Everything we do at Long-View Living ministries is, in some way, tied to or encouraging an eternal perspective – the long view.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV-1978).
When we discuss matters of eternity, it is important to recognize that there is one future event toward which every Christ-follower looks, and for which we long. That event is the return of Jesus for his own.
While preparing his disciples for his pending arrest, crucifixion, and departure, Jesus told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3, ESV).
Following his resurrection, Jesus met briefly with the disciples, gave them some instructions, and responded to their question about the coming kingdom. Afterward, Jesus was whisked away from them.
And when he had said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:9-11, NIV-1978
Make no mistake about it. Jesus is coming back, and we would do well to be prepared for his return. Today, we will look at one specific verse that describes Jesus’ return – Revelation 1:7.
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” – Revelation 1:7, ESV
There are four truths we need to grasp from this one verse from John’s Revelation.
1. Jesus IS Coming.
It is not a matter of “if” but when, and regarding that time, even Jesus does not know. It is not something that has already happened. It is a future event, one that will play out exactly as Jesus said it will, just as it will occur as John prophesied in his Revelation.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus described his coming in this way:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32, NIV-1978).
It is in this scene that we all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
To be sure the scoffers and mockers ridicule us for holding firm to the promise of Jesus, but we will be vindicated in the end.
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep [died], all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4, NASB, insert mine).
2. Jesus Will Come With the Clouds.
This mode of coming with the clouds of heaven, was prophesied by Jesus himself in Matthew’s gospel.
“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30, NASB).
He said something very similar two chapters later.
“In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Might One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64b, NIV-1978).
To up the ante a bit, the prophet Daniel also described this scene.
I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him. – Daniel 7:13, NASB
3. Jesus’ Coming Will Be No Secret.
“Every eye will see him…”
This is a mind-boggling concept, but I accept it as truth. However it happens, every eye on the face of the earth will see Jesus coming, saved and unsaved. Even the dead will rise to witness this magnificent event!
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, ESV
Encourage, indeed! This is a great day for those who are in Christ. For those outside of Christ … not so much. And that brings us to truth #4.
4. Jesus’ Return – Bad News for Those Who Are Not His.
The reaction of those who do not know Jesus as Christ-followers know him is one of wailing and intense anguish. How horrifying it will be to see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven and know that, in my case, he does not come as a friend.
The Good News
The good news is that something wonderful is coming. For those in Christ, it is a sure thing that persecutions will cease. Justice will be meted out. We will see Jesus face to face, and what was murky, dim, and difficult to understand will be made perfectly clear.
The curse under which the creation groans will be lifted. Our wretched, aching bodies will be renewed imperishable. We will run weariless, walk and not faint. Tears will be wiped away, and we will sorrow no more. We will exist bathed in light and love.
For those outside of Christ, if you are reading this, it is not too late. This too can be yours. Save yourselves today, this day, this moment. Surrender to God’s love.