September 28, 2015

What to do between His appearances

Zechariah 12:1–14:21, Acts 26:1–32, Job 31:1–8

The Bible is clear that Jesus came once for redemption of sinners, and then will come again to judge the world and make all things right. Zechariah writes of the second coming when God will “pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)

He also refers to the His first appearance when He was crucified: “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones” (Zechariah 13:7) and of the salvation He brings: “I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ” (Zechariah 13:9)

Yet his focus is “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward . . . . Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:4–5, 9)

Zechariah speaks of judgment and that those who survive will “go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths.” (Zechariah 14:16) Because all prophesies of His first coming have been fulfilled, and because this is the Word of God, I can expect these later prophesies to also happen just as Zechariah said. He knew that God was speaking.

Job understood the workings of God also. He said, “If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!) if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands, then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.” (Job 31:5–8)

Because God is just, Job could say this with full knowledge that in the end, his destiny was secure. His faith had produced a just and righteous life; God would be faithful to His Word; truly the just would live by faith.

Paul also declared the righteousness of God and how Jesus came to redeem sinners. Arrested and given audience by King Agrippa, he testified his manner of life as a Pharisee, and his hope in Christ which was the reason for the accusation by the Jews. He said, “O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:4–8) Such a thing was easy to believe because Paul knew the power and promises of God.

He told the king how he once opposed the name of Jesus and persecuted those who followed Him, but then was confronted by Jesus Himself who said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:12–18)

With further testimony to his conversion, Paul added, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” (Acts 26:27–29)

Paul and all others who believe in Jesus know that He will return. We don’t know the day or the hour, but as the world spins and wickedness increases, we greatly anticipate this promised event. We know that God keeps His promises.

Also as Paul, I want that all who hear the gospel might be filled with faith and live the rest of their lives trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is about forgiveness and eternal life. All should know these gifts from God and all the wonders of being His child.

The Gospel also tells me how to live between His first appearance and His second — with great enthusiasm for all that He has done, sharing Him and His message with fullness of joy. I want everyone to experience that as well.

No comments: