Summary: “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…so you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him”. (Matt. 24:42, 44)
Today is the 1st Sunday of Advent and also the day we celebrate senior citizens. Advent means the coming of Christ and refers to both His first coming and to His second coming. The first coming of Christ, His birth, was prophesied long before the appointed time and every prophetic detail was accurately fulfilled. In the same way the prophecy about His second coming will be fulfilled at the appointed time. The promise of His coming has led to many false prophecies by false prophets about the time of His coming. Many people have been misled and their lives destroyed by prophecies that totally contradict the revelation of Scripture that only the Father knows the time. The only way to avoid such deception is to be always ready for the Lord’s return. It is not our duty to determine the time of His coming but our duty to awake and keep watch for His coming.
Step One: The certainty of prophecy
a) The birth of Christ
The Scriptures have demonstrated beyond all doubt the certainty that all prophecy will be fulfilled. The birth of Christ fulfilled prophecy to the minutest detail. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He was born without a sin nature to meet God’s requirements for a perfect sacrifice. He was born in Bethlehem, the house of bread, as the bread of life. He was born in a manger as the Lamb of God and the sacrifice for sin. The first people to visit Him were shepherds who could testify that He was a Lamb without blemish.
b) The death of Christ
The prophecy concerning the death of Christ has also been fully fulfilled. The shadow of the way Christ would shed His blood was demonstrated on the day of Atonement when the High Priest “sprinkled the blood of the bull with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times”. (Lev. 16:14) Jesus Christ, our High Priest, sprinkled His blood seven times. It began in the Garden of Gethsemane and ended when a soldier pierced His side with a spear. His death fulfilled all the messianic prophecies made concerning His death.
c) The resurrection of Christ
The prophecy concerning the resurrection of Christ has also been fulfilled. He rose from the dead the third day according to the Scriptures. One description of the empty tomb was of two angels, one sitting at the head and a second at the feet where the body of Christ had laid presenting the picture of the Ark of the Covenant that housed the presence of God.
Prophecies concerning the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Christ have been fulfilled exactly as prophesied. The fulfilment of these prophecies confirms that every other prophecy about Christ that has not yet been fulfilled will also be fulfilled. This is a clear confirmation that His promised return is a certainty. Why are people more concerned about the time of Christ’s return than about the certainty of it? It is for the same reason why workers want to know when the master will be returning? It is also for the same reason why children left at home alone want to know when their parents will be returning? When they know the time of their return, then they also know for how long they can do what they please and still be ready for their return. As in the days of Noah people today are doing what they please and not heeding the warning that Christ can return at any time. Just as in Noah’s day the people laughed at him when he warned of the coming judgment, so today people are not taking the Christian message of salvation and the Second Coming of Christ seriously. And just as the flood brought sudden judgment to the world, so the return of Christ will do the same and unbelievers will once again face death and judgment. And just as God saved Noah and those with him who believed, even so Jesus Christ will save all those who have put their trust in Him.
When Christ returns will He find us ready and waiting to welcome Him or will He find us busy pursuing worldly desires and interests? Will He find us serving Him or serving ourselves through our pursuit of wealth and power?
Step Two: Living in readiness for His coming
a) Worship Jesus Christ
Worship makes us live in readiness for Christ’s coming. Worship is a sign of holy living. Worship is not only expressed in song, lifting up of hands and words of worship and adoration but also in a life of holiness. We are “to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, as our spiritual worship”. (Romans 12:1)