Thursday, February 18, 2010
When Christ is Revealed
Someone recently asked me why so many differing views on the timing of Christ's return exist. Great question. It brings to mind a few other easy ones: Why are there so many denominations in the church? Why do some sprinkle and some immerse? Does it really matter how old the earth is? What's the problem with women pastors? Is Sunday the right day to gather as a church? Are jeans really allowed on stage? Doesn't the Bible say we should be singing hymns? Can't we all just love each other and get along?!?!
Sorry, I got a little off track...the reason for their original question is that when you read the scriptures concerning Christ's return it is fairly obvious about what that event looks like and when it happens. Now, I am not going to draw a timeline and start walking you through all of this...again...though you know this is my hot spot...but the reason I am going here today is because of our memory verse for this week.
"When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:4
The revelation of Christ is the great hope of the church (Titus 2:11-14 - we are to live soberly and righteously in this present world, looking for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of Christ). It is what believers are called to:
*long for - I Thess. 5:4-6 - Christ will return like a thief in the night, but as children of God we are not in darkness - we are called to be sober and alert
*prepare for - Matthew 25:1-13 - 10 virgins, 5 kept oil in their lamps, 5 were unprepared and missed the coming of the bridegroom
*look for - Matthew 24:32,33 - parable of the fig tree - we are to watch the signs Christ gave to know when the time is near
*live for - II Peter 3:10-15 - Peter asks what kind of people ought we to be in light of the coming wrath of God, then answers his own question
But for some reason the majority of the church believes His return will be a secret slipping in and taking away of believers. It may cause some confusion initially for the world, but then things will go on as always as the final years of history unfold. I just read the other day that when Jesus returns, there could be one of those EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) that knock out communications and most people wouldn't even notice when Christians disappear because they are dealing with their own problems.
I really want to put an end to this theory. First, Jesus told us (Matthew 24:27-31) that when He returns, the natural lights in the sky would go out and He would return like lightning that flashes across the sky. Now we know it's not lightning, but Jesus in His glory - a blinding light that the whole world will see. Can you even imagine what that will look like? The WHOLE WORLD sees it!
Luke 21:25-28 describes this event and tells believers to raise their heads and look to the sky when the lights go out, because their redemption is on the way! Revelation 6:12-17 describes the actual moment of the lights going out and says that the world, however, responds in fear and cowers as they wait for God's wrath to fall.
And then the kicker is when Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians that when Christ is revealed, that we also shall be revealed with Him in glory. What in the world does that look like? Think about it - Christ is returning, shining brighter than the sun, the world is shaking in their boots and suddenly we are gathered to Him, revealed in a glorified state as well.
When Christ is revealed - revealed to whom? To the world. We shall be revealed with Him - revealed to whom? The world. This is not a quiet, secret event, shrouded by an electromagnetic pulse that confuses for a time but then life goes on as usual. This is not a middle of the day, disappearing from my car while driving so that the police scratch their heads and wonder where I went. This is a supernatural display of glory and identification. Christ is coming to gather HIS CHILDREN and deal with the wickedness of rebellious, sinful man. And the whole world sees it and responds with fear - note that they don't respond with repentance, but fear. And believers respond with outstretched arms and great joy. It is our great hope - the return of our Savior to take us home.
Keep working on your memory verses, gals - there are great promises and instructions in these few verses that can be a wonderful source of comfort and hope in the coming days.