The Coming of the Lord

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

The theme addressed by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 has been the subject of much doctrinal discussion within the Christian church for the last 200 years. Whoever does not search the Word of God or study the history of the church might think that what most Christians believe today about the coming of the Lord was exactly what the early church and Christianity believed for two thousand years. Certainly, for all Christians, the coming of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ should be the most anticipated event of our earthly life.

A large part of the present Christian church firmly believes that before the terrible events that the Bible calls the great tribulation arise, the Lord will come secretly for His church in what many call the rapture. And as the word rapture, as interpreted today does not appear in the Bible, those who justify this event nonetheless call it rapture, in a clear reference to what it says in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17: we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them. The question is whether the church always had that belief or not.

Indeed, just as many Catholics mistakenly think that their church has always believed in the pope’s infallibility, Mary’s Immaculate Conception, or her role as co-redemptory, many Christians think that she has always believed in the rapture. However, the principle of this doctrine dates back to the year 1830, when a 15-year-old girl named Margaret McDonald in Port Glasgow, Ireland received a special “revelation” according to which the Second Coming of Christ would take place in two stages; the first to gather a group of “ready and selected” believers who would be taken to heaven to meet the Lord before the appearance of Antichrist, or before the Great Tribulation.

Now, the Bible says nowhere that Jesus Christ will return in two stages. And Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers, not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. By 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3 we see that before the coming of the Lord will come apostasy and Antichrist.

Finally, Revelation 1:7 denies the secret coming of Jesus Christ, Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Let us await His coming, conscious that it will be a victory, whether or not we are part of the beheaded of the great tribulation. God bless you.

The Multiplication of Evil

Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.

Matthew 24:12

By just looking at the daily news, we can realize that every day evil is multiplied in the world. The terrorist organization called the Islamic State usually publishes in videotapes the cruel methods it uses to execute its prisoners. Hordes of rapists in India or Brazil publish videos of how they abuse women, some of whom are minors. The streets of some Central American nations are filled with corpses for gang warfare. These are just a few examples of the wickedness that surrounds us today.

The multiplication of evil is not limited to criminal or terrorist organizations, but today we are witnesses of atrocious crimes committed even against their own children by fathers and mothers. On September 19, 2016, a father dragged his little daughter about five years old by the hair. The father rolled some of his daughter’s hair into the grocery cart in a Texas-based supermarket in the United States. The father justified his action in that he punished the girl for something that she had done and continued with the punishment in spite of everything.

On February 20, 2016, a 25-year-old man, Ryan Lawrence, killed his 21-month-old daughter, burned her body and dumped her in a stream in Onondaga County, New York. The murderer father confessed that he committed the horrendous crime because he felt jealous by the media attention that the small received after surviving the cancer. Lawrence kidnapped his daughter, took her to a remote location and there hit her on the head with a baseball bat to kill her.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Michelle Martens, 35, admitted she had planned the death of her 10-year-old daughter Victoria. Martens hired Fabian Gonzales, 31, who invited his cousin Jessica Kelley to commit the crime. Together they drugged the girl with methamphetamine and sexually assaulted her in the Martens family apartment. Then the man strangled her and his cousin stabbed her. Both proceeded to dismember the body, but did not finish their work, but set fire to the remains in the bath. Everything happened before the mother’s complacent gaze, on August 24, 2016.

These three horrible facts are only examples of what happens every day, not just in one country, but in the whole world. Certainly all of them are a reflection of the multiplication of evil on earth. As a result, the love of many has cooled. Only in this way can it be explained that a father or mother murder with their own hands or contract murderers to end the life of their children. Where is the love for the children who were procreated by these fathers and mothers?

The freezing of love has reached such a level that today they call making love to have sex with anyone even if there is no love. People do not really understand the true meaning of the word love. The great majority of humanity walks in self-centered life, without regard to one’s neighbor. Very few today are fulfilling the command given in John 15:12, This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Surely the end of time and the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ are near. Let’s keep an eye on the signs so they do not take us by surprise. God bless you.

The False Prophets

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

Matthew 24:11

In recent years there has arisen an appreciable number of so-called prophets who announce the terrible things that, according to them, God has spoken to them that will happen. Even some are so daring that they give the day, time, and place in which earthquakes, tsunamis, and crashes of comets or asteroids against the earth will occur. The dates of such events have passed without pain or glory. You do not have to be a space scientist to realize the falsity of such prophecies, which confirms Matthew 24:11.

Already from the Old Testament it speaks of false prophets. The text of Jeremiah 23:9-40 is one of denunciation of false prophets, while Ezekiel 13:1-23 speaks of the condemnation of false prophets. In the New Testament, both the Lord Jesus, Peter and John spoke of them. In addition to Matthew 24:11, the Lord Jesus prophesies about the appearance of false prophets in Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22. Without a doubt, the enemy tries to imitate everything of God in order to confuse and deceive the unwary.

