Out of all of the doctrines of Christianity, those that surround the end times and the second coming of Christ seem to arouse a special fascination. To some it can be a biblical treasure hunt and, despite the fact that Jesus specifically told us that no one would know the exact day of his coming; people dive in to break the code. Who is the anti-Christ? What nation will he come from? When will the rapture come? When will the tribulation begin? It’s not that pursuit of these things has no value it’s just that they can miss the point.
How should we view the 2nd coming of Christ? The bible speaks of this “Day of the Lord” in the Old and New Testaments and, when it does, the details, though informative and important, are not the emphasis. The biblical authors are careful to focus us on the implications of the Day. Far greater than exact details of ten horns, seven stars, apocalyptic visions of bears and statues and three digit numbers are the implications of what we know for certain of the Day of the Lord.
Christ is coming
Christ is coming and when he does the natural world will be purified with fire – it will be burned and everything perishable, which is everything unholy, everything that won’t proceed into heaven; everything will disappear. This will include those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus (2 Thes. 1:8-9), who rejected his authority and offer of salvation. Those who do obey will receive a promised inheritance that will include a sinless, new heaven and new earth and a ever increasing enjoyment of God.
Christ is coming soon
So it could be tomorrow and that would be soon. It could be a thousand years from now and, for each of us, that would be soon. Why? Because the truth is that each of us really only has decades (and some of us much less) before we are catapulted to this day. We will be judged on that day for what we have “done in the body” (2 Cor. 5:10) and each of us only has a vapor left, only a little time to prepare.
Every day he doesn’t come is an expression of patience and mercy
One thing we can know of God from the bible is that He is “slow to anger.” This is how God describes himself and everyday that comes and goes is an expression of that slowness, that patience.
We will see that Peter contends we should consider and wait for Christ’s return. But that consideration should not thrust us first into a frenzy of study to determine when we should start stocking up on imperishables (they will all perish). It should motivate us for Gospel living; to find life in banking on the promises of God.
(If you love Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, you’ll want to hear this message.)