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Revealing These Apocalyptic Times - Is Jesus Yours?

"Nothing on today's horizon or in contemporary thought offers an alternate hope that is better than the hope of Jesus Christ"

We are living in apocalyptic times. Newspaper headlines throughout the world speak of the ominous dangers that the world is facing. There's military buildup in many countries and fear of confrontation. New and more sophisticated tactical and strategic armaments are being built by the major powers of the world.

In the midst of the problems and dangers that the world is facing, what is the attitude of the Christian? What should be our attitude?

During the years of the Second World War, the words of U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur echoed in the ears of the people of the Philippines while they were under enemy occupation. General MacArthur had promised, "I shall return," and he kept that promise.

Jesus Christ also has promised, "I shall return," and He will keep that promise to us.

Once, when I spoke at a university and referred to the Coming again of Jesus Christ and the future that God is planning for the human race, a student asked me, "Isn't that a form of escapism?"

I answered, "In a sense, yes. And before the devil gets through with this world, we're all going to be looking for the 'exit' signs."

C. S. Lewis, in his remarkable book "Christian Behaviour," wrote, "Hope is one of the theological virtues." This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.

"It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this world. Aim at heaven, and you will get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth and you will get neither." (From "Christian Behaviour: A Further Series of Broadcast Talks," by C. S. Lewis)

In the midst of the darkness of the present hour, there is one bright beacon of hope--and that is the promise of Jesus Christ: "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." (John 14:3, KJV.)

Salvation rests on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV.)

But the Bible also teaches that the salvation of society--in the reordering of man's social institutions consistent with the abolition of social injustice, war, poverty and disease--will someday be taken out of mankind's hands. The salvation of society will come about by the powers and forces released by the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ. It will be instrumented through the Kingdom of God in its principles of righteousness. It will be the prophesied fulfillment of redemption applied to every phase of human life and national existence.

The Second Coming of Christ will be so revolutionary that it will change every aspect of life on this planet. Christ will reign in righteousness. Disease will be arrested. Death will be no more. War will be abolished. Nature will be changed. People will live as God originally intended that they should live. Nothing on today's horizon or in contemporary thought offers an alternate hope that is better than the hope of Jesus Christ.

The successive civilizations of the past have been different arrangements of human institutions; but there has never been a lasting, peaceful social order. It is impossible to build a peaceful world on the cracked foundation of human nature.

The importance of the hope of Christ's return is established by the frequency of its mention in the Bible. Christ referred to His return not only with His disciples but with others as well. And the hope of the Second Coming is found in the Church's great creeds, such as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Thus, the Bible teaches it, the apostles preached it, and the Church creeds affirm it.

Again and again Jesus Christ said:

Certainly a predicted event that was the subject of such universal and frequent attention and such great promise is a worthy object for our concern today. In the midst of a despairing, trembling, confused world that is bound for Armageddon, this is the hope that we have.

In the New Testament there are three Greek words that are used to describe the coming again of Christ. The first one is parousia, which carries with it the idea of the personal presence of Christ. In other words, when Christ returns, He will come in person.

The second Greek word is epiphaneia, which carries with it the idea of appearing. It is like a star, hidden from view all day, which suddenly appears at night. In other words, when Christ returns, He will appear suddenly.

The third Greek word is apokalupsis, which carries with it the idea of unveiling, the unveiling of one who has been hidden. Today the Person of Christ is hidden from view, though His presence through the Holy Spirit is in our hearts. Today is the day of faith; but in the day of His coming, it shall no longer be faith but sight. In that day He will be revealed.

At Christmastime we celebrate the first appearing of Jesus Christ. The First Coming of Christ was quiet--the shepherds, the star, the manger. At the Second Coming Jesus Christ will appear with His warriors from heaven to cope with any situation and to defeat the enemies of God until He has subdued the entire world. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28.)

Thus, in our present world situation--in the midst of persecutions, confusions, wars and rumors of wars--Scripture says that we are to comfort one another with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is coming back in triumph, glory and majesty. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.)

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be a series of events occurring over a long period of time. There are many debates among theologians as to what some Bible passages mean. But one thing almost everyone agrees on who loves Christ: Jesus Christ is coming back.

When Christ came the first time, He dealt with evil as individual and hereditary. When He comes again, Christ will deal with evil as a practice. He will institute an age of such benevolence that evil cannot reign and cruelty, oppression and slavery will no longer exist. All of this will come to pass as a result of the personal reign of Christ following His return.

Marguerite Higgins, a war correspondent, received the much-coveted Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1951 because of her news coverage during the Korean Conflict. She wrote an account of the Fifth Company of Marines, which originally had numbered 18,000, in their combat with more than 100,000 enemy soldiers.

"It was particularly cold," she wrote, "42 below zero that morning, when reporters were standing around. The weary soldiers, half-frozen, stood by their dirty trucks, eating from tin cans."

"A Marine was hacking out his breakfast from a frozen tin of beans. The beans were encased in ice crystals, and little crystals had formed on the Marine's beard. His face was crusted with mud. His clothes were as stiff as a board. A correspondent asked him, 'If I were God and could give you anything you wanted, what would you ask for?' " 'Gimme tomorrow,' said the Marine, and went on hacking at the beans." (Taken in part from "War in Korea: The Report of a Woman Combat Correspondent," by Marguerite Higgins)

For the true believer in Jesus Christ tomorrow is assured - the future is assured. As Christians we have tomorrow when the Kingdom of God shall reign, and we await the distant trumpet announcing the Coming of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow belongs to us.

Let Us Pray Together--

PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN! 

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