What characteristics does a false prophet have? In Matthew 7:15-16 says the Lord, Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? A false prophet might look on the outside very much like a real one. So his manner of speaking or his physical appearance would not betray him. That way they can deceive many. But its fruits make it known, if his prophecy is not fulfilled, obviously it is a false prophet.

Another characteristic of a false prophet is seen in Luke 6:26, Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets. The great ability to deceive a false prophet allows him to have a good reputation among the people. No doubt a false prophet will tell each one the words they want to hear, which will win the acceptance of many. What these many ignore is that they are deceived.

In 2 Peter 2:1 we see a third characteristic of a false prophet, But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. False prophecy is accompanied by the preaching of false teachings, which Peter calls destructive heresies.

In order not to fall into the trap of false prophets, we must take into account what we are told 1 John 4:1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. The spirit of true prophecy will bear witness to Jesus Christ, as Revelation 19:10 says, if the prophet does not bear testimony of the Lord, but drifts elsewhere, no doubt is a false. All prophecy must coincide one hundred percent with what is already written.

In Revelation 22:18-19 it says, For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. There is nothing to remove or add. God bless you.

Our Heavenly Room

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

2 Corinthians 5:1-3

In 2 Corinthians 5: 1-3, the apostle Paul compares our earthly abode with the heavenly abode that awaits us. But it should be noted that Paul uses the building figuratively and is not referring to a house but to our body. Our earthly body will one day disappear, it will simply be dust. But for the one who has believed in Jesus Christ there is the great hope that we will dwell with him and we will have a glorified body similar to His.

When Jesus was resurrected, he did not cease to have a physical body and, to leave no doubt about that, He asked His disciples to eat and He ate before them, as Luke 24:41-43 says, But while they still were amazed and unbelieving because of their joy, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and He took it and ate in their presence. Jesus did not need these things to survive because His glorified body was no longer subject to natural laws; but He did it to show that He had risen.

This body of Jesus is the model of the body we will have when we are with Him. It tells us 1 John 3:2, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Glorification is that final stage in the process of redemption in which Christ resurrects the bodies of every believer from the dead, gathers those bodies with their souls and instantly changes the bodies of those believers who are alive in bodies free from sin, perfect, just like His when He rose from the dead.

Our earthly abode, our present body is not perfect and deteriorates over time. In Philippians 3:20-21 the apostle Paul tells us, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself. Paul refers to our present bodies marked by the humiliation caused by sin, characterized by weakness, physical decay, indignity, sickness, suffering and mental humiliation.

We will certainly have a heavenly room, a new body, which will be imperishable, incorruptible, glorious, honorable, powerful, free from shame, strong and spiritual, being completely subject to the Holy Spirit. There will certainly be an awesome transformation in our bodies. Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 15:51-5, Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” God bless you.

The Great Hope of the Believer

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

2 Corinthians 4:13-14

The great hope of believing in Jesus Christ is not that all our problems will be solved. Neither is it that we will be prosperous, rich and happy. If so, there would not be a great difference between being a Christian, an atheist, or a practitioner of the Eastern religions. There are methods outside of Jesus to try to be happy, achieve wealth or try to minimize problems. But our great hope is explained by 2 Corinthians 4:14, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus.

It is shocking to see how the apostles and early Christians had no fear of receiving martyrdom in the name of Jesus. I imagine that their executioners would see them as crazy people who preferred to lose their lives rather than to deny their faith in Jesus Christ. But that attitude of being martyred rather than denying Christ has continued for two thousand years among true Christians. The reason for this apparent madness is one, whoever has believed and known the risen Christ has the same hope of resurrection.

That great hope of the believer in Jesus Christ, which distinguishes them from those who believe in other things, summed up by the Lord Himself in His promise given in John 11:25-26, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Believing in Jesus Christ is synonymous with having life after death and not any kind of life. The life that He promises for those who believe Him is eternal, without end and not in a body of death like the present, but in a glorified one.

Maybe I was hoping that I would bring you today a message of hope that things in the world would improve in the future. Sorry to disappoint you with that, but I must tell you that will not happen. We are witnessing the succession of earthquakes in different parts of the world almost one after another. Scientists themselves predict that a number of catastrophic earthquakes with an intensity greater than 8.0 on the Richter scale are coming closer. And, as a result of climate change, there is talk of more storms, droughts, snowfalls and tornadoes.

For its part, economic analysts do not predict anything positive in the financial world, but quite the opposite. The global stock market system could collapse at any time and many people run the risk of moving from abundance to indigence in the blink of an eye. As if that were not enough, the threat of wars, in which weapons of mass destruction may be used, is increasingly credible as the number of members of the nuclear club grows and people with twisted minds aim to sow terror.

