In this article, I continue surveying various Scriptures that point to the last days. I have listed the topics alphabetically. I certainly do not guarantee that I have found all the Scriptures that should be included. In each topic, I make a few comments. This is the conclusion of my survey of brief last-days Scriptures.
· Matthew 19:28-30: Jesus has just encountered the person we often refer to as the “rich young ruler.” There has been a back-and-forth exchange:
o “What good deed must I do to inherit eternal life?”
o “Keep the commandments.”
o “Which ones?”
o Jesus goes through five of the Ten Commandments (all having to do with our behavior toward one another) plus the second great commandment (love of neighbor).
o “I’ve done all them. What do I lack?”
o “Sell everything, give to the poor, and follow Me.”
o And he left with sorrow because he was very rich.
Jesus commented that it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. The disciples asked who can be saved. Jesus said it is impossible with man but all things are possible with God. Peter then said he and the other disciples had left everything to follow Jesus. Jesus said then they would judge the twelve tribes of Israel “in the new world” (ESV; literally “in the regeneration”). Moreover, those who have left various categories—property, family—of what is dear to them for Jesus’ name’s sake will receive a “hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” The main punch line in verses 19:28-30 is that those who have “left” behind what they value for Jesus’ sake will be richly rewarded. Jesus focuses first on the circle of the twelve (or perhaps included other disciples in the band that followed him, including women): they will have rulership. Then, He broadens to all who have left things and says they will receive a hundred-fold back. This will all take place in the “regeneration.” This particular word is only used one other time, in Titus 3:5—“the washing of regeneration.” That context is referring to individual salvation. The present context uses the word to refer to the renewal when Jesus will reign. Four concepts seem to be almost equivalent in this passage—“regeneration,” “Kingdom of God,” “eternal life,” and “saved.” As Jesus envisions that great future, He sees those who have experienced great deprivation because of their dedication to Jesus having abundance, being amply repaid for their loss. In fact, His final statement is that there will be some reversals in that time. Many who are of the first rank in this life—privileged, wealthy, powerful, seemingly blessed—will be in last place, and many who are despised, ignored, cast-off, and (as Wesley would say) the off-scouring of the world—these will be in the first rank, seated at the head table.
· I Corinthians 3:10-15: The context of this passage is ministry. Paul is dealing with factions in the church at Corinth (3:4). So, he digresses and discusses the role of Christian leaders, especially himself and Apollos (3:5-7). He states in 3:8 that each leader will be rewarded according to his work. The members of the church he compares to a field and to a building (3:9). He then expands the metaphor of a building: Paul laid the foundation, since he was the one who founded the church at Corinth. Others came later to continue building on that foundation (3:10). The foundation is Jesus Christ (3:11). Each one builds with materials. Some are combustible, and some are metals or other materials that can withstand fire. The Day will bring the fire test to these materials (3:12-13). The metaphor/allegory is transparent: the materials represent the work of those leaders who have added to the church which Paul has founded. Some of the work is praiseworthy—people who have accepted Christ as Savior, Christians who have deepened in their discipleship, Christians who have developed into leaders who can win others and disciple them, important teaching, vibrant worship, and so forth. Other work is without value—bureaucratic power structures, shallow or even false teaching, empire building, creation of dysfunctional cultures within the church, souls wounded by power-hungry leaders, neglected church discipline, and so forth. The Day will come. Exactly what the Day is requires careful study and is beyond the scope of this article. We can quickly say that it will take place in association with Christ’s coming for the church. At that Day, there will be judgmental fire (keep in mind this is a metaphor/allegory) that will test the work of these leaders. If the work survives, then the leader will receive a reward. (3:13-14) The work also may not survive, even though the person will be saved (3:15). Note that the warning which follows is more severe. It has to do with those who seek to destroy the church. (3:16-17) As far as I can tell the present passage (3:10-15) focuses on Christian leaders in the church. It is not a “judgment of works” that applies to all Christians.
