The Lord Jesus Christ was here and went back again to heaven. He came then in humility and bore the world's sin. His next coming will be in glorious triumph. Only the apostles saw Him going bodily into heaven. All shall see Him come again. Two angels said His coming will be like His going.
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44). These words do not refer to death, but to the coming of the Lord, when the dead shall be raised. But as death finds us, so, too, will that "hour" of His coming find us.
It may be "at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning" (Mark 13:35), or at noon of any day of any week or month or year. Some have predicted the day and even the hour. Jesus said, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, no the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36). It is better that the world does not know. The sinner, knowing it may be at any time, is thus helped to decide for Christ.
The signs of the times tell us the Lord's coming is near at hand. False Christs, false prophets, many being deceived, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, abounding in iniquity, waning love, men who love themselves, "covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:2-4); empty forms of worship, man-pleasing preachers -- all are signs that indicate the near approach of Christ.
As time goes on, these signs become more glaring. The very next thing on God's great program for this earth could well be the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven. "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors" (Mark 13:28, 29).
Is there anything that hinders peace with your brethren, your neighbors, or your enemies? Loving all, forgiving all, confessing all are absolute requirements. The lamp should be full of oil, trimmed, and turned high to shine afar for others, and in preparation to go forth to meet the Bridegroom. Are your friends ready? Praying for your unsaved friends, speaking to them or writing to them may result in their conversion. Earnest efforts get others ready for the great day. There will be no time for preparation when we see Christ coming.
Like a flash, as the lightening darts from east to west across the heavens, so shall it be. Christ's sudden coming with all the glory of heaven will turn night into day and light up the world as it was never lit up before. With clouds He shall come, and in the perfect light of eternal day just begun, shall every eye from every nation of the earth see Him, no matter how great the distance.
There will be a sound from heaven that will waken the dead and strike terror into the hearts of the unprepared. Jesus will come with a shout, the archangel's voice will be heard, the mighty trumpet of God shall be sounding. Shouts of victory and triumph will be on the one hand, cries and mourning on the other, combining a scene and sound now inconceivable to the human mind.
Sinners fear, saints rejoice over His return. A crown of righteousness is laid up for all those who "love his appearing." Do you love it and long for it? Jesus' last message was, "Surely I come quickly."
Some people talk about the world growing better until Christ comes. That is a mistake.
"That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.... Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:1, 13).
"In the latter times some shall depart from the faith" (1Timothy 4:1).
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matthew 24:12).
Yet God in His mercy is willing to pardon all who repent and surrender to Christ as Lord.
Many are ashamed of Christ. But He said, "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).
The fan is in the Lord's hand. The chaff and filth will be purged out, and the wheat elevated into the garner of heaven. God shall bless His people with freedom from sorrow forever once their feet are lifted from the earth.
The righteous dead shall rise from their graves and the living shall join them in the clouds to meet the King of Glory. We shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, receiving a glorious immortal body. Corruption and mortality will vanish. Forever with the Lord, the saints shall join in singing His praise. "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
D. Wenger, adapted
Used by permission. Adapted from a Gospel tract published by Christian Light Publications.