Updated: Jul 16, 2020
Christians often regard the book of Revelation as “advanced reading” or for mature Christians only. However, the apostle Paul taught about the Lord’s return to the first century churches of his day, which were filled with believers who were young in the Lord. We see from scripture that the early church had a strong awareness of the Lord’s promised return. It shaped them; it motivated them.
As an example, Paul writes to the Thessalonian Christians, “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (1 Thes. 5:1-2). When Paul had been present with the Thessalonians, he taught them about the Day of the Lord: a time encompassing end time events pertaining to the Lord’s return to rule and reign on earth. Christ’s return was a present reality for the Thessalonian believers. They could taste it! It molded their desires and impacted how they lived their lives. They knew “full well” the nearness of Christ’s coming—He was at the door.
Are we, like the early church, impacted by Christ’s Second Coming? Does it form our desires and thereby shape how we live for Christ?
Let’s look at how an abiding awareness of the Lord’s soon return fashioned one of the churches that Paul planted and nurtured: Philippi. In this brief letter from Paul to the Philippians, the apostle mentioned or pointed toward the Day of Lord five times. In 1:6 he encouraged the church that God would perfect or complete His work in them until the Day of Christ Jesus; in I:10 Paul exhorted them to be blameless until the Day of the Lord; in 2:16 he exhorted the Philippians to stay the course so that as their apostle he could glory in the Day of the Lord; in 3:20 Paul stated that because they were citizens of heaven—they were eagerly awaiting their Savior; and in 4:5 Paul exhorts them to rejoice in the Lord, having a gentle spirit, because the Lord is “near” or at hand. The apostle expected that as the believers reminded themselves of the Lord's return, they would be strengthened to press on to receive the prize of the upward call of God (Phil. 3:14-15).
From these examples amongst many in the New Testament, we are reminded of how needful it is for all believers to be taught full well about the Day of the Lord. The apostle John writes regarding The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which he had been given, that he was to show the Lord’s “bond-servants the things which must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1). The Lord wants us to know His future plans. We are then told that believers will be “blessed” if they read and heed Revelation’s words because “the time is near” for His coming (Rev. 1:3). Revelation’s prophecy, when studied and acted on, shapes our lives by giving us a craving for the Lord's return and a desire to be found blameless (righteous) when He comes for His bride adorned in white!
If you desire to grow your understanding and awareness of Christ’s Second Coming and its importance for your life, take time to study the book of Revelation and other New Testament teachings (i.e. Matt. 24-25; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36; 1 Thes. 4:16-17, 5:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:8). To help women grow in this area, I’ve recently published a women’s Bible study, Come Lord Jesus: A Woman’s Walk—Spirit, Body & Soul—Through the Book of Revelation. I hope that this resource, as well as many others, will help you to build an eager anticipation of the Lord’s future plans for us as His people!
Study the book of Revelation: Come Lord Jesus: A Woman's Walk—Spirit, Body & Soul—Through the Book of Revelation