· II Timothy 2:8-13: Paul is exhorting Timothy to live a courageous and disciplined life in the face of difficulty (2:1-7). He describes his own suffering as he is chained even as he writes to Timothy. He does this willingly, for the cause of the gospel, that people might receive salvation (2:8-10). Then, he makes a direct connection between the events of this life and our destiny (2:11-13). Possibly he is quoting from a hymn or poem of the time. First, if we die with Christ, we will also live with Him. Although Paul is especially addressing suffering under persecution, to “die with him” (2:11) would not necessarily be a death due to persecution. It is simply a death of one who is connected with Jesus. If we die “in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13), we can look forward to living with Him (present text, 2:11). For Paul, looking toward his own execution, this was a comfort. Furthermore, our endurance will be rewarded with a place of majesty: “we will also reign with him.” Our destiny is to share Christ’s inheritance (Romans 8:17), which includes the Kingdom. What that involves is unknown, but I believe at least part of that rulership will be simply the fact that we shall be victorious in life. Most of us experience plenty of defeat in our lives—our bodies wear out, our memories lapse, we fight off depression, fear, anger, and disappointment. Some are more successful than others. Some handle life better than others. Nevertheless, we are all limited both by the fact that we are creatures and by the fact that we live in a fallen world. But Christ has been given a promise that all His enemies—which are also our enemies—will be His footstool (Psalm 110:1). And we shall reign with Him. Finally, the last line of the poem is a reminder that Jesus never fails. We fail and are not always faithful, but He is always faithful. He is worthy of our trust, and we can trust Him to take us to victory.
· James 1:12: See in a previous article under “Resurrection.”
RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER
· Luke 22:67-69: Jesus was before the Sanhedrin and was being examined. In answer to the question if He was the Christ, He replied, in part, “But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” In this way, He confessed His identity. He referred to Psalm 110:1. Thus, He indicated not only His identity, but His future. He could take His rightful place beside the Father, but He would do so in transition. There will come a day when His enthronement in heaven will give way to the next step, after His enemies become His footstool.
· Acts 3:19-21: The occasion was the healing of the lame man by the Gate Beautiful (Acts 3:1-10). When a crowd gathered, Peter began to speak, reviewing the events surrounding Jesus’ death. As he did, he laid a portion of the blame on the people to whom he was speaking. But he also gave them the opportunity to repent. (3:11-19) He alluded to the possibility that Jesus would return in response to their repentance (3:20). He also made clear the general principle that Jesus would remain in heaven until “the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” (3:21) It is not clear whether the repentance of the people would change that time. What is clear from this and similar passages is that Jesus went to heaven (Acts 1:9-11) and He is seated with the Father and He will return from Heaven to earth.
· Hebrews 1:8-13: This is the conclusion of the opening passage of Hebrews. The passage (1:1-14) begins by proclaiming that God has spoken to us by His Son. It then announces that Christ is superior to the angels (1:4) and proves that fact in 1:5-14. In 1:1-6, the passage focuses on the birth of Christ and, perhaps, alludes to His pre-existence. Verse 1:7 describes angels in supernatural terms as fiery spirits, but then contrasts their being to the greatness of Christ. He reigns eternally (1:8) and is specially anointed (1:9). He is the creator of heaven and earth and will outlast them, changing them when they wear out, like He would a change of clothes (1:10-12). Finally, as a climax, the text refers to Psalm 110:1. The Son is invited to sit at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are made His footstool (1:13). No angel has received such an invitation. The full story of this invitation in eschatology is left untold, as is the case in other New Testament references to this Psalm (Matthew 22:44 and parallels in Mark 12:36 and Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34, Mark 16:19 ((disputed text)), Hebrews 10:12-13 and 12:2). However, when one reads the entire 110th Psalm, one is reminded of Revelation 19:11-21. It is obvious from the references that Psalm 110 was an important text for the early believers as well as for Jesus, for it gives a “big picture” view of Christ in His ascension, “session,” and future victory. In this particular reference, the focus is on the personhood of Jesus Christ. Though He lived among us, His eternal majesty is directly tied to His being the Son of God (1:2).
