Christ will Certainty Return PII

Like a thief in the night

Like a thief in the night, 2 Peter 3:10-13

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” 2 Peter 3: 11

Why do you suppose that Jesus did not give us the details of His second coming? What would have happened if He had?

Like a thief in the night, a quote from Jesus Himself, is a vivid image of anticipated End Times, and literally means to “break in,” as to dig into the clay and brick sides to get inside the home. Here, it is a metaphor, and does not refer to a literal thief who would rob us, but that Christ’s coming will not be predicted or expected. It will be a surprise and a shock. This could only happen if the people were not there, as in not ready (Ex. 22:2-3; Matt. 24:43; Luke 12:39-40).

Do not be ignorant of His promise! 

We talked a bit on this one, “Day of the Lord.” It means the Lord’s final Day of Judgment where He settles all accounts and injustices. It is a synonym for the Second Coming and refers to the anticipated eschatological climax of events. Victory over darkness and sin will be achieved after God intervenes in the world with judgment and destruction of His enemies, and rewards and blessings to those who are in Him. Although this Day started with the resurrection of Christ and His victory over sin and the coming of the Spirit, it comes to its consummation and fullness after Christ’s Second Coming and Judgment (Isa. 2:11-20; 13:9-13; Joel 1:15; 3:14-21; Amos 5:18-20; 1 Thess. 2:1-3; 5:2).

The Heavens…disappear… with a roar…elements, refers to God’s judgment, that He will remove all evil and iniquity, and all of humanity’s works will be held in account.

This is an Old Testament image of purification and renewal. This refers to the building blocks of the universe. It is interesting that the Greeks theorized about molecules centuries before science discovered them. The basic elements in ancient times, usually refer to earth, air, fire, and/or water. This term also refers to all that is in the universe, such as celestial beings, planets, and stars. Here, it is most likely referring to the heavenly bodies. Peter’s point is that everything will be destroyed (some believe transformed or rebooted (Isa. 34:4; 64:1-4; Matt. 24:29-31).

Everything will be…. Laid bare/ burned up/exposed, this means to be found out or found, and points us to the judgment that is coming.

The earth will undergo a climatic destruction or reformation. This could also mean that the earth will be destroyed and made new. Also, it could mean being aware of our own motives, why we do what we do (1 Cor. 3:13-15).

Is it to please our curiosity or manipulate others to see our way of thinking, regardless of revealed biblical truth?

The main point of this passage is to tell us not to be discouraged, but to remain faithful and vigilant. We are to live our lives preparing and planning as if Christ would be coming tomorrow or if He were coming a thousand years from now. We are not to be preoccupied with the details and trivialities. That is why Jesus did not give them to us. Rather, our faith development and steadfastness are far more impacting and more real on others around us (Matt. 24)!

The earth and all we know and see will either be destroyed or re-formed into a new earth and a new life. How does this make you feel? How does this give you hope?

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The End of the World is Coming!

Read: 1 Peter 4: 7-11

Yes, at some point in space and time, the end of the world is coming! And it is sooner than it was yesterday. That life and our opportunities are limited; thus… This means we must have the correct end times theory.. We must be pre mill or post mill, or pan mill or rapture ready or…what ever the trend of what is happening now, yada, yada and yada… not!

Now, what does the Bible say we are to do? We Are To Have the Attitude of Christ!

We are to make every effort to represent Christ and make the most of what we are given for His glory. We are to be stewards of all that we have, whether small or great. The better we use our gifts, the Fruit of the Spirit, God’s precepts applied, the more generous He is with us with more gifts, abilities, and opportunities.

So, what does this mean? We are called not to waste our opportunities, but to be diligent and faithful with our call, abilities, and prayer with love and hospitality. Not diligent with a theory that is not even based on God’s Word; rather from some megalomaniac pseudo-Christian. So, do what God has called you to do and do it with passion, truth, and in love!

Look at some key word from this passage: 

“Be judged” refers to that we will all die and be held accountable for what we have done with Jesus’ dying for us. Also, we have to realize that the world will not understand Christ; therefore, it will not understand you (Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53).

“Regard to the Spirit.” We now have spiritual renewal and assurance because Christ has obtained for us victory and triumph over death and sin (Rom. 6:5-9; 1 Cor. 15:25-26).

Pray” is meant to line us up in His will and with His empowerment (Luke 18:1; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 5:14-15). 

“Love covers” means that real love continually forgives (Matt. 18:21-22; 1 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 4:32; 1Thess. 4:9-10; 2 Pet. 1:7; 1 John 4:7-11). This means we are to overlook the faults and transgressions of others against us within reason and with love. We are also not to gossip or slander one another (Prov. 10:12; James 5:20)!

