Looking Ahead To The Second Advent

Celebrating Advent means both looking back at Christ’s First Advent in Bethlehem and looking ahead to His Second Advent at the end of time. Faith in the First Advent fuels hope in the Second Advent. Let’s take a look at the events leading up to and surrounding Christ’s Second Advent to help us appreciate what was begun at His First Advent.

Overarching all of the end times events is a Christian’s blessed hope: “The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.”

The word “rapture” doesn’t appear in Scripture, but we get this word from the Latin word raptu, which comes from the Greek word harpazo. We first see it when Philip is “caught away” from the Ethiopian’s presence in the desert (Acts 8:39). This is the same word Paul uses when he says that Christians will be “caught up” to meet Christ in the air (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

Note that the rapture of the Church is not the Second Coming of Christ. His Second Coming takes place at the end of the period known as the Tribulation when Jesus returns to earth as a conquering King and establishes His Millennial Reign on earth (Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-4).

During Christ’s Millennial Reign, the devil and his cohorts are locked up until the end of the 1000-year reign and are allowed to tempt people one final time. The devil will succeed in tempting quite a few people, as he will once again muster a sizable army to attack Christ and His followers. This decisive battle will culminate in the final judgment.

“There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

After this will come the New Heavens and New Earth where Christians will commune with God for ever and ever (Revelation 21:1-5, 22-27; 22:1-5, 12-21).

In light of Christ’s First Advent in Bethlehem, and His soon return (His Second Advent), how are Christians to live? In a word: HOPEFUL!

In all of these passages discussing the end times, hope-filled words are used—

  • therefore encourage each other with these words
  • wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior 
  • stand firm … let nothing move you
  • Jesus says, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me

Jesus also pointed out that Heaven is a place “prepared for you since the creation of the world,” while Hell is “prepared for the devil and his angels.” GOD WANTS YOU WITH HIM IN HEAVEN!

As you rejoice in the First Advent, remember that Christ’s First Coming was to provide a way for you to have your sins forgiven and be able to spend eternity with Him. So as we look forward in hope to Christ’s Second Advent we say with the Apostle John, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

8 Quotes From “The World’s Last Night”

In seven essays expressly shared to get the reader to think in terms of eternity, C.S. Lewis masterfully practices his craft. Check out my full book review of The World’s Last Night by clicking here. Below is just a small sampling of a few of the outstanding quotes in this book.

“Simply to say prayers is not to pray; otherwise a team of properly trained parrots would serve as well as men.”

“Prayer is not a machine. It is not magic. It is not advice offered to God. Our act, when we pray, must not, any more than all our other acts, be separated from the continuous act of God Himself, in which alone all finite causes operate.”

“Scientists are mainly concerned not with believing things but with finding things out. And no one, to the best of my knowledge, uses the word believe about things he has found out. The doctor says he ‘believes’ a man was poisoned before he has examined the body; after the examination, he says the man was poisoned. No one says that he believes the multiplication table. No one who catches a thief red-handed says he believes that man was stealing. The scientist, when at work, that is, when he is a scientist, is labouring to escape from belief and unbelief into knowledge. Of course he uses hypotheses or supposals. I do not think these are beliefs.”

“Since most men, as Aristotle observed, do not like to be merely equal with all other men, we find all sorts of people building themselves into groups within which they can feel superior to the mass.”

“‘Good works’ in the plural is an expression much more familiar to modern Christendom than ‘good work.’ Good works are chiefly alms-giving or ‘helping’ in the parish. They are quite separate from one’s ‘work.’ And good works need not be good work, as anyone can see by inspecting some of the objects made to be sold at bazaars for charitable purposes. This is not according to our example. When our Lord provided a poor wedding party with an extra glass of wine all round, He was doing good works. But also good work; it was a wine really worth drinking.”

“Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it.”

“It would be difficult, and, to me, repellent, to suppose that Jesus never asked a genuine question, that is, a question to which He did not know the answer. That would make of His humanity something so unlike ours as scarcely to deserve the name. I find it easier to believe that when He said ‘Who touched Me?’ (Luke 7:45) He really wanted to know.”