· Hebrews 10:11-16: Again, the writer refers to Psalm 110:1 in verse 10:12-13. The focus in this passage is on the priesthood of Christ, the Great High Priest. Especially the focus is on the particular sacrifice which Christ presented, which was His own body through His death on the cross (see 10:10). So, Christ’s redemptive work was His bloody death on the cross, which He gave to God as a sacrifice for our sin (10:10-12a). In this act, He was both the priest and the sacrificial animal. When He completed His work (the text omits His resurrection, but it is implied by His session on the throne), He sat down together with the Father and remains there until His enemies become His footstool (10:12b-13). So, in a few verses the time from AD 30 to the present and into the future are encompassed. No details are given of what will be involved for His enemies to be defeated, but the implication is that a future is envisioned that will be free of the enemies of Christ. Verse 10:14 contrasts with verse 10:11. The Hebrew priests constantly offered sacrifices in response to the sins of the people, but Jesus, in one sacrifice, completed the redemptive work for all time. In the verses that follow (10:15-18), the writer applies the Old Testament concept of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-37) to the work of Christ. Two features of the New Covenant are highlighted. First, there is the internal work of God to bring about a new person “on the inside” rather than simply adherence to a set of commandments. Second, there is permanent forgiveness for sins available, rather than the necessity for continual offering of animal sacrifices. The promise of the New Covenant in the Old Testament context is considered to be fulfilled through Jesus Christ. In Dispensationalism, the New Covenant in Jeremiah is considered to be strictly for Israel, and the New Covenant mentioned by Jesus at His institution of the Lord’s Supper is considered to be a separate Covenant for the church era. This necessitates, for the Dispensationalist, that the book of Hebrews must be understood to be written only to Israel. That opinion is not supported by any specific statement in the book. Admittedly there is an overwhelming amount of content that relates to Israel, yet, it is a book found in the New Testament canon, and that forces us to ask: “Is this book for Christians or not?” That is a subject beyond the scope of this article.
· Hebrews 12:1-2: This passage refers back to Hebrews 11, often called the “Roll Call of the Heroes of the Faith.” In that passage, various people of the Old Testament era exemplify what it is to walk by faith. These, who have died, form a great cloud of witnesses (12:1). What are they witnesses to? They confessed what it is to be “strangers and exiles” looking for God’s “heavenly” country (11:13-16). That is, they demonstrated how to live in anticipation of a promise. We are surrounded by them and are exhorted to run our own race in anticipation of what is ahead. Moreover, we have the greatest of all examples, Jesus, who endured the suffering of the cross. He, too, looked forward to “the joy that was set before” Him. What was that joy? In part, it was the opportunity to sit at the right hand of the Father. (12:2) But, as the other references to His session indicate, His session awaits a complete victory when His enemies will be His footstool (Psalm 110:1).
· Matthew 23:37-39: This paragraph contains the closing words of Jesus in His stinging denunciation of the Jewish leaders (23:1-39), especially the scribes and Pharisees. He warns the crowds that these men “preach, but they do not practice” (23:3). He pronounces woes upon them: for shutting up the Kingdom from people (23:13), for making proselytes children of hell (23:15), for creating complex rules and loopholes about oaths (23:16-22), for being technically pure in tithing but neglecting the more important issues of justice, mercy, and faithfulness (23:23-24), for worrying about external issues but not their hearts (23:25-26), for being beautiful outside but dead inside (23:27-28), for claiming they would not have killed the prophets yet Christ could foresee their persecution of the Christians (23:29-36). At the end of this condemnation, Jesus’ heart softens for the Jerusalem He loves. He would have gathered the people as a hen gathers her chicks, but Jerusalem has rejected Him (23:37). Now the city’s house is “left…desolate” (23:38). I have commented in an article on Matthew 24 that the term “house” most likely refers to the nation of Israel, with Jerusalem as representative of the nation. Nothing in the context suggests that the Temple is in mind. The House of Israel is “desolate” in the sense of being empty or barren. This, Jesus is saying, is the condition of the people of that day. The rejection of Jesus the Messiah was symptomatic of their spiritual condition. Then, Jesus says they will not see Him again until a very certain Day arrives. At that time they will rejoice and say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (23:39) This is a quotation from Psalm 118:26, and it probably refers to the entire Psalm. This Psalm is one of deliverance from and victory over enemies. So, Jesus is saying: “When you see me again, you shall see me as the victor who delivers you from all your enemies.” The crowds understood this when Jesus made His triumphant victory of Palm Sunday. Matthew places chapter 23 after that entry, though Luke depicts Jesus’ saying the contents of 23:37-39 at an earlier time (Luke 13:31-35). The NIV Study Bible speculates that Jesus made the statement more than once. That is certainly possible. The first question is, is Jesus referring to the events of Palm Sunday. Matthew’s version would answer “No,” but Luke’s version opens that possibility. If one considers the whole Psalm and reviews the events of Palm Sunday, one would have to reject the idea that the excitement of the crowds on that Sunday fulfilled the prediction of Matthew 23:39. I say that because their excitement and adoration was largely in anticipation that Jesus would be the triumphant Messiah. Jesus implied in 23:39 that the triumphant praise, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” would be shouted in a time of visible victory. That victory, which Jesus is promising in this verse, will come when Jesus returns from heaven, the conqueror on a white horse (Revelation 19:11ff).
