15 min 3 weeks

13.2 Hope in Jesus’ Soon Return
Comfort and Confidence in Troubling Times
Read John 14:1-3 and Titus 2:11-14. Why are these verses particularly encouraging in light of future challenges and the coming time of tribulation?
The verses John 14:1-3 and Titus 2:11-14 offer a powerful and encouraging message, especially in light of future challenges and the impending time of tribulation.
In John 14:1-3, Jesus speaks directly to His disciples, saying: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” These words of Jesus provide deep comfort and confidence. They assure us that Jesus will never abandon us and that He will return to take us to be with Him. This world is not our final home; a better future awaits us in the presence of God.
Titus 2:11-14 complements this message by emphasizing the “blessed hope”: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” These verses remind us that God’s grace not only saves us but also empowers us to live holy lives while we wait for the return of Jesus.
These promises are especially encouraging when we consider the challenges and the coming time of tribulation. In times of darkness and distress, we can cling to Jesus’ words that He has not forgotten us and that He will return to save us. The return of Christ is a central hope of the Christian faith, mentioned in every 25th verse of the New Testament, underscoring the importance of this promise.
When church-state powers threaten our lives and the days seem dark, the promise of Christ’s return fills our hearts with hope. This “blessed hope” has inspired and enabled God’s faithful people in every generation to remain steadfast in their faith and to trust in eternal salvation. Jesus’ assurance that He will take us home gives us the strength and courage to hold on amidst all challenges and tribulations and to joyfully await His return.
Read Revelation 6:15-17 and Isaiah 25:8-9. Compare the attitudes of the redeemed and the lost as revealed in these verses. What explains the difference between these two mindsets?
Revelation 6:15-17 describes the reaction of the wicked at the return of Christ: “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?'” These verses show the fear, despair, and terror of the wicked. They recognize the terrible consequences of their sins and fear the impending judgment.
In contrast, Isaiah 25:8-9 expresses the joy and confidence of the redeemed: “He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.'” This passage shows the joy and confidence of the righteous. They have accepted the wonderful provision of grace and look forward with hope and confidence to the return of Christ.
The fundamental difference between the attitudes of the redeemed and the lost lies in their response to God’s saving grace:
  1. The Wicked: They have rebelled against God and rejected His grace. This rebellion leads to fear, guilt, and condemnation. Their realization of the terrible consequences of sin and the impending eternal loss creates deep despair and fear. They seek in vain to hide from the righteous wrath of God.
  2. The Righteous: They have accepted the wonderful provision of grace and live in a relationship of faithfulness and devotion to God. This decision leads to forgiveness, peace, and deep joy. They await the return of Christ with hope and joy because they know they are saved by His grace and have eternal life.
In summary, the acceptance or rejection of God’s saving grace explains the difference between these two mindsets. The redeemed experience forgiveness, peace, and eternal joy through their positive response to God’s grace, while the lost suffer fear, guilt, and eternal loss due to their rebellion against God.
Read Revelation 15:3-4 and 19:7. How will the redeemed respond to the glorious salvation so generously offered by Christ?
Revelation 15:3-4 describes the response of the redeemed: “And they sing the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: ‘Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.'” These verses show that the redeemed will glorify God with songs of praise and gratitude. They recognize His great and marvelous deeds and praise His justice and truth.
Revelation 19:7 says: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” This verse describes the joy and celebration of the redeemed who celebrate the wedding of the Lamb. They honor Christ and rejoice in the salvation He has brought them.
These responses of the redeemed to the glorious salvation offered by Christ are characterized by deep gratitude, joy, and worship. They recognize that their salvation is made possible only by the generous grace and sacrifice of Christ.
The Cross of Christ as an Eternal Subject of Reflection and Song
The statement “The cross of Christ will be the subject of reflection and song for the redeemed throughout eternity” from The Desire of Ages (DA 596) underscores the eternal significance of Jesus’ sacrifice. In the glorified Christ, the redeemed will always recognize the Crucified One. The fact that the Creator of all worlds and the Judge of all destinies laid aside His glory and humbled Himself out of love for humanity will evoke wonder and reverence throughout the universe.
In summary:
The redeemed will respond to the glorious salvation through Christ with deep praise and gratitude. They will:
  1. Praise and Gratitude: Sing songs of gratitude and worship, as described in Revelation 15:3-4. They will acknowledge God’s great and marvelous deeds and praise His justice and truth.
  2. Joy and Celebration: Celebrate the wedding of the Lamb with great joy and gladness, as depicted in Revelation 19:7. They will honor Christ and rejoice in the salvation He has brought them.
  3. Eternal Appreciation of the Cross: Reflect and sing about the sacrifice of Christ throughout eternity. They will recognize the Crucified One in the glorified Christ and venerate the infinite love and humility of God revealed through the cross.
These deep and reverent reactions highlight the overwhelming gratitude and deep reverence the redeemed feel for the generous salvation through Christ.
Read Revelation 12:17; 17:13-14; and 19:11-16. Pay close attention to the sequence of these verses. What does the progression in these verses reveal about the final war on earth and the ultimate victory of Christ?
  1. Revelation 12:17: “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” This verse shows the dragon’s (Satan’s) anger towards the woman (God’s people). He directs his attack on the rest of her offspring, those who faithfully keep God’s commandments and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. This indicates a time of intense persecution and spiritual conflict, with God’s people as the target of Satan’s attacks.
  2. Revelation 17:13-14: “They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” These verses describe an alliance of ungodly powers that give their power and authority to the beast (symbolic of an antichristian power). They unite to wage war against the Lamb (Jesus Christ). Despite these united forces, the Lamb will overcome them because He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. This war ends with Christ’s victory and His called, chosen, and faithful followers with Him.
  3. Revelation 19:11-16: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” This passage describes the triumphant return of Christ as a mighty warrior on a white horse, called Faithful and True. He judges and wages war with justice and is followed by the armies of heaven. With a sharp sword from His mouth, He strikes down the nations and rules with an iron scepter. These powerful images symbolize Christ’s final victory over evil forces and the complete establishment of His righteous kingdom.
In summary:
The progression of these verses shows a clear development of the final war on earth and the ultimate victory of Christ:
  1. Persecution and War Against God’s People (Revelation 12:17): The dragon (Satan) wages war against the remnant, those faithful to God.
  2. Alliance of Evil Powers Against Christ (Revelation 17:13-14): An alliance of ungodly powers unites to fight against the Lamb (Christ), but the Lamb overcomes them, being the true King of kings.
  3. Christ’s Triumphant Victory (Revelation 19:11-16): Christ returns as a mighty and righteous warrior, defeats all evil forces, and fully establishes His righteous kingdom.
This progression emphasizes the inevitability of Christ’s victory over all evil forces and the fulfillment of His just reign. Despite the intense persecution and apparent power of ungodly forces, Christ will ultimately triumph and establish His righteous kingdom.

