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 Varying Views of the Millennium

The Millennium is the Latin word for a thousand years, as in bound him for a thousand years (Rev. 20:2). The Greek, Chiliasm, meaning one thousand years, is mentioned six times. It basically means a thousand-year period of time or a long period of time, that Jesus Christ has victory over evil and corruption (1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rom. 8:19-21; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 14:6-18; 19:11-16), and will physically and spiritually rule over all of the earth (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30; Rev. 20:1-10) from His throne in Zion/Jerusalem (Isa. 65:17-25; Zeph. 3:11-13; Zech. 9:9-10; 14:16-21). Jesus and His glory is seated on the throne, and the righteous (those who accepted Christ) will be clothed by His righteousness with authority and inhabit the New Kingdom (Dan. 7:22; Matt. 19:28; 25:34; Luke 12:32; 22:28-30; 1 Cor. 6:2; Rev 2:5), fulfilling the Kingdom of God on earth (Matt. 16:18-19; 26:29; Mark 14:25; Heb. 8:11).

What the Millennium means is also in debate as to whether it indicates a literal thousand-year reign, a figurative time period not limited to time, or an era of church history. Most biblical scholars hold that there will be a Millennium as a fact as with Election. The debate is over how long it is and when it will occur. As for election, the debate is over what is meant by God’s foreknowledge or His purpose. And, of course, as with the interpretations, there are several views, which I will lay out in the next posts…

The disputes in these three main views (oh yes, there are lots of others, but none worth mentioning) center on the chronological makeup of Revelation, what happens when what comes first (Ezek; Rev. 19:11-21 verses 20:1-10). Premillennialists believe that chapter 20 follows the Second Coming, whereas other groups do not see it that way. Jewish literature is usually not based on time sequence or chronology as Greek and Western literature are. Rather, it typifies relations and events over the time of those events. Each of these passages are descriptions and are not necessarily in any sequence other than how they relate to one another (Rev. 6:14; 11:18; 16:14-16; 17:14; 19:11-21; 20:1-15).

When our Western mind looks at the Oriental thinking, we tend to read in our philosophical notions and forget the historical and cultural relevance. Thus, our interpretations must be made with an awareness of first century thought, not how we think 2000 years removed. Again, we must exercise caution and discernment and not take any human position literally other than Christ will return in His good time, and the details will follow.

The Bible makes it clear, Christ’s Second Coming, will happen at any time, where He will return to earth and establish a literal kingdom (Matt.. 19:28; Rev. 20) and reign for a literal thousand years. This will happen unstipulated to us as a thief in the night (1 Cor. 4:5; 15:51-52; 16:22; Phil. 3:20; 4:5; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 10:37; James 5:7-9; 2 Peter 3:8-15; 1 John 2:28; Rev. 1:1; 22:6). We may not agree what the sequence is and the symbols mean, but we can all agree that when the last days are upon us, it will be clear. We will have at hand unprecedented suffering, evil, and persecutions, and God will pour out His wrath on an evil world while saving those who are in Him. So, be prepared by being obedient and faithful to our Lord!

If Revelation is still confusing to you, be assured that there is no need to adopt or adhere to any particular viewpoint. In addition, none of us should be captivated to any one point. Understanding Revelation and all of the various theories and perspectives is not that important. These are debatable points. Who Christ is in you and your trust in Him to work it all out is all that is important!