Israel, in their tough times, had a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace Savior to be born to save them. We live in a time when we’re blessed to know Jesus personally - we read about the prophecies foretelling Him, His life, teachings, miracles - and most importantly, His death and resurrection. We also live in a time when we, like Israel, look forward to Jesus arriving - but in a different way. Christians, we can hope in the future of Jesus returning - the second coming of Christ. God’s Word is full of prophecies yet to be fulfilled, and Jesus Himself said that He would return just in the way He left (Acts 1:6-11). But why exactly is this something that we look forward to? What hope do we actually have in the second coming of Jesus?
Without going into too much detail (because if I did, this blog would be a novel), the discussion of Jesus is a conversation regarding the end times. His return is imminent - meaning: it could happen at any moment. There are no more prophecies left to be fulfilled. According to God’s Word, the next thing up in the course of humanity is Jesus returning. And there are many events that are involved with end times, almost sounds like a sci-fi movie (but it’s Biblical!). Jesus will return and rapture Christians (1 Thess. 4:16-17), meeting them in the air as the world experiences seven years of Tribulation - which will be a time of the world ruled by a santanically empowered man called the Antichrist. These seven years will be a time of war, devastation, and total depravity (described more in Revelation 6-16). We all deep down know that wrongdoings deserve justice - these seven years will be justice for the sin of the world.
After the Tribulation, Jesus will return in all His glory to defeat this Antichrist in the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21), and throw all that is evil into a lake of fire. For the next 1,000 years, this world will be ruled by Jesus Himself and it will be a glorious time of peace and joy (called the Millennial Kingdom). After the 1,000 years, Satan will be released from prison, only to lose one last battle and to be taken out forever. It is at this time that all who trust in Jesus as their Savior will enjoy an eternity of perfection with their loving Heavenly Father.
That is end times in a super duper brief nutshell. So what does this mean for us, as Christians? What do we take from this? Why do we hope in this? Here’s a couple thoughts:
The return of Jesus marks the end of all things bad. All that is wrong in this world will soon be made right. Everything that brings you sadness and pain - death, disease, terror, bullying, pain - when Jesus returns, Christians will rejoice because this pain will be permanently taken away. No more struggle with sin - how we long for those days! And to take this thought outside of ourselves - all of the darkness and evil in this world, the sickness, starvation - the list of tragedies could extend for far too long - Jesus will erase them and make all things new. This is true hope.
The return of Jesus should also motivate us to live out the Gospel. For one, to ponder on end times means there is hope for you as a Christian, but let’s take our minds to those who are lost and need to be saved. To know what the future holds - the justice that awaits those who have not accepted the Lord’s saving grace - this should motivate us tremendous to bring the love of Jesus to as many people as possible! If we believe we know what saves us for eternity, to not share it with others would be selfish and borderline cruel! See people as souls, not just people. Love others with the love that Jesus has for you, and share Him with as many people as possible, in light of His return. And live the Gospel out for your own sake - make sure to stay the course! Have you ever wondered, “am I really going to make it to Heaven when I die?” First of all, you can have total confidence that if you say and believe that Christ is your Savior, you have all assurance of salvation (read Romans 10:9-10). But if you even consider that question, I would assume that you’re not living out the Gospel. The closer you are to Christ, if you are truly doing your best to live your life for Him, stay in His Word not to check the box but to feed your soul - you’ll never question your salvation. Live out the Gospel and have confidence in the saving grace Jesus has given you.
So… Who will save us? Israel may have asked that question when they went through captivity in Babylon, and Isaiah gave them a promise of a Savior. We celebrate Christmas because that prophecy came true - Jesus came and saved the world through His death and resurrection. And we have hope that one day He will return and make all wrong things right. This is hope. This is to be saved. Praise God and merry Christmas.