’s words on this are a powerful reminder of how wispy thin our grasp on the truth may be:

Amidst the flood of dangerous reading, I plead for my Master’s book; I call upon you not to forget the book of the soul. Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and apostles are despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and sanctifying can find no place in your mind.

The day will come

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3, 4 | NIV84)

That phrase, “first of all,” means what Peter is about to say is of vital importance. What was so important for his readers to know? Simply that in “the last days, scoffers would come.” Obviously, Peter believed he was living in the last days, so we today may be confident that we are most definitely living in the last of the last days! And in these last days, people who lead self-indulgent lives will come to doubt the coming of the Lord. They will deny the coming of the Lord because to them, it will have become a ridiculous notion.

It is true that there have always been doubters and scoffers. There were those who mocked and made fun of Noah, and of Lot in Sodom, and even of Jesus Himself. Some people may doubt honestly, like Thomas, but the honest doubter is not who Peter has in mind here. The people Peter wrote about were not merely doubters, but men who had now come to violently oppose the doctrine of the Second Coming. These false teachers repudiated the promise of His coming because, they argued, things never change. They taught that God created everything, but that He never intervenes in the course of human history. Their God is a cold, impersonal one. Surely that line of thinking characterizes 21st century man; God is not real to him therefore he feels no obligation to live righteously. Even in the Church of Jesus Christ there are those who never give a moment’s thought to the Lord’s return.

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5 – 7 | NIV84)

Peter’s handling of the false teachers was nothing less than brilliant. The scoffers insisted that God never intervenes; that things have always been the same, yet that isn’t true! Creation itself was a divine intervention and a disruption in history. Not only that, the same God who spoke about the Second Coming, also spoke the world into existence and He can speak it out existence. God’s Word starts, sustains, and stops all life. These false teachers were playing with the worst kind of fire; in the end this fire of God’s truth would consume them.

Verse 7 is not a prophecy so much as a promise: There will come a day when this world as we have come to know it, will be renovated by fire and the wicked judged. Indeed, things cannot and will not continue as they have been. The apostle John wrote about this very thing in Revelation 20:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (revelation 20:1 | NIV84)

When we read what Peter wrote, those sobering words lead us to two inescapable conclusions: God is absolutely in control of this world, from beginning to end. Regardless of some people may teach or believe, God is control. And second, we Christians need to trust God and His Word.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8, 9 | NIV84)

Not only is God 100% in control, but He is always on time. The scoffers would have believers think that God has either abandoned them or is taking a nap or just doesn’t keep His promises, but God is not bound by man’s version of time. God exists way, way, way outside of any concept of time and space man’s puny brain can conceive. No, God is not dragging His feet when it comes to keeping His promises. God is not late, He’s never early, but always on time. God’s timing is never determined by outside circumstances or other people. He is always in control and His only motivation is love. God loved the world so much He gave the world His only Son. And it is because of His love for the world that Jesus has not come back yet. Ravi Zacharias wrote,

Time is the brush of God, as He paints His masterpiece on the heart of humanity.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:10 | NIV84)

Scoffers and doubters and false teachers may come, most people may ignore the Word of God concerning the Second Coming, but as Peter put it, “the day of the Lord WILL come,” end of discussion. Our Lord said essentially the same thing:

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44 | NIV84)

The Day of the Lord may begin in secret, but it will end with stunning earth-changes that Peter mentioned in verse 7. This planet of ours that we consider so permanent and dependable will not endure as it is today. It will change as God does His thing.

Live as if it can happen any day

The great Adrian Rogers once said this:

We ought to be living as if Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon.

He’s right. The suddenness of our Lord’s return is a great motivating factor in living right. This was a favorite teaching of Peter:

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. (2 Peter 3:11, 12 | NIV84)

This is Peter’s practical application for the heady doctrine of the Second Coming. All Christian doctrine should influence how we live because there must be a connection between what we believe and how we live. For the Christians of Peter’s day, the kind of global destruction Peter described would have seemed impossible. But in our day, it is not only possible but probable. Peter says it is not only probable, but an abslute certainty. It’s all part of God’s plan for man and the world. Given that, we should be ready and prepared for it can happen any time. Part of being ready for Jesus Christ’s return is living lives marked by righteousness and holiness.

Closely connected to how we should live is the worldview we adopt. Christians should be “looking forward to” the Second Coming. And, while God has His own timetable, apparently Christians can hasten or speed up the day by fulfilling some necessary conditions for it to take place. Some of those conditions could be these:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 | NIV84)

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. (Acts 3:19, 20 | NIV84)

The doctrine of the Second Coming was never intended to be divisive. It should unite all believers in a common belief that encourages them keep the faith, keep trusting God, and keep living right. Matthew Henry said it best:

God will work when He pleases, how He pleases, and by what means He pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but He will perform His word, honor our faith, and reward them that diligently seek Him.

