This passage is from the Apostle Paul who told Timothy that he knew he was about to be martyred for Jesus, but that he was confident he had finished the job God had given him. What struck me was his statement that those who are yearning for Jesus's return will receive a victor's crown.
We see this same principle in Hebrews 8
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
(Hmm. that certainly begs the question whether He's coming for those who aren't eagerly waiting for Him)
So my question to you is, Are you longing for Jesus to return? I mean really longing. As in looking for Him, reading the signs and the times, watching world news and events and comparing them with what Scripture says will happen?
I meet so many believers who really have no interest in prophecy or end times. They merely shrug and say it will all work out as God plans. Or I get the excuse that it's too scary to study, or it's too confusing and they don't understand it. And then there are those people who are so attached to this world that they actually don't want Jesus to come yet. Huh?
Did you know that some theologians estimate that at least a third of the Bible is prophecy? I actually believe it's much more. Also there are more prophetic verses written about the second coming of Jesus than His first coming. Why would that be? Do you suppose God wants us to pay attention? Do you suppose He wants us to be aware when the time is close?
Jesus, Himself, rebuked the religious men of His time for not reading the signs of the times and discerning through prophecy the time of Jesus's first coming.
Hypocrites!You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.
God expected people to study and understand Old Testament prophecies that foretold the first coming of Christ, so they would know when He arrived. Don't you think God expects the same of Christians for the second coming?
Another excuse I often hear is: We aren't supposed to set dates. Even Jesus said He doesn't know the hour or day of His coming. He will come like a thief in the night.
Agreed! We aren't supposed to know the DAY or HOUR. But we will know the Season. We will know whether we are close. Here the Apostle Paul's words
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 1 Thess 5
Somehow people always skip over that Scripture. The truth of the matter is. We will know or have a pretty good idea the general timing of the second coming. Should we set dates? No. Should we pitch a tent on the Mt. of Olives and wait? No.
So why bother to worry about it?
Knowing we are close to Jesus's return creates a sense of anticipation, of excitement that often translates into the following:
- being more diligent in your walk with God
- being more proactive in witnessing to friends and family and the lost
- drawing us closer to the Lord because we know we'll see Him soon
- comforts and encourages us when we are facing trials and struggles
- increases our hope that soon we will be free of our earthly problems and heartaches
- gives us a better sense of eternity and breaks us free from the bonds that may hold us to this earth, making our suffering less important and easier to handle, and giving us courage to witness and do things for God outside our comfort zones
It was through prophecy that I first came to the Lord. It seems to be through prophecy that He is drawing me to watch for His soon return. I, for one, am very excited!