The Last Prayer in the Bible – Part 2

Norbert Lieth

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly” (Revelation 22:20).

It seems as though in our time, all the parts of a parallel to the time of the first coming of Jesus are there—and in a way this must be, so that the stage is prepared for the final appearing of the Lord.

The return of Jesus will bring us the fulfillment of all His promises—it is as though a contract was fulfilled, or as a father fulfills a promise to his child which the child has been waiting for longingly. Just as a child during Advent looks forward to Christmas and rejoices when it comes, it will be like that for us when the day finally comes; the waiting will have come to an end. “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (Psalm 130:6).

The return of Jesus will bring the final victory over Satan, sin and death. The devil is still active in this world (cf. Ephesians 6:12) and the lordship of Christ is not visible, but when Jesus comes He will exercise His lordship before all eyes and Satan will be bound. Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus, “…In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). This power will then finally be broken.

The devil has power over all those who do not submit to God in Jesus Christ. He influences them and uses them for his own purposes to do harm. Satan is the real problem that this world is sensing in all areas of life in our time. A few key words are terror, hatred, unfaithfulness, apostasy from Christian values, boundless egoism, greed, addiction and increasing resistance to God.

The war in Syria has already lasted for over seven years, and has so far cost almost half a million lives, with 45% of the population fleeing. World powers are helpless and paralyzed, or have dishonest and selfish intentions. They are all directed by evil, and therefore the world cannot have peace. We can only pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.” He already prophesied the fall of Satan when He was on the earth, “And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18; cf. Revelation 12:7-9).

The return of Jesus will also bring the world His righteousness, His lordship and His peace. Mankind dreams of worldwide peace, of food for all people, of justice. International organizations have put this on their flag, spend billions on it, hold endless sessions and issue resolutions—and have achieved almost nothing.

God has determined that Jesus is the King of all kings, that the heathen will become His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth His possession (Psalm 2:6, 8).

The return of Jesus will bring the final and visible redemption to all those who believe in Him. His return will usher in the completion. Before this Jesus will take His Church, His body, home to be revealed later with all His own (Colossians 3:4). They will see Him as He is and will be like Him (1 John 3:2). The Church will not be judged with the world, with the children of unbelief (Colossians 3:6). She will be exalted in Christ to the right hand of God “in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:20-23; 2:2, 6; 4:10), and will be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

The individual believer will have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Everything must be revealed. Our lives and our works will be examined (2 Corinthians 5:10), judged and, according to what is revealed, the individual will receive a reward or suffer loss (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Our faithfulness, our motives and our devotion will be judged. No one will arrive perfectly at the goal, and therefore everything must be revealed. It will all be purified in the fire as silver. Nothing will remain unclear.

The return of the Messiah will also bring Israel salvation and lead the people finally in the position of her calling. Israel will repent, turn around and believe in Him (Matthew 24:30; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7). Jerusalem will become the capital of the world, and the Jewish people will be “priests and kings,” which they were called to be long ago (Isaiah 61:6; Exodus 19:6).

The return of Jesus Christ will moreover mean judgment and cleansing for the nations (Matthew 25:31-46). It is not inaccurate to say that our present world is headed toward catastrophe. On the contrary, apocalyptical developments are leading ever more clearly in this direction: terrorism, the misery of refugees, political radicalization, the possibility of an imminent new war, environmental issues, etc.

The Bible speaks about the end of a time in which radical corruption has become an accepted standard and enforced lifestyle (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:28). But the good news is that the judgments before His appearing will have a higher, healing hope.

The return of the Lord Jesus will bring heaven to earth; heaven will reign on earth. As the Lord’s Prayer expresses it: the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, the dwelling place of God will be with men. The Messianic kingdom of peace will be established, and the people will see what a stream of blessing it brings the world when God reigns on earth (Isaiah 11). Someone once expressed it as follows: “Christ will show what the earth can produce when He reigns.” Besides the calling out of His Church, the return of Jesus will also be the Lord’s greatest victory.

This is why we are told to pray with Revelation 22:20, “Amen ... Come, Lord Jesus.” We cannot calculate the time of the return of Jesus, but we should reckon with it. We are admonished to love His appearing, to expect it and to pray for it (2 Timothy 4:8; Luke 12:36; Philippians 3:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20). The Church’s imminent expectation of her Lord is not a false doctrine, but the absolute truth of the Bible, embedded in the totality of the Bible. Someone wrote about this, “We have the certainty that our Lord is coming. It is not a rumor that sensation-seeking people have spread in the world.”

The expectation of the Church has its origin in the words of Jesus, “Surely I come quickly,” and the only right reaction to this is, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” This “Amen” is what we are commanded to do now. A true attitude of expectation produces a life that is wholly about Jesus and motivates all areas of faith in word and deed.

The doctrine of the return of Jesus must not be forgotten any more than the doctrine of the love of God, sin or forgiveness. Here too we must return to the beginnings.

Andrew van der Bijl, known as Brother Andrew of Open Doors, emphasized, “The early church lived as though Jesus died yesterday. The early church lived as though Jesus rose again today. The early church lived as though Jesus would come tomorrow.”

The Bible explains at the end, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Paul, the apostle of the nations (Galatians 2:7-10), also wrote a testament at the end of his life, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It says there, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Peter, the apostle of the Jews (Galatians 2:7-10), wrote at the end of his life quite similarly in the form of a testament, “Knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty…We have also a more sure word
of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:14-16, 19).

Three witnesses testify to how important this will of the Lord is, to await Him. 1) The risen Lord Himself at the end of the Bible. 2) The apostle to the nations at the end of his life, particularly in view of the possibility of the rapture of the church. 3) The apostle to the Jews, also at the end of his life—particularly in view of Jesus’ return in glory.

It must have been very important to our Lord, if He positioned these references in such a similar fashion. And we should not take it any less seriously than other doctrines, because it represents a climax. It is the coronation of all truths: Jesus is coming again!

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).

Midnight Call - 04/2018

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