Lutheran Spokesman

"…the Scriptures cannot be broken." John 10:35


Looking Forward to Christ’s Return on the Last Day of this World

Written by Mark Gullerud | November, 2014
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How often hasn’t it been said, “Well, at least it’s not the end of the world!”?

This statement is generally made to console someone going through difficult times. The kind of comfort it’s trying to convey is that the situation could be far worse—even worse than what the troubled person is experiencing.

Even Christians have used this expression without realizing that the sentiment behind the saying is not consistent with our Christian belief.

The end of the world is not the worst possible thing that could happen but rather the very best. Think about it. From Holy Scripture we learn what will happen on the last day of this world.

For, on that glorious day…

• Jesus will descend in heavenly splendor with great fanfare, accompanied by a vast host of angels (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Matthew 25:31).

• No one will miss out on this glorious sight, for there will be a general resurrection of all the dead (John 5:28b,29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 1:7).

• Believers in Christ Jesus will stand there with perfect bodies and souls (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:42,44).

• Without the need of a space shuttle we will be lifted up and meet the Lord Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

• On account of Christ’s all-sufficient redemptive work we will hear the Lord issue this wonderful invitation, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

• With His almighty power the Lord will melt the present world, replacing it with a perfect, physical world which will be our eternal dwelling place (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:12,13; Revelation 21:1).

• In this heavenly world we will dwell in the presence of God, live in perfect harmony with everyone in heaven, and will never again experience any of the woes found in this present sin-cursed world (Job 19:25,26; Revelation 21:3,4; Psalm 16:11;
2 Peter 3:13).

• And this glorious heavenly life and world will endure throughout all eternity (John 3:16; 6:40,47; 1 Thessalonians 4:17b).

Mindful of what the end of the world means to believers in Christ Jesus, whenever fellow believers are experiencing any kind of difficulty we can remind them of what we have to look forward to at Christ’s return on the last day.

For unbelievers it is quite another matter. We can readily understand why they are not looking forward to the end of the world, thinking it will be the worst thing to ever happen to them.

How so? Unbelievers know by nature that there will be a final day of reckoning and judgment by the One who made them. The holy law of God reveals that on account of impenitence and unbelief, unbelievers will be cast out of God’s presence into the bottomless pit of outer darkness where there will be endless weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mark 16:16b; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 8:12; 13:50; 25:41).

Because of this we can see why unbelievers might use the expression “Well, at least it’s not the end of the world!” They are trying to console themselves, realizing that nothing can be as bad as the coming judgment of this world.

So rather than using the misguided statement to console people, let us try to remind everyone, both believer and unbeliever, that Jesus is the Savior of the world who washed away all our sins to give His believing children the blessed gift of eternal life
in heaven.

This gospel message supplies comfort no matter what problems we human beings are faced with in the here and now.

In the second last verse of the Bible, we hear Jesus say, “Surely I am coming quickly.” In response to this glorious promise, we join the inspired writer John in saying, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
(Revelation 22:20)

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