“For what comes [after Christ’s Second Coming] is Judgment: happy are those whom it finds labouring in their vocations, whether they were merely going out to feed the pigs or laying good plans to deliver humanity a hundred years hence from some great evil. The curtain has indeed now fallen. Those pigs will never in fact be fed, the great campaign against White Slavery or Governmental Tyranny will never in fact proceed to victory. No matter; you were at your post when the Inspection came.”

Poetry Saturday—The Blessed Morrow

’Midst the darkness, storm, and sorrow,
One bright gleam I see;
Well I know the blessed morrow 
Christ will come for me.
’Midst the light, and peace, and glory
Of the Father’s home,
Christ for me is watching, waiting,
Waiting till I come. … 

Oh the blessed joy of meeting,
All the desert past!
Oh the wondrous words of greeting
He shall speak at last!
He and I together entering
Those fair courts above
He and I together sharing
All the Father’s love. —Gerhard Tersteegen

Poetry Saturday—The Hope Of His Coming

There is a balm for every pain,
A medicine for all sorrow;
The eye turned backward to the Cross,
And forward to the morrow.

The morrow of the glory and the psalm,
When He shall come;
The morrow of the harping and the palm,
The welcome home.

Meantime in His beloved hands our ways,
And on His Heart the wandering heart at rest;
And comfort for the weary one who lays
His head upon His Breast. —Gerhard Tersteegen

6 More Quotes From “Light & Truth—Revelation”

light-and-truth-revelationHoratius Bonar always gives lots of thought-provoking content in his commentaries, and his commentary on the Book of Revelation is no exception. Here are a few more quotes for you.

“What man needs, then, is Jesus; not mere knowledge or wisdom. What humanity—unconsciously and ignorantly, it may be—sighs for, is Jesus. What earth, ruined and accursed because of sin, groans for, is Jesus—nothing less than this. No other prophet or priest or king can meet the exigencies of the race and its dwelling, the earth, but Jesus only.”

“What is your hope? What is judgment to do for you? What is resurrection to bring? Look at the following alternatives, and ask which is to be yours: Everlasting gladness, or everlasting sorrow? Everlasting glory; or everlasting shame? Everlasting songs, or everlasting wailing? The marriage supper of the Lamb, or the perpetual banishment from all that is good and holy? The new heavens and earth, or the eternal wilderness, with its parched and burning wastes? The heavenly Jerusalem, with the Lamb as its light, or the blackness of darkness? The fruit of the tree of life and the waters of the celestial river, or the eternal hunger and the unquenchable thirst? (Luke 16:24). The first resurrection, or the second death? These are the alternatives before you; and there is no middle room.”

“The first book of Scripture and the last fit well into each other; the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two of Revelation fit together like the two halves of a golden clasp set in gems. Enclosed between the two is the history of six thousand years. And what a history! What a beginning, and what an ending! It began with the new, and it ended with the new—the strange checkered ‘old’ lying mysteriously between. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ ‘I saw new heavens and a new earth.’”

“Such is the love of God. It is the love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father chooses in His own sovereignty; the Son washes in His own blood; the Spirit purifies and prepares by His mighty power. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us! It is free love; sovereign love; eternal love; unchanging love; boundless love; love which not merely delivers from wrath, but which makes the delivered one an heir of God, nay, the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

“Our title to all this surpassing and eternal glory is simply the blood of the Lamb. He has bought it for His Church; and it is hers forever. The nightless day, the unsetting sun, the incorruptible life, the undefiled inheritance, the new name, the heavenly city, the everlasting kingdom— all are hers; hers through ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant.’ She is to walk worthy of it here—worthy of such a crown, such a heritage, such a city, such a Bridegroom, such a joy. ‘Be holy;’ ‘be perfect;’ ‘walk worthy of the Lord.’”

“Christian parents! For which of the two worlds are you training your children? For this world, or that which is to come? Be assured that the same training will not do for both.”

If you haven’t checked out my review of Light & Truth—Revelation, please click here. You can also read the first set of quotes I shared from this book by clicking here.

Are You Expecting The Lord?

