Jesus is pictured in the book of Revelation as the resurrected Savior, the Messiah who is preparing to return to earth a second time. "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forcvcrmorc" (Revelation 1:18).
But how is He coming, and why? In Matthew 24 He gives us the sobering answer. Responding to the disciples" question, about the time of His return and the end of this age of man, Jesus laid out a frightening scenario that includes widespread religious deception, warfare, famines and devastating natural disasters. "All these," He told them, "are the beginning of birth pains" that will usher in this new age to begin at His return (verse 8, NIV).
At what point will He intervene? At the point that mankind faces annihilation. "It will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God's chosen it will be cut short" (verses 21-22, REB).
Why must Jesus Christ return? Conditions will have grown so terrible, so life-threatening, that human life will be in danger of extinction. He came to earth the first time to save us from our sins. He will come a second time to save us from ourselves.
Initially at least, it will not be a pretty sight. Revelation 6:16-17 describes Him as coming in wrath because of mankind's continued refusal to obey His laws and the world's continual slide into evil and self-destructiveness. His return is announced with the sounding of trumpets ushering in monumental calamities on the earth (chapters 8 and 9). Yet in all of this it is His great concern for mankind that leads to this righteous anger.
Jesus is pictured as the One who is returning to rule the nations of the entire earth (Revelation 11:15). He will not accept resistance from anyone who opposes His righteous rule and will make war with the nations and the leaders who oppose Him (Revelation 19:15). He punishes and takes charge for our own good—to bring peace to a world bent on destruction.
This is perhaps the most important picture of Jesus in the Bible, because this is the Jesus Christ the entire world will meet sometime in the coming years—perhaps in the not-too-distant future.
From these prophecies it becomes clear that Jesus didn't die for us to have our own way. ". . . He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus even> knee should bow . . ." (Philippians 2:8-10).
Jesus will take His rightful place as ruler of the earth, as the saving Messiah, when He returns. Where will you find yourself at that point?
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