“Is Near” refers to the period from the Resurrection of our Lord to His Second coming; this is called the “Last Days.”

This term may get wrong and never bother to look it up in proper source and assume….  “Last Days” is not a time reference, meaning either limited or unlimited time, although it does mean that the longer we go, the less time we have. We can have a week left or another two thousand years. The point here is the End of Days is a period of time and covenant with Christ, and it will be marked by great sufferings.

Head this: No one will be immune; we will all have to give account for our life. Looking forward to the End of Days and Christ’s return is also meant to encourage and influence the attitudes and actions of suffering Christians (John 5:27; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5, 16), therefore, be in serious prayer (Dan. 12:1-2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 1:20).

What is the point of all this, this key word most miss: “God may be praised.” Here, this means for us to be and have the Attitude of Christ, be good stewards, faithful and fruitful a Christ ambassador, as we are called to live, serve, and do all that we do in life for the honor and glory of our Lord and Savior. This is what echoes in eternity, not vain theories (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; 2 Cor. 5:20; Jude 24-25)!

 

Thoughts and Applications for Revelation 22:1-6

 

Do you long for intimacy with Christ as Lord and love of your life? In this passage, He shows us He restores and seeks us to be renewed and to be in Him. Christ gave us grace from His love to make Him our home of faith and motivation in life. Then, He prepares an eternal home for us too. The question is, as Christians, do we give back our worship, praise, gratitude, and devotion to Him? Are we at home with Him as our main inspiration, impulse, and comfort in this life, not just in the life to come (John 14:23)? We can be assured He cares and loves us beyond description; but, do we love Him back? God has a purpose for this world and for our lives and it is all about communion in and with Him. We must find a way to increase our awareness and love for Christ in our daily lives so our lives mean something more than just “what I want” and “what I can get.” It must be Christ-focused, for this is what Heaven is all about too! 

This incredible passage is more about hope—hope that we need more than anything else including eschatology, the study of end times. Our hope of Heaven is our fuel, our motivation—like gas is to a car; it will get us through life, the great times and the tough times, our adversities, so our soul will travel well.  It is about our motivation to grow in faith, to be loyal to our Lord so we look to Him and not our troubles and trials. Heaven is our hope of hope, and so much more; it is a reality, a wonder, and a place we will be forever and ever. Our biggest problem has been solved, that of our sin causing us to die with no hope or salvation. Christ paid that debt. As a Christian, we have been saved; if you are not saved, you can be and then you can become a new creation in Him, set for eternity (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:17)! 

Christ brings us Heaven! He brings peace and a future to us who do not deserve it. Because of Him, we have hope and a future and most of all, we have Him both now and forevermore! What is better than that?! There is nothing that can be a greater motivator and comfort than knowing for certain who Christ is, what He has done, and what place He has for you and me! Now, let us live our lives as if that is true—because it is true. And, keep in mind these powerful passages as well as John 14 in mind, as love and obedience are connected in Him! 

Questions to ponder: 

  1. Why do you think John gives us this preview of Heaven? What does it mean to you to have “hope beyond hope?”
  1. How do you feel knowing that you have access to God and His life-giving blessings and renewal now, and not just in Heaven?
  1. How does Hope help you be encouraged so you can encourage others? What and when are you going to do this more? How is Hope a vital fuel and stimulate necessary for all that we do successfully in life and for Him? What are some other valuable faith stimulants and how can you use them? What can you and your church do to implement these hopes?
  1. What can your church do to help its people see and feel Hope and the wonder of Christ? How will this help prosper and grow your church even in times of stress, suffering, and confusion?

© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Two Prevailing Views of Revelation 22:1-6

 

(Chapters twenty-one and twenty-two deal with the literal versus the non-literal interpretation of Scripture). 

The Literalist View: Sees this passage as the continual, exact description of our inheritance and hope—Heaven. This passage also sets up the second coming of our Lord.  Some in this camp debate whether the Temple will be rebuilt and if this, along with the previous and coming passages, describes this new temple built on the mount, as the armies of the Muslim world seek to destroy it while God protects it. Some of this theory’s main points are that God will use this altar of the Holy of Holies as His main communion with humanity in a millennial kingdom or in a Heavenly kingdom. Some in the non-literalist camp hold to this view too. 

