A mid-week devotional from Central Presbyterian Church helping us to help prepare our hearts for the day ahead. If you would like to receive these in your inbox, please let us know. Find the complete archive here.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
The Coming of the Son of Man
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
People typically make one of two errors in regards to the passages of Scripture that deal with the end times. The first, and most obvious mistake, is to become unhealthily obsessed with the subject. This can lead to things such as selling everything and moving to a Caribbean island to avoid the imminent tribulation wrought by the newly elected anti-Christ, draining retirement accounts and giving them to help a radio preacher—who lives in a gated mansion—to fund billboards nationwide warning that the world is ending in just a few months, or the much less dramatic, but equally tragic, act of leaving a loving church community upon discovering the pastor holds to a different theological view of eschatology.
The second faulty approach to Biblical prophecy is much more subtle, and far more common, and that is to just skip them altogether. Many otherwise faithful Scripture readers admit that when they come to the prophetic portions of Daniel, Ezekiel, and especially Revelation, they simply turn the page. Whether out of confusion over interpreting vivid imagery often found within the text, or perhaps as a reaction against those who have become wholly consumed by prophecy, many Christians view studying prophecy as making a choice between ignorance or obsession.
As Jesus closed this session with the disciples, it is clear that He wanted them to be informed, but not burdened, about what was yet to come. In light of the trauma that lay ahead over the next few days, the disciples were to find comfort in the knowledge that the cross was not the end of the story. Rather, in a very real sense, the death of Jesus was only the end of the beginning. Likewise, the empty tomb and resurrection marked just the very beginning of the end, which continues today.
Jesus’ main idea was that He will not, ever, abandon His people. At the end of the end, Jesus explained that the world as we know it will cease to be. In Revelation 21, the Lord declares to His bride, the church, “Behold, I am making all things new.” This includes new heavenly bodies for the elect, imperishable ones that will never experience pain or disease or injury or sadness. But also, as Scripture repeatedly tells, and Jesus reiterated, entirely new celestial bodies.
At the moment of His return, the sun, moon, and stars will bow in reverence to their Maker as He assumes His rightful place as the only true source of light. Irrevocably marred by the invasive, tendril-like effects of human sin, creation will be unmade, and then remade, following a pattern we see throughout the Scriptures of Creation, De-creation, and Re-creation.
Before He even ascended to heaven, Jesus promised that He would come again to gather all who belong to Him. Jesus knew that when He returns His church would no longer fit neatly into a small upper room in Jerusalem. His angels will scour the world, to every corner of the globe, to ensure that not a single saint is left behind.
These words of Jesus were spoken to bring comfort, not distress. They are a reminder that we should long in eager expectation for the good things God has in store for the future. Because of what Jesus has done, His kingdom is already ours if we place our hope in Him, but we are not home yet.
Even as we yearn for that time when we will be with Him, there is still much work to be done. In Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.” Rather than allowing our curiosity or fear about aligning current events to Scripture consume our time with the Lord, when our hearts are fixed on Him and His promises, we can have confidence that no matter what the future may hold, we are secure in the One who holds the future. May we endeavor to proclaim His name to the ends of the earth with the full assurance of His provision and presence.
Prayer for Today:
Father God, We admit that the prospect of “the end” typically scares us rather than empowers us. Remind us today that Your love is greater, Your kingdom is better, and Your will is perfect. May you guide us in all our ways, that we would use whatever days that remain to make Your name known through all the world. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.