There are several scriptures that command followers of Christ to be watchful of His second coming. The day and time of His return to earth are unknown: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Mt 24:36). The scriptures warn that in the last days people will be preoccupied with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, planting and building and buying and selling.
Perilous times are already here. Christian persecution is escalating all over the world even in places that were known as Christian countries. The spirit of looseness and lightness is diverting the attention of Christians away from the mandate and ministry of Jesus. “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36).
Watching for the return of the Lord provides the platform for being in the world without being part of it and abiding in Christ to the end. Mature believers whose lifestyle reflects expectation of the return of the Lord have the following characteristics:
- Their orientation on life and living is focused on desire for the return of Jesus.
- They see the world of men the way God sees it, corrupt, full of wickedness and ready for judgment and distance themselves from worldly pursuits.
- Followers of Christ know that in His first coming Jesus came into the world as the Lamb of God to offer His life a ransom for many but in His second coming Jesus will come as the judge of the dead and the living – they are ready for judgment.
- They are like brides preparing for their wedding.
- Their evangelistic fervor reflects the way they zealously distribute their ‘wedding invitation’ witnessing to the lost and strengthening the weak in Christ.
- They are more heaven-conscious than those who are living according to the dictates of the world system.
- They are desirous of meeting the Lord just as a bride and groom are desirous of, and expectant of, their wedding day and the accompanying ceremonies.
- Their attitude to money and wealth accumulation is guided by building eternal heritage in heaven.
- They experience ‘birthpangs’ signaling the approaching sound of the trumpet for the rapture of the church.
- Like the original apostles they are daily expecting the return of the Lord.
- Their earnest desire is to participate in the rapture as living saints.
- They are like the Issachar brethren who knew the times and what Israel ought to do per time.
“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thess 5:6-10).