There are some important subjects we need to know about, especially in this new year. If you have been reading this column even a little bit, you might guess I am bound to be thinking of something spiritual and biblical. Research indicates an urgent problem of today’s churchgoers called “biblical illiteracy.” Many years ago, people died, some by burning at the stake, to bring us the Holy Bible in our own language; yet increasingly, people do not appreciate that most important of all books.
Many years ago, I realized that my own children and some other Christians I knew did not know what I would call “the Big Picture,” the redemption story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. While standing in my kitchen down on the coast, I exclaimed to my husband Royce as to how I would love to teach young people the Big Picture. (I had been blessed with a mama who loved the Word and taught me to also love it and learn it.) Years later, our life situation changed, and the Lord led us to move to Decatur, where He fulfilled one of the desires of my heart, letting me teach Biblical History to young people for nine years. (To learn the story from beginning to end, in simplicity and visually, I recommend the book 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max E. Anders, available at Walmart.)
Another thing Christians really need to know, and something I was very late noticing, is a verse in which Jesus Himself defined eternal life. For years, I would have said it meant everlasting life, living with God in Heaven forever. But in His prayer to His Father before His crucifixion, He said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent,” John 17:3. When we “accept Jesus as our Savior,” in order to “be saved from hell,” do we realize that becoming a “new creation” or being “born again,” is not just a result of a mental assent as to the truth of the Gospel found in the Bible concerning who Jesus is and what He did? In other words, after the Holy Spirit’s drawing one to the truth and that one’s decision to give His life to the Lord to be saved, that believer must seek to draw ever closer to Him, to get to “know Him” through His Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of other believers in the Body of Christ.
To know Him is to love Him. Actually, I think that is the title to an old love song, but it is so true concerning our relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ. The more we love someone, the more we want to please that one. A favorite verse of mine is “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6. There are many other verses that explain how we can please God, and it is important for us to seek to know what they are.
I began being concerned about whether Christians really know what they need to know about the second coming of Jesus, and other things prophesied for the latter days, especially the warnings of Revelation 13 and 14 concerning the antichrist and the mark of the beast. Churchgoers cannot possibly learn all they need to learn from weekly sermons and teachings. There are too many subjects, doctrines and truths to cover over the course of time, with most parishioners not attending church every service.
To begin with, after the ascension of Jesus to Heaven after His resurrection and 40 days of teaching His disciples, the angels told the men gazing into the clouds that Jesus would return in just the same way. Jesus had told a parable to illustrate His leaving and returning, in which He said, “Occupy till I come,” (Luke 19:13).
A lot of the information concerning Jesus’ Second Coming is found in passages in the four Gospels: Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and John 14. I would guess the most famous verse of Matthew 24 is verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” The apostle Paul’s writing about the Second Coming is primarily found in I and II Thessalonians, as he wrote to encourage new believers who were experiencing persecution. I Thessalonians 5:1 tells us that, though we cannot know the day or hour, we can detect the “times and the seasons;” therefore, we must “watch and be sober,” (verse 6).
We do not know whether the Church will be lifted up in their new bodies to be with the Lord before, in the middle or after the Tribulation period prophesied in The Revelation of St. John the Divine, but we know that it will happen. We must be ready, with our lamps filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit, being wise to know that the Bridegroom will be expecting us to be wearing the wedding garments of the righteousness of Christ. We should submit to our Lord, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish,” Ephesians 5:26-27.
I have heard many speak of the rise of the antichrist, and/or the mark of the beast. We are not at that place in time yet, as we have not yet seen the “man of sin” be recognized. Also, Revelation 14:11 indicates that whoever takes the mark of the beast also worships him. Read the verses which warn of that biblical event. (If we thought 2020 was rough, we should know that Revelation is not all symbolic. What can be taken literally should be taken literally.)
Please be warned by reading these verses and informing your loved ones also. Speaking of the antichrist, “… And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” (from Revelation 13:1-8).
And he causeth all… to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name…” Revelation 13:16-17. Revelation 14:11 indicates the fate of those worshipers, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Live for Jesus! He’s coming soon! You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-635-3282.