Category Archives: Second Coming

In Line

A friend of mine signs autographs and sells sketches at Comic Conventions because he used to be an animator for Disney.  People line up to meet him (which continues to baffle him…).  I wonder if there will be lines in Heaven to meet various Bible celebrities.  Some of those lines would be pretty long, with all the people wanting to meet John, Peter and the rest of the boys.  Don’t even think about how long the line would be at Jesus’ booth.  Good thing we’ll have eternal life if we’ll be waiting in all those lines.

I’m not sure how that will work out, but if there are lines like that, don’t be surprised if you see Peter standing in your line.  How could that be?  Let’s ask him.  He wrote this greeting:

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  (2 Peter 1:1)

Peter got to be one of the original apostles of Jesus and yet considered every believer to be of equal standing.  How can that be possible?  Because, as a follower of Jesus, your standing is obtained “by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”   God’s righteousness is perfect.  How much of that righteousness will He impart through Jesus to you?

Paul wrote:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.   (Philippians 1:6)

 

And John:

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.  (1 John 3:2)

I don’t know about lines to meet Bible rock stars in heaven.  But know this: as hard as it is to imagine, if you follow Jesus by faith, you are already in line to obtain perfection. The next time you pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” remember that promise is part of the deal.

His Own Words

Time Magazine will tell you nobody really knows much about Jesus.  They and other print and broadcast media use skepticism about Jesus to pump up their ratings just before Resurrection Day.  They may not know Who Jesus is, but He does.  Here is some of how He described Himself:

John 6:33-35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:23

He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:24

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

John 8:58

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (Note: “I Am” is the Name of God.)

 

John 9:39

Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

John 10:30

“I and the Father are one.”

John 10:36-38

“…do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

John 14:9

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 

Mar 14:61 — Mar 14:62

But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

There’s more.  Much more.  But, of course, none of that matters unless you are willing to accept that Jesus wasn’t lying.

Unwrap Music

The mysterious thing about gift wrapping paper is it slows time to a crawl.  After I wrap a gift, I can hardly wait, and frequently fail to wait, until the moment the gift is first unwrapped.  The more special the gift, the slower goes the time.  It’s not just me, it’s a rule, a law of physics.  Which means angels in heaven must have had a very hard time waiting for Jesus to be “unwrapped.”

Think about it from their perspective:  In heaven, you hear about God’s plan to have His Son become a human and be born on earth.  Earth is a sphere that spins around some tiny speck of light way out in the universe.  Humans are creatures God made to live on that sphere.  And Almighty God has decided to send His Son there as a human! You can hardly imagine it, let alone understand it.  More amazing than if the Orkin man decided to become a termite.  And after Jesus has been “wrapped” in Mary, so to speak, imagine the gathering anticipation for the reveal.  Imagine how slowly those nine months would pass, worse than waiting at the DMV.  And how excited you would be to witness this miracle.  You would be ready to explode!

So now, God comes and says, “We’re getting a choir together to celebrate it when Jesus is born.  What do you think, would you be interested?”  “Are You kidding?  Of course I’m interested; I can’t wait!”  And after Gabriel is done setting the stage for the shepherds and gives the cue to the angelic choir director, how enthusiastic would your singing be?  This is probably a vast understatement:

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  (Luke 2:13-14)

Jesus is going to come again, this time not as a baby but as the King of Kings!  Time is creeping at an agonizing pace.  But, as we wait, you don’t have to try to contain your excitement.  You can get ready to pump your fist and sing!

Eyewitness

Recant or be tortured to death.  Sound like ISIS?  Many Christians have faced that choice at their hands, but for the original disciples, it was the government who made that threat.  None of them caved.  All but John were executed.  How could they have been firm, so brave and so unwilling to change their story?  They were first-hand eyewitnesses.  They knew how outlandish their claims seemed.  But they seen, heard and touched Jesus before and after His resurrection. 

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (​2Pe 1:16-17)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  (1John 1:1-3)

Full Knowledge and Consent

Who said, “…neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain…“?  Martin Luther King, Jr. He was quoting an amazing prophecy of Isaiah who had been given a peek at God’s endgame.  He saw the future we yearn for, the Day of no more tears, no disease or death.  The day when humans somehow can live in perfect harmony and peace.  

How, somehow?  Hear it straight from Isaiah as he received it from God:  

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  (Isaiah 11:9)

Knowing, in Bible speak, is frequently a term for intercourse, the deepest and most intimate expression of a relationship of love. When we attain full knowledge of God, when we know Him fully, our hearts and actions will effortlessly resonate with His.  It will be the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer, “…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  ​There will be real peace and joy.

Even though our capacity for knowing God, knowing Jesus, is limited, the day of full knowledge and consent is truly coming.  Isaiah saw a vision of it.  Martin Luther King, Jr. wept for it.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  (1 Corinthians 13:12)

More is More

In “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the people who had seen the extraterrestrial vehicles in the sky, gathered on the hill in wonder and amazement, hoping to see more.  You should experience that attitude when you attend a church: people who have glimpsed a beautiful and powerful mystery and want more.  Sadly, many churches seem to know all the answers, to have everything tied up in neat bundles.  They have lost their taste for mystery.  Stay away!  Those so-called churches are dangerous; they have died.  A pastor who considers himself to be an expert has not encountered God.

When Paul encountered Jesus, it blew his mind so thoroughly he couldn’t see for days.  Before that, he was an expert.  After that, he wrote,

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Infants of Faith

Hold up a baby so his feet just barely touch and he makes little walking motions that anticipate the day when he will walk and run.  I believe our capacity for faith is immature and poorly formed like that.  One day, with the coming of a new, perfect heaven and earth, we will use faith as naturally and effectively as we use our other senses.  We will go from being held aloft and coaxed to sprinting and dancing.

Faced with His disciples inability to help a demon-possessed boy, Jesus said,

… “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? ….”   (Matthew 17:17b)

I think Jesus’ expression of frustration was due to His full awareness of how poorly formed and limited our capacity for faith is in this corrupted world.  When asked why they couldn’t do what He did to help the boy,

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  (Matthew 17:20)

Jesus, I believe, was yearning for the day when His followers would apply faith as naturally and powerfully as He. For now, although our attempts are comparatively immature and weak, we are meant to keep at it, gradually strengthening our “faith muscles.”  As we do, our Father holds us up.  He smiles and dreams of the day we will walk and run by faith.