December 16, 2022

Waiting and Watching

By Skip Heitzig

You probably know Jesus was raised in a little town called Nazareth. But did you know that from Nazareth, Jesus had a breathtaking view of the valley of Armageddon? Imagine what thoughts must have gone through His mind as a little boy as He looked out over the place that would one day host a battle—the battle of Armageddon at the end of the tribulation period—that only He would stop.

We know this battle won't be a pretty scene. But it will get better when Jesus comes back, ends all that has happened on the earth, and takes over the world He Himself created.

Jesus' return is anticipated all throughout Scripture. Revelation 19, which describes Jesus' second coming, says, "The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus" (v. 10, NLT). In other words, Jesus Christ is the star on the center stage of the theater of biblical prophecy.

And just as there's a scarlet thread of Christ's redemptive work on the cross woven throughout Scripture, I believe there's also a golden thread of His coming rule and reign. It's the culmination of all redemptive history. All of God's people throughout all ages have looked forward to this event.

This is when the serpent's head will finally and fully be crushed (see Genesis 3:15). This is when the scepter, the rule, will once again be reinstated in Judah (see Genesis 49:10). This is when God's promise to King David that somebody from his family line would rule and reign forever will come to pass (see 2 Samuel 7:16). This is the time Isaiah spoke about when he said, "The government will be upon His shoulder…. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7). This is the time Daniel spoke about when he said that "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44). And this is what Jesus taught His disciples—and us—to pray for: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

Beginning in Revelation 19, that prayer is finally answered. Jesus will come back to earth, end the battle of Armageddon, take over, and reign with a rod of iron (see v. 15)—first for 1,000 years in what's called the millennium, and then forever in the eternal state.

This is a reality that you will see and experience one day. I hope it inspires faith in you. The purpose of prophecy is not to cause fear but to create faith.

In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul described Christians as those who love the Lord's appearing. Do you love and long for His appearing, for His rule and reign on planet earth? I think of the almost-final words of Revelation where John said, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20). I pray that you would long for His return, watch and be ready, and in the meantime serve the Lord with a glad heart.

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