In conjunction with this year’s Easter Sunday to commemorate the 3rd day our Lord Christ Jesus was crucified on Calvary and on the 5th day He ascended from the Temple Mount, Jerusalem to be with Father God after leaving instructions with His diciples. Although we never personally met our Lord, but His abundance of love, grace and teaching is brought us through this far despite going through many long years of trials, testing, turbulence, travails and all forms of torments. We soul out believed and trust through consecration in Your tower refuge, Your mighty shield, Your help and guidance; has brought us this far in life and with the peace of mind and eager anticipation for a blessed hope of a brighter future and the assurance of eternity with our Lord God. Though we constantly struggle with the business of life and corrupted by the noises of the market place and the world, we thank You and praise You for our blessed hope and that You are always before and behind us here now, forever and always.
Hence, do you longed for the blessed hope and hope to see the glorious appearance of our savior Christ Jesus? During the early days of church revival many Christian activities were targeted towards the return of our savior. Parousia in ancient Hebrew is appearance or coming of Lord Jesus. Historically, the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians (today’s modern Syria) in 730BC and subsequently the southern kingdom of Judah was also conquered by the Neo-Babylonians under Chaldean king Nabuchadnazzer II (605-562BC in today’s modern Iraq) in 587BC on the 9th of April / Avril (15th Nissan in Jewish Rabbinic lunar calendar) and the whole Jewish population was exiled to far away lands i.e. Persia to the east and worked and lived as slaves under their new master. And the causes for the scourge of God and the enslavement and being exiled from the lands of their fore father’s is clearly warned by prophet Elijah (886BC) to king Ahaz and Phoenician queen Jezebel (many Jews upto today do not acknowledge her as a queen due to her evil deeds, treachery and wickedness) against idol worship as well as by prophet Jeremiah: 7. 8. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods that ye have not known, 10. and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered; that ye may do all these abominations? 11. Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith Jehovah. 12. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I caused my name to dwell at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith Jehovah, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not: 14. therefore will I do unto the house which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. 16. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me; for I will not hear thee. 17. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? In today’s terms the sins that the Israelites angered God is self pride causing lying and swear falsely, greed and gluttony causing stealing, destruction and death, anger causing hate, cruelty, murder, lust causing adultery, envy causing discontent, rebellion and disobedience to God leading to idol worship.
We as God’s creation have a finite life and a destiny to fulfilled. Birth, growing, maturing, aging, pains, suffering, death, etc are all part of the curvature of God’s chosen destiny pathway for us. Basically we live and we die in the end, sounds sad and dreaded isn’t it. But our loving God has plans of salvation and redemption for us as seen in 1 Thessalonians: 4. 13. But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; 17. then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
The return of Christ is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, He will as promised in the New Testament. The return of our savior is certain:as the signs of His return is found in Luke: 21. 13. It shall turn out unto you for a testimony. He will decend from heaven with a dramatic shout, voice of Arc Angels and trumpet of God. It is going to be powerful and majestic spectacle of His coming to receive His church as described in Acts: 1. 11. who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven. The day of the Lord will come is during the end of days called Armageddon characterized by times of travail and torment as depicted in Matthew: 24. 7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. As well as in Mark: 13. 8. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be earthquakes in divers places; there shall be famines: these things are the beginning of travail. And all these will happen in sudden and unexpected like a thief in the night as depicted in 2 Peter: 3. 10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
So what happens to all of us in the present and past during judgement day? Resurrection of the dead is the rise of the dead in a new transformed and glorified body as in 1 Thessalonians: 4. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him and again in And all these will happen and we shall change in a twinkle of an eye as illustrated in 1 Corinthians: 15. 51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. Death to a Christians is like falling asleep and our Spirit returns to God as in Ecclesiastes: 12. 7. and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it. On the other hand, the rapture is being caught up and rejoin the resurrected in heaven as in 1 Thessalonians: 4. 17. then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. And there will be a grand reunion of all the saints with the Lord in heaven in one company, all together happy. We do not grieve like the rest of mankind like no hope as depicted in Hebrews: 8. 8. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
Life and death is not an easy thing to all to talk about although death is imminent, but people avoid it for fear of inviting bad omen or bad luck. Nonetheless, to remind us on how to live a better life is to be able to think about death every day while we are alive. Because when we know that we are facing with death, there is where our unbridled human emotions comes out. It is thinking about death, that we learn how to live life. Moreover, people at the death bed can only think about things that are important in life and no longer about wealth creation and material things (because they can’t be bring along). Always it takes us to lose something precious before we learn to treasure something less precious; thus ‘death’ starts life and to ‘die’ is to gain as declared by devotees in the church of Philippians: 1. 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
By accepting God’s salvation is to die our old bodies in sin and rise a new glory body like Christ Jesus, for He is unblemished and He is able as described in Philippians: 3. 21. who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, [that it may be] conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself. Because Jesus loved us and not judged us, but cared for us and died for us on the cross. So that we can live a full life. Because we have all sinned as told in Romans: 3. 23. for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; For those who have passed on shall rest in the bosoms of our beloved Savior, who have gone before us as witnessed in Acts: 7. 59. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [the Lord], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And again on the cross of Calvary Jesus saved 2 other criminals bring crucified as recollected in Luke: 23. 42. And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. 43. And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
The salvation plans of God is to reconcile us back to the image of His Son Christ Jesus as mentioned in Romans: 8. 29. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: 30. and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Hence forth we need to be ready prepared and do not be ashamed when He comes because we have a blessed hope as reminded in 1 John: 2. 28. And now, [my] little children, abide in him; that, if he shall be manifested, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. In closing, life and death are normals of every living human and we should not be too fearful of death but rather be of good cheer and be brave to face it when it comes knocking, with the assurance of the Lord’s Christ in 2 Corinthians: 5. 8. we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.