Jesus is coming and that is a fact. This is not an ‘if’ question but rather a ‘when’ one. However, how will He find us? Will we be ready for Him? From Scripture, we know certain things for sure.
Firstly that Jesus will Himself come and will not send an emissary; He will come in person. 1Thessalonians 4:16 records, ‘For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first’.
Secondly that He will come visibly. When He ascended into heaven, two men dressed in white appeared to the disciples and declared, ‘This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go to heaven’, this is recorded in Acts 1:11. The Christ’s second coming will be as visible as His ascension into heaven.
Thirdly that He will come suddenly and unexpectedly like a thief. No one will foresee His coming but all will see it.1Thessalonians 5:1-3 says, ‘Now brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety” destruction will come on them suddenly; as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape’.
And lastly that He will come glorious and triumphant. In His first coming He suffered all manner of ills; in Luke 9:22 we see Him acknowledging this state of affairs, ‘The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life’. However, in His second coming, He will do so in glory, as a King.
The nature of His coming will be such that He will put all the skeptics and cynics to shame. It will be a time of realization of His promises and all the Scriptural truths that we have held onto by faith. Resurrection will be the portion of the believer and for those who will long be dead, it will be their turn for resurrection and an external life with Christ as King just as He had promised. 1Corinthians 15:23 explains, ‘But each in his own turn; Christ the first fruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him’.
It will be a time of reunion as the tombstones are rolled back and all that died in the knowledge, belief and acceptance of Him, resurrected. 1Thessalonians 4:17 explains, ‘After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever’.
It will be a time of rejuvenation such that all our diseases will be no more. There will be no cancer, no cerebral palsy, no Alzheimer’s disease and no AIDs; all conditions will be gone. There will be no more pain, divorce, envy, shame, guilt, bitterness, complaining, anxiety or mistrust. What will have gone into the soil in burial will be raised different yet tangible and visible, just like Christ was for He is the first fruit and our reason for believing in resurrection. 1Corinthians 15:18 confirms, ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’.
It will be a time of rewarding our deeds. Paul talks of this in 2 Timothy 4:8, ‘Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, but also to all who have longed for His appearance’. We will be judged for our deeds and a reward equal to the measure of our works given to us. James 1:12 talks of this reward, ‘Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him’. Most importantly, there will be no envy towards each other for our different crowns.
Hell is real a place of desolation, banishment, emptiness, bleakness, despondency and regrets; a place of total separation from God a place of suffering and unequalled torment. And these continuously burn into whoever is unfortunate enough to find themselves there- those that deny salvation. The rich man who failed to be kind to the beggar Lazarus discovered the reality of hell, Luke 16:23 records, ‘In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire’.
As real as heaven is, so is hell. Christ showed us the path to follow and how to avoid hell. He is the way.