Friday, December 18, 2015

Jesus is Coming Soon: We are Living in "the Last Hour" (1 John 2:18)

This picture is not accurate. but it shows that Jesus is coming...
I use it since I can't find any good picture in the Internet.
Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come
(1 John 2:18,
NLT)

The Apostle John makes startling statements here: “The last hour is here”; “The last hour has come” [Another interesting statement is “the Antichrist,” but I’ll deal with this in the next article]. What does he mean by this? We know that Jesus Christ had not (and has not until this day) actually returned to earth. Yet John is speaking of the “last hour” as if it is just around the corner.

Let’s put this statement “last hour” in the setting in which it was originally written. If we go back and look at the teachings of Jesus Himself regarding the end times, we see that He made it very clear that no one would know for sure the hour when the end would come and He would return (Jesus’ second coming, see Matthew 24:42). Jesus also taught that certain events were to happen such as the Good News about Himself being shared throughout the whole world before He would return (see Matthew 24:14). Jesus promised that He would return in a most dramatic way – with the shouts of angels, and the sound of trumpets. Everyone on earth will witness the event! Then the faithful believers would be taken back to heaven with Him (see Matthew 24:30-31).

So, how does all of this fit together? We’ve already talked in the previous series of articles on 1 John about the fact that when Jesus came to earth the first time, His coming heralded the end of one age and the beginning of a new one. We are still in the new one, the “last hour.” This is not something far off in the distant future – it has already begun. Now! So, in one sense, every hour is the last. Since Jesus first lived on earth we have a new kind of time – age period – not measured in terms of length (quantity) but in a new dimension (quality). We are living in the “last hour” or “end times” – being careful and alert, watching and waiting for Jesus’ return, but also staying involved in this life by caring for others, loving one another. We should living for the future and in the present.

Thus, the end of history certainly has not already happened. We really cannot know for sure when it will happen (don’t trust any messages from social media especially from WhatsApp’s ‘prophets’ and Facebook’s ‘dreamers.’ The Scriptures, Matthew 24:36, says “Nobody knows…”). But we do know that with the first coming of Jesus Christ, we began to live in the “last hour,” even if that final end of history should still be a hundred, or a thousand, or even a million years away - or even next year! His return is imminent. So, how shall we live for Christ in the “last hour”? Let me suggest briefly: 1) Reorder your priorities in life in the light of eternity; 2) Stand on the Word of God; 3) Believe in the power of God and rely on the Holy Spirit; 4) Persist in prayer; 5) View your material possessions in eternal perspective; 5) Share the Good News passionately; and 6) “Looking for Jesus” (Titus 2:13). Don’t caught up in the world that we live thinking about anything but the return of Jesus. This is a sad state of affairs because Jesus’ return is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Dear Children of God, are you ready?

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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