· Matthew 26:64: With these words, Jesus sealed his fate before the Sanhedrin. The claims He made were so totally without bounds that He was either who He claimed to be or a madman. Perhaps C. S. Lewis had this in mind when he wrote: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.” (Lewis, 56) Jesus was saying two things about His future. First, that He would be seated at the right hand of God (see the previous entries on this subject). He also said that from that position, He would be “coming” on the clouds. This latter statement is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14. It is beyond the scope of this article to analyze that passage, but I shall make a few comments. First, it is very likely that Jesus called Himself the “Son of Man” mostly in reference to this passage. Second, this passage establishes the ultimate victory of God and His Man over all the empires of the world, including the final empire of the Antichrist/Beast. Third, the passage looks forward to a great Kingdom, an “everlasting dominion” (Daniel 7:14 and see 7:27). Jesus, in Matthew 26:64, identified Himself as the Son of Man who would have that everlasting dominion. In answer to the demand to confirm or deny whether He was the Messiah, Jesus chose to look to the future. I paraphrase: “You ask Me if I am the Messiah. You really do not have a clue what “Messiah” means. I’ll tell you what it means. Someday, I shall return and you shall get a glimpse of who I am. You will see Me on the right hand of the Father, coming on clouds, victorious over all enemies, about to receive a Kingdom that will never end. You’ve arrested me and treated me roughly, dragged me here to this kangaroo court in the middle of the night. Someday, I shall return, and all my glory shall be revealed.”
· Luke 18:8: This is the conclusion of the Parable of the Importunate Widow (18:1-8). That parable was told to exhort and encourage people to pray and not lose heart. The illustration uses the device of an unlikely hero. The hero is a judge who does not worry about pleasing anyone. Yet, a widow—one of the most vulnerable of society—keeps after him until he relents and gives her justice. So, Jesus says, in effect: if that no-good judge did right under the importunity of the widow, think about what a loving God would do. If the elect cry out to Him, will He not give them justice? Jesus gives the answer: God’s justice will come quickly. Then, Jesus asks a question without giving the answer: Will He find faith when He returns? Now this brief passage has a bigger context. It is not simply a parable suitable for Monday morning devotional reading. The “speedily” with which God acts (verse 18:8) is about how soon God’s final justice will come. Jesus is connecting His own “coming” with God’s justice. Moreover, He opens a big question for the church. Will there be elect who pray for justice on the earth? Will there be any who are praying and not losing heart at that time. Jesus opens the real possibility that the answer is “No.” We do have another answer in Revelation 6:9-11: The martyrs are assured that there will be more martyrs before the end comes and God avenges their martyrdom.
· Acts 1:10-11: This is, in my view, one of the central Scriptures on the Second Coming. It does not give us great detail, and we certainly could make it fit whatever scheme (or, at least, a number of different schemes) of eschatology that we espouse. Nevertheless, it states in no uncertain terms the future return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Jesus led a group of His disciples to the Mount of Olives (we infer from verse 1:12). As He was speaking, He began to rise into the air and disappeared into a cloud. There then appeared two “men,” whom we take to be angels. They announced that “this Jesus…will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) I offer the following comments:
o It is “this Jesus”—the Jesus of Nazareth that they followed for three and a half years, whom they saw crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. The One they had given their hearts to and who was their leader. The same one will come back.
o He will come. He will come back. They would be without His physical presence for the duration, but they would have an assurance that He will come again.
o He will “come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” The word picture that Luke draws is unambiguous. The witnesses to the event were obviously astounded at what they saw. What they were seeing was miraculous, awe-inspiring. I have no doubt they were staring with their jaws dropped in utter amazement. The angels gave them a mild rebuke, perhaps more to get their attention than anything else. However, they needed to tell them something important: The Next Big Thing. Just as He floated up into the clouds, He will also return with the clouds to the earth.
o In a sense, this ends the story of “this Jesus.” If we follow Luke-Acts, it begins with the announcement to Mary and the virgin conception by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is the first coming. We follow His birth, growth, baptism, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. The story has been completed—for now. The next event will be His return to earth. In the meantime, He sits with the Father and makes intercession for us.
o Our faith is focused on the story of Jesus, which includes His ascension AND HIS SECOND COMING. It is as much an article of our faith as the rest of the story. The ancients included it in the Apostles’ Creed: “From thence [right hand of the Father] He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” Those who sweep the Second Coming under the rug are committing an act of heresy.