The Non-Literalist View: They see this passage as clearly symbolic drawing mainly from the Old Testament in Ezekiel 47 and the New Testament in John 7 as meaning God keeps His promises and will provide for us in abundance now and forevermore. This is about how God dwells among us through His Church and that our purpose is to worship Him. Others see this as our future abode of Heaven and eternity. Some see this as about the advancement of the Gospel and the building of the Church for His glory. The Church becomes the refuge of Ezekiel (Ezek. 17:22-23; 47). 

The point in these views

Most in the literal camp are the futurists and dispensationalists who do not always do a good job at looking to context or word meanings or genres, which are essential for accurate Bible interpretation. In contrast, many in the non-literalist camp miss the point of the passage all together. Remember, these are man’s theories read into the text, and not necessarily taken from the text. What do we need to know? God does not always give us explanations to live by; He gives us His promise and His empowerment! God is most concerned with what these images represent—the “living water” from John 7:37-39. He is our substance, hope, and life that we are to live for now and that we will have forevermore.

Exegetical look into Revelation 22:4-6

 

  • See his face. God’s self-disclosure and our extreme blessing of eternity will enable us to see our Lord and be in His presence face to face. Currently, God cannot be seen, but in some phenomenal way, He will allow us to. In ancient cultures, to see a king’s face meant blessing and honor; to be removed from the king and not be able to look onto his face meant punishment and banishment (Ex. 33:20; Esther 7:8; 2 Sam. 14:24; John 1:14-18; 1 Cor. 13:12).
  • His name will be… This refers to the seal of God’s ownership, as names meant not only possessions, but also who possessed you and that person’s character. This also means that Christ is LORD Supreme; He is our “all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:27, 28; Rev. 3:12; 14:1; 21:2, 10)  
  • On their foreheads means that God marks and protects the faithful who accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and who He claims as His. In ancient times, the forehead and hands were the only parts of the body that were visible to others. This, too, is symbolic; God will not “rubber stamp” people or give us some kind of a visible mark, tattoo, “branding,” or a “cross sign” (because the Hebrew letter Taw, looks like an X or cross sign), nor is this some kind of replacement for circumcision. God sees us as important and worth protecting (Ex. 13:9-16; 28:38; Deut. 6:8; 11:18; Is. 44:5; 66:19; Ezek. 9:4-6; Gal. 6:17; Rev. 7:3)!
  • No more night. The original curse of sin is “no longer;” it is removed along with all subsequent curses. This is an image of sin and how God works it out, that even though we do not deserve it, we need it; we need His grace and redemption. This may imply that God resets His creation back to its previous “un-fallen” state where sin has not affected it (Gen. 3:14-19).
  • God will give them light. In Jewish literature (Wisdom of Solomon), this also meant righteousness (Ex. 34:29-35; Dan. 12:3; 2 Cor. 3:13; Rev. 21:23).
  • They will reign. All of God’s people are holy to Him, and in the future, each of us will reign with Him. This means we will partake in His authority and rule as His representatives and holders of His promise.(Psalm 2:8-9; Dan. 7:18, 27; Matt. 25:21-23; Luke 19:17; 1 Cor. 15:41; Col. 1; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 2:26-27; 20:4).
  • Trustworthy/faithful and true refers to a Jewish oath/testimony that gave credence to the veracity, importance, and reliability of the promise or statement spoken. This is also a characteristic of God, who is faithful and true (as in, He is personal and reliable); thus, so is His Word. He is the One who is completely trustworthy and faithful. In context, these are the final sayings of the Angel, and then he signs off (Psalm 2:7; 89:27; Prov. 14:5, 25; Isa. 8:2; Jer. 42:5;Acts 13:33; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:20-23; Col. 1:15-18; 1 Tim. 6:13; Rev. 1:3-5; 2:10-13; 3:14;19:11;22:18).
  • God of the spirits of the prophets/flesh is a name and title of God meaning “Lord of the Spirits,” the magnanimity of God as Lord over all, even those of humanity’s most influential (Num. 16:22).
  • Things that must soon take place. A declaration of closure restating what was first said. The point here and throughout Revelation is not just for the future events, but also how we conduct ourselves in them. Whatever unfolds is irrelevant if we do not have the strength of faith to endure and learn from it (Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 1:3, 7; 22:10).  (See Revelation 1:1 study).

