By Pr Ay Nee Ng
Happy and blessed New Year! Have we done our New Year resolutions? This year I called it our guidelines. If we don’t plan, we fail! So how do we want to live our lives in 2016? Will it be like any other year, the same routine, or do we want to live differently?
- Do we want to live like outcasts, suffering or being paraded like in a “freak show”? Stage-named “Hottentot Venus”, Sarah Baartman’s life was one of huge hardship. As an orphan during her teens, she was brought to Europe to be paraded around “freak shows” in London and Paris, with crowds invited to look at her large buttocks. “She has become the landscape upon which multiple narratives of exploitation and suffering within black womanhood have been enacted,” writes one expert. (“The Significance of Sarah Baartman”, BBC News, 7 January, 2016)
- Do we want to live partying and in lies, corruption, compromise, and deceit? Last summer the mayor of a forgotten corner of Brazil went on the run, accused of skimming millions from public funds. Lidiane Leite (25 years old) bragged about how much money she had on Instagram and directed staff back at the office via social media. Known as the WhatsApp mayor, she became an emblem of Brazilian corruption. Thirty-nine days after she fled, Lidiane Leite turned herself in. Now she is living in Sao Luis, and has to wear an electronic tag while the investigation continues. (Pressley, “The party-loving mayor who went on the run”, BBC News, 7 January, 2016)
- Do we want to live depressed, without confidence, or lost in life? Tammy lost her lips and the tip of her nose when she contracted meningitis in 2013 and says afterwards she felt “broken and pathetic”. Appearing on The Undateables on Channel 4, she told that getting back into the world of dating has given her the boost she needed. “It has confirmed to me again and again that I am a lovable person,” she says. (“How I lost my confidence when I lost my face”, BBC News, 7 January, 2016) When she chose to love herself, she found purpose and motivation to live differently.
How would you live if you know that someone is coming back for you? If I know my husband loves me, my children care for me, my family, friends, church, and community are there for me, I would turn back from my tracks of despair and desperation, return home, and get ready to meet them. My love ones are waiting for me and I am waiting to meet them. Likewise, our Lord Jesus Christ, whom God sent to die for our sins and to pay the penalty of death so we might have life and life abundantly, is going to come back for each of His children. Knowing this, we should live purposefully and with hope. Do you settle for the status quo? Don’t allow the routine to snatch your joy, peace, and happiness, but stoke your passion and dreams and live expectant of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return.
What Is the Purpose of the Book of Revelations?
God gives revelation to men and women of God to tell of future events, not to brag or to shun truth, but to brace and prepare ourselves. Do we know what these events are? Let us read Revelation 1:1-3: “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
This is the beginning of 2016, so when we hear this message, the first thing we may think is: “What is it to me? I have a whole good year ahead, but nah! Our Lord is not coming that soon. Could He?” Let’s find out. What does the word “revelation” mean? It translated into the Greek word apokalysis, an unveiling or disclosing of a reality that has not been perceived previously. This apocalypse came from God through Jesus Christ, whose past, present, and future position and work is the content of the revelation communicated to John by an angel. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16).
The purpose of the book of Revelation is to show His servants, genuine believers in every age, what must take place between the first and second coming of our Jesus Christ. The events will occur shortly (Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:6-7, 12, 20), that is, they can take place any time. The entire message is to be revealed, which is the key to the understanding of the visions, all of which contain symbols pointing to the spiritual realities in and behind our historical experience.
What are the Signs and Events to Occur?
1. A fallen state and the need of repentance. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Rev. 2: 5, 16).
2. The preaching of the Gospel in all the earth. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14) He is coming!!! “The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.’ ‘Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll’” (Rev. 22:6-7).
3. The Lord’s return. Hold on to what He has given you and press on. “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:12, 20).
4. A major earthquake. “At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon [The third woe is only for those who destroy the earth; Rev. 11:18]” (Rev. 11:13-14).
How to Live for Our Lord’s Return?
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:13-18).
Reading from this passage:
- Be informed, don’t be ignorant to our Lord Jesus Christ’s return;
- believe He will return;
- keep your faith and be hopeful;
- understand how He will come back (1 Thess. 4:16-17);
- encourage each other;
- remain constantly vigilant and watchful and be ready (Matt. 22:1-14, 42, 44).
Our Lord Jesus is coming again as Matthew 24:36-51 mentions.
36-41 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42-44 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45-51 Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Church, our Lord is coming back again. Are we ready to live differently this year for Him? Then let’s live with a sense of purpose, hope, dignity, and destiny.
“This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Isa. 14:26-27)