· I Corinthians 11:26: This is the final sentence in Paul’s statement of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. In communion we look back to the foundation of our salvation—the death of our Lord Jesus. As we eat the bread and drink the cup, we preach to one another and to ourselves: This is why we have peace with God and are accepted by Him. We do this, as in all of our worship, as an act of faith. We have faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. The power of the symbols is in the power of the reality of what they symbolize. Yet, as we look back, we also look forward. We understand that this simple act of worship—the one act instituted by our Lord—is what we do in the meantime. We know that God in Christ has instituted the Kingdom of God. That will be fully realized when He comes. Jesus said: “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29) So, Paul says we proclaim the Lord’s death through the act of communion until that day when we enjoy table fellowship with Him in the Kingdom. That day will be realized when He comes again.
· Philippians 3:20-21: I have commented on this passage in the first of these articles under “Heaven.”
· The “appearing” of Jesus Christ: The word “appearing,” which translates a word that is related to “epiphany,” is used six times, all in Pauline epistles. In most cases it refers to the Second Coming of Christ (though Dispensationalists might refer it to the Rapture in some cases). The following are those uses.
· II Thessalonians 2:8: This passage has been discussed at length in another article. This verse refers to the destruction of the Man of Lawlessness by Jesus. He will accomplish this by the “breath of his mouth” and by “the appearance [appearing] of his coming.” The “coming” is the Parousia. In most interpretations of the whole passage, the Man of Lawlessness is understood to be the Antichrist/Beast of Revelation 13, who is active during the Tribulation period. He is defeated by Christ at His Second Coming. Therefore, the “appearance” or “appearing” of Christ at His Parousia would be equivalent to His Second Coming.
· I Timothy 6:13-14: Paul has been giving Timothy a number of instructions, such as to pursue righteousness and fight the good fight of faith (verses 6:11-12). He adds further weight to his admonitions by charging Timothy in the presence of God and Jesus Christ to keep “the commandment.” Exactly what he means by “the commandment” is not certain. It may include all the admonitions in verses 6:11-12, or it may be the whole calling to righteousness. This charge, to keep the commandment, is to be fulfilled until the “appearing” of Jesus. This may be taken to mean the Second Coming of Christ, although I recognize that some would disagree and designate it as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture appearance of Christ.
· II Timothy 1:10: In this instance, the use of “appearing” refers to the FIRST coming of Christ. God’s purpose and grace (verse 1:9) were manifested in Christ at His (first) appearing, in His ministry, death, and resurrection (1:10). By that grace we are saved (1:9).
· II Timothy 4:1-5: Verse 4:1 is a difficult sentence grammatically. Paul charges Timothy, first of all, before God and Jesus Christ. He adds to the solemnity of that by reminding Timothy that Jesus will judge the living and the dead. Then, he also charges him with reference to, or in the light of, Jesus’ appearing and His Kingdom. The difficulty is that the grammatical construction of the first part does not parallel the second part. This may highlight the meaning. Paul is charging Timothy as though he and his protégé were standing right in front of God and His Son Jesus. He is also charging him as they both reflect on the future—that Jesus is coming again and will receive a Kingdom. Paul is calling upon Timothy to fulfill his calling, to do the work of ministry with this consciousness filling his heart. Paul connects the Lord’s appearing with His Kingdom.
· II Timothy 4:6-8: These verses have been considered elsewhere in the entries under “Reward.” Paul is anticipating his own death. He looks forward to a “crown of righteousness” that the Lord will award him. The crown is “laid up” for him, but will be awarded on “that Day.” “That Day” is not defined, but it appears to be a very special day, a day when there is a completion of God’s purposes. One must conclude that it is a day associated with the end of the age, the Second Coming, the Kingdom of God, and other future events. The full meaning and use of “Day” in eschatology is beyond the scope of this article. On that special Day, Paul will receive his crown of righteousness. And it will not only be Paul who is given this crown, for this crown belongs to “all who have loved his appearing.” (4:8) Again, this last-days “appearing” refers either to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture appearance of Christ or to the Second Coming.