  1. Comfort in the Present:
    • Trust in Jesus’ Assurance: Jesus’ words in John 14:1-3 offer comfort and assure us that He will never leave us. This assurance helps us find peace in times of fear and uncertainty.
    • Focus on the Eternal Home: This world is not our final home. Knowing about a future home with God gives us perspective and hope, even when we face difficulties in this world.
  2. Encouragement to Holiness:
    • Grace as Transformative Power: Titus 2:11-14 reminds us that God’s grace not only saves us but also empowers us to live righteous and godly lives. This grace motivates us to strive for holiness and good works daily.
    • Rejection of Ungodliness: These verses urge us to deny worldly desires and live a life that aligns with God’s will. This encourages us to make conscious decisions in our daily lives that reflect our faith.
  3. Strengthening Faith in Trials:
    • Hope in Tribulation: The promise of Christ’s return gives us hope, especially when faced with trials and challenges. This hope helps us remain steadfast and keep our focus on the eternal joy to come.
    • Expectation of Glory: The “blessed hope” of the appearing of Christ’s glory inspires us to endure our daily struggles with a greater goal in mind. It reminds us that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the coming glory.
Summary:
The promises in John 14:1-3 and Titus 2:11-14 offer not only future hope but also practical applications for our daily lives and faith. They comfort us in difficult times, encourage us to holiness, and strengthen our faith in trials. The hope of the imminent return of Jesus inspires us to live a life of trust, grace, and expectation, while we look forward to the eternal joy with Him.

Trust in the infinite grace and love of God, which comforts us in all life’s challenges and gives us eternal hope.

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