The Christian hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Christians rejoice to hear the account of His first advent, when He took on flesh, to suffer and die to make full payment for our sins (Col 2:14). We pray earnestly, “Come, Lord Jesus,” as our request for His second coming, when all things will be revealed, and all will be judged.
The birth pangs, that is, the troublesome signs anticipating His glorious appearing, will be met with a penultimate period of peace, prosperity, and unity. The false Messiah, the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness, will appear as the premature impostor. His achievements will be unmatched in human history, and those who worship his image, will be terribly deceived, and their number will be many.
Once the glory of Antichrist reaches its zenith, the Lord Jesus Christ will break the seals on the book of judgment (Rev 6–18), and the terrible wrath of God will be directed in waves against the deluded inhabitants of the earth (2 Thess 2:11). The events will crescendo toward a climax: Christ’s return (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21; Rev 19). God’s people will endure much suffering during these times, even as their Lord suffered during His time.
Just as Jesus warned His disciples against false Christs, false prophets, and false teachers in the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, so Christians in the last days are warned against being deceived by Antichrist, nor by those who give power to him, by their support. Despite his global prowess and worldly success, Antichrist’s persecution of Christians will help them by means of painful clarity. The persecuted always see their wicked oppressor for what he is.
Christ’s return will be a joy and relief for His people, but the rest of humanity will mourn at the reality that the day of judgment has come. The sign of the Son of man will be seen by all humanity. All humanity is not just the living; but all who have ever been created by God, will be resurrected from the dead (Mt 24:31; Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15:52).
The sound of the shofar (trumpet) will awaken the dead (1 Thess 4:16), and thus, all will hear and see Christ at His coming (Rev 1:7). The angels of God will gather the elect people from the four winds (Mt 24:31). The believers from every age and every place will be caught up together with Christ, in the air, at His return (1 Thess 4:17). In a twinkling of an eye, they will be changed, as they are granted glorified bodies and souls (1 Cor 15:52). They will be delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:9–10), having been found blameless in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:8).
The physical universe, at Christ’s return will operate inexplicably (Rev 6:12–14). The destruction of the earth and all its inhabitants, save for Noah’s family, at the Great Deluge, will be mild in comparison to the consuming fire of the last day (2 Pet 3:10–12). The sun, moon, and stars will all be altered, triggering utter destruction, under the judgment and wrath of the Lamb, who is Christ, the Lord (Rev 6:16).
As all the last day events are unveiled and experienced by humanity, the people will weep and wail at the coming of One they pierced (Zech 12:10; Rev 1:7). They will hide themselves in mountains and caves (Rev 6:15–17). Amazing, on that day, as it is every day, men will not repent. While the unrepentant reprobate flee to hide, they will pass by the Christians, who will emerge from the caves and mountains to greet their glorious Lord. Their redemption draweth nigh (Lk 21:28). Their mourning is turned to joy, in His presence.
In conclusion, the day of the Lord is a unique day in history. There is only one day on which Christ returns, for He will only return once, again. On that day there will only be one resurrection of the dead, in which both elect and reprobate will rise. One group will be raised to glory, and the other group will be raised to enter judgment and eternal punishment (Mt 25: 41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:11, 14–15).
On that day, human history, in this sinful, fallen world will come to an end. The vanity of all that man was, and the futility of all that man did, will be exposed as meaningless. On that day, Christ will be the only One. His glory will outshine, nay, replace the sun (Rev 21:13; 22:5). Those who have believed in Him, who have loved Him and His coming, will not be disappointed (2 Tim 4:8). With their cross having been borne, and their sufferings now complete, the glory of the Lord will be granted to them (Rom 8:18), who are co-heirs with Christ, heirs of God’s glorious, eternal kingdom (Rom 8:17).
Christian, our Lord repeatedly encouraged His disciples, “Do not be frightened.” Our Deliverer is coming. He will fulfill every promise and every prophecy. The cross is the Christian’s way to glory. It was Christ’s way, and we must follow Him. Be comforted with these words of hope. Behold, He is coming (Rev1:7; 22:7, 12).
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 5, 2021