· Titus 2:11-14: In 2:1-10, Paul admonishes people of various stations in life (older men and women, younger men and women, slaves) to live godly lives, so that people outside the church will not be offended by misbehavior. He justifies these admonitions (2:11-14) by referring to the grace of God (2:11) as that which trains us to live upright lives (2:12). It is a little odd to think of grace as that which instructs people how to live. Paul goes on to refer to the redemption in Christ that has created a “people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (2:14) Thus, a component of the redemption process is training in righteous behavior. This righteous behavior characterizes our lives in this present age (2:12). As we live out our lives now, we live in anticipation of a great future event. This event is termed “our blessed hope” (2:13). (The Greek does not have “our,” but simply “the.”) This hope is “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2:13). A more literal translation of 2:13 would be: “Awaiting the blessed hope and appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” Alternatively (again, quite literally): “Awaiting the blessed hope, even the appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” This latter translation is in line with the ESV and NIV, while the former is in line with the New Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Version, and the King James and New King James Versions. This “appearing,” I believe, is the time when Jesus will come with “power and great glory” at the Second Coming (Matthew 24:30), which would correspond to the language of Titus 2:13. In other words, Titus 2:13 refers to the Second Coming of Christ as the “blessed hope.” However, Dispensationalists believe this refers to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church (Pentecost, 203).
· Hebrews 10:37: This verse is part of a lengthy exhortation beginning at 10:19. The believers are encouraged to enter into the presence of God (10:19-22), to hold onto their confession (10:23), and to encourage one another and meet together (10:24-25). These admonitions come with the reminder of the approaching Day (10:25). The writer diverges to give a severe warning against willful rebellion and sin (10:26-31). Then, the readers are encouraged to “recall the former days” when they had served the Lord faithfully in the face of persecution (10:32-34). Then, they are admonished to hold to their confidence and exhibit endurance (10:35-36). They can take heart that “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay.” (10:37) Bible notes refer this and the following verse to Habakkuk 2:3-4 as well as other Old Testament references that have to do with fulfillment of a prediction in a speedy fashion. For us, this word of encouragement strains us, since these words were written almost 2000 years ago. Our encouragement needs to come from II Peter 3 which assures us that the Lord has a time table that is not our time table. In the meantime, as we return our attention to Hebrews, we are to live by faith and not shrink back in the face of opposition (10:38-39). So, the Christian life and the persecutions and other troubles that it brings are lived out in a context of the assurance that Jesus is coming.
· James 5:7-12: James, whose letter is full of admonitions, now admonishes his readers to be patient. He has just excoriated rich people who have exploited their laborers (5:1-6). The wording seems to indicate that some in the church were among those who were so viciously treated (see verse 5:6). In the face of this kind of trouble, the people of God are encouraged to be patient “until the coming [Parousia] of the Lord.” He compares them to farmers who wait for two sets of rain, the early (autumn) and later (spring). Grain was sown in the fall and reaped in late spring. In that semi-desert climate, it is likely that the grain would not look like much until it received that last push of rain. A farmer would be acting rashly to go out and harvest before the spring rains came. We, perhaps, want the Lord to deliver to us the Kingdom prematurely. We have to recognize that God reserves to Himself the timing (see Acts 1:7). The “Latter Rain Movement” used James 5:7 and other references to the “latter rains” to typify their movement. I believe that a number of the teachings from that group are erroneous. I have written an article (titled “A Special Message”) regarding the Manifested Sons of God teaching. There is no warrant in this passage to believe that it predicts a super outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days. The emphases in the passage are on steadfastness in the face of suffering. As was the case in the previous passage (Hebrews 10:37), Christians are encouraged to live out their faith with integrity, perseverance, and endurance with the anticipation that the Lord will come again.
· I John 2:28-3:3: I have discussed this passage under “Resurrection” in a previous article.
· Jude 14-15: Jude is writing this epistle to warn the church to “contend for the faith” (verse 3) against “certain people” who have infiltrated the church and are twisting grace into a license for sensuality and who deny the Lord (4). These people will be judged when the Lord returns with ten thousand (alternatively: countless thousands) of His saints (or “holy ones”) (14-15). Jude refers to the Book of I Enoch, an apocryphal book of the first century before Christ. Both the NIV Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible have notes that defend the fact that Jude quotes from this book. The NIV Study Bible says: “That it [Enoch] was not canonical does not mean that it contained no truth; nor does Jude’s quotation of the book mean that he considered it inspired…” From this passage we have another reference to the Second Coming of Christ. That coming will be accompanied by many “holy ones” or “saints.” In at least two cases, Mark 8:38 and Matthew 25:31, Jesus mentions that angels will accompany Him at His return. It is also true that the description in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 indicates that the people of God who participate in the Resurrection/Rapture will accompany the Lord at His Second Coming. So we cannot be sure who the “holy ones” are. When Christ comes, among His other activities will be a judgment on “all” (Jude 15) and especially a judgment on blasphemers (15).
Crossway Bibles (2009-04-09). ESV Study Bible. Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity. New York: The MacMillan Co., 1952.