Posts Tagged ‘Hope of Christ’s Return’

Return of Christ: Rejoice in hope

May 31, 2018

Biblegateway.com offers the Verse of the Day for May 31, 2018 coming from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Previous blog entries have focused on this particular passage making reference to a subject that continues to generate much discussion: the return of Jesus Christ. Whether termed “the Rapture” or “the Gathering Together,” or somewhat irreverently called “the Big Snatch,” the Return of Christ still stirs the hearts of believers. Although the term “rapture” is not used in the Scriptures, the Latin derivation of the word is translated from the Greek word harpazo, meaning “to carry off,” “snatch up,” or “grasp hastily.”

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the Bridegroom, went away to prepare a place and promised to return for his bride. That promise ignites passion in the heart of believers. Lately this “enduring flame” burns even more brilliantly, as we grow older and witness the passing of family members, friends, and loved ones, especially contemporaries of our same age range. Such occasions bring to mind the words of the Psalmist who describes our lives as but a vapor.

The person who dies may be widely recognized and celebrated, such as Rev. Billy Graham, who recently passed away at age 99 or that individual may be a co-worker who lived and died in obscurity. In either case, during such times we may experience the depths of sorrow and a sense of loss that can be overwhelming. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we take comfort and encouragement from the passage that includes the Verse of the Day. The New Living Translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 provide great comfort and assurance:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.
17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
18 So encourage each other with these words.

The lyrics to this song also remind us of the certainty of the Savior’s promise:

He Shall Return

He shall return.
He shall return.
Look up toward the Eastern sky.
He shall return.
He shall return.
Look up, your redemption is drawing nigh.

He shall return.
He shall return.
He shall return.

Indeed, the return of Christ is our hope, that is, our great expectation of a future good. In the midst of challenging situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love, as we rejoice in hope, so expressed in this poem:

Rejoice in Hope

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble,

and keep on praying.

Romans 12:12 (NLT)

And we now truly know God is able to do
Exceedingly and abundantly above all
That our finite minds can ask or could even think.
He uplifts and strengthens us each time that we fall.
Our paths lead to disaster, to the very brink.
Despite delays and setbacks, His Word is still true:
God is faithful to His promise; He will come through.
When life begins to unravel, we may ask why
The fulfillment of His will seems to be delayed.
All those who call on Him, He will never deny.
We are assured He will reward all who have obeyed.
Our faithful God is not a man that He should lie.
Through every trial, we are covered by the Blood,
We rejoice in hope, knowing that the Lord is good.

We close with this musical expression of our ultimate expectation: “When He Shall Come”:

My Redeemer lives

April 29, 2015

Job 19.25-26Revised and re-posted from a year ago, the Verse of the Day for April 29, 2015 is taken from Job 19:25 (KJV):

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

Having become an expression of hope, the foundation stone upon which the Book of Job is built, this verse relates to hope, not in the broad, general sense as defined as “an expectation of a future good,” but it alludes to “the Hope,” defined as the return of Jesus Christ, which continues to be an imminent possibility that energizes Tbelievers. Indeed, the Hope, the hope of Christ’s return, continues to be a theme that runs through much of my poetry, as Titus 2:13 reveals:

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Despite previous disappointments when I had anticipated that the Lord would return and he did not, when I waivered in my trust in God when He did not deliver me at a precise moment that I thought, I remain resolute that Christ shall return, as expressed in the lyrics of this song:

He Shall Return

He shall return.

He shall return.

Look up toward the Eastern sky.

He shall return.

He shall return.

Look up; your redemption is drawing nigh.

He shall return.

He shall return.

He shall return.

No, I am not disappointed, for my soul remains anchored in hope, the essence of the message of the following poem:

Anchored in Hope

[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor

of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under

whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther

and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil,

Hebrews 6:19 [Amplified Bible]

With deepest gratitude for all that I have learned:

That God is so good, as far as I am concerned.

My heart remains fixed; I continue to seek God’s face,

Striving to please Him, to be faithful to the end.

Despite life’s trials, I press on to reach this place:

No longer a bondslave but esteemed as a friend.