Are you astonished and terrified by such things? They should not be astonished because each and every one of them has been prophesied in the Bible. And I’m not talking about the books of the Old Testament, see Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation and you’ll see. But if those things terrify you, that Matthew 24:6 says that they need to happen, it is because you are not aware of the great hope of the believer in Jesus Christ. And this great hope is that that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus. With Christ, we will have resurrection and eternal life. God bless you.

The Longing for His Coming

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:17

When you love someone, you earnestly long to be close to the loved one. If for some reason, that person is absent, we count every second we go without her, waiting for her to return eagerly. As much as another human being loves us, no one could love us more than Jesus. He alone gave his life on a cross for you and me. But He did not remain dead, but rose, rose to heaven and promised to return. If our love for Jesus is genuine, longing for His coming should be a natural reaction in us.

One of the most popular English songs of the last quarter of the 20th century is “When I Need You.” This song was written by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager and popularized in 1977 by the British singer Leo Sayer. The first stanza of the song says, “When I need you just close my eyes and I’m with you. And all that I so want to give you it’s only a heart beat away. When I need love I hold out my hands and I touch love. I never knew there was so much love keeping me warm night and day.”

The following stanza of the song says, “Miles and miles of empty space in between us. A telephone can’t take the place of your smile. But you know I won’t be traveling forever. It’s cold out but hold out and do like I do.” This song tells the story of a couple of lovers who are separated by a great distance; but who yearn to be together. He tells her what he does to feel his love closely, that he will not be traveling forever and that the phone cannot take the place of her.

And, like the story of that song, today we are the ones who love Jesus. He is not physically present with us. But if we really love Him, when we need Him, we just close our eyes and we are with Him. And everything we want to give Him is as close as a heartbeat, because He lives there. When we need love, we just have to raise our hands to heaven and touch His immense love. His love is so immense that it keeps us warm at night and day.

Today, an immense empty space separates us from our beloved Jesus. He is in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father, while we are here on earth. The telephone to communicate with Him is prayer. It is very good to converse with Him continually through prayer. But that “telephone” will never take the place of our beloved Lord coming down from heaven dressed as King to meet us. We know that He has promised to return and our greatest desire now must be that day comes when our beloved returns and we will be with Him forever.

It is painful to see that there are people who claim to be Christians and when they read in the Bible about everything that must happen in the world for Christ to come, their legs tremble. It is as if they do not want the beloved to return. Let us open our eyes and ears and join the choir: And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Let us never tire of longing for our beloved Lord Jesus Christ. Come, Lord, do not delay any longer. We yearn for you. God bless you.

Right to the Tree of Life

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.

Revelation 22:14

Only in the first and last books of the Bible it is talked about the tree of life. Revelation 22:14 says, Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Here is given the requirement that entitles us to the tree of life: washing our robes. What does washing our robes mean? When we wash our robes, they feel clean, pure and fresh. In the biblical language, washing robes implies purity and holiness.

At the time in which we live, the predominant philosophy is coexistence and tolerance. In that sense, respect for minorities and the free expression of their thoughts are imposed. That would not be bad if those who have less liberal ideas and more adherents to biblical morals were allowed the same right and could express themselves in the same way. Because of this socio-political tendency, the church itself has softened the messages that are preached to the point of almost completely excluding topics such as sin and holiness.

There are pastors who think that if they preach on such issues, the congregation will decrease in the number of parishioners negatively affecting their finances. That’s why they prefer to preach about topics that appeal to people. These topics include: that they will be prosperous and happy; that all their problems are solved by becoming to Christ, that we are children of a King who owns gold and silver; that God hates sin, but loves the sinner; that God loves us just as we are, and so on.

The preaching of the gospel by Jesus Christ, his disciples and the true ministers for two thousand years has never been based on topics that are pleasing to the hearers. The first two words of the true gospel are not prosperity and happiness but: repent and convert. To repent means to stop doing what we have been doing all our lives, that is, sin, to change our course in 180 degrees. To convert us means that from now on our life must resemble Christ’s, it is to live in holiness.

Time is running out, the day of the Lord, great and terrible, is ever nearer. We must be aware that the moral and material deterioration of modern societies is something that does not go back. Let us not deceive ourselves, things will never be as before. Climate change is irreversible and the planet is going to give us the bill. The economy has no guarantee that it will improve. Let us not be surprised that at some point homosexuality is declared obligatory. What comes after all this? Will God stand idly by?

The Bible, our guide par excellence, the Word inspired by God has the answer to all that. The message of alertness throughout Scripture is there, available to all, some will hear this message and, like Noah or Lot, will escape destruction; others will continue their lives as if everything were normal and the catastrophe that looms will surprise them and will not have time to be safe. The time to give up sin, to live in holiness and to stop paying attention to the things of the world is today. Let us wash our clothes to be entitled to the tree of life and enter through the gates of the New Jerusalem. God bless you.