All the millennial schemes wind up in the same place. New heavens, new earth. Interestingly enough, none of the historic creeds of the church, not even our own Baptist faith and message nail you down to one of the scenarios. That’s why you can have Baptists that disagree, even within the same church. It’s not a test of fellowship. These scenarios make for good discussion and debate. But ultimately, we all agree that Jesus Christ is coming again, bodily, to judge the living and the dead and to bring about a new creation. Just how that plays out is up for discussion.
So, instead of looking too deeply into the “how” Jesus is coming back, I want us to jump ahead to the “Why” question. What is Jesus coming back for? What is the ultimate destiny of the world? What is our ultimate destiny?
2 Peter 3:1-7 starts off with people scoffing at the Christian claim that Jesus will return. And this was two thousand years ago! People were saying, “Where is your Lord? Where is Jesus? If Jesus is reigning, why can’t we see him?”
Try to proclaim the Gospel today. Just tell people that “Jesus is Lord,” and people are going to say, “Well it sure doesn’t look like it.” After all, there are wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, child abuse, murders, divorce… our world is falling apart, so it seems. If Jesus were truly Lord, why wouldn’t He intervene and stop the mess sooner?
Peter compares the End Times with The Flood. He reminds us of the Old Testament account of the world being deluged with water, before a new creation could emerge. Old creation was swept away. New creation came once the waters receded. Peter says that at the end of time, a similar event will take place, but this time with fire. So why hasn’t this happened yet? Why hasn’t God purged the world with fire like he promised?
The reason Jesus hasn’t come back yet is that he is giving people more time to repent. Peter says, “God’s wrath is coming. God is going to judge this world. Jesus is King and one day, He will be revealed.”
WHY IS JESUS COMING BACK?
1. To Judge Everyone in the World, Living and Dead
Jesus is coming back to set the world right, to restore Creation to its original intention. The reason it has been almost 2000 years is because God is giving people a chance to repent, to turn from their sins and to trust Him, thus escaping the coming wrath.
It wouldn’t be right for God not to come in judgment to our world. Our world needs to be judged! What would we think of a judge who never punished criminals? But God’s judgment is not a fire of destroying judgment that will obliterate everyone and everything. It’s the type of judgment that comes from justice, where things are restored. Our world is put back on track. Injustice is righted.
Sometimes, God goes ahead and does this here and now.
God doesn’t just make justice. He floods the world with Justice. He already does it in the present sometimes. We await the time when he will do it in the future. Crime will be punished. The wicked will pay. The righteous will be vindicated. Good deeds will be rewarded. We crave this! Even now, we crave for things to be made right. That day is coming. That is what Jesus is coming back for.
WHY IS JESUS COMING BACK?
2. To Bring New Heavens and New Earth
This is what we are waiting for. A new world. The hippie’s 60’s song went like this:
”There’s a new world coming and it’s just around the bend. There’s a new world coming; this one’s coming to an end. There’s a new world coming, the one that we’ve had visions of… coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love.”
The hippies of the sixties thought that the new world that was coming was going to be through free sex, drugs and rock and roll. But the world that actually came was filled with divorce, torn families, custody battles, addiction, rehab, and violence.
People who worship technology think that a new world is coming, with the invention of the internet, faster communications, and television. But what is actually appearing is isolation, pornography, segregation based on age group and entertainment choices.
People who worship the American way of life think that a new world is coming, in which all societies will be like ours. But what is actually happening is that the world is growing increasingly dangerous, as more and more tension takes place between segments in American society, not to mention threats from terrorists and other hostile countries.
But we worship God – the Just God, the Good Creator who made this world, who will restore this world, who will recreate this world. We know that our thirst for justice will only be quenched by an act of God at the end of history, and that is why Jesus is coming back. To bring new heavens and new earth.
Peter speaks very strongly about the wrath to come. In order for justice to take place, for wrongs to be righted, sin to be punished, and the world to be renewed, the fiery wrath of God must take place. It’s like chemotherapy for cancer treatment. You basically kill the body so you can kill the cancer. The world will have to be almost destroyed before it can be renewed, and we share our part of the blame. When God’s wrath comes upon this world, it will come upon human beings too.
We are part of the problem. If God were to execute justice, we’d all be condemned because we have done our fair share of injustice, sin, and we have caused disintegration in this world. So, how can we escape that Day of Wrath?
This brings us back to the whole reason Jesus came, lived, died, rose, left, and is coming again. To save us.
A story is told of a barnyard, where there was a hen with several little chickens. One night, a lamp in the barn fell to the ground and lit the hay on fire. As the fire raged throughout the house, all the animals were killed. The next morning, as the farmers were going through the rubble, they found the crusty, shell of that hen, and when they opened her wings, they saw all her baby chicks under her wings. She had shielded them from the fire, and had given her own life in the process.
When the day of wrath comes, make sure you’re found under the wings of Jesus. Let his goodness cover your badness. Let his death on the cross be in place of your death. Let his resurrection life be your promise of eternal life. Let his wings shield you from the wrath to come. And let your good deeds, done today in this present life, be the seeds of the new world that will be born. After the earth is scorched and this old world passes away, may what we have done in this life be the foundation for the life to come. When that Day comes, we won’t have to wait any longer. We will be citizens of the new heavens and the new earth, the place in which justice dwells.
written by Trevin Wax © 2007 Kingdom People blog