In this time between Passover and Pentecost

We look up, as the fullness of time shall reveal

The King of Glory, before whom all souls shall kneel,

The Kinsman Redeemer sent to redeem the lost.

Watching, waiting, in my heart I have prepared room,

Assured by the promise of the faithful bridegroom.

Looking to see far beyond my limited scope,

I am steadfast– my soul remains anchored in hope.

The verse from Job brings to mind George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah, the renowned oratorio based on texts from the King James Version of the Bible. One of the most well known selections from this frequently performed musical composition is based Job 19:25-26: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth.”

“I’m still here. . . ‘anchored in hope.’ “

May 27, 2011

According to radio minister Harold Camping, Christ was to return on May 21, 2011. Guess what? He didn't but be assured that "He shall return."

The pronouncement of radio minister Harold Camping that Jesus Christ would return precisely at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011 drew unprecedented media attention across the globe.  Camping of Family Radio and his followers placed about 1,000 billboards across the country at an undisclosed cost, advertising “the end of the world.” In response to Camping’s predictions, most Christians referred to the words of Jesus Christ in answer to questions regarding the end times, so clearly stated in Matthew 13:32:

But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Without question Camping and his followers experienced great disappointment when May 21 came and May 22 came to pass. Some have characterized Camping’s failed apocalyptic prediction as “A Replay of the Great Disappointment,”  referring to a similar occurrence when William Miller and his followers also promoted teachings regarding Christ’s Second Coming or the Second Advent that was predicted to occur October 22, 1844. Followers of the Millerite movement used newspapers to promote their message, just as Camping and his followers used radio and other media to spread their “end-times” message.

In “Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe” you will find two blogs posted on the topic of disappointment, “a most destructive toxic emotion”:  “Facing and Overcoming Disappointment—Part I” and “Facing and Overcoming Disappointment—Part II.”

 Though many may have experienced “great disappointment” when Christ did not return on October 22, 1844 or on May 21, 2011, as predicted that he would, we are, nonetheless, assured that he shall return.  Just as we know that Jesus Christ was first born in the fullness of time, in God’s perfect timing,  even so, shall the Lord return to gather his own together. In reflecting upon recent events, I thought of this poem:

“If the Lord tarries. . .”

James 4:13-15

 

“If the Lord tarries” and “If the Lord will”:

May these phrases ever be my preface.

With each decision may I learn to be still                      

And never presume to know your desire.

Though I may read your Word and apply

It diligently to my heart to do

All you ask of me, some secrets are not

Mine to know. Once more you tell me to watch,

To prepare my heart and to look above.

Whether I understand or misconstrue,

I cannot deny I have tasted your love.

God is faithful and His word is true.

In my heart the hope continues to burn

As I yearn even more for Christ’s return.

 

No, I am not disappointed, for my soul remains anchored in hope, the essence of the message of the following poem:

 

Despite the turbulent times in which we live, Christ is the anchor of our souls, as we are achored in the hope of his return.

Anchored in Hope

[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor

of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot down under

whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther

and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil,

Hebrews 6:19 [Amplified Bible]

 

With deepest gratitude for all that I have learned:

That God is so good, as far as I am concerned.

My heart remains fixed; I continue to seek your face,

Striving to please you, to be faithful to the end.

Despite life’s trials, I press on to reach this place:

No longer a bondslave but esteemed as a friend.

 In this time between Passover and Pentecost

  We look up, as the fullness of time shall reveal

  The King of Glory, before whom all souls shall kneel,

  The Kinsman Redeemer sent to redeem the lost.

  Watching, waiting, in my heart I have prepared room,

  Assured by the promise of the faithful bridegroom.

  Looking to see far beyond my limited scope,

  I am steadfast– my soul remains anchored in hope.

The verse from Hebrews 6 brings to mind the second verse  from “On Christ, the Solid Rock,” one of my all-time favorite hymns. I recall that as a youngster I narrated the words while the Junior Choir sang the song:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

The following recording taken from the album, “Together for the Gospel Live” from Sovereign Grace Music, provides comfort and assurance, as I rest in God’s unchanging grace.