A hope to live for
Lift up the trumpet!” “Rejoice and sing!” “Jesus is coming again!”
I grew up singing these lyrics with a congregation of believers belting out these classic melodies with passion. When I was younger, I didn’t think much about what I was singing. But recently, I’ve begun to ponder the significance of the words behind those tunes.
The soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a hope to not only sing about. It’s a hope to live for!
I find it amusing when, in an effort to console distraught souls, people say, “Relax! It’s not the end of the world!” Such advice makes me wonder what they’ll say when the end of the world actually does occur—because it will.
We live in a culture where movies encourage every fantasy humans have. Many of them focus on one universal fascination—the end of the world. Movies convey all sorts of end-of-the-world story lines with plots ranging from natural disasters wiping out humanity, to alien invaders taking over the world, to giant meteorites on a fatal collision course with earth.
It was rumored in 1999 that the end of the world as we know it was fast approaching with the turn of the century. People were concerned about computers crashing and businesses malfunctioning; leaving people with no electricity, essential services, or social structures. I remember watching people on television talk shows proudly boasting about how they’d bought a year’s worth of survival supplies, including power generators, as insurance against the crisis they thought was coming.
Fortunately, we were spared from having to face such worldwide misfortune. Computers and technology in general continued to function after midnight on December 31, 1999—and into the new century.
However, there will, indeed, come a time when life as we know it will cease to be and those who stand strong in faith will witness the final events of earth’s history. Are we ready for the true end of the world? More to the point, are we ready for the end of the world as the movies fantasize about it, or are we ready for what Bible prophecy says will happen? There’s a difference.
The Bible tells us not to be afraid, to believe in God as we believe in Jesus. Said Jesus, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). The end times will be filled with tribulation—tribulation more than we’ve ever seen. However, He gave us a hope to live for when He revealed that the second coming of Jesus Christ will terminate sin and give us an eternity to live with Him.
The issue before us is, Which story line will we accept? And what will we do about it? Will we bank on what Hollywood so vividly and artfully portrays, or will we trust in God’s Holy Word? If we trust in God’s promises, we’ll not be led astray.
How do we approach the final chapters of earth’s history? The Revelation of Jesus Christ describes those who await Jesus’ return with these words: “Here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12). The last generation doesn’t wait with fear, apprehension, or uncertainty, but with hope, faith, love, and action.
To trust God’s promises and stand firm in faith is to spread the good news of Christ’s soon return. We can witness for God in hundreds of small, practical ways right where we live. Witnessing doesn’t mean being odd or extreme. It simply means standing on principle and doing what’s right in God’s sight; always being ready, by word or action, to share the good news of a God who loves us and will soon return to take us to be with Him.
Living lives of readiness means more than being ready, personally, for the Lord’s return; it means being ready to share with anyone the hope we have. We never know whether someone is dying to hear the good news for the first time, or which person needs to return to Christ. People sometimes become disillusioned with their faith, and they have to be reminded that Jesus offers a quality of life now that is just a prelude to our life to come. Witnessing doesn’t always have to be done with words. Sometimes it can be done with a smile, a quick note, sharing a magazine article or a book, or through music and the arts. All that matters is that it comes from our hearts, so others may see Jesus in us.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” says Jesus. “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). He wants to live in us. Answering Jesus’ knock has eternal benefits as we learn more about Him, grow as Christians, mature as witnesses, and rest assured that we’ll be ready when He comes again.
Jesus knocks at our hearts’ door to improve our quality of life now. Will we answer? Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Rev. 14:14-20; 19:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.)
Alexis A. Goring is a recent graduate of Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland (USA). She holds a degree in print journalism.