vital Christian message long muted

Based on the little attention it receives in teaching and preaching today, one might suppose that the future return of our Lord is a fringe doctrine invented by extremists, a second thought hastily tacked on to resolve some alleged difficulty in the original Christian message. Instead, it is a foundational teaching of the faith, rooted in the promise solemnly given by angels immediately after … [Read more...]

How many miles in second coming?

It could scarcely be stated more simply. Our Lord Jesus Christ is "coming again" (2 Peter 1:16). He will "descend from heaven" (1 Thes. 4:16), and he "will come in the same way" his disciples "saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). If asked whether we interpret these phrases literally, most of us would likely say that we do. However, on further consideration we might decide we wish to tweak our … [Read more...]

IF NOT ‘SECOND COMING’ THEN WHAT?

From Jesus' remarks to his apostles at the Last Supper and throughout the New Testament thereafter, believers are repeatedly assured that a day will come when Jesus will return from heaven. Moreover, they are both warned and urged to be ready for this glorious event, which could occur at any moment. This "one hope of our calling" is reiterated throughout the New Testament and it is enshrined in … [Read more...]

JESUS’ THIRD APPEARANCE ENDS WAIT

The New Testament regularly presents Christians as a People waiting for Jesus to reappear. For 2,000 years, in countries throughout the earth and under circumstances of every kind, Christians have waited and continue to wait. Why is this waiting necessary? It is necessary because the work through which God is accomplishing his redemptive purpose does not happen immediately or all at once, but in … [Read more...]

A PEOPLE IN WAITING

What is a Christian? Just ask Peter, James, Paul, Luke, or the anonymous author of Hebrews. Christians, they will tell you, are people in waiting. But waiting for whom or for what? The most important question is "for whom do we wait?" To which the answer is that we wait for "a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20). Like the Thessalonians, our conversion involved a full-body turn from every … [Read more...]

APOCALYPTIC LOCUSTS FROM THE PIT

This is Iraq, a country with borders drawn in 1920 by the League of Nations following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. More to our interest, this is a country situated on the same God-created real estate where the Jewish and Christian stories began. In this ancient land Abraham once lived and went about his business as usual. Until that day he heard the voice that said it was God, the voice … [Read more...]

One mighty act that includes all

Did Jesus' work merely make it possible for sinners to enjoy at-one-ment with God if they follow through, correctly and precisely, so that they complete what Jesus only started? We find answers in the opening words of a single sentence: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). From the moment of the first human sin and even before, restoring right relationship between … [Read more...]

THE KINGDOM OF GOD – 3

Because Jesus personally embodies God's kingdom, New Testament writers do not mind saying that those who believe in Christ through the gospel even now participate to some extent in kingdom membership and blessings (Rom. 14:17; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9). Yet the church as institution is not the kingdom. A simplistic identification of the two always results in self-conceit and triumphalism by the church … [Read more...]

Christmas Prophecy Fulfilled

This Christmas I am impressed anew that we are seeing biblical prophecy fulfilled before our eyes. Not the kind of prophetic fulfillment about which the sensationalists talk and write best-seller books for the gullible masses -- about Middle Eastern conflict and geopolitics and world banks and bar codes at the supermarkets. No, something far more solid and biblical than any of that! God's word to … [Read more...]

HEALING A BREACH

¬†During the 1930's and 1940's, a group of congregations were pushed out of the mainstream of the Churches of Christ because they believed that when Jesus returns, he will reign for 1,000 years on the earth. Most Churches of Christ interpret the "millennium" in Revelation 20 figuratively rather than literally. A gracEmail subscriber in Tennessee asks how this church division might now be set … [Read more...]