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Lowell Brueckner

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Waiting for Him


o many people, who call themselves biblical Christians, Christ’s coming is not convenient. They have too much invested in this age and have gotten comfortable on this planet. They have invested in homes and lands, vacation retreats by the sea or in the mountains, and comfortable vehicles to get them there. They possess every form of entertainment and recreational equipment.

     Are we thinking about our heavenly, eternal home? Are we waiting for the skies to split and for Jesus to descend to take away his bride? Have we searched the end-time prophecies with the passion of the Old Testament sages, who inquired diligently into the timing and details of the first coming of Christ? (1 Peter 1:10)

His first coming
     There were those who were waiting, when He came the first time. Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). Anna waited in the temple. Their faith was not based only upon personal revelation. Holy Spirit-teaching always begins in the Scripture.  They were certain that the hundreds of Old Testament predictions would come to pass. Anna surely had read the last of the prophets, who referred specifically to John Baptist and the Christ who was to follow: “I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, He is coming ...” (Malachi 3:1) As the time drew near, she was reluctant to leave the temple, lest He suddenly come and she miss the event. She and Simeon knew that the time was at hand. They surely were familiar with the prophecy of Daniel (9:26) that the Messiah’s life would be cut off 483 years after the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem. A peek into the history of the Jews in Persia (Nehemiah gives the date – Neh. 2:1) told them that they were approaching the 450th year. The time was close at hand and they were waiting! They were not the only ones. Anna spoke at that moment to “those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

Amazing disinterest
     The blind man thought it amazing that the Jewish council had not bothered to investigate the life and origins of a Man, who opened the eyes of one who had never seen (John 9:30). Apparently, they were just not interested in anything, but opposition, towards One who threatened their lifestyles, positions and religious program. They were willingly ignorant of His birth occurring in Bethlehem, the city of David, and not in Galilee (John 7:52).

    Jesus rebuked those, who thought that weather prediction was more important than God’s timetable (Luke 12:54-56). He called them hypocrites, because they claimed to be God’s people, but were more interested in whether or not it rained, than in the spiritual climate and the eternal plan of God. Promised destruction came 37 years later, “because you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44). 

    Christians are worthier of the name hypocrites, who know more about the line-ups of their favorite sport team than they do about the written details concerning His return. What would He call you? Are you among those who justify their disinterest and ignorance by a weak, “Well, we just can’t know for sure”, or “Prophecy isn’t that important”? What a shame at this most crucial point in history!

Those awaiting His return
     I would like you to tell me what could possibly be more important from a biblical standpoint! Many of the teachings of Jesus and Paul were intertwined with statements concerning His return and the state of His people at that time.

     Let these verses speak to your hearts: “You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven ...” (1 Thess. 1:10). “Christ ... shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb. 9:28). “There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord ... will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Consider one more: “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God ... therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found of Him in peace, spotless and blameless”     (2 Pt. 3:11-14).

   If at the beginning of Christianity, Christ and the apostles, with 2,000 years future on this planet, saw no need to lay down an earthly foundation to accommodate the unfolding of the work - why, on the brink of His return, do we behave, as though we will be here permanently, feverishly investing in that which will burn?

Eyes for the heavenly
     Take a look at those, who had a vision for the eternal. Hebrews speaks of those “of whom the world was not worthy” (11:36-38), who were mocked, scourged, chained and imprisoned... who wandered in deserts, mountains, caves... wearing sheepskins... destitute... and ill-treated. Two chapters later, the writer concludes, “We do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come” (13:14).

     God knew when He chose Abraham that he would teach his children to live for eternal things (Gen. 18:19). Abraham taught Isaac and Jacob to live in tents. The writer noticed that, although Abraham had received Canaan as an inheritance from God, he didn’t settle there. He chose to be an alien in the land of promise (11:9-10, 13). Why didn’t they take advantage of a land given to them by God? There was one reason: They knew of a God-built city, a heavenly one.

     Now, the writer says, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.” God is ashamed of those who know of the heavenly land, yet live like citizens of this earth. John states that if we love this world and the things it offers, the love of God is not in us (1 John 2:15). James tells us that to claim to be in relationship with God, yet to be a friend of the world is to be in an adulterous relationship (James 4:4).

The divine example
     Abraham showed the heart and mind of God in his nomadic example.  With Israel settled in its inheritance, David considered making a house for God and Nathan brought this message from the Lord to him: “I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt... but I have been moving about in a tent... did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel... ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’” (2 Sam. 7:5-7)

     When the Son of God lived and walked on earth, He informed a would-be disciple, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). The “tent stake-attachment” is carried into the New Testament.

     His fisherman disciples left their father, boats and nets and became fishers of men. Matthew, the publican, left his governmental position. Jesus was not only considered the Son of a carpenter, He Himself carried the trade of his adopted father (Mark 6:3). However, when He entered into His ministry, His home and trade were left behind. He did not find it useful in building His Kingdom. Whenever the Kingdom becomes external, it becomes contaminated by this world. The parables of Matthew 13 teach us that the true Kingdom of the heart can be corrupted by abnormal growth or principles injected into them, producing results outside the intentions of God.

The desire of Jesus
     Our home is not here. Jesus has loved us with a heavenly love that can only be fully experienced, when we come home to our heavenly land. Jesus wants to take us from where we are to where He is. “I go to prepare a place for you,” he told His disciples, “that where I am, there you may be also.” It was His earnest prayer to His Father, “Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me.” Paul concludes, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Cor. 15:19).              


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