Summary: Of all people, we are nearest in point of time to Jesus' Reeturn
People who are ordinarily rational, reasonable, relaxed individuals seem to lose those characteristics and become contentious, aggressive, hostile and belligerent, with red faces, snarling lips and bulging eyeballs when it comes to disagreement about Bible versions or translations, interpretation and application.
Some are extremely closed minded and others more open and liberal.
Some are stuck on one particular version as though it had been lowered from heaven by a gold chain.
Some are convinced that the Sabbath is the day for worship and others choose Sunday as The Lord’s Day.
One topic that has as many interpretations and understandings and divisions as any other is the Second Coming of Jesus.
At the outset let me say that I have no intention or wisdom to sort out or settle the different perspectives on the tribulation or millennium. Frankly, I don’t care which interpretation you select, pre-mill, post-mill or a-mill. Whichever you choose, let us consider that there are some things we can agree on:
1. Our interpretation is not a salvational issue.
2. We must not judge someone as a heretic who differs in understanding from us.
3. We can believe that Jesus is coming and that all events thereafter are totally under His control.
4. Those who know Him will be with Him forever in Heaven – those who don’t know Him will spend eternity away from Him, condemned by their own choice.
5. One of the last things Jesus would want is for His people to divide on such an issue as to how we interpret the Millennium.
I like what Peter wrote about the return of Christ to earth. “
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:3-13 (NASB). Consider these truths:
I. HE WILL COME AGAIN:
A. “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” It is further clearly declared
1. By the Old Testament prophets: ”I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10 (NASB).
2. By the Apostles, as John wrote: “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.” Revelation 1:7 (NASB).
3. By Jesus Himself, "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." Luke 12:39-40 (NASB).
B. As a small boy, I reasoned that if there were no clouds in the sky, Jesus couldn’t come, so I didn’t need to worry about being real good. But let the clouds appear, my behavior somehow improved. Be ready, because ready or not, clouds or no clouds He is coming, like a thief.