Horatius Bonar“Are you expecting the Lord? Are you living in this expectation? Is it a deep-seated, abiding, cherished hope? Is it a hope that tells upon your character, your life, your daily actings in public or private, your opinions, your whole man? Does it quicken you? Does it purify you? Does it keep you separate from the world? Does it keep you calm in the midst of earth’s most exciting events, or most untoward changes? Does it give you a new view of history as well as prophecy? …

“Let your expectation of the Lord’s coming be a calm and healthy one; not one that excites, but one that tranquilizes; not one that unfits for duty, but one that nerves you more firmly for it; not one that paralyzes exertion, but one that invigorates you for it; not one that makes you indifferent to present duty, but one that makes you doubly in earnest about everything that your hand findeth to do; not one that stops liberality, and prayer, and work, but one that increases all these a hundred fold; not one that dwells exclusively on the future’s dark side—the judgments that are at hand—but one that realizes the glory and the joy of Messiah’s approaching victory and triumphant reign.” —Horatius Bonar

6 More Quotes From “Light & Truth—Acts and the Larger Epistles”

Light & Truth [Acts]Horatius Bonar’s wisdom and insight in the Scriptures is still clear and relevant for us today. Here are some additional quotes I highlighted in his commentary. The reference in brackets is the passage in the Bible on which Bonar is commenting.

“We are described as feeble men, bearing on our shoulders a burden too heavy to be borne; the Holy Spirit comes up to us; not exactly to take away the burden; nor to strengthen us under it; but to put His own Almighty shoulder under it, in the room of, and along with ours; thus lightening the load, though not changing it; and bearing the heavier part of it with His own Almightiness. Thus it is that He ‘helps’ our infirmities; making us to feel both the burden and the infirmity all the while that He helps; nay, giving us such a kind and mode of help, as will keep us constantly sensible of both.” [Romans 8:26

“How real, how true, how fast must that love have been. Here is its sincerity demonstrated. Here are its dimensions measured. What is its height? The answer is, ‘He spared not His Son.’ What is its depth? ‘He spared not His Son.’ What is its length? ‘He spared not His Son.’ What is its breadth? ‘He spared not His Son.’ Nay, He delivered Him up. Nay, He laid our sins upon Him; He made Him a curse for us. The more that we meditate on this one gift, the more does its greatness display itself. It passeth all measurement and all understanding.” [Romans 8:32]

“Prayer takes for granted that God is full, and we are empty; that He is infinitely full, and we unspeakably empty. … Prayer takes for granted that there is a connection between His fullness and our emptiness. The fullness is not inaccessible. It is not too high for us to reach, or for it to stoop. It is not too great for us, nor too distant, so as to be incommunicable. There is a connection, and it has been established by God Himself; it is a divine medium of communication: ‘Ask, and you shall receive.’ Prayer takes for granted that we are entitled to use this channel.” [Romans 12:12

“If you are Christians then, be consistent. Be Christians out and out; Christians every hour, in every part, and in every matter. Beware of half-hearted discipleship, of compromise with evil, of conformity to the world, of trying to serve two masters. … Half-hearted Christianity will only dishonor God, while it makes you miserable. There is abundance of Christianity, so-called, in our day. Who does not call himself a Christian? But who cultivates the holiness, the blamelessness, the devotedness, the calm consistency of a follower of Christ? Who hates sin as it ought to be hated? Who separates from the world as he ought? Who follows Christ as He ought to be followed? Who walks in the footsteps of the holy Son of God?” [1 Corinthians 1:8]

“Let us walk worthy [of the blessings in Christ Jesus]; as men who really believe it; happy, holy, unworldly, zealous, generous, loving. Let us carry the consciousness of our calling into everything—great or small; into business, daily life, recreations, reading, education, everything; maintaining our true position before men; manifesting our proper character; letting the world know our prospects, and doing nothing inconsistent with what we profess to be now, and with what we shall be when the Lord comes.” [1 Corinthians 1:9]

“Thus, then, is our whole earthly life, in all its parts, to be regulated by the magnitude of the eternal. Things present must be subordinated to those which are to come, the seen to the unseen, the earthly to the heavenly. It is by the light of the coming glory that we must walk while here. It is from the clock of eternity that our time is to be always taken. Arrange your business, your recreations, your duties with reference to the invisible and unending future. Live, speak, work, move, as those who believe that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [1 Corinthians 7:29-31]

The first set of quotes I shared from this book can be read here. And my review of this book is posted here.

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