Somewhere along the way we missed the point. We got so caught up in the details that may or may not be true that we forgot about the most important part. Our ideas about that day have been shaped more by movies and novels than they have by the Bible. As a result, we have become like a bunch of Christmas carolers who are all caught up in the festivities of the season but have no idea what they’re singing about.
I started hearing about the return of Christ when I was a teenager. At least that’s when I started paying attention to what I was hearing. That’s because there were movies involved. The movies I saw about the return of Christ appeared to be filmed in the 1970s using video equipment from the early days of the Soviet Union. There were a lot of bell bottoms, feathered hairstyles and people screaming. A lot of people screaming. And that wasn’t just in the movie. After the showing was over, there were usually two or three of us who would run out of the building screaming.
That was the major impression that was left on me when it came to talks about the return of Christ.
To be fair, there are plenty of people who should be afraid of the return of Christ. For nonbelievers, it will be a day of wrath. But for followers of Christ, it will be a day of hope realized.
That’s the part that we forget.
Churches have split up over arguments about the end times. Legitimate Christians have lived in fear of the AntiChrist coming for them and all of their sins being displayed on a giant movie screen for the world to see.
There are good people who really love Jesus but who have differing views on how the end times will play out. It is not the purpose of this post to explain all of that. Instead, I would like to remind you of what Paul told the believers in Thessalonica after sharing only a few details about the return of Christ.
Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 (ESV)
Not scare one another.
Not debate one another. l
Just encourage one another.
Again, debate and fear do have their place in end times discussions but they are not the substance. Jesus is. And he is our hope. He is the reason for our encouragement.
If our end times discussions do not end in Christ, the conquering King who has come to make all things eternally right, we are missing the point. We are missing our real reason to be encouraged.
At the return of Christ, there will be no more school shootings, wars, car accidents, tumors or abortions. Death will be no more (Revelation 21:4). Be encouraged.
When Christ returns, there will no longer be a need for jails or those lawyers who advertise no fault divorces for $300 (Revelation 21:5-8). Be encouraged.
When Jesus comes back for his people, we will finally know what it’s like to live under the authority of a perfect and compassionate Ruler whose government knows no corruption (Revelation 21:22-27). Be encouraged.
When Christ returns, we will no longer have to fight against Satan’s schemes (Revelation 19:11-21). Be encouraged.
And best of all, when Jesus comes back, we will live with him.
So be encouraged.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (ESV)