BOOK OF GOD'S PROMISES
J. Steven Lang
-- You don't hear so much talk about heaven anymore or about when Jesus
will return in glory. Too many believers nowadays forget how much the Bible has
to say about the end of this present life.
In the past Christians took
great comfort from the Lord's promise that he would return in glory. We can still
find such comfort in this belief today. Billy Graham summarized it well: "Our
world is filled with fear, hate, lust, greed, war, and utter despair. Surely the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the only hope of replacing these depressing features
with trust, love, universal peace, and prosperity."
"I, the Son of Man, will
come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according
to their deeds."
"If a person is ashamed of me and my message,
I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in my glory and
in the glory of the Father and the holy angels."
"No one knows
the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven
or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
"When the Son of Man returns, it
will be like it was in Noah's day. In those days before the flood, the people
were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered
his boat. People didn't realize what was going to happen until the flood came
and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
"Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other
left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other
left. So be prepared, because you don't know what day your Lord is coming."
In the Gospels, Jesus promises his return but names no specific time.
The promise is intended to give people hope, but Jesus makes it clear that it
should do more than that. It should cause us to live in such a way that constantly
reflects our readiness to meet our Lord.
"The coming of the Son of Man can
be compared with that of a man who left home to go on a trip. He gave each of
his employees instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper
to watch for his return. So keep a sharp lookout! For you do not know when the
homeowner will return -- at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak. Don't
let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning."
out! Don't let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled
with the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap.
For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep a constant watch.
And pray that, if possible, you may escape these horrors and stand before the
Son of Man."
I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We
who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of
those who are in their graves. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven
with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet
call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will
be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever.
So comfort and encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
You know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a
thief in the night. When people are saying, "All is well; everything is peaceful
and secure," then disaster will fall upon them as suddenly as a woman's birth
pains begin when her child is about to be born. And there will be no escape.
The Bible ends, appropriately, with both a prayer and a
promise: Jesus is coming.
"See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me,
to repay all according to their deeds."
He who is the faithful witness to all
these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon!"
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
See also Eternal Life, Heaven, Hell.
The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J.
Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.