July 26, 2008 on 4:43 pm | In REVELATION FOR BEGINNERS | Comments Off on HOW WILL IT END?–1:7

“How will it end?” was the title of a book published in the mid 80’s with an atomic mushroom cloud pictured on the cover. Some years previous, a friend of mine and I ambitiously went into our community to do an informal survey on that topic. Our approach was as follows: “Some people think science and technology will save us and will eventually we will have utopia on earth (How does that look now?!). Others think the earth will be destroyed with atomic weapons (MAD—mutually assured destruction) or by a massive asteroid. Still others think the coming of Jesus will bring it to an end. What do you think?” Good questions. And there are more. Will it happen in my lifetime or is it hundreds of years in the future? And what about the popular “Left Behind” scenario—Is the end something that happens secretly (all of a sudden invisible?) Does it really matter? What determines how and where I end up? We will begin to try and answer those questions, though some will need to wait till later in the book of Revelation. But in verse 7 of chapter 1, we get sort of a movie trailer version of what is coming. And, of course, by now you know it is my premise that only the Bible has the trustworthy answers to such probing questions, so let’s have a look.

In verses 5 and 6 of chapter 1, we saw a description of Jesus’ work till now—His life, death, resurrection, and intercession. In verse 7 is revealed the climax of His ministry: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” What can we glean from this verse? First of all, it tells us He comes from above, with clouds, not suddenly appearing in various parts of the world. This reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:23-26: “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand.
26“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.” He goes on to say in verses 27 and 30: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be….30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” This corresponds with our text in Revelation 1:7—“every eye shall see Him”—not just an elite few, but every eye. And it won’t be invisible—they will all see Him. Further, it will be noisy—note Matthew 24:31—a great sound of a trumpet, angels are with Him and they gather together His people from all over the world. Paul adds to this description in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” Note—they are “caught up” (raptured—that’s what the word means) to meet Jesus in the air and then will forever be with Him. There is nothing here about secrecy or a second chance. In fact in Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:16 it says His reward is with Him “to give every man according as his work shall be.” In other words, they are either saved or lost at the time of His coming. Verse 11 even goes so far as to say there is no change after that time: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” It is all a fulfillment of His prophecy to them as recorded in John 14:1-3: “ “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

There is another interesting item in verse 7—“all they which pierced Him.” Apparently there is a special resurrection of those who were involved with His trial and crucifixion in fulfillment of His prophecy to them while He was on trial: Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 24:64.

Now back to our original questions. The first scenario is unrealistic and Biblically speaking won’t be a reality until God creates all things new: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1. If the second scenario were to take place, the above Biblical picture would be impossible as there would be no one left to welcome Jesus when He comes. While there may yet be terrible disasters to come, the Bible does not see the extermination of the human race before He comes. This leaves the third scenario, which I have just outlined in brief.

Will it happen in my lifetime? I like to believe so, especially in view of all that is happening in our world today. But I can’t say that for sure—I am not a prophet and the Bible doesn’t give dates for the coming of Jesus. Besides, I need to be ready to meet Him each day—none of us have a guarantee of tomorrow.

One more item worthy of thought—Jesus is coming for His people and He longs for them to be with Him. The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3 If we have an interactive love relationship with Him, we, too, can be among those who “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6) “You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

There will be more information related to this topic later in Revelation (or which may be covered in a separate category of this blogsite). If you have questions, you can leave them in the comments section or see contact information at the About section.

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