Exegetical look into Revelation 22:1-3

 

  • River of the water of life means that what is needed for life, even life itself, comes from God. It perhaps refers to the Garden of Eden, and the rivers that flowed there. This also refers to the river that flowed under Jerusalem; each of these themes means Paradise and “God with us.” Water means life, both in the ancient world and now; water is everything to life, and the growing and prospering of crops. Without it, everything dies. The Greeks saw water and river together to mean “virtue” and John uses this imagery to represent the Spirit and renewal in his Gospel. This also means Jesus is the answer to our thirst in life and for salvation! God is our abundant supply of all we need now and forevermore (Gen. 2:10-14; Psalm 46:4; Ezek. 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8; John 4:10-14; 7:37-39).
  • Each side of the river… down the middle. This image is indicative of Eden found in Ezekiel 47:1-12 meaning “God nurturers us and extends His abundance and promises to us.” (Psalm 36:8; 46:4; Ezek. 34:27; 36:30 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13; Zech. 13:1)
  • Tree of life refers to the garden of Paradise and Heaven. In context, it means the guarantee of an everlasting life, and that this life is to be abundant, vivid, pure, and true. The central focus of Heaven is our effectual, eternal relationship in and with Christ. The images from Genesis and Ezekiel mean having access to God’s blessings and Fruit. The tree of life was in the Garden of Eden from which humanity was locked out after the Fall. And, this refers to trees that are always fruit bearing, not just in their season, just as God’s Blessings are continual and forevermore. The promise here is the restoration of Paradise, and that this tree will grow again (Gen. 2:9; 3:22-24; Ezek. 47:7-12; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 2:1-7, 14, 19)!
  • Healing of the nations. This is not about political boundaries or even people groups; it is about people in general. For the Jew, “nations” meant Gentiles or everyone. Through Christ, there is no division or caste. We have direct, intimate access to Him. This also means that Jesus is Sovereign and greater than any nation, government, power, or authority. And, in context, it means no sickness or divisions or conflict or prejudices—thus, countries are not needed (Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 1:6; 2:26-27; 20:4, 6)!
  • No longer will there be any curse. This means restoration and refers to “Paradise” and “pleasure garden.” This points to our restored, sinless state and/or the millennial kingdom, that God will reverse the Fall and remove the curse of sin from the universe (Gen. 2:8; 3:16-19; Ezek. 28:13; Zech. 14:11; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7). 
  • His servants. This suggests that there is no special elite class in the Kingdom of God. We all are His servants; we are all special and anointed to serve (Matt. 5:8; Rev. 1:1).

Revelation 22:1-6: What are the Contexts?

 

This passage brings to a close John’s visions with a testimony to their importance, veracity, reality, and truthfulness. This passage also sets up the promise for Christ’s return. This is also about our assurance in Christ—that we will receive our rewards, comfort, and bliss in Him, but that we can also have it now—just as a taste—in our trials, setbacks, and failures and still be triumphant in Him as long as we have faith and allow it to mature and keep growing. Heaven is not just a carrot on a stick to those in persecution to show them what awaits them. Heaven gives hope and a sign to stay on His path; it is a reality, it is a wonder, it is a comfort and a means by which to stay focused on Christ rather than on our circumstances. Best of all, it is real and one day we will be there for all time! 

This passage is also describing Paradise in the similar imagery Isaiah uses to show the splendor and wonder of a rebuilt Temple and a restored Jerusalem, but now it is about Heaven (Is. 51:3). This is a renewal of the imagery and reality of the Garden of Eden that somehow in some shape will be restored. The original Garden of Eden was a setting in nature; now, it is being described in the previous passage as a city, a contrast showing how God loves and works through humanity, bringing us to Him. The main point is not of the ecstasy of Paradise; it is about our intimacy with God who is with us, Immanuel, “God among us,” “God with us.” The garden imagery is that of God empowering and keeping us; this is the real, effectual Paradise of which we have just a taste now, but will come to fruition in eternity. This is also about our blessings for being with and in Him as God is the One who loves us and restores our communion with Him. God restores His creation back to its utopian, unfailing state before sin entered into it. 

As Adam and Eve started out in the Garden of Eden of perfection and utopia, and then it was ruined by their sin, now it is resurrected beyond measure for all those in Christ to live in and enjoy. The Bible starts off the history of humanity in a garden; after our journeys in sin, our fall, pride, struggle, and the work of Christ redeeming us, we end up back in the garden of Paradise—the garden of being in Him! This symbolism is based on fact and gives us hope and a sense of the reality and presence of God in our lives and His working in our church. This is meant to inspire us for the deployment of our faith so we can be confident in the reliability and steadfastness of our Christian life. He is empowering us. It is more than just a preview of what is to come; this is real. His presence is a genuine, effectual presence, a hope, and abundance for us now! 

How is God keeping your church faithful and watering you now? What fuels the faithful in your church? What can your church do to better “water” its people?