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Christ's Return - The Coming Challenge

Updated on September 4, 2013
Simeon and Anna recognize the Lord Jesus
Simeon and Anna recognize the Lord Jesus

I'm no prophet, but

That title might imply that Iʼm about to make a prophecy. Iʼm not. All objective revelation from God available to us is found in Scripture. Or you might think that Iʼm an expert on contemporary cultural trends. Iʼm not. The world does not need any more of those. If you must know from whence I come, Iʼd place myself in the shoes of Simeon or Anna, humble disciples who recognized the coming Messiah, not before, but when He appeared.

Our hope (read “assurance”) is that He who came once will come again in power and glory. Ha, but when? I know, it is not for us “to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7). However disciples of Jesus may recognize Godʼs work as it unfolds, as did Simeon and Anna.

Things I'm reasonably sure of

1.Christians may expect a severe time of trial and oppression by the enemies of Christ. Some call this “the tribulation.” I believe it is the intensification of the hostility every true disciple faces the minute he identifies by faith with Jesus.

2.While today God has provided both visible and invisible means of supporting his people, the former will become irrelevant and destroyed, perhaps soon. What are those visible means? Church structures and programs, para-church organizations, Christian publishing houses and outreach ministries; everything that gives visibility to Godʼs people. Yes, even faithful Christian agencies and structures will cease to exist.

3.Jesus Christ remains on the throne, ever faithful to his promise, “Behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) By His Spirit, he provides that invisible, yet no less real, support. We can count on that!

4.Under the Saviorʼs watchful eye, his people can expect a most excruciating test to their loyalty. Persecuted by the world and isolated from each other, we shall have to choose between loyalty to Him who purchased us with his blood, on the one hand; and assimilation into the surrounding culture marked by self-indulgent materialism, on the other. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith (not churches and structures) on earth?” (Luke 18:8, parenthesis mine)

5.This testing will not last long, but the time will come when the true people of God feel that all is lost, their faith wavering on the brink of despair. Thatʼs when the Savior returns. “The dead in Christ will arise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:17)

6.Weʼll be with the Lord forever, but not in the air for long. We shall fall in in behind Him , as the “armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure.” (Revelation 19:14) Together with our victorious Lord, we conquer all his and our enemies. Christʼs eternal kingdom on earth is established. “Then the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)

Without providing exact dates or identifying specific people or events, Scriptures repeatedly reveal this sequence of events. The most obvious is found in Revelation 11 where the two witnesses represent the visible and faithful church.

Things I wonder about

1.Might western secularism and Islamic fundamentalism link up to war against all that even appears Christian?

2.Are my brothers and sisters in Christ so narcissistically engaged in building their Christian structures and programs that they will go down with them when destroyed?

3.Is the formula - faith + frequent participation in church programs and structures = growing Christian - biblically founded? Might godly shut-ins and doctors and nurses and others who canʼt make it to the Sunday morning services be more ready for the coming challenge than we who camp at church?

4.If we buckle under minor inconvenience and slight offenses will we stand up to the real test? “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?” (Jeremiah 12:5)

Things I urge upon you

1.Embrace the gospel! Unless your heart is wrapped around the cross, the world will wrap itself around you. Jesus loved you such that he left his throne in heaven to bear the grief and penalty of sin on your behalf. He suffered death and the just temporary abandonment by the Father so that you may live and never be abandoned by your Heavenly Father.

2.Energetically find a way to worship and fellowship and serve with others of like faith. The structures and programs that facilitate these will not always be there. The opportunity is now.

3.Donʼt relate to folks according to what religious structures and programs they participate in but rather according to the hunger they display to know God and his ways. The worldling sitting in the next cubicle at work may be more hungry than the brother sitting with you at church.

Comments - I'm listening

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    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks Dave, may God continue to give you success as you remain faithful to Him.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Thank you for the insight from this writing. That is strange. I see myself as a sort of second John the Baptist, as an evangeler, because in the work I carry out for God, I in a way am prophecying thr second coming of Christ Jesus, along with the knowledge one needs to have to attain God's Grace and sanctification, as taught by the prophets of old.

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Why thank you, retired06. Just visited your website. I trust many have found encouragement through you. Glad to see that you are now following me. I understand what HP means by "following", but let's agree that the only One really worth following is Jesus. It was He who said, "Come follow me." I pray that all who follow me will, in fact, find themselves following the Lord Jesus more closely. Thanks again.

    • retired06 profile image

      Leona J Atkinson 5 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Very good advice. Thanks for sharing. God's blessings to you daily.

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks Michele. Love your teachable attitude.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      liftandsoar thank you so much for this. I love God, but am still growing. I need to learn, and so much thank you again for helping me. I won't shut my eyes, or cover my ears. God want's me to learn. I truly know that. Voted you up!

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks for visiting gimclendon. Appreciate your encouragement.

    • glmclendon profile image

      glmclendon 5 years ago

      Good HUB people would do well to listen. There are so many things that are being shown. We look but refuse to see.

      Stay Well

    • liftandsoar profile image

      Frank P. Crane 5 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Dubuquedogtrainer. I appreciate your comment.

    • Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

      Dubuquedogtrainer 5 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

      Nice hub, timely, well written with humility and respect for our Lord. Voted up!