Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Looking for the Blessed Hope!

Meditation for the week of November 6, 2011

Titus 2:13-14  looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

What is the hope of a Christian?  Paul says that those who are not “in Christ” or saved have no hope (Ephesians 2:12).  They have nothing good to anticipate either in life or in death.  As Christians our hope is in the Lord.  We have confidence in Him and in His promise that He will return.  We don’t hope to be saved.  We know we are saved because the Bible says that those who trust Christ are saved.  But we also have hope, that is, we are anticipating a bright future.  When people reject the reality of the Lord’s return, then this life is all that they have.  This life can be very enjoyable; however, even if this life makes us happy beyond all of our expectations, when it is over—then what?  If we believe that the Lord is going to return we live in view of a better tomorrow.  His coming encourages us and purifies us.  What would it be like to live with “no hope?”

When is the Lord going to return?  The Lord doesn’t say.  However, in Daniel 9, He does lay out a literal prophetic calendar for the nation of Israel.  As I understand it, there are 483 years (69 weeks of years) from the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince.  That time period was fulfilled to the day when the Lord rode into Jerusalem on the donkey’s colt.  That left one week of years unfinished.  That unfinished week begins with the Jewish nation signing a peace treaty with a man of false peace.  They will have rejected the true Messiah and will accept this false Messiah.  When they sign that treaty, seven literal years of 360 day years called the tribulation will begin.  Because Christians are saved from the wrath to come, we will be caught away before this judgment starts. That is one reason why the return of the Lord is a “blessed hope” for the Christian. At the end of the tribulation period, the nation of Israel will have a small remnant left who will confess that they crucified their Messiah.  When that happens a literal physical Kingdom of God of 1000 years will begin.

I have laid out the prophetic interpretation that believes that calendars associated with Israel are literal.  Thus, I believe that in the future Satan will be bound for 1000 years and the Lord will reign for that same period of time.  Many teachers believe these calendars are all symbolic and that there is no literal millennium.  This is called the amillennial view.    This view makes the church the Kingdom of God on earth.  The covenants and promises to Israel become the covenants and promises of the church.  Those who advocate this approach are not looking for the rapture but many of them today are trying to make the earth a better place to live until the Lord comes on Judgment day. 

I believe in a pre-millenial, pre-tribulation rapture or catching away of the Saints. At one time I would have argued that it didn’t really matter which prophetic plan we advocated because those of us who are saved will be safe and secure in Christ no matter how God works this out.  I could have been called a “pan” millennialist.   This approach says it will all “pan” out in the end.  But recently I have begun to realize how important our view of the prophetic plan is.    Those who believe that the church represents the Kingdom of God on earth and that there is no literal millennium teach that Christians have a responsibility to change the culture.  Many who hold this doctrine want to Christianize the world in order to prepare it for the Lord’s return.  This view makes Christians an earthly people who are trying to reform society.

Those who are looking for the “blessed hope” are focused on heaven and on eternity and are trying to see people saved from this present evil age (Galatians 1:4).  We recognize that we have responsibilities to the Lord to live right.  However, we cannot make the unsaved live right until they are convicted of their sin and they trust Christ for salvation.  Pressing righteous standards on an unregenerate world makes people resent us. 

Our prophetic view makes a difference in how we view our responsibilities to this world.  My view is that I should preach the Gospel and save people from the coming judgments on this world.  But we should never expect the world to be our friend or to be a Kingdom of God on earth until the Lord comes and sets up that Kingdom Himself.

Bruce Collins

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