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Gazing Into The Distance

August 10, 2008

Ephesians 2:7 “That in the ages to come, he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ.”

When considering that which is to come, there are two distinct types of time frames. The first consists of those things which are right at the door. A good example is found in Luke 2:25-26 where we read of Simeon; a man to whom it was revealed by the Holy Ghost that he would lay eyes on Messiah before he left the land of the living. One can imagine that each morning, he awakened and wondered to himself “is this the day?” Such knowledge; if we embrace it, will directly influence the way that we conduct ourselves. Currently we are witnessing the fulfilment of prophecy on a daily basis. Yet while many declare that they believe Jesus is returning soon, their level of consumption by the affairs of this world suggest that this knowledge hasn’t reached beyond an acedemic level. When we really believe something our actions and words will reflect it.

Luke 12:45-46 “But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”

The second time frame consists of things afar off. Events which are certain to come to pass, but are so far into the future that they rarely leave the arena of theological discussion. The best known example of this would be the prophet Daniel. While the captivity in Babylon was playing out, he saw the end of the age. When he inquired about the end of these things, was told that they were well beyond his time in the physical realm and that when they came to pass, he would be at rest in his lot. (Daniel 12:13) He understood that his responsibility was to record what had been revealed to him as the information would be very relevant to the saints who were on the earth at the time of the end.

This post is more of a “thinking out loud” pondering of things to come; both near and in the distance. One may wonder what the point is in thinking about things that are beyond the horizon. The primary reason; at least for me, is that such ponderings add clarity to the truth that this world is very temporal and the age to come is eternal. Even if we should currently happen to be the most senior of senior citizens in this world, the truth is that each of us have “just arrived” in the embodiment of the everlasting. Comparing a lifetime with eternity is like trying to measure an atom with a yard stick. It’s but a single vapor upon an ocean without coastlines. Yet the decision made during that time; whether to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, or pursue another way will determine where a person spends their eternity.

The most notable event on the list of things to come is the glorious return of Jesus Christ. We know that this current age is going to grow increasingly darker and chaotic. It will culminate in a period of tribulation so horiffic that unless Jesus returned at the appointed time, there would be nobody left alive, however, for the elects sake, those days shall be shortened. There will be saints on the earth when he returns. They may be isolated with each one feeling “I am alone and they seek my life” but they will maintain the testimony of Jesus during the reign of the beast; regardless of the physical consequences. (Revelation12:11, Revelation 15:1-2)

I wasn’t planning to comment on this, but this is another reason that I believe the rapture is a post-tribulation event. The pre-tribulation model suggests that certain saints were of a carnal nature and missed the Lords return. These folks now have to suddenly become spiritual in a most inhospitable environment and be willing to die for their faith. If one cannot live for Jesus now, they’ll most likely not be willing to die for him in the hour of temptation. Loving our lives in this world is deadly to be sure.

Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

Jesus return will be seen by everyone dwelling upon the earth. The saints will rejoice as angels are sent to the four corners of the earth to gather the elect. Those who know him not will cry out to the rocks “fall on us!” The forces mustered by the antichrist (Revelation 16:13-14) will be annihilated, Jesus Christ will set foot on the mount of Olives and the period of the millenial reign will begin. A thousand years of heaven on this present world as Jesus Christ reigns and everything is set in order. For generations folks have tried to figure out “how we can all just get along.” Treaties have been forged, cease fires called for, endless speeches, summit meetings, global conferences, and what have you. Yet this world is more violent and contrary than ever. When Jesus returns, there will be “peace on earth” as his reign will be 100% righteous and justice will prevail. No more purchasing of politicians in return of favors and no more media carnivals where two kings can speak lies at one table. What an awesome time the millenial reign of Christ will be.

What will the millenmial reign be like? Certain things we don’t really know such as what the physical climate will be like or how an average day in the life of one living during this time will unfold. What we do know is that the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. We know that the devil will be bound and unable to deceive the nations during this time. The inhabitors of the earth will not be faced with temptation and I wonder if one of our primary tasks will be to prepare them for the time when they will face temptation. We know that the beast and false prophet will begin their eternity in the lake of fire a thousand years ahead of everyone who chose not to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and now must pay a debt of sin that they can never pay. (A debt that was paid for on Calvary, but they chose to neglect this great salvation for which Jesus shed his blood.)

Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

One event has always intrigued me and in the 25 years since being born of the Spirit, I’ve never heard a message on it. In fact, only a passing reference is made to it every once in a while. Yet the scriptural passage is well known.

Revelation 20:7-8 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”

A post-millenial great falling away. This passage gives no insight into the exact amount of time that transpires here; other than that it will be a “short season.” The number of those who fall to deception is going to be such that they will encompass the camp of the saints, as is mentioned in verse 9. This is the devils proverbial “last hurrah” as he is subsequently taken and cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever, along with the beast and false prophet. We cannot imagine what this will appear as; to see a world where peace and righteousness has resided for a millenia suddenly overrun by by the drumbeats of war against the saints. To see the one who was once the most beautiful angel before pride was found in him, cast into his final abode; surrounded by the billions upon billions that he deceived. To see the heaven and earth flee away as no more place is found for them. It’s a frame of time that remains over a thousand years into the future, and yet such ponderings serve to remind us of what’s important, what’s insignificant, and the pitfalls of temptation.

II Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

Revelation 21:4-5 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, behold, I make all things new. and he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

Revelation 21:6 “And he said unto me, it is done. I am alpha and omega, the begining and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

This is a very inadequate addressing of some phenominal events that lie in the future. Regular visits to the final two chapters of Revelation place everything in perspective. We have an awesome eternity; world without ending with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks to all who have stopped by this past week. First shift is making it difficult to reply in a timely manner as this household is complex beyond description. Yet all of these things will pass and two hundred years from now, all of us will be in our eternal dwelling. I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

 

 

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