Just Say Yes, Part 6

In the New Testament, a significant number of people said “yes” to Jesus Christ. We’re looking at a handful of them in this series, and so far, we looked at five of them:

• A couple of blind men, followers of Jesus both, said “yes” to Jesus and were healed of their blindness, Matthew 9:28;
• Some disciples replied “yes” to the teachings of Jesus, even though they weren’t quite sure what He was talking about. In their case, “yes” was a statement of faith, Matthew 13:51;
• That Syrophonecian woman – a foreigner – agreed with Jesus’ designation of her as a “dog,” and immediately received exactly what she needed from Him, Matthew 15:27;
• When her brother Lazarus died, his sister Martha said “yes” to Jesus, as the Resurrection, John 11:27;
• Peter, the impetuous apostle, said “yes” to Jesus not once, but three times, pledging his love and devotion to the Lord, John 21:15, 16.

Saying “yes” to the Lord is showing Him and others that you have faith – faith in Him and in His Word and abilities. As we learn to say “yes” to Jesus, we are living in obedience to God’s will and we are creating the conditions in which God will bless us and answer our prayers.

Not only that, from the moment you said “yes” to God’s gracious invitation to salvation, at least four simple blessings began to flow into your life:

Peace

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… (Ephesians 2:14 | NIV84)

Jesus Christ has “made the two one.” In other words, by saying “yes” to Jesus’ gift of salvation, He has immediately made peace between you and God. God’s not angry at you anymore. His wrath, previously directed at you because of your sin, is gone in a moment when you said “yes” to Him.

Purpose

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 3:10 | NIV84)

When you start living for God, He gives your life purpose. Once you lived for yourself – and that’s the loneliest way to live – but now you live for Him, and that means blessing others as God has blessed you. It means planning your days and nights around HIS will for you. It means consciously looking for all those “good works” God has prepared for you to do.

Fellowship

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household… (Ephesians 3:19 | NIV4)

Saying “yes” to God put you in a whole new family! You are now members of God’s family; and it’s a huge one! You are bound to believers from all time from all walks of life by the blood of Jesus. Not only that, when you said your first “yes” to God, you became a citizen of Heaven and enjoy all the rights and privileges that citizenship gives you.

Focus

For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Ephesians 3:18 | NIV84)

Do you realize the profundity of that single verse? Because we said “yes” to God, we can enter His presence by His Spirit. We can pray with assurance that He hears our prayers. We can be guaranteed that He knows our needs and our desires. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are able to focus on God because we are in His presence and we are made aware that He is our Sole Provider.

Peter wasn’t the only apostle who said “yes” to Jesus; John also said “yes” in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible:

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20 | NIV84)

Not only is that verse from the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, it also contains the last promise of the Bible and the last prayer of the Bible.

And, actually, there are two “yes’s” in that verse. Jesus said “yes” and John said “amen,” which is essentially as saying “yes” to what Jesus had just said “yes” to. Let’s take a look at John’s very consequential “yes.”

A profound book

The book of Revelation is truly profound. We call it a book, but really it’s just a long letter to seven churches, which are named for us in the first three chapters. This letter, or book, contains admonitions to those seven churches and it contains something else:

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:1, 2 \ NIV84)

When we read chapters 4 – 22, we are reading “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” That’s just a fancy way of saying that we are reading something that God showed Jesus, which He in turned showed to John, and John in turn showed to us through what he wrote to these seven churches. What God revealed to Jesus was nothing less than what the future holds for Jews, Gentiles, and the Church. It’s a book of prophecies concerning certain events that will take place, including the Second Coming of Jesus, and how those events will touch the lives of God’s people.

Every book in the Bible is just as important as the other, but Revelation is the climax and consummation of God’s Word to man. God has told man everything he needs to know to live the “good life,” and Revelation simply confirms everything the previous 65 book of the Bible said.

John put Jesus’ revelation from God to paper. John was an apostle, who also wrote the Gospel of John and three other letters. He was also a prophet and a leader of the churches in and around Asia Minor. He was the son of Zebedee and he and his family were very successful and prosperous fishermen. John was particularly close to Jesus, along with James and Peter. Even though he was mentioned only three times in the whole book of Acts, John was a key figure in the early Church. Tradition says that John eventually settled in Ephesus, where, under the reign of Domitian, he was arrested and banished to a small island known as Patmos to work in the mines there.

