Prof. Johan Malan, South Africa (April. 2010)
In a prophetic sense it is night in the world since most people dwell in intense spiritual and moral darkness. Fallen humanity prefers it this way since people love the darkness and sin of Satan’s kingdom rather than the light of God’s kingdom (John 3:19). Humanity now approaches the coldest and darkest part of night before the new day of God’s revealed kingdom will dawn upon this dark, problem-ridden and terminally ill world. It will certainly not be long before we will see the Bright and Morning Star appearing in the sky (Rev. 22:16). Most people are fast asleep during the fourth watch of the night when the morning star appears to signal the coming of a new day. Only those who are spiritually awake will see Him and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
We should not accept the dark conditions of a depraved world by trying to adapt to them, but rather long for the soon return of the Lord Jesus. With the psalmist we must say: “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning” (Ps. 130:6). The tragedy is that people who do not wait for Him can only expect the outpouring of God’s wrath and fierce anger during the great tribulation. To them, the watchman has bad news: “The watchman said, The morning comes, and also the night” (Isa. 21:12). The morning of eternal bliss will dawn for the faithful ones who expect the Messiah, but the unbelievers will be overcome by the darkness of divine judgements. To them the night will become inexpressibly dark.
The Lord Jesus will first come secretly as the heavenly Bridegroom to snatch away His bride and then, after the seven years of tribulation, publicly as King of kings to judge the unbelieving world and set up His throne in Jerusalem. We eagerly expect His secret coming when He will come “to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe” (2 Thess. 1:10). We will sing His praises: “You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness… You shall surround me with songs of deliverance… In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 30:11; 32:7; 16:11).
If we love and expect the Lord Jesus we will seriously pursue holiness and prepare to appear before Him unblemished, without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:25-27). We will separate ourselves from the world and the things of the world: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Phil. 3:20-21). Do you earnestly await the fulfilment of this promise?
“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). The faithful Christian who expects the second coming of Christ is not influenced by our dark surroundings as he would then grow cold in his love, lose his dedication to the heavenly Bridegroom and fail to be vigilant and prayerful.
We should live like people who can see Him who is invisible. Abraham lived in the prospect of his eternal home while sojourning in tents in a foreign country, “for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:9-10). We are also pilgrims in a world which lies in the sway of the Wicked One (1 John 5:19), and should never lose the vision of our wonderful destination but see it afar off and embrace it.
Christians who lose the expectation of the future revelation of Christ’s kingdom are almost unconsciously adapting to “this present evil age” from which the Lord Jesus came to deliver us (Gal. 1:4). Many of them even try to introduce a visible kingdom before the coming of the King and to permanently establish themselves in it. In the process they unashamedly make use of worldly methods to live in unity, peace and harmony with the apostate world.
Christians with this orientation lay claim to so many material blessings on earth that they neglect to lay up treasures in heaven. Their expectation has become completely secularised, and in terms of their worldly achievements they say: “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” Christ says to these visionless and worldly believers: “You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17). They no longer look out for a future kingdom but are busy establishing their own kingdom here and now. Paul also warns them: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Cor. 15:19).
Let us again read all the wonderful promises on the second coming of the Lord Jesus and reconfirm our faith in them. We should immerse ourselves in these great truths and long for the new day which He alone, as the Sun of righteousness, can cause to dawn upon a dark world. Even now, in our dark and dejected surroundings, the Lord Jesus is present in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. His Spirit proclaims to us the things to come (John 16:13) and reminds us of Christ’s promise that He went to heaven to prepare a place for us there, to which He will catch us away at His coming (John 14:1-3). This is the message and promise of the bright Morning Star.
People are indeed spiritually miserable, poor and blind if they are content with the limited blessings which we receive during the time of our pilgrimage on earth. What has become of their vision of the ineffable glory in heaven which the Lord has promised to His faithful disciples? Paul consistently maintained this vision and wrote about the wonderful things which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
It is only when we lead a life of unfailing dedication under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit that we will have a clear, biblical perspective on the future. It will make the light of our testimony shine still brighter among the crooked and perverse generation with whom we live in this world. We should not condemn them, but on the other hand should refrain from compromising with their worldly orientation and values. We must invite them to share in the wonderful future to which we are underway by introducing them to Christ.
The Lord Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of the world and the Bridegroom of His bride to whom people of all nations are still invited: “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” (Rev. 22:16-17). Do you beckon the Morning Star so He can rise in your heart to proclaim His second coming and future blessings to you? (2 Pet. 1:19).
The Lord Jesus is the only door to the kingdom of God, He is the King who will rule over it and in Him all promises about participation in this eminent kingdom are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20). He is the heavenly Bridegroom who will rule over His kingdom together with His glorified bride. Before that can happen, the first resurrection must occur when all righteous people will receive glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:6). Thereafter we will never again be affected by sin and unrighteousness, but shall shine as lights in the everlasting and imperishable kingdom of the Lord (Dan. 12:3; Rev. 21:2-7).