Do you ever just get overwhelmed with the sense of the Lord’s return? I do! Often, and how could I not, I look out at the world through the various media; and think “that things are spinning out of control” at a very very fast rate of speed (by appearance of course, we know that nothing is out of the control of the Lord). There is a constant theme in the New Testament (and Old Testament) on the immediacy of the Lord’s return — no I am not going to do an exegetical or motif study on a “theology of last days” — and instead of this being in the background it is in fact the foreground of the biblical teaching. Everything in the Old Testament, like the proto-evangelium (cf. Gen. 3:15 “the first Gospel”), or the bronze serpent (cf. Num. 21:6ff), or the Davidic promise (cf. II Sam. 7), or Shear-jashub (cf. Is. 7–9), or the Suffering Servant (cf. Is. 53), etc., etc.; has an “end-times,” eschatological shape to it. Similarly, when we come to the New Testament we are confronted with the arrival of the baby in the manger (cf. Lk. 1–2), the promised Son of David – Immanuel (cf. Mt. 1–2), the eternal Logos tabernacling amongst us (cf. Jn 1), the One who could “return at any minute” (cf. Mk. 13; Mt. 24), the One who could return in the “twinkling of an eye” (cf. I Cor. 15), the One who has given us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee (II Cor. 5:5), the One who upholds all things by the word of His power (cf. Heb. 1), the One who is reserving this present earth for judgment of fire (cf. II Pet. 3), the One who as He is so also are we in this world (cf. I Jn. 4:17), the One who will return in like manner in which He ascended (cf. Acts 1:10,11), etc. etc.; the bible is dripping with last times expectation and hope!
All of this biblical hope rests on the very life of God, Himself! All the promises of the Old Testament, all the fulfillment of the New Testament are presupposed by God’s life for us! It is a life that is overflowing, a life that is “outward shaped,” a life that is the all encompassing beginning and end, the Alpha and Omega. We are brought into this life, into this life of mutual and shared glory amongst the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we have been invited, through the vicarious life of the Son to participate within this communion of the God-head. And this union in communion is our great hope, it is the point of all those passages I note above (and much more); and it is the point of “last times” language in the bible.
When I look at the chaos of this present world (as it has been confronted with and fights against God’s justice and holiness in Christ), and the tailspinning nature of this present evil age; I take heart in the hope that God’s life has brought for us! As sure as He came the first time, He is coming the second; just because He has been delaying, does not mean He will forever (as some in the world or even the Church may think cf. II Pet. 3). There is a day, known to Him alone, that He will indeed come and take His bride out of this languishing wilderness; and He will finish what He started, He will consummate with whom He has been given by the Father — us, His spotless bride as a pure virgin. This day of rejoicing is nearer each passing day, than when we first believed; it seems that the contractions and birth pangs of this “old age” are coming quicker and in shorter intervals. So we would be wise to look up, for our redemption draws near! Amen.