Last night we took some time to study the second coming of Jesus by looking at two things:
First, does the world look like the Bible predicted it would (as we near the return of Jesus), 2000+ years ago?
Second, How does the Bible say we should respond to this? Here are the notes:
Part 1: Current Trends Which Match Prophecy
1.The will, and the ability, for a whole earth government and economy. See Daniel 7:2-7, 15-17, 23; Revelation 13:1-8, 16-17
2. …and the line-up of certain alliances and confederacies. See Ezekiel 38:1-13
3. Israel as an actual nation, and it’s the center of controversy and hostility. See Ezekiel 38:8, Zechariah 14:2
4. Climate, disease, and geo-politcal issues take center stage: See Matthew 24:6-8
5. A certain moral state: See 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 2 Peter 3:1-5
There’s only a very small point to be made here, but it’s an important one. To get at it, let me set it up like this. Imagine if the bible said, “Things will get better and better. Israel will cease to exist. No one will care about Jerusalem, and the Middle East won’t be a point of contention. People in general will get more and more kind and less and less selfish. The environment will get more mild and pleasant. Natural disasters will cease and sicknesses will die out. Nations will gradually get more peaceful and wars will go away.” Then we could simply look around at us and see that what the bible predicts is totally off.
But that’s not the case. And as you study the bible, you find out that it does a lot of describing the future. God put himself out on a limb there, so to speak. So all we have to do is ask ourselves—Does the world we see around us, does the news, give us any reason to think that the bible’s view of the future is not legitimate? Do we see things moving in the direction the bible predicted, or away from it? And, do we see current events lining up, even in detail, so that it could all spring in to being very quickly?
I think the upshot of all this is not simply to say, “there’s more earthquakes and some countries are angry at Israel, so Jesus must be coming back in the next three years!” The point is this—the world looks more and more every day like exactly the kind of place the bible predicted it would become. This gives us another reason to know that the bible is true, and that we should trust what it says. And a main teaching of the scriptures is that we are always supposed to watch and be expectant for return of Jesus.
What should be our response to these things? Wait and Watch! See Mark 13:24-27, 32-37.
Part 2: What are the characteristics of those who are watching?
1. They are excited for Jesus to return because there’s affection for him in their hearts. (Luke 12:35-40)
- If I’m not excited to see Jesus, I’m not really waiting for him.
- If I don’t care when he comes back, I don’t really have affection in my heart for him.
2. They pursue holiness. (1 Peter 1:13-16, 1 John 3:1-3, Isaiah 26:8-9)
- If I’m insisting on keeping sin in my life, I’m not waiting and watching for Jesus.
3. They are faithfully doing what God’s given them to do. (Luke 12:41-46, 19:11-15) Waiting often looks like working.
- Are the commands of Christ directing my life?
- Do I know what he has commanded?
- Am I faithfully doing what I already know he has given me to do?