I knew a man who was living with a debilitating, mortal disease for many years. In his own words, he stood on death's doorstep for a long time. For over a decade, he was in and out of the hospital and in a number of instances he nearly died. Time and again he would return home, defying the odds defined by conventional human wisdom. Recently though, he entered the hospital for the last time. His death shocked those closest to him. Everyone knew this man's condition and prognosis and yet they believed he would walk out of those doors once again as he had done so many times before. But this time it was not to be. One might wonder: Why were they shocked? According to every person I asked, they were shocked because he had nearly died so many times, they expected this trip to be no different. I detect a sense of widespread foreboding in American culture. Recently, I saw a movie in a theater, something I only do occasionally these days. The movie was preceded by seven trailers, five of which shared a common theme: the end--or the threatened end--of humanity. In some respects, we have become a doomsday culture. Every year, some kook or quack captures the attention of the media with his or her prediction of the end. Sometimes it's "man-made" (e.g. Y2K or global climate change). Other times it's a religious nut who believes they have predicted the unpredictable: the return of Jesus. And then you have the conspiracy theorists who always have tales of hidden agendas, impending tyrannical governments, or alien colonization. Oh yes, let's not forget the Mayan calendar. Need I say more?
Scripture assures us that Jesus will return one day, that He will be, "revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Jesus brings destruction and judgment with Him. We can be certain that the world will end when He appears on that Day.
Do you believe Jesus will return? Unfulfilled expectations can slowly suffocate the perpetual anticipation one must have in order to serve the Lord. Or worse still, the promised but unfulfilled return of the Lord can appear like other predictions, leading one to skepticism. Like the man who would assuredly die but defied death so many times, the constant recycling of doomsday messages with no fulfillment can lull us to sleep when it comes to the return of the Lord. Knowing our nature, Jesus warns, "Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!" (Revelation 16:15).
What does the day of Jesus's return mean to you? Is it just another doomsday prediction or do you believe the Lord's promises? If you do believe, the only way to escape the destruction to come is to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (see the quotation from 2 Thessalonians above). Have you obeyed the gospel? Do you know how to obey the gospel? Do you know the gospel of Jesus Christ? Please take the Lord's promise seriously and act. We're here to help! Please comment or ask questions below.