This month in our Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night services we have reached a convergence of themes concerning the Second Coming of Christ. As you know, our method of study at Berean is to take books of the Bible and go through them systematically chapter by chapter taking the time to carefully exposit their teachings. We are studying Matthew, Revelation, and 1 John in these services which all have portions that deal with this major topic of Christ’s return.
In Mathew’s gospel, we are studying miracles of Christ that occurred soon after His teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. The miracles are a prelude to life in the millennial kingdom where there will be no sickness, there will be great prosperity, and Christ will rule in righteousness. This is the big picture theme of Matthew as He presents Christ as King who will one day reestablish the throne of David. This could be missed if we picked bits and pieces of Matthew to study instead of looking at the book comprehensively.
I suppose it would be very difficult to miss the Second Coming in Revelation. After all, the entire book is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ because it unfolds God’s plan of earth’s redemption culminating in the day that heaven will open and Christ will come with His army of angels and redeemed men to conquer the world and realign all of creation with His righteous purpose. There is no subtlety in the theme of Revelation, and most people are interested in this book precisely because it speaks of the coming of Christ.
In 1 John, the Second Coming is spoken of in a little different light. It is John’s purpose to identify true Christianity. In doing so, he exposes false professors as those who do not live in holiness based upon the hope of Christ’s return. His argument is that if we truly believe that Christ will appear it should produce a holy lifestyle so that we are not ashamed at His appearing (1 John 2:28, 3:2-3).
It is appropriate that we should reach this convergence of scripture at a time when some people are convinced that Christ will return this year on May 21st. The date setters are at it again convinced they have superior insight into scripture and have calculated with their intricate formulas the exact date that Christ will return. Although I do not think it is possible to pinpoint the date in any way, I do secretly hope they are right. Does this mean I will pack my bags, empty my bank accounts, and call a meeting on the night of May 20th in order that our church may gloriously vanish from the same spot? No, because this is not what the Bible means when it speaks of being prepared for Christ’s return. Our preparation is not to search the Bible for clues and then to stare longingly towards the sky to see heaven pealed back and Christ appear. Our preparation is a daily, steady, consistent walk with Christ. We prepare ourselves by being steadfast in the faith, holy, unmoveable, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight. If you live this way, you are always ready whether Christ comes tomorrow, next year, in ten years, or perhaps not even in your lifetime. Living in the light of Christ’s return has nothing to do with the actual date. It has everything to do with the sure hope that He will fulfill His promise of creating a new heaven and a new earth no matter when that day will come. If you abide in Him, you will be a part of it. This is the blessed hope of every true believer in Christ.
Pastor V. Mark Smith