As the latest total solar eclipse approaches this Monday, people are starting to act weird. As Christians, it’s a great reminder that there will never be even a partial eclipse of the Son, Jesus Christ.
Yet, despite this latest phenomenon, it’s easy to become famous: Just predict the end of the world, threaten to burn a religious book, or deny the biblical hell. That’s why people get fanatical with the end of the world (and its relation to solar eclipses) and irrational about setting dates when Jesus will return. Because they get tired and bored of the biblical Gospel.
In this short post, as we get close to the August 21 eclipse, I just want to take a moment to unpack some well-known and not-so-well-known biblical reminders about the end times.
- Don’t focus on the timing of Jesus’ return; just keep at the mission until he returns (Acts 1:6-11). Deep longings for Jesus’ return should be matched–or overmatched–by a deep engagement with Jesus’ mission. Jesus said, “Engage till I return” (Luke 17:9), not disengage and disappear, fear, and fret.
- The Bible calls the ENTIRE period between Jesus’ incarnation and return, the “last days” (Acts 2:7; Heb. 1:1-2; 1 Pet. 1:20). There is no end of the world. Rather, we eagerly await the culmination of all things at Christ’s second coming and a new heavens and earth. Yet, we have never been so close to the return of Christ as we are this moment. Let us redeem the time.
- The New Testament speaks frequently and joyfully about the Second Coming of Christ. Let’s do the same. Encouraging one another is the only thing the Bible says we are to do increasingly, as we get closer to the return of Jesus (Heb. 3:3; 1 Thess. 5:1). People ask how Christ’s return might be seen around the world. But they forget that he is omnipresent and plans to cover the globe with glory.
- Christ’s finished work in history and his future return in glory are appropriate distractions from today’s anxiety. “Our Lord, come!” (1 Cor. 16:22). Believing in, and longing for, the Second Coming of Christ is essential to authentic Christianity.
- Pray daily for Jesus to return—on the bad days, the good days and all the in-between days. “Come Lord Jesus, we long to see you face-to-face” should be our prayer. Lose your hope in the return of Christ and you will lose your way in the Christian life.
- Oh, for there to be as much watching for Jesus’ return as there is watching for the latest political news. Long daily for heaven. Pray daily for Christ’s return. “… together with them” (1 Thess. 4:17). The second coming of Christ will reunite all his people together forever. Our joy will overflow.
- Our world is so evil, only the second coming of Christ can rescue us. And he will. I believe in the Second Coming of Christ to rule and reign. I thrill to that. But I also agonize at the human suffering until then. On the other hand, nothing is more horrible than to face the wrath of The Lamb (Revelation 6:12-17). Are you ready for the return of Christ?
Father, because of your Son’s finished work and impending return, terror is terrified, knowing it’s days are short. Hasten the Day, Lord. Amen.