27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Today our focus is on the return of Christ. It is a factual future event, although nobody knows when. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)
Biblical scholars like to debate the order of end things; Rapture, Second Coming, Thousand Year Reign, Judgment(s), etc.
Years ago when my oldest son was little, he was invited to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Janet and I were also asked to join the celebration. While the kids played, and the mothers supervised, the fathers sat at the table and tried to talk over the noise. That’s when I was accosted with the strangest conversation starter — ever. “Are you a dispensationalist and what is your position on the end time?
Now, I had only been attending Southeastern Bible College for a short time and had no idea how to answer his question. So I nodded my head and smiled as if carefully considering my answer. Just as I was about to say, “I think I heard my wife calling me,” he proudly announced he was an Amillennialist, which rejects the view that Jesus will have a literal thousand year reign as addressed in Revelation Chapter 20.
Eventually, my studies at Southeastern Bible College and Samford University introduced me to that concept and other views of how God will wrap up things on this earth and establish His forever plan for believers in heaven with Him.
Premillennialists hold that the thousand year reign will be preceded by the Second Coming. The Postmillennial camp expects the Millennial Reign of Christ to precede the Second Coming.
In fact, there are so many views about how the end will come together it can make your head spin. So I’m not going to deal with theory. I don’t mean to suggest it isn’t important, but The Forever Notebook is a devotional, and I want us to keep our eye on the prize. Keep the main thing the main thing. Jesus is coming again.
Like it says in our focus text: “… he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
Jesus’ first coming was to bear our sin, to die in our stead, and pay the penalty we deserve. His second earthly appearance will be to bring our salvation.
Consider the experience of the first disciples, heartbroken over the brutal execution of the One they had believed would save them. Then to learn He was alive, victorious over death. How amazing that must have been. Wouldn’t it have been exciting to have been there?
Acts 1 beautifully captures that breathtaking moment when Jesus ascended into heaven.
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11
As astounding as that sight of Jesus’ ascent must have been, His return will be even more breathtaking.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
I’ll close today’s devotion with these words from our Savior.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Revelation 22:20
For more on this topic, check out this article: Heaven is a Choice and Not Mandatory
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.