The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/21

Posted on | August 21, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/21

AUGUST 21
scripture reading: Jeremiah 29:10–14

The Return of the King

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. (Revelation 1:7)

Søren Kierkegaard once made the point that life has to be lived for- ward, but it can only be understood backward. In other words, our lives make sense only when looked at through the rear view mirror. What is true of our individual lives is also true of all great stories. This is why, when reading a good novel, we are often tempted to skip to the last chapter and peek at the conclusion. A story is only as good as its ending. Only at the end does it all make sense.

J.R.R. Tolkien understood this better than most. The final volume of his Lord of the Rings trilogy is entitled The Return of the King. This is where everything comes to a climactic crescendo as Prince Aragorn returns to take the throne that is rightfully his. As the forces of good finally triumph over the forces of evil, everything in the previous two volumes suddenly makes glorious sense. Because Tolkien was a Christian, I can’t help but wonder if he got the idea for the title to his third volume from the nineteenth chapter of Revelation. Here the biblical story finally reaches its dramatic conclusion as King Jesus returns to take his throne.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems . . . And the armies of heaven . . . were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations . . . On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:11–16)

Tolkien’s king is fictional, but this King is absolutely real! The Bible indicates there are several things we need to know about Christ’s return.

,. It will be physical. Christ’s return is not a theoretical concept or a generalized hope that things will work out in the end. Jesus himself will personally return in bodily form. (Acts 1:9–11)

,. It will be visible. The Bible is not describing a spiritual coming into people’s hearts nor a secret coming to a select few, but rather an event occurring in time and space that will be universally visible to everyone. (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30)

,. It will be glorious. When Jesus came the first time he came as the Lamb of God, in meekness, riding a donkey, to save those who are lost. But when he comes the next time he will come as the Lion of Judah, in power and glory, riding a white horse, to pronounce judgment on the earth. (Mark 13:26–27)

,. It will be sudden. His coming will be unexpected, like a thief in the night. Therefore, his followers are urged to live in constant readiness. (Mark 13:32–36; I Thessalonians 5:1–6)

,. It will be final. His appearance means that the opportunity to repent and trust in him is ended. The books will be opened and final judgments pronounced. (Revelation 20:11–15)

,. It will be soon. Though no one knows the day or the hour when he will return, we do know this: it will be soon. (Revelation 22:7,12,20)

Psychology tells us that our lives are determined by our past. We are who we are because of the genetic code inherited from our parents and because of our previous life experiences. The past determines the present. What a different message we receive from the Gospel. It is not where we’ve been that determines who we are, but where we’re headed!

When he shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in him be found: dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand: all other ground is sinking sand. —Edward Mote

point to ponder • What difference does it make today for you to remember your future?

prayer focus • The one who feels they have no hopeful future.

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