Posted in theology

Desiring Jesus’ return

By Elizabeth Prata

I long for Jesus’ return. I can’t wait for the Day when all will be resolved to His satisfaction as He’d ordained. I can’t wait for sin to be done. I can’t wait for the glory of the Lord to shine over all, and creation to be released from the curse. I can’t wait to serve Him in person.

I also long for and pray for the salvation of my loved ones. I cry, pray, and plead. I wish all could be saved, but I know all will be saved that are in the Lamb’s book of life, written before the foundation of the world. Meanwhile, since I don’t know who they are, I pray for all.

The Last Things, or Eschatology. is a set of doctrines pertaining to the Lord’s return. Sadly, that sphere of study has a bad reputation. Some fringe people have made too many predictions, too many people have set dates.

Eschatology has a bad reputation partly because people don’t understand it, having been ignored in seminaries for a few decades, and partly because so many people in recent decades have misused it (newspaper eisegesis, date setting, etc). The pendulum swings with regard to Christian trends and eschatology is currently OUT. That is too bad!

But beyond that, there should be a tension between wanting to see all come to salvation, and wanting the Lord to come back. They are not mutually exclusive preferences. They are not mutually exclusive doctrines. We are commanded to share the Gospel with all. Paul desired so much for people to be saved he would change places with an unsaved person if he could! (Romans 9:3)

But we are also told that we should long for His appearing. Paul of all people, pastoral Paul, with his desire to be with the Lord, even longed for judgment to come!

If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha! (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Maranatha was a common greeting and departure comment by which the early church was known. It literally means, ‘O, Lord come!’

John also expressed his fervent hope in the Lord’s return, as the book of Revelation and the Bible itself ends with it! “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

Longing for sin to be done away with, or wanting to be with the Lord because your heart aches due to family not saved or friends who are going astray is not to be sloughed off. There is nothing wrong with wanting justice to be done, or wanting to see the Lord’s glory. Saying ‘Lord please come’ is perfectly all right and more than all right, we are given a crown for longing for His return! (2 Timothy 4:8).

We’re told repeatedly in scripture to watch and be ready. Should we not express what we are hoping and readying for? Of course we should! The NT uses the word parousia, referring to the eschatological coming of Christ at the end of the age. (e.g., Matthew 24:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7–8; 2 Peter 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28). It means arrival. In these and other verses, look how many times we see reference to his arrival/revelation/appearing!

According to International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “The subject of eschatology plays a prominent part in New Testament teaching and religion. Christianity in its very origin bears an eschatological character. It means the appearance of the Messiah and the inauguration of His work;” and “The eschatological interest of early believers was no mere fringe to their religious experience, but the very heart of its inspiration

Yet in these days people don’t mention last things often. It’s a point of contention now, thanks to the devil. It’s also not mentioned much from pulpits, so the people in the pews don’t often exhort or even look for the coming of the Lord. If I mention it, sometimes I’m even scolded. I’d written on Twitter that if a so and so false teacher does not repent before death, then I long to see the day she is judged by a righteous Christ.

“On the one hand I remember what it was like to be so deep in sin, my worldview was as perverted & warped as hers. She needs Jesus badly.
On the other, if she doesn’t repent, I can’t wait for the Day when He opens the books, repeats her awful statement, & pronounces WOE. Mt 12:36!”

A reply came that ‘Rejoicing in someone elses damnation is not cool. Js“. I said back,

  1. Rejoice in His holiness
  2. Rejoice in His justice
  3. Gal 1:9, “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”

Even though I couched the first part of the statement with a hope that repentance would come forth, and I meant it, the second part of my statement seems to ignite a furor in people. Speaking of Jesus return to right wrongs, to perform justice, or just to enjoy Him, is seen as “unkind” and open to rebuke.

We should be excited for his return, he is our great Hope!

Saying ‘Lord soon come’, is also a way to remind ourselves and others that this world is TEMPORARY. It is not the end. ‘Lord soon come’ is the end. Not this world. We need people to say Lord, soon come, to help expand our mind to remember the future is not…this.

It’s also a way to confirm the Lord’s promise that he will return. We are told to look for it. 2 Peter 3:13 says, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” Saying Lord soon come is a way to also confirm our trust in that promise.

We are weary and it’s OK to hope for that eternal rest. It’s not to the detriment of the unsaved for us to express that we long for the time when we are released from the burdens of this world. We can still hope for their salvation and also long for our rest.

Anyone who is a false teacher or who isn’t saved is an enemy of God. Often, people focus too much on the false teacher’s feelings rather than remembering that they are at enmity with God and enemies of the faith. We’re on Jesus’ side in this battle, at His great cost. There is nothing wrong with wanting enemies to be dealt with. David wrote a lot about that! We would not have half the Psalms we do if David hadn’t wanted righteousness to reign and enemies judged.

Again, there is nothing wrong for wanting the Lord to come and saying so. There are many biblical reasons for saying pleading for His return. Paul did. John did. We can serve the Lord by praying for salvations AND hoping and desiring His return. The two should be balanced in our heart and mind, but it’s nothing to be chastised for if we express our desire for Him and His righteousness to reign at His return, and evil to be vanquished. What a day that will be!

The Last Judgement 1853 John Martin 1789-1854 Bequeathed by Charlotte Frank in memory of her husband Robert Frank 1974 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01927

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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