“In A Moment, In The Twinkling Of An Eye.”
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all (both dead & living believers) be changed (receive glorified bodies), in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
The Apostle Paul’s words above point to the time when the Lord Jesus will return for all those that are believers. Just before His great sacrifice at Calvary, the Lord told His disciples that He would one day return for His church – that we might be with Him where He is in Heaven. It’s been almost two thousand years since the Lord was crucified, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. The church has had the sure hope of His return for His bride all these many years and has watched for the signs of His coming.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive unto myself; that where I am, there you may also be” (John 14:3).
The Lord spoke these words to His disciples just prior to His crucifixion. He also told His disciples that He was “the way” to all the promises of Heaven. They were to place their faith in Him completely. The love and care He showed for His followers just prior to leaving them must have been extremely comforting to them after the crucifixion. He would be absent from them in a physical sense but present spiritually. They were to remember His words and not lose faith. By their continued faith in Him and His sacrifice at Calvary, they would walk in His presence spiritually and by it would know the way to where He was going and be ready for His promised return.
“I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
So, just where are we now on the timeline for the Lord’s return? Are we near the time when He comes for His church? This is the question of the day and has been for nearly two thousand years. We do know that the Lord will bring judgment on an unbelieving and evil world in the end times. We also know that He will come for His own prior to this judgment on the world. One of the sure signs of the nearness of the end of all things is Israel reforming as a nation and them being opposed by all the surrounding nations. Their return to their original land was prophesied as a major sign that would let us know that we were in the end times.
We also have seen that the Lord does something major every approximately 1000 or 2000 years. From Adam and Eve to Abraham, to whom He gave the meaning of justification, was an approximate 2000 year interval. From Abraham to David, whom He gave the promise of the redeemer through His family, was an interval of 1000 years. From David to Christ was 1000 years. From the time of Christ until now has been approximately 2000 years. It seems we may have arrived at a time period when something significant in the plan of God happens. There are only two significant prophetic events that are left to take place regarding the Second Coming of the Lord – the Rapture of the church when the Lord comes for His church, and the Great Tribulation when the Lord brings judgment on the world.
There are many signs given in the Bible that will precede the Great Tribulation which brings His final judgment on the world. Many of these end-time signs are beginning to happen today. We do know that the church will not go through the tribulation, so we can know that His return for His church is very near, even at the door. No one can know the exact time of His return, but we can know the season and we are in that season now. How long will that season be? Although we don’t know the answer to that question, we do know that if we place our faith in Jesus we will be ready for His return for His church. There is nothing that has to happen prior to the Lord coming for His own.
“For the Lord, Himself shall descend Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead Christ rise first: then we which are alive and remain be caught up together with them in the clouds, meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Some might say, it’s been 2000 years and the Lord has not yet returned. How can we know His return is imminent? As mentioned previously, the prophetic signs of the end times are beginning to appear. Jesus gave us these signs so we would know the day was approaching. We can be encouraged and informed by reading the Bible prophecies regarding the end times. It clearly shows that everything is lining up for the soon return of the Lord in judgment. Again, the Bible says He will return for His church prior to the judgment of the last days on an unbelieving world. We can take comfort in knowing that we are not appointed to go through the tribulation, but will be taken out by the Lord Himself prior to the end.
“For God has not appointed us (believers) to wrath.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
In summary, Jesus told His disciples that He was “the way” and that He would return for His church that we might be with Him forever. We can take great comfort in knowing this. Our faith in Jesus and His great sacrifice at the cross make us ready for His soon return. And we must be ready for He could come for us at any moment. But even if the Lord’s coming is delayed, we can take comfort in knowing that we are “aboard” and ready for His return. This ship will sail and it could sail very soon. The alternative to not being ready is not a very pleasant one. The following words of Jesus give a stern warning regarding what will happen at the time of the end:
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)
“For there shall be signs the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of Heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25,26)
The judgment on this evil and unbelieving world will end with the Second Coming of the Lord. Evil and unbelieving because the world does not accept Him and therefore will not come into the salvation He freely offers. All the prophecies in the Bible excluding the end time prophecies have come to pass exactly as written. The end time prophecies are a comfort to believers and a warning to all. The time of the Lord’s final judgment on this world will definitely come just as the Lord said it would. Do you know Him? Today, if you hear His voice harden not your hearts. His love and forgiveness are extended to whosoever will come to Him in repentance and faith. Won’t you secure your passage today!
“And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25-27).
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