Revelation was one of the last parts of the New Testament written, some time in the 90’s. When you read the first three chapters, you can get a sense of how complacent the church had become during its second generation. It’s sad that most of those seven churches had already forsaken the beliefs and convictions of their fathers.

There are different ways to interpret the book of Revelation, and the purpose of this study is not to teach those differing schools of interpretation. Instead, I want to focus solely on the last few verses of the last chapter, which make the epilogue of the book.

The last words of the angel, 22:6 – 11

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” (Revelation 22:6 | NIV84)

This angel had been with John throughout the book and among his final words are words of reassurance John had heard before, and likely needed to hear again. The “words are trustworthy and true,” that is, the amazing things John had seen and heard are dependable – these incredible prophecies may be counted upon to take place.

God had given His Son His program for the future of mankind and Jesus gave that program to John to give to the churches. That program is profound and far reaching and so phenomenal, we need this reassurance that God will, as He has always done throughout history, keep His promises.

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22:10, 11 | NIV84)

The angel told John not to “conceal” or “hide” what he saw. It’s interesting that, given the dramatic similarities between this book and the Old Testament book of Daniel that Daniel was told to do exactly the opposite!

The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future. (Daniel 8:26 | NIV84)

Why? In Daniel’s day, the things he saw – essentially the same things John saw – were a long way from being fulfilled. But now, in John’s day, “the time is near.” Many of the things both Daniel and John saw concerned the early church. Some of those prophecies have already come to pass, in part or in whole, during the days of the Roman Empire. And yet, there are other prophecies that have a continuing fulfillment throughout the centuries. There’s a reason why history repeats itself. As Sherlock Holmes said in “The Valley of Fear,”

Everything comes in circles. The old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It’s all been done before, and will be again.

That’s the way it is with some of the prophecies of Revelation and Daniel. But all the prophecies of Revelation, the partially fulfilled ones and the ones being continually fulfilled, will be completely fulfilled in the future, by the time Jesus comes back.

The time of man’s dominance on the earth will draw to an end; the age of grace that we are presently enjoying, the long probationary period, will be over:

“Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22:11 | NIV84)

That’s a curious verse. What it simply means is that even in the very end of days, people will continue to live as they always have. Good or bad. And for those not repenting, it will be too late. That’s a scary thought. There will be a day when God’s patience and grace will run out.

The last words of Jesus, 22:12 – 16

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12 | NIV84)

That’s Jesus talking and it’s exciting. We all know about salvation by grace. We all know about the Second Coming. But now we hear about rewards He will be bring with Him when He comes back! Salvation is entirely a work of grace, but rewards are based on our works.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11 – 15 | NIV84)

We don’t talk much about that, but rewards are a pretty big deal that should be talked about; they are a great motivation for living right. Don’t you like gifts? Jesus is coming back and He’s bringing rewards with Him.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16 | NIV84)

There you have it; that’s how we got this book of Revelation. Jesus sent that angel who was hanging around John all the time, to give the apostle “this testimony,” or the revelation to the seven churches. Everything John heard and saw came from Jesus. None of the visions or prophecies came out of John’s head.

This is Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man. He’s the “Root and the Offspring of David,” thus the true and promised King of kings; the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to Israel. He’s the “bright Morning Star,” because Jesus Christ IS the new day and the new dawn. To every believer, Christ is the Promise of new day. He shines today as brightly as in the day of John on Patmos. Jesus Christ: He doen’t set and He doesn’t fall.

The last words of the Spirit and the Bride, 22:17

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17 | NIV84)

Those are the words of the Holy Spirit and of the Church, collectively, crying out for the Lord to return, and crying out for those who are in need to come and receive the “free gift of the water of life.” Only Jesus can meet the needs of your heart. His gifts, His ‘water of life’ always satisfy; always give you what you need.

The last words of John. 22:18

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:18 | NIV84)

John quotes Jesus; the Lord is coming soon. To everything that he has seen and heard, John says “Amen,” he says “yes.”

• “Yes” to the last words of the angel: everything in the book of Revelation is true, reliable, and dependable. In fact, ALL of God’s Word is true, reliable, and dependable!
• “Yes” to the last words of Jesus: He IS coming soon; He IS bringing rewards for His people; He is the genuine, long awaited King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
• “Yes” to the last words of the Spirit and the Church: Come Lord Jesus! Come all who need Him! Jesus Christ, the soon coming King is also the Source of everything you need – everything you will ever need!
• “Yes” was John’s final word to everything he saw and heard and to the promise of the Second Coming.

Yes! Amen! Those should be our final words, too.


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