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Readiness for Christ’s Return in Glory

A large percentage of Christians today are Millennialists, eagerly waiting for Christ to return to establish a thousand-year reign on the Earth. This expectation also includes false teachings such as a “rapture” of believers and a “battle of Armageddon” (to name but two).

This millennial outlook concerning the end of time is not supported by Holy Scripture. As all other false teachings, millennialism robs Christ of His glory and His believers of comfort and peace.

Which glorifies God and gives believers comfort—anxiously watching the Middle East as one looks for signs to indicate Christ’s return to the region, OR simply trusting the eternal Son of God’s promises that He will come without signs or warnings?

Which glorifies God and gives believers comfort—waiting for a Savior to establish a temporary reign on the Earth, OR waiting for a Savior who teaches that His kingdom is not of this world (cf. John 18:36)?

Which glorifies God and gives believers comfort—a series of circumstances dependent upon earthly events, OR the simple messages of our Savior in Scripture in which He teaches that He’s coming again, that we should be always looking and ready for Him, and that His return will usher in eternal life?

Bible truth concerning the End Times is really quite simple and straightforward. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place…I will come again and receive you to myself” (John 14:2-3). After Jesus’ ascension the angels said: “This same Jesus…will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Since all of the events foretold in Scripture that precede Jesus’ return have been fulfilled, Jesus could return at any time. Jesus said He will come without warning—like a thief in the night (cf. Matthew 24:36, 1 Peter 3:10). In contrast, a “rapture” [snatching away] of believers off the Earth would provide a warning to all who were left behind.

The Apostle Paul, by God’s inspiration, provides an account of how events will unfold on the Last Day: “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ [His believers] will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), after which Jesus will separate believers and unbelievers and declare their standing with God and eternal judgment (cf. Matthew 25:31ff).

As believing children of God we encourage one another to be prepared for Jesus’ return. But what exactly does “being ready” involve?

Readiness for Christ’s return means standing fast against the skeptics who say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” As encouragement against such doubt and skepticism, Peter reminds us that while we are creatures bound to—and often slaves of—time, God is not. “…With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Peter also tells us why Jesus seems to delay His Second Coming: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering toward us,
not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”

(2 Peter 3:4ff).

Readiness for Christ’s return means ongoing repentance—recognizing the seriousness of our sins, having a godly sorrow over them, and trusting that Jesus has redeemed us and set us free from our sins. “…Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22ff).

Readiness for Christ’s return is being watchful, expecting that He could return at any moment of any day. He could come before you finish reading this devotion. Similarly, our death could come at any moment of any day. So whether we die in the Lord first, or Jesus returns first, readiness means expecting it any time. “You yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night…Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober…putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:2ff).

Readiness for Christ’s return means being good stewards of what Christ has given us, using the various talents and resources
for the work of His kingdom, doing all things to the glory of God.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”
(Romans 12:1). “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of
the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful”
(1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

We are living in the last days of this Earth, and those days aren’t attractive: “…In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

Yet, children of God, rejoice! Find comfort in the truths of God concerning the End Times. Yes, as the hymn says, “The world is very evil, the times are waxing late” (TLH #605:1), but Jesus, your Redeemer, Lord, and Savior, has all power in heaven and on Earth.
His promises stand, and He is coming back. Be ready! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

O sweet and blessed country,

The home of God’s elect!

O sweet and blessed country

That eager hearts expect!

Jesus, in mercy bring us

To that dear land of rest,

Who art with God the Father

And Spirit ever blest. 

(TLH #605:5)