Three Important Issues regarding Christ’s Return

People are interested in the end times — the last days. Just take a look at the history of movies and note how many of them include words like Armageddon and Apocalypse. And, as many have noted, end times media sells like hotcakes in the Christian marketplace.

Here’s the problem with a lot of end time teaching: It does nothing to prepare us for the future. Much of it addresses details of the nature of the events, spelling out the characteristics of the Antichrist, the identity of nations involved, and the triggers that seem to set things off. Often, the idea of being prepared is added as an epilogue, if it’s included at all.

I believe the reason “preparedness” if omitted from much end-time material is because many people are not prepared — and they don’t want to do the hard work of addressing their shortcomings.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to address these issues. His words are given to prepare people for whatever the future holds. As with everything else Jesus said, his teaching on his own return is very applicable to every generation.

In the second part of Matthew 24, Jesus addresses three important issues regarding his return. This podcast unfolds the teaching of Jesus here.

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A Fulfillment or an Interruption?

The reasons for the return of Christ include, secondarily, the culmination of the redemption of his creation and, primarily, the realization of our worship of him.

This act of worship of the Lamb is the objective of human history.

For some, it’s an interruption; for others a great fulfillment.

Taken in The Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs, CO. A larger rendering of this image is available by clicking the image. Permission to use this image in any personal or non-profit setting is given. Contact Steve Shields for commercial use of this photo. Mouse-over gives the Scripture from which the thought is taken.

End Time Alarmists…

Recently, a good friend of mine was talking to a gentleman who was insisting that the end times were right around the corner. My buddy replied that while he believed in the imminent return of Christ, he was not sure that it was wise to suggest it was going to happen at any specific time. After all, I think someone wiser than all of us said that no one knows the day or the hour.

Yet people have insisted on thinking they do.  Just look at this list, compiled by someone named Tyrone Cropper (I don’t know anything of Cropper, but I know the people he quotes).  If Cropper’s report is correct, it should be embarrassing to those quoted — but some seem to know no shame.

To me, the real value of Cropper’s report is that it helps reveal the need for discernment in our churches. It should keep us focused on the mission of proclaiming Christ’s grace for those who are in such desperate need.

A teacher in high school once asked us how we would change our lives if we knew we had only one year to live. Then he made the point, “Why aren’t you doing those things now? Why aren’t you living each day as though it’s your last?” That question stuck with me, and I’ve tried to do so ever since. Likewise, if you knew that the return of Christ is coming up in the next three days, would you be living any differently than you are now? I’ve been living as though his return might occur at any moment most of my life. If I knew he was returning next week, there’s nothing I would do differently than I have been doing: Keep my lamp trimmed. Proclaim Christ’s saving grace. And keep looking up.