In Acts 1, we have the account of Jesus speaking and exhorting the disciples just before He ascended to be with the Father. As He spoke with them, here is what Luke recorded of the next event. “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Picture that event and what that must have been like. Jesus is talking to the men and all of the sudden He is taken up into the clouds. The eyes of the disciples would have been fixed and focused on Him as He ascended. While they are giving His ascent their undivided attention, they hear voices; the voices of two angels. Did they speak this in unison or did they take turns speaking? Luke did not tell us. But here is what we can glean from what the angels said:
- He actually came the first time; He will actually come again
- He came to earth the first time; He will come to earth again
- He came personally the first time; He will come personally again
- He was taken up into the clouds; He will come back through the clouds
There is one more truth we can glean from what the angels said: Our job, our task on earth, is not to be staring into the skies looking for His return, but we have other tasks we are to be doing while we maintain readiness for His return.
Be ready and have a great day!
Note: See the Events page for information about the verse-by-verse study through the book of Revelation.
As I said in the previous post, the Christian life is build on the solid foundation of …
- The Word of God,
- The Plans of God, and
- The Promises of God
One of the promises Jesus made to His disciples was, He would return. If this promise is not fulfilled then what confidence do we have in any of the other promises He made. Even so, we carefully ask
- How long will it be?
- What is it going to take for His return to happen?
Over the next several days we will examine other reasons why we can be confident in His return. All this is in preparation for a verse-by-verse study that begins Sunday night, June 7, 2015. See the Events link for the time and place.
Several years ago, I heard John MacArthur speak on why Jesus must return to the earth. With those words as a seed thought, we come to the first reasons – because He said He would.
On the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus had some very important, intimate, and inspirational time with the eleven disciples who remained. As He spoke of His own death and departure, the men became broken in their spirit. As He disclosed the details of His death I can just imagine Him making contact with each one of these men one by one and after He did He said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
There it is. There is the promise. He promised He would return. How and when and the dynamics surrounding His return are all debated by theologians, pastors, and teachers. We do not have to agree on the details but one truth we must agree on is – He will return, because He said He would. Reason #2 tomorrow.
Have a great day!
Will Jesus return? Many are beginning to doubt if this will ever actually happen. These are perilous times; danger looms everywhere. The devaluing of life and people killing people is the norm. Will Jesus return? When will Jesus return? When will He return and make all things right? These are all legitimate and important questions. The Christian life is build on the solid foundation of …
- The Word of God,
- The Promises of God, and
- The Plans of God
The Plan of God for our salvation has many components; let’s look at a few.
- The Virgin Birth of Christ: Jesus, the second person of the trinity came to earth in the form of a baby. Never before or since has this happened. He is the only begotten Son of God.
- The Death of Christ: On the cross Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. His perfect sacrifice continues to be effectual for us and for all who call upon Him for salvation.
- The Resurrection of Christ: His death without His resurrection would provide temporal relief at best. God has put it in the heart of every person to live forever. Through Jesus and His resurrection, He provided the way for that desire to be fulfilled.
- The Ascension of Christ: Having finished all He came to do and leaving His marching orders for His disciples, Jesus ascended to the Father with the promise to return.
- The Return of Christ: Jesus will return. We may disagree on when and how He will return but He will return. We will document that further over the next few days.
Over the next few days we will document why we can be confident in the return of Christ. All this is in preparation for His glorious return and a verse-by-verse study through The Revelation of Jesus Christ set to begin Sunday night June 7, 2015.
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day today and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, let us consider one aspect of a memorial service. At the passing of most military veterans, there is a memorial service. In many of these services, there is “The folding of the flag.” During this time, the audience is focused; we focus on the flag and the two conducting the Flag-Folding Ceremony.
Years ago, the Flag-Folding Ceremony was created. Pause for a few minutes and reflect on the meaning of each of the twelve folds.
- The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
- The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
- The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.
- The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for divine guidance.
- The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
- The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
- The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
- The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
- The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
- The tenth fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
- The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of the national motto, “In God We Trust.” After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms, we enjoy today.
May these words add special meaning to your Memorial Day celebration this year. Have a great day!
(Take note I will repost this two more times over the Memorial Day weekend so that others will be able to appreciate these spiritual and patriotic truths.)