An annual occurrence for me is wondering whether the “New Year” before us will be the year that Jesus Christ will return for His Church. Is 2013 that year? I don’t know. None of us know. In fact, the Bible cautions against speculating about or setting dates for Jesus’ return, telling us that “…no man knows the day or the hour” (Matt. 24:36). Nevertheless and with that said, Jesus Himself told us what to look for as His return drew near – and as I look at the ‘Signs of the Times’ around us, these are the things I see: Wars & Rumors of Wars; Nation rising against Nation and Kingdom against Kingdom; Famine & Pestilence; Great Earthquakes in Various Places around the world; Signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; Upon the earth, the distress of Nations; The sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth… for death stalks our streets, lawlessness abounds, anarchy threatens, the love of many grows cold and becomes increasingly indifferent, etc. (cf. Matt. 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; Luke 21:10-11, 25-26)
For me personally, I have considered the facts and have subsequently concluded that because of the presence of these “signs” (geo-political signs, social signs, economic & spiritual signs) we are on the ‘Bell Lap’ of human history as we know it… and we are coming around the final turn!
All this brings us back to the pressing question I began with: Will 2013 be the year that Jesus, the Bridegroom returns for His Bride, the Church? And with that comes the answer: We cannot know with any certainty. Nevertheless, though there are certain specific things we cannot know, there are certain specific things we can do: We can HOPE in the promise of the Lord’s return, we can PRAY for the fruition of the promise of the Lord’s return… and we can live HOLY, CONSECRATED, and EXPECTANT LIVES – lives that support our belief that Jesus could come at any moment; Lives that suggest to others that He might come today.
I conclude with the following exhortation from the scriptures that both frame my thoughts and our current situation, perfectly ~
“The end of the world (as we know it) is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” (1Peter 4:7-10 NLT)
“All I can say is this: Forgetting what is behind me, and reaching out for that which lies ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize which is God’s call to the life above in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-13 NEB)