Scripture : Matthew 24 : 1 – 31 (27)
Theme: As lightning strikes from east to west
Traditionally, during Advent, there has always been an emphasis placed on the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. At Christmas the church gratefully remembers the first coming of Christ to the earth. Therefore it is quite opportune that the church should look with great expectation forward to the second coming of Christ to the earth. The blessed day of the personal second coming of our Lord Jesus.
The Lord’s first coming was indeed wonderful and glorious. The miracle of Christmas. That He was prepared to leave the bosom of the Father. Empty Himself to become human – among us. His second coming will be very different. But, just as wonderful and glorious. The Holy Spirit says in Heb 9:28: “He will appear a second time, to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him”.
This is the great danger today: The mad bustle, time that passes like a thought, circumstances that make us desperate – all these things cause the enemy of our souls to play a trick on us: he wants to make us believe that everything revolves around this earthly life only. Consequently we give it all our time and energy. Then we forget about the greatest crises that is standing at the door occupants: The personal second coming of Jesus Christ. And we do not GIVE ourselves to the coming of the kingdom and the preaching of the Gospel.
O, how the love for the Saviour burns in the heart of the believer – with longing to see those eyes of His, hear His voice, His head upon which the crown of thorns was pressed, the marks of the nails in His hands and feet. That is why we should guard against getting so absorbed in this life that we do not have an eye for the reality of the coming Lord Jesus.
There is however, a second danger, and that is that we have the inclination to make the same mistake as John the Baptist made. When John was in prison, he sent a messenger to Jesus to ask Him: “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matt 11:3).
We are inclined to imagine that the first coming of the Lord Jesus and the work that He accomplished at His first coming was not 100% the real McCoy – the actual real thing will only be at the second coming. That is where we should focus. Yes, the work He did at His first coming is indeed important, because by that we were saved, but the actual deliverance is still lying ahead. The deliverance of the first coming cannot compare to the deliverance at the second coming.
That is why we just scrape by during this life, we barely sneak into heaven, because our eyes are on the second coming, for then the real Christ will make His appearance. That is the true Christ around whom everything revolves. The Christ of the first coming only came to lay down the initial steps for the actual new life. The first Christ was merely tentative. The real One is still coming!
It is almost like the Samaritan woman who said to Jesus: “I know the Messiah is coming” (John 4:25). Then Jesus said to her: “I who speak to you am He. Why are you waiting for something in the future? The fountain of Life is here with you”.
On another occasion Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21). That is the complete full kingdom. Not a secondary second hand interim kingdom!
Hear the Good News: The Jesus who came 2000 years ago, was a success! A brilliant success. Not half a success. In His birth, suffering, death and resurrection, heaven and earth came together. In Him the end actually already came. The end of any separation between God and the sheep for whom the Good Shepherd laid down His life. The end of shame, blame, judgment and sin. You need not wait, it has already taken place. You do not need to have a life of constant spiritual hunger and thirst. According to John 6:35, Jesus at His first coming, brought life where you will never more hunger or thirst. He satisfies. Colossians 2:10 – “You have been given fullness in Christ”. To the Samaritan woman Jesus says: “If you drink of the water I give you, you will never thirst again.” (John 4:14).
You see, if we find ourselves under a ministry/teaching that leaves us with a feeling of emptiness/ dissatisfaction, we must flee from it, because then it is not the true Christ who is proclaimed! It is life-threatening. Beware of a ministry that does not satisfy your deepest hunger. It is not supposed to be satisfied by the second coming of Christ, but now already – by the preaching of the fruit of His first coming!!
Thus: Our hope for the future is built on the assurance that the fullness we now already have will never run out! We must not hope in the future and at the same time offend the first coming of Christ as if it is sort of a disappointment! No, at the second coming, what Jesus did perfectly at His first coming, will merely become permanent in stature. Praise Him.
1. The second coming of Christ decides the church’s future. How often we read with curiosity the passages of the Bible that deal with the second coming. So as if the Lord is giving us a video in those Scriptures about how exactly the second coming will take place. And every time we are disappointed. Because, the passages of Scripture about the second coming is not a video of that which is going to happen in the future. What exactly (in detail) is going to happen in the future, is not revealed to us in the Bible. It is a surprise awaiting the believers. That which no ear has heard and the eye not seen and no mind conceived, that is what God has prepared – for those who love Him (1 Cor 2:9).
Take a passage like Matthew 24 for example. It is not the intention of the Lord Jesus to give visions of the future to satisfy our curiosity. Every time the Bible speaks about the second coming, He does it with a specific purpose. In the case of Matthew 24 the Lord Jesus wants to show us that the purpose of the second coming will be to establish the future of the church/congregation. The second coming is not something with which to frighten people. It is not a secretive and mysterious element of the future about which top selling fiction stories should be written. No!!!
Keep in mind: For the Jews the physical temple in Jerusalem was the focal point of everything. They believed that God would never destroy His temple. And, when the disciples saw the antagonism they (and Jesus) received from the Jewish leaders, they said: “O, at least the temple is still here, that is our security”. As if they are looking at the future with blinkers. The temple, the temple.
