Second Coming

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September 15

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Signs. They are everywhere. It’s a political year. UGH! Speed limit. Directional. Enter. Exit. Signs for a restaurant. Signs on a door telling us to wear a mask (2020).  Reminds me of that old pop song: “Signs, signs, everywhere are signs/Clogging up the scenery, breaking my mind/Do this, do that, can’t you read the signs?” 

We have people, especially with the chaos and uproar of this day, talking about and asking, “Are these the signs of the times?” Back in 1967 when the Israelis won the 6-Day War and their land from the Arabs, they taught it was a sure sign that Jesus was coming really soon. I think it’s safe to say “soon” is relative. Same for today. Nobody knows.

Growing up near Pittsburgh I was surrounded by a large Catholic and Orthodox population. The sign of the cross was and still is big to the “practice” of that religion.

It strikes me then with all this talk of the signs of the time that Paul wrote in I Cor.1:21-25 the following words: “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (Emphasis mine) Did you notice “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified”? Jesus Himself said the only sign given would the sign of Jonah (death, burial and resurrection).

Maybe it’s time we stop looking to the world events trying to interpret “signs” and simply draw people’s attention to the one sign most important: the cross of Christ. Even the OT people were not saved by looking around or looking inwardly. They were saved by looking at the snake fashioned by Moses and lifted up for the people to look at. A foretaste of Jesus’ own words: “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to Me.” (Jn.12:32)

“Father, may I lift up Jesus. May I preach the cross not man’s opinions. May I draw people’s attention to the cross, not the ‘signs of the times.’ May Jesus be exalted in all things.”

July 16

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Because of the current pandemic, there was- originally- a lot of talk about the end times. Is this a sign? Can we find evidence of this in Revelation or Daniel? Thankfully, I have not heard much lately about this speculation. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I look forward to Jesus’ return, but I don’t spend much time worrying or studying the “doings of the world” to determine the “comings of the Savior.”

But there are some Scriptures which definitely make me stop and think:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

“…how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  (I Th. 1:9b-10)

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev.22: 12-13)

And lest we get impatient:

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

And for the grand finale:

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Rev. 19:11-13)

Yeah, I believe with all that is within me that Jesus is returning. When? Only the Father knows. No amount of sign-finagling or culture-twisting or sky-watching is going to change that. I suspect we would be wiser living a life denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living a life of seriousness, righteousness and godliness than doing biblical calisthenics trying to figure out how close and when. When it’s time, He will return. It doesn’t hurt to keep an eye to the sky, but our focus should be on living for Him here. “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

“Father, may my eyes be focused on living a life that brings you glory and honor rather than focused on the ‘next sign.’ Help me to be living a life of readiness when that moment comes.”

My thanks to Bible Gateway for the copy/paste feature I was able to use. All Scripture is ESV.

May 20

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

These are interesting times. And, as can be expected, times like this brings the conspiracy theorists out of the woodwork. Along with the cultural conspiracy theorists (who did this; where did it start; who’s behind it; what are they hiding; etc.), we also have what I will call the “prophecy theorists.”  This time is a link to something in the Bible-Daniel or Revelation to be sure- that is a “sign” of or the beginning of the signs for the second coming of Jesus.

Now, I’m not knocking prophecy. It is obviously a vital part of the biblical landscape, but there are some who spend every waking moment looking for signs. On a recent visit someone asked me about my eschatology. I gave my stock answer: “I’m a panmillenialist because it will all pan out in the end.” I’m not trying to be disrespectful to prophecy buffs, and especially to God and His Word, but how many times does someone have to be told that not even Jesus knew when He was coming back? I went on to tell this person that my rule of thumb is to say, “I don’t know the signs or the when, but what I do know is that when Jesus returns, you better be ready.”

I think that has credence thanks to Luke 12:35-48. Jesus says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find them watching…And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.” As I see it, my responsibility is not to look for and interpret “signs” but to be ready and help others be ready when Jesus returns. I will continue, and always will continue, believing Jesus is returning. When? Who knows. All I do know is I want to be that servant who is ready and expectant for when He does. I sincerely hope you are also ready.

“Father, You have promised Jesus will return. I believe that. You have said He could come at any time. I believe that too. Help me to live as a servant who is ready for his master to return.”

September 24

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Being Ready vs Ready to Be.

I have to make a confession. To confess this may lead some to call me a heretic, or at best as one “falling away from the faith.” I guess I’m okay with that, especially since I don’t think it does.  My confession is this: when it comes to the coming of Christ, I am a dunce as to how it will happen…and I’m not really concerned with that.

Let me explain: I believe Jesus is coming again. Of that I am absolutely, 100% sure. No questions. No ifs, ands, or buts. What I am not sure about is what people make a big fuss about: how it will happen, the circumstances surrounding it, and whether there are “signs” we ought to be looking for. There is no doubt in my mind NO ONE knows when it will happen. Not even Jesus knows. But it seems to me even those who agree with me (not that I’m asking them to) or my idea, sure spend an inordinate amount of time looking for “signs” that will tell them or warn them.

What is wrong with simply choosing to live a life of “readiness”? What is wrong with saying, “I choose to live a life pleasing to the Father so that when Jesus does return I have nothing to hide”? In Matthew 24-a chapter in the middle of this stream of thought-Jesus gives the example of two women grinding at the mill and two men working in the field (and elsewhere a husband and wife lying in bed) and one is taken and the other left. Theologians want to argue over whether that is speaking of a rapture or not. Frankly, that doesn’t cross my mind as much as “when Jesus comes you better be ready because you don’t know when He will.” I personally believe it is much more important to be His and to represent Him than to fret over a sign or when the rapture will happen. 

There is my confession. Take it for what it’s worth.

“Father, help me to be ready for the coming of Christ. But as I wait, I need to be ready to be Yours, to live a life of no worries about when Jesus will come, but to simply be ready when He does come.”