Perjantai 16.11.2018
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Jotka kyynelin kylvävät, ne riemuiten korjaavat. Jotka itkien menevät kylvämään vakkaansa kantaen, ne riemuiten palaavat kotiin lyhteet sylissään. Ps. 126:5-6

No one knows the moment of the second coming of Christ

in English 2.4.2014 00:00 | Siionin Lähetyslehti
The second coming of Christ is a central theme in the Bible. Jesus said that no one except for God knows the exact time. God’s word exhorts us to follow the signs of times and to be ready at every moment.
“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast that no man take thy crown.” So it is stated in Revelations (3:11).

Already in the time of the early churches, Christ’s return was awaited with devotion. Christians contemplated the din of the surrounding world, often amongst persecution, and read signs of the times. Many believed that Christ would still return in their lifetime.

The second coming of Christ is a central theme in the Bible. In the New Testament alone, the second coming of Christ or happenings relating to it are referred to over 300 times. For centuries there have been plenty of different kinds of false prophets predicting the day of judgment. They have specified dates for the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. Each time the anticipation has ended in disappointment. Jesus taught about the end of the world: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32).

It is important to keep vigil

What is the Bible’s concept of time like? God’s time is difficult for the human mind to understand. Peter deciphers this subject in his letter: “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8). On the other hand, it is not man’s place to speculate about God’s timetable. “It is not for you to know the times of the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:7). Our concept of time is based on the cycle of creation surrounding us. But God’s work is not tied to our concept of time, or even our ability to comprehend.

Instead of estimating the exact time of Christ’s second coming, God’s word exhorts us to follow the signs of the times, watch in faith and be ready at every moment. The writer of the book of Revelations also cautions us to watch (3:11) in this short verse: “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”

The angel of the church in Philadelphia was tired in his own endeavor. He was told: “For thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). The angel of the church in Philadelphia was encouraged to hold fast in this endeavor until the end, to trust in God’s name, His forgiveness and care.

Paul’s joy

Paul also knew the tradition passed down from ancient times in which the winner of a large sports competition or a war hero was given a laurel wreath as a sign of victory or honor. When Paul saw his end nearing, he wrote to his young friend and work companion Timothy: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7–8).

Paul rejoiced that he had survived the different trials of a multi-phased life through God’s power and kept the gift of faith. For him, the promise that Christ had given to his disciples was true: “And lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).

Relying on God’s promise

Paul awaited the reward, the crown of righteousness, which he would receive when Christ came the second time. It was not important to Paul that Christ would come still in his lifetime. He trusted that the day of the coming of the righteous judge would come without warning because Christ Himself had promised it.

The promises of God’s words are still in effect. No matter how the world around us looks, and no matter what kinds of times we are faced with in our lives, Christ has promised to be with his own always and everywhere. When we rely on this promise and trust in God’s grace and forgiveness, it is safe for us to strive in faith one day at a time. May God give us strength to hold fast to our most precious treasure. Then when Christ comes, we would also have the sign of victory, the crown of righteousness, placed on our heads.

Published: Siionin Lähetyslehti 10/2013
Translation: Angela Hänninen

Tekstissä käsitellään seuraavia raamatunkohtia: Rev. 3:11
Julkaistu englanninkielisessä kieliliiteessä 4/2014

 

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