And then Jesus’s shocking words that made them shiver: “ This temple is going to be totally destroyed”. Do not think that I am bound to the temple. My future with you is lying far deeper and further than the temple.
Can you see how Jesus corrects their limited vision on the future? With shock and surprise the disciples then asked: But when will it all happen? And then Jesus answers them with words of comfort. Words of comfort about how Messiah’s glorification is going to happen so that His nation will have a future for ever…
What should make us glad, is to see that the glorification of Jesus at His second coming is not meant to cast believers into doubt and depression. But that the second coming is aimed at finally gathering the church/believers and to give them a guaranteed future. That is the TEMPLE that has a future! The heavenly temple/sanctuary where our Lord Jesus shall return from to gather to Himself His blood-bought church. Because the church is the actual temple! (Eph 2:22). Away with the blinkers with which we look to the future! Look and see the glorified Christ who comes with the clouds of heaven.
2. The second coming of Jesus will be sudden. The Scriptures are very clear about this: While people are busy with their daily lives, the appearance of the Lord will be sudden like birth-pains to a pregnant woman. VERSE 38: As it was in the days of Noah: eat, drink, marry. VERSE 40: Two men in the field, two women grinding with a hand mill… Verse 44: Come at an hour when not expected… That is how lightning works: You do not know when and where it will strike.
What will happen ahead of time is that the entire world is being prepared as by an invisible hand. As the décor for a concert. Earth forced into a funnel. In this phase there are many deceivers who are false christs and false prophets. They perform great signs and miracles. So subtle that even the elect are almost deceived.
These things can already be seen everywhere you look. Look for example online at the website of “Lord Maitreya”. There you will see what a false christ looks like. He is the final Buddha who is expected, the “cosmic christ“. Great miracles performed through this man. He claims to be the saviour all religions are waiting for. The great world preacher. He is going to bring world peace.
This “Lord Maitreya” is the world-christ that the Theophism and New Age Movement are busy promoting. They want a world-christ that would be acceptable to all religions. They say Lord Maitreya will speak telepathically to enable every person on earth to hear his voice in their ears. He shall be able to overshadow the mind/thoughts of every person on earth like a cloud. This Lord Maitreya and the New Age Movement already have great influence over people – even in Christian churches. And the people do not even realise it. See it particularly in the Charismatic movement with it’s great emphasis on miracles and experience-religion and mysticism.
It is only the person who knows the Word, who can discern what is happening. Then you know that the second coming of the true Christ will take place entirely different to what the New Agers and their Lord Maitreya are planning. No world-peace ahead of His coming. No world-utopia. But a great oppression (v 51). No wonderful harmony among people, but separation.
Most important of all: there is something that satan cannot imitate. The true Christ’s coming will be like lightning. No false christ can simulate it! While humanity thinks that the New Agers’ world leader and world-preacher is the christ, because he can do miracles and he can speak through demonic powers to the entire humanity by telepathy… everyone shall immediately know that they had been deceived when the true Christ appears. Then everyone shall know who God truly is, and what were imitations and adulteration. For the majority though: TOO LATE!!
Such a glorious appearance: The entire earth shall suddenly experience His coming. Like powerful lightning that strikes from east to west. The strongest, healthiest, richest, cleverest, most influential man – is like a piece of straw against lightning.
The Lord’s appearance shall be like the arrival of Summer to His chosen believers. As it says in Ps 72:6 : “He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth“. 2 Samuel 23:4 : “like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning..“ Malachi 4:2 : “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings”. The exclamation shall be full of joy: “Look! The Bridegroom comes!”
So very different for the unbelievers. Amos 5:18 : “Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.” That day will scorch like an oven. O, one cannot play with lightning. So too, not with the Gospel (good news) of the coming of Christ.
The big difference between the christ of the New Agers and the coming of the true Christ is: FALSE: Everything is great, all people become one, Utopia is here. TRUE: The church/congregation/believers reach their destination. Separation among people : belief and unbelief – heaven and hell. Then you should not cry over your husband or wife who was indifferent towards the Gospel message in unbelief. You should cry now, not then!
3. The second coming of Christ shall not be hidden. Everyone shall see it at exactly the same instant. The farmer in the field, the woman in the kitchen, in Cape Town, in America and the North pole. Everyone will see the blinding light of His glory. Yes, even the eye who never wanted to see Him, shall see Him then. Rev 1 :7 : “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him”. It is something that can not be hidden. Like lightning that cannot strike somewhere in a corner.
Friends, why will the coming of the glorified Christ not be able to be hidden? Because He is coming with only one great purpose – to gather all His chosen people TO HIMSELF. From all nations, tribes and languages. It shall be visible to everyone who did not want to know Him. Today He is gathering His church IN all the nations. Then He shall gather them FROM all the nations into ONE nation, to/around Him. The whole world shall see it. Then the whole world will realise that the purpose of history was all the time about the CHURCH. The church, who was always so hidden. So disdained. Discounted. Will then be gathered. What an unimaginable unparalleled privilege to know with certainty that I shall be part of it. It is surely something to look forward to.
Translated by Marthie Wilson