For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man…They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24: 27, 30 & 31)
There are many references in God’s word that tell us about Judgment Day – the day when Jesus will come again to judge all people and gather the believers to Himself. The above verses from Matthew, spoken by Jesus Himself, paint a beautiful picture of what that day will be like for those who believe. But what about those who don’t believe? What kind of picture does He paint for them?
What will the last day – Judgment Day – be like for those who have rejected Jesus? When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him…he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left…He will say to those on his right ‘Come, you who are blessed by my father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world…Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25: 34, 41)
In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells us about some of the signs of the end to come. He says in verse 29; the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light (possibly an eclipse); the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (There will be changes in the Universe). In verses 4 and 5 of the same chapter He tells His disciples; Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ’ and will deceive many and in verse 6; you will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed…There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. He also warns in verse 36; No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…and in verse 42 he reminds us to keep watch.
Although we see many of the signs of the end of the age which God tells us about here, in our world today, we need to remember that God is not bound by time like we are here on earth. There have been wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and floods since the beginning of time. We don’t know how close we are to the end of the world as we know it. It could be soon or it could be hundreds or even thousands of years from now, but Jesus tells us to be ready.
What does He mean when He says we should be ready? Does He mean we should always have a suitcase packed and ready? Does He mean we should be fearful? What exactly do we need to do to be ready for Jesus’ second coming?
In order to be ready for the last day, we need to be clean. We need to be free from the dirt and stain of sin. We need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. Through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for all people, our sins are washed away. He lived a perfect life for us. He suffered the punishment we deserve for our sins when He died on the cross that dark day so long ago. He took our punishment upon Himself and gave us His holiness. Through the blood of Jesus shed for us, we are washed clean and are now presentable before God. God does not see our sin any longer. We are perfect and holy in His eyes. He tells us in Isaiah 1:18; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Since Jesus died for all people does that mean that all are going to be in heaven someday? That sounds pretty easy and safe. Why does anyone need to worry? Jesus washed us all and made us clean – now we all go to heaven – end of story.
God would like for that to be the end of the story for all people, but not all people want to acknowledge Jesus and what He did for them. When people reject Jesus and the sacrifice He made for them for the sake of their sinful lifestyles, or for their own human reason, they by choice, give up the gift.
When we love God we do our best to live according to His will. We love others as He loves us. We acknowledge sorrow over our sins by going to Him daily in prayer with a repentant heart. We trust in His promises. We have faith and believe in Him as the only way to heaven. The Holy Spirit gives us that faith when we read and study His word and through baptism. Our faith is renewed and strengthened also when we participate in the Lord’s Super.
For those people who have never heard the good news of Jesus and all He has done for us, He commands us to; go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19). He assures us that the world will not end until all have had a chance to hear the Gospel. 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.
It is the duty and privilege of all Christians to tell those whom they meet of the love of God through Jesus. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10: 14; And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?… and in verse 15; How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
If you have faith – If you believe in Jesus as the only way to heaven – don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with all whom you know and meet whenever the opportunity arises. Put on your beautiful feet and tell the good news to all people so that they can be ready when the Day of Judgment arrives. Help plant the seed of faith in the hearts of those who don’t know Him. Give them the words of eternal life. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
For those who believe in Jesus, Judgment Day will be glorious. We will see Jesus coming in the clouds. Just like His disciples saw Him ascend into heaven after His resurrection. We have the promise of the angels to the disciples as they watched Him go; This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back again in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.
(Acts 1: 11)
Jesus will send His angels to gather all who believe in Him. The bodies of those who have died in the Lord will be raised to life again and reunited with their souls to live with Him in the mansions of heaven. Those believers who are still living on the day that He returns, will never see death, but will be taken directly from earth to live with Him eternally. 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 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. (1 Thessalonians 4: 16,17)
Are you ready for Judgment Day? Are you afraid? If you are a child of God through faith, you need not be afraid. You are washed in the blood. You are clean and spotless and dressed for Heaven. There is no need to pack a suitcase. You will not have a need for any of your earthly possessions in heaven. You just need to prepare your heart. I am confident and I am ready. I hope that Jesus comes back in my lifetime, but either way I am not alone. He promises to be with me in life and in death. The same assurance He gave His disciples the day He ascended into heaven, applies to you and me also. He promised; And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)