I’m ok with it if my church never gets off the ground. Truth be told. I’m also ok if I never walk my daughter down the aisle or hold a grandchild in my hands. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to do any one of those things and every one of those things, but I’m ok with it if none of them ever happen. No, I don’t have any cancer that I’m aware of. No, I’m not being morbid or apocalyptic in my thinking. At least, probably not in the way you might think I am. I just woke up and read the paper this morning. That’s all.
Before you read any farther, I need to explain to you a bit further about who I am and who I’m not. I’d like to do that because some of my readers are just getting to know me and are hopefully beginning to trust me and I don’t want to ruin any of that. I’d like to enhance it. So I want to be clear.
I don’t hold to any belief that hasn’t been believed by millions and millions who have gone before me and millions and millions who will probably come after me. I just don’t. You won’t find me diving deeply into little corners of the internet to try to understand Mayan calendar theory. You also won’t find me hanging out in Harold Camping’s company. Do you remember when he predicted the end of the world back in May of 2011? Oops. Messed that one up. That’s not me.
I do believe something simple and profound about Jesus. I believe he is the true and only God-man who, yes, walked this earth. I believe he lived innocently. I believe he suffered tragically. I believe he died horrifically. I believe he was buried. I believe he descended into hell. And, yes, I actually believe that in real, live history that same God-man rose from the dead as the first of many. Sound familiar? I hope so. That was just a riff on what is arguably the most ecumenical creed out there - the Apostle’s Creed. It’s what all Christians believe. It’s sort of our most common denominator. Or to say it another way, it’s one of the lowest thresholds for what can qualify as a Christian belief system. It’s just basic, basic Christian stuff.
Do you remember what is listed there as the last great act of Jesus? It’s actually the only one that hasn’t yet happened. Jesus will come again. Do you see why I had to tell you who I am and who I’m not before diving into that? Unfortunately, there is so much baggage surrounding that truth. There are people who immediately think of 666 getting tattooed to people’s foreheads; people who proclaim that Putin is the Antichrist foretold; and people who are deathly afraid that computer chips are going to be placed somewhere inside their bodies. Yeah, I’ve heard it all. That is not what this blog is about. It’s about one great, simple truth that Christians have always believed and will always believe. Jesus will come back. We just don’t know when exactly.
That brings me back to what happened when I woke up this morning. I popped open my iPad apps one by one and read the news. And this blog just kind of wrote itself. Let me explain. I’m no prophet nor am I the son of a prophet. Like I said before, I’m a simple Christian with a simple faith. I believe my Savior is coming to get me. And this morning, it was like that Savior - who did tell me to watch for signs of his coming - reached through my iPad, grabbed me by the lapels, and said, “Brother, don’t forget. I really am coming.”
In Revelation 4, where Jesus is showing us what the world is going to look like leading up to his return, he says four main things are going to ride in. That’s a metaphor by the way. I do live in a horse town and do love horses myself, but these things aren’t actually going to ride in on horses. It’s just a memorable way for us to picture these things coming into the world. So here are those prophecies:
- “Then another horse came out, a fiery one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.” (Revelation 6:4) See how clear that is? War is a precursor to Jesus’ return. Click here, here, and here.
- “I looked and there before me was a black horse! It’s rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice… saying, 'A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages…'” (Revelation 4:6) Yeah, food is expensive. Sound like a drought to anyone? Can you imagine working a whole day just for one quart of wheat? We’re talking drought, famine, and perhaps a case of price gouging. Click here, and here.
“I looked and there before me was a pale horse (Think sea-green color or what you might look like if you were nauseous.)! It’s rider was death...” (Revelation 4:8) I think that’s a pretty obvious one too. It’s sickness. Click here and here.
I left the best one for last, but it was actually the first one listed in Revelation. “I looked and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” (Revelation 4:2) And who do you think that might be? Sure looks like Jesus, doesn’t it? Click here. Yeah, I admit it. That was self-indulgent, but it hopefully made the point. Jesus is out there with his gospel bringing his victory over all the other “horses” to us.
I know. I know. This is all scary stuff. Armageddon. Apocalypse. Right about now you might be reliving about 800 movie scenes. But all of that is beside the point. And I get to tell you why. For Christians, Jesus’ return isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. It’s not destruction. It’s creation. It’s not death. It’s life - finally. See, here’s the deal: We believe Jesus is the Messiah. Messiahs fix everything. Everything! He’s coming back to make ALL things new (Revelation 21:5). We’ve all watched enough HGTV to know that all great restoration projects start with destruction and it never bothered us then. It shouldn’t in this case either. The truth is that after it’s all said and done our jaws will be on the ground staring at the most dramatic and beautiful reveal in history.
That’s why as excited as I am to start Peace Lutheran, it’s totally ok with me if I never get the chance. It’s why I can be more than ok with missing out on walking my daughter down the aisle or holding my first grandchild. Because I trust my Messiah. I know that life’s best moments whether it’s a laugh over a beer or that romance with your wife or the satisfaction you feel in a job well done are nothing compared to what our Jesus has prepared for us. Nothing. There’s a song that I think of often when I think of these things. I think it’s because it had just hit the airwaves when my grandpa died. And it speaks to what I’m trying to say right now. It starts like this: I can only imagine. Exactly. (YouTube it. It’s worth it if you haven’t heard the song before.) The bliss will be incomprehensible and unending. That’s what we believe.
It isn’t any wonder that Christians have quietly yearned and prayed for Jesus’ last great, Messianic act ever since he ascended into heaven. Fun fact. Do you know what the second to last verse in Revelation and the last prayer of the Bible is? Yeah, I am arguing for its importance here. It’s really simple and goes like this: “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) My heart knows exactly how to respond to that, “Amen.”