Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Hope of His Appearing

One of the great benefits of studying Bible prophecy is that it infuses God’s people with boundless hope. We know that one day justice will be meted out, righteousness will rule, the last shall be first and good will triumph over evil. In fact, notice how the theme of hope percolates to the top of these verses which speak of Christ’s Second Coming:

·         In Titus 2:13 Paul admonishes the church to be, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . .”

·         In 1 Peter 1:3-5 we are told that God, “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” and that we are look expectantly for Christ’s return as “a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

·         In 1 John 3:2-3 we read, “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

As believers in Christ we are not just hoping in hope. No, our hope is grounded is in a person—Jesus, who has already fulfilled hundreds of specific prophecies and because He never left one jot or tittle unfinished concerning His first coming, then we know He will do the same in His Second Coming. As Vance Havner once said, “The early believers were not looking for something to happen, but Someone to come! Looking for a train to arrive is one thing, but looking for someone we love to come on that train is another matter.”[1] 

Dr. R.G. Lee (1886-1978), who was the eloquent pastor of First Baptist Dallas for many years, once told the story about his childhood on the family farm. He said his farm was so poor “that you couldn’t raise a umbrella much less a mortgage.” One day, R.G. and his mother were on the front porch of their house. She was sitting in a rocking chair and he was on the floor and that’s when he asked, “Mama tell me about the happiest moment of your life.”

She said, “Son, you’ve asked a hard question. But I remember when I was a girl the ‘War Between the States’ made for hard days. One day we got the news that Daddy, your grandfather, had been killed in battle. As you might imagine, this news killed Mama and I could hear her sobbing into her pillow every night.”

She continued, “One day, mama was sitting on the front porch breaking beans and I was sitting on the floor helping her, much like you’re sitting at my feet right now. Suddenly, a figure appeared in the field. My Mama turned to me and said, ‘Elizabeth, I declare than man walks just like your daddy’ as she kept snapping beans. I said, ‘Mama, now don’t get all excited. We all know that Daddy is dead and gone.’”


(Dr. R.G. Lee in his study)

R.G.’s mother then had a tear run down her cheek, “The figure coming across the cotton field drew closer and closer and came into view. My mother exclaimed, ‘Elizabeth, that is your daddy coming home!’ She threw her bowl on beans in the air, lifted her skirt and ran out into the cotton field to throw her arms around daddy. Son, we laughed and cried and hugged and kissed for at least an hour. Son, I believe that was the happiest day of my life!”

Dr. Lee concluded the story by saying, “As good as it was for Mama to see her daddy, who was thought to be dead actually alive, that day will pale in insignificance when the world sees Jesus who they thought was dead really alive and coming with the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and the dead.”[2]     

Our hope is in Christ because when He returns the church will be glorified with Him as we take off into clouds to be transformed (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Our hope is in Christ, because when He returns the Jews—God’s covenant people—will have the scales of blindness removed and they will receive Him as their Messiah (Rev. 1:7). Our hope is in Christ because when He returns there will finally be peace on the earth as the Prince of Peace rules with complete authority (Is. 2:4, 9:6-7). Our hope is in Christ, because when He returns the curse of sin will be reversed and creation will also be redeemed (Rom. 8:19-22). Our hope is in Christ, because when He returns, Satan will get what he finally has coming to him—defeat and doom (Rom. 16:20; Rev. 20:10). Finally, our hope is in Christ because when He returns, He will receive the glory, honor and worship that He rightfully deserves as the King of Kings (Ps. 2:7-9; Phil 2:9-11). –DM

[1] Dennis J. Hester, Vance Havner Quote Book, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1986), 205.
[2] Adrian Rogers, Unveiling the End Times in Our Times (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2004), 283-285. 

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