Are we very near the end of time? With all the changing weather, with all the wars and terrorism, and with all the crazy chaos in the world, many people are acutely aware something has changed. Things are occurring that haven’t occurred since the world began. Seemingly, every generation attempts to predict the end of time and every generation comes and goes and the earth still remains and life continues. Jesus told mankind that no one knows the end of times, not the angels, not even the Son of man, only God the Father (Mk 13:32). Yet, all faithful Christians know to keep themselves ready and prepared for the end of time or the end of their own life (1 Thess 5:1-6 f; Heb 9:27). I can’t tell you the day or hour when the Lord will come, but I can promise you He will come. I can tell you to be prepared every minute, of every hour, of every day.
Christians know, if our name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we are promised an eternity in outer darkness forever punished in a lake of fire (Rev. 20:15 cf; 21:8). We all must examine ourselves and make our life right with God in obedience to His word (2 Cor 13:5).
So, how will we know the time is near for the coming of the Lord? In 2 Peter 3:10, we are told three things that will happen at the end of time. It will be just one day, and is promised to come. “But the day of the Lord will come.” We are not left wondering what will happen, but when it will happen. Peter goes on to say it will be as “a thief in the night.” No man knows when the Lord will come, make no mistake about it! Christ tells us His second coming will be a mere hour (Jn. 5:28). This is not the beginning of an “era,” but one day that will determine our eternity.
As the apostles watched Christ ascend into Heaven, the angel promised He would come back the same way He went (Acts 1:9-11). As He left in the cloud so shall He return in the cloud. Paul affirms this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, when he says the Lord will “descend from Heaven.”
The shout of the archangel, and the trump of God will signal Christ’s return (1 Thess. 4:16). This sound will stretch across the globe. At this great noise, the world will know that the end of the world is here!
John tells us, “Behold He comes with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth will wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7). The Lord will be revealed to us that last day (2 Thess. 1:7). All shall see Christ at that time, living or dead. These passages lay to rest the false idea of the “rapture.” The final day will not happen in secret as some would have us to believe.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, we read of the last day and final judgment. Here Paul only deals with one-half of the resurrection, but it is important to notice. Paul says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” In verse seventeen we read, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The things mentioned will happen on the same day (2 Pet. 3:10), at the same hour (Jn. 5:28)!
As Paul dealt with only one side of the resurrection, Jesus gives us the “full picture” of what is to take place. In John 5:28-29, Christ says “the hour” is coming. “All in the graves shall hear His voice.” Both good and evil shall hear His voice and come forth! In Acts 24:15, Paul says, “. . . there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.”
As we ascend to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17), we shall put on new, incorruptible bodies (1 Cor. 15:35-54). These bodies will be eternal in nature to make us suitable for our everlasting rewards. This body is one that pleases God (v. 38). With only this information revealed, we must trust God, and prepare ourselves for the Judgment.
The Judgment will take place with “the dead small and great” (Rev. 20:12) before God. We will be parted to the right and the left as the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:32-33). We will be judged by our works and obedience to the Bible (Eccl. 12:13-14 ff; Jn. 12:48; Rev. 20:12-13; 22:12). If our name is written in the Book of Life, we can enter Heaven (Ex. 32:32 ff; Ps. 69:28; Lk. 10:20). If our name is not there, we will be cast into Hell (Rev. 20:15; 21:27). If our name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we are promised an eternity in outer darkness forever punished in fire (Rev. 20:15; 21:8). We all must examine ourselves, and make our life right with God in obedience to His word. We have been warned of our Lord’ s coming, and that last day. Now, let us prepare for that day (Amos 4:12).
What will guarantee our name to be in Lamb’s book of life? If we obey the gospel which was preached to every nation and to every person (Mk 16:15,16); And if we continue in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9). What will guarantee our name not to be in the Lamb’s book of life? If we know not God and obey not the gospel of Christ (2 Thess 1:7-9). Knowing all this, why do you stand in jeopardy every hour? (2 Pet 3:10-12 f; 1 Cor 15:30).