Note: This is the second of a four-part series. For part one, click here.
The apostles Peter and Jude warned us that scoffers will come in the last days (2 Pet. 3:3, Jude 1:18), belittling our faith and belying the precious promises (2 Pet. 1:4) of our Lord's Second Coming.
The first Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ was promised to patriarchs and predicted by prophets for many millennia. Likewise, followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah, have now waited for over 2,000 years for His Second Coming (Advent) and the completion of Father God's plan of the ages.
Moses was the first to write of and predict the coming of the future Messiah in Genesis 3:15, where he related about God cursing the serpent in the Garden and declaring that a future male "offspring" of that first woman would bruise the serpent's head while the serpent would merely bruise his heel. Other translations describe the action as "he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." This idea is developed elsewhere in the Old Testament, and Paul predicts the same when he taught the Romans that "the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Rom. 16:20a).
This Genesis 3:15 promise is known among theologians as the "proto-euangelion" or first good news or gospel message. While Jesus actually died at the crucifixion, He dealt a fatal blow to Satan at the resurrection. The entire scriptural narrative becomes the unfolding of this original gospel promise and deferred victory.
This promised descendent of the human race would be from Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) and through the lineage of his son Judah (Gen. 49:10). He would be born in the "little town of Bethlehem" (Mic. 5:2) and later be a "great light" in the northern region of Galilee (Is. 9:2, Matt. 4:16). Jesus of Nazareth professed that He alone perfectly fulfilled these promises to the patriarchs and the prophets. "These are the very Scriptures that testify of me," He said (John 5:39b, NIV).
Even as Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures, He promised He will come again to receive us and be with Him in His Father's heavenly home (John 14:1-3). Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of this passage says that there is "plenty of room for you" in Father God's home, and our Lord has gone "to get a room ready for you."
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, after His resurrection, He promised His disciples to send "another Helper" (the Holy Spirit) to be with them—and us—to empower his disciples to be His witnesses to the most remote part of the earth (Acts 1:8). Then, He ascended to heaven as "a cloud received Him from their sight" (Acts 1:9, MEV).
Two assumed angels assured the disciples that "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you to heaven, will come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Thus, we learn that Jesus will eventually come again, literally and physically, to fulfill all the predictive prophecies of the ages.
From the announcement of Christ's first coming to the completion of His Second Coming, God's chosen have learned to faithfully watch, eagerly wait and diligently work for that appointed time!
How We Are to Wait
The apostle Paul taught we are to wait with eager expectation.
— "Eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:7b, NKJV).
— "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).
— "We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance" (Rom. 8:23b-25).
— "And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10).
— "To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" (Heb. 9:28).
Like a child waiting for Christmas, we must eagerly long for our Lord's appearing at His Second Coming. The bright manifestation of our Lord at that glorious day (Titus 2:13-14) is to be our constant incentive for faithfulness (1 Tim. 6:14) and the ultimate modifier for all our thoughts, words and deeds (Rom. 14:12, 2 Cor. 5:10). It compels us to be "people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness" (Titus 2:14b, MSG).
"We'll work, 'til Jesus comes; we'll work, 'til Jesus comes./ We'll work, 'til Jesus comes; And we'll be gathered home!" ("We'll Work Till Jesus Comes").
Stay tuned for part three titled The Day the Sky Will Fall.
Gary Curtis served in full-time ministry for 50 years, the last 27 years of which he was part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys' California Foursquare church. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms.
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