Summary: If the Bible were not to teach the Second Coming of Christ, then you would be left with a potentially endless cycle where things would simply go round and round. Your view of the end of time can have a profound effect on how you live your life in the present.
We conclude this sermon series entitled Creed by examining the Bible’s teaching of the Second Coming of Jesus. If you were to travel to Rome to see Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican City, you would no doubt gaze at the iconic and best-known picture of the Sistine Chapel – the creation of man as it pictures God and Adam reaching toward one another. There you would see the artist’s creative genius and artistic expression. Yet, you would also want to turn your attention to see the massive painting that spanned the entire wall behind the altar of the Chapel itself. The painting that took Michelangelo four years to complete as he began the work some twenty years later after the more well-known portions of the Sistine Chapel is known as The Last Judgment. Michelangelo was nearly sixty years old when he began the work and it represents some of the Bible’s main teachings concerning Christ’s Second Coming. And at the center of the painting is Christ Himself overseeing the judgment of all humanity. Surrounding Christ in the painting are numerous bodies (too many to readily count). To Christ’s left are those who He has condemned to hell itself. And to His right are those citizens of heaven alongside the angels.
The Second Coming of Jesus is no afterthought to the basic message of the Gospel. It cannot be relegated to the margins of our thinking or our living. For the Second Coming gives shape and balance to the Bible’s teaching of what the Gospel truly is. The Gospel has a beginning, a middle, and an end. If the Bible were not to teach the Second Coming of Christ, then you would be left with a potentially endless cycle where things would simply go round and round. This would mean that mean that same things happened again and again. Your view of the end of time can have a profound effect on how you live your life in the present.
If you believe in reincarnation, then perhaps you’ll view the disabled as Glen Hoddle, an English soccer coach. Hoddle believed that the sins you committed in a former life were punished by disabilities in the next life. Hoddle lost his job as soccer coach when groups representing the disabled protested his public comments. 90% of those surveyed according to the BBC felt Hoddle should no long continue as a coach due to his insensitive beliefs. Americans were the recipients of terrible act of injustice by Muslim jihadists on September 11, 2001. These men were promised reward in the afterlife alongside “fair women with large [beautiful] eyes.”
Beliefs about death and what lies beyond the grave come in all shapes and sizes. And then a Princess Diana’s death in the Fall of 1997, one message stood out in the midst of a nation’s mourning: “I did not leave you at all. I am still with you. I am in the sun and in the wind. I am even in the rain. I did not die, I am with you all.”
Today, placing gifts in your loved one’s coffin is becoming increasingly popular. One widow placed two cans of spray adhesive that her dead husband used to keep his toupee on. Unfortunately, the cans caused an explosion that bent the door of the furnace where his body was being cremated. Again, your view of the end of time can have a profound effect on how you live your life in the present.
“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.