Over the years I have met some very interesting people. They come from various backgrounds: military, education, business, and the list goes on. One of these men, named “Fitz, was a geologist for the Standard Oil Company. His assignment was in the Philippine Islands, working out of Manila. This was at the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the Japanese forces were overtaking the Philippine’s. Fitz was ordered by his company to join the American forces, who were being forced to the very end of the Bataan peninsula by the enemy. General Douglas MacArthur oversaw the American forces, and he set up his headquarters on a small Island named Corregidor. The Japanese forces eventually took the peninsula and the island. MacArthur fled to Australia to begin the long march  back to the Philippines. The forces that were trapped at the end of Bataan were forced to march the 200 miles back to Manila. The March was called, “the Bataan Death March”. Fitz was on that march, and I would spend hours at his home, listening to the details of that horrible march. Before MacArthur left the island of Corregidor, he broadcast to the Philippine nation that he was being forced to leave, but he promised them that he would return. As the U.S. Army fought their way back up through the South Pacific Islands, they finally came close enough to the Philippines so McArthur could wade ashore. The first thing he did was to go on national radio and remind the people what he had said three years ago, and “now I have returned”.

In John 14, Jesus was meeting  with His disciples and telling them He had to leave. He said “Let not your hearts be troubled…but I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again…”. After the resurrection of Jesus, He was with the Apostle for 40 days. At the end of those 40 days, He led them out of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. He was giving them some instruction, and as He was speaking, “He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight”. This was a bit amazing to those who were there, so they kept looking up to where He had disappeared. Then, an angel comes and says, “men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the skies? This same Jesus who has been taken from you and gone into heaven, will  come again in the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven”. There are amazing stories in the Bible, but this must be one of the best! As you watch, this man defies gravity and goes up until He disappears. I am standing there looking in amazement, and then an angel appears. This would get my attention even now as I look at all the amazing accomplishments of modern man.

Remember, the angel said, “this same Jesus, whom you have seen go into heaven, will return in like manner…”. It was Jesus Himself who said, “If I go, I will return”.

Do you believe that? In this day of modernity where life moves so fast, and so many things are going on, where so many celebrities are in the spotlight, and there is such confusion and fear; do you believe what Jesus said and what the angel said? When was the last time this thought even crossed your mind? Is it possible that in this world where there is so much confusion in government, in this day of economic insecurity, that Jesus will return? Or perhaps we should put that in the category of fables and “feel good” stories; but certainly it’s not going to happen, not at least in my day. I’ve got way too much to do for Jesus to come and interrupt my schedule.

The Apostle Paul makes an interesting statement in Roman 8. Listen to him; “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to futility…creation itself will be set free from its slavery…for we know that creation itself groans and suffers the pains of childbirth  together until now”. [verses 19-22]

Peter shares the same theme in his 2nd letter. He says, “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night and the heavens will pass away with a roar; and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up…looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God on account of which the heavens will be destroyed and the elements will melt with intense heat. But according to the promise, we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” [2 Peter 3:10-13]
It is possible that this event can fade from our minds? Life becomes so intense, and my mind becomes absorbed with issues of the day.

A more serious question I ask is, “Do I believe what Jesus said ,“If I go, I will come again”. Do I believe what the angel said after Jesus had ascended  into heaven; “This same Jesus shall return in like manner…”. The reason I ask the question is that this matter could control my destiny. It is easy to believe in John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son…”, that I do believe. It is hard for me to believe that Jesus is coming into this world again, this world that is so intense, so evil, so confused. Can Jesus come and interrupt everything that is going on?

Listen to the prophet Zechariah speak prophetically; “On that day, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from the east to the west, forming a great valley, so that half of the mountain shall move to the north and the other half towards the south…and the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day living water shall flow out of Jerusalem…and the LORD will be king over all the earth, the LORD shall be the only one and His name the only one…and Jerusalem will dwell in  security”. [Zechariah 14:4-11]

I look out at our world through my human eyes and say to myself, “how can this be? How can Jesus Himself appear just as he appeared when He left, and in so doing change the order of this world”? I can believe it because I believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ. I cannot tell you when it will happen and I cannot tell you how it will happen, but I believe it.

I ask you, “do you believe it”? If the answer is “no” that leaves you trapped in a system that will self-destruct. If the answer is “yes”, you may not know how all this will happen, but you do have hope in a new tomorrow.

What is it that you hope for?

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