A Future We Can Be Certain Of – Part 2
“‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:11 NIV)
When Jesus ascended back to the Father after having died for our sins and risen from the dead, two angels appeared to the disciples and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Did you know that there are more prophecies in the Bible about the second coming of Jesus than about his first coming—the Incarnation, when Jesus was born in a manger as the Word was made flesh? And just as the prophecies came true the first time, they will come true the second time as well.
The Bible says that on the day of the Lord, this whole earth is going to be destroyed. God is going to renovate it by fire; and the heavens are going to disappear. The apostle Peter says in his New Testament letter that, as Christians, “we’re looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). It may be hard to fathom, but this life here on earth is not forever. People seem to think the opposite, though. They fight tooth and nail to get everything now and they make fun of “pie in the sky in the by and by,” but no one is going to be mocking when Christ comes again. On the contrary, some will hide themselves in caves and say, “Hide us from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16) —that is, Jesus, the one whose name has been derided and used as a curse word by so many. How rarely this truth is preached in churches today, because preachers don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. But our job is not to make people feel comfortable; we’re supposed to tell them the truth in love, just as doctors have to tell their patients the truth, no matter how uncomfortable their words may make the patient feel.
The apostle Peter goes on to say, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” It does get hard sometimes on this side of eternity, but the Lord says that when we see him, he’s going to wipe away every tear. So no matter what storms come into the life of the believer, we have this assurance: Just as the people in Noah’s ark were safe from the flood that engulfed the earth, so the Christian is in the ark of safety that we enter symbolically when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and we receive him as our Lord and Savior. And as Noah's ark was lifted up when the waters came, so the Ark of Salvation lifts us up closer to heaven when the final judgment comes. Finally, even in this life, when the waters of adversity come down, being in the ark that is Jesus lifts us up beyond the raging storm.
To be continued...