The Hope of The Return of Christ: The Perspective and Power to Persevere

The Hope of the Return of Christ:
The Perspective and Power to Persevere


PERSPECTIVE
God reveals in His Word the Hope of Christ’s Return. In doing so, He gives us what I like to call “God’s eye view." You may have heard the phrase, “birds eye view," a perspective from which one can view the world from the sky. “God’s eye view” is not limited to this world. He sees everything. His perspective spans all of time and beyond.
The Hope God gives us elevates our perspective above the senses realm, above the pressures and temptations of this world. We no longer see only the obstacles our adversary puts in our path, but we see where the path ends. Right now we see a vague reflection, and we don’t know every detail of the future. (1 Corinthians 13:12)God has revealed to us specific details to elevate our perspective in this world and help us endure any obstacle we face in this day and time.
Have you ever read an intense book, or seen an action-packed movie, which leaves you on the edge of your seat? At times, there is uncertainty of whether the main characters will survive. Sometimes I glance at the end of the book or movie to see what happens to the characters. Knowing they will be alive and well in the end, changes my perspective about situations the characters face. This is the perspective God gave to us when He revealed the Hope of the Return of Christ. Seeing the greatness of this future event helps alleviate fear or anxiety we may have concerning our life today, because when all is said and done, only the life we live for God will matter. God gives us blessings to enjoy each day, and we all have our share of heartache, as well. Yes, the sunsets are lovely and the heartaches bring pain, but there will come a day when all of this will be replaced:

Isaiah 6:19-20 KJV
19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:
but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light,
and thy God thy glory.
20 Thy sun shall no more go down;
neither shall thy moon withdraw itself:
for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light,
and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

We know how the story ends for the believers.
In fact, our story doesn't end. It is eternal.
Our pain ends. Our suffering ends.
But our life is hid with Christ in God.

John 3:16 KJV
For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish ['apollumi'-be utterly destroyed],
but have everlasting life.

We have a new life, the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and a new perspective. We can renew our minds, and elevate our life focus and concerns to a new spiritual perspective.

Ephesians 4:22-24 KJV
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God 
is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The hope of the return of Christ gives us the encouragement we need to renew our minds and continue walking in fellowship with God, even in the most difficult times of our earthly lives.
  
Colossians 3:1-4 KJV
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Just as the Old Testament believers looked forward to the hope of the promised Messiah, we have the hope of the return of Christ. God's Word gives us examples of Old Testament believers who focused on God’s perspective concerning their lives. They had faith God would provide what they hoped for, because their hope was based on what God had promised.

Hebrews 11:13 KJV
These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded ['peitho'-had confidence] of [them], and
embraced ['aspazomai'- welcomed, greeted, drew themselves near] them,
and confessed ['homolog'-to speak the same or agree]
that they were strangers ['xenon'-foreigners, guests] and
pilgrims ['parepidemos'-sojourning in a strange place] on the earth.

This verse contains the figure of speech, polysyneton - defined by Bullinger's Figures of Speech Used in the Bible as the repetition of the word "and" at the beginning of successive clauses; also referred to as "many ands." The role of this figure of speech is to cause us to stop and consider each individual variable.
and were persuaded – to be convinced, trust.
and embraced – To draw to ones self; to welcome.
and confessed – To speak or say the same thing; agree together.
We are not so attached to this world that we don’t anticipate the Hope of the Return of Christ. We welcome it and look forward to it as a future reality. God's perspective is vital to the walk of a believer. Our treasure is in heaven.  The thief will use elements of the world to steal, kill, and destroy. 

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal,
and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.

This world is not our home. We are just passing through this foreign land. We belong to God. Christians need to be aware where true LIFE, fulfillment, and peace, reside. When we walk according to the spirit and the spiritual perspective, we bear spiritual fruit.
(Galatians 5:22-23)
The Old Testament believers were strengthened in the hope of a coming Messiah, because they saw the glory of these future events. Their focus was not only on their current circumstances, but on the hope for the future. Did they know every detail of their future? They didn’t even know when the Messiah would come, just as we don’t know when Christ will return.

Matthew 24:36-44 KJV
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man,
no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were,
so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came,
and took them all away;
so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill;
the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore:
for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known
in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched,
and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready:
for in such an hour as ye think not
the Son of man cometh.

God revealed to us His perspective of our lives, giving us the Hope of the Return of Christ. Now it is up to us to believe God’s perspective of our future. Although five senses knowledge is not something to ignore, it's not a standard for truth. We are to be fully persuaded [to be convinced, trust] God's perspective. We are to embrace [hold fast; welcome; look forward to] the Hope. We are to confess [speak, agree together on] the Hope of the return of Christ. We elevate the hope and our life in Christ, over our natural man knowledge. This gives us strength to endure any and every situation.


I Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning them which are asleep, ['koimao'-those who have died],
that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord
shall not prevent ['phthano'-come before] them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then ['epeita'-thereafter] we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air:
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort ['parakaleo'-exhort and encourage]
one another with these words.

Viewing the world from the perspective of the Hope, provides the comfort and encouragement we need to stand upon God’s Word. It helps us when we are grieving the loss of those dear to us, as well. Titus 1:2 tells us God does not lie. His perspective is the complete truth. God’s promises are supported by God’s power, which brings us to another aspect of the Hope: the power of God.



POWER
Knowing the power in the Hope is important to our believing and our walk of faith.

1 Corinthians 15:16-19 KJV
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men most miserable.
[to be more pitied than all men]

Paul raises a very good point. We need a resolution to the Hope we have in this life, a fulfillment of the Hope. There is so much power in the Hope, and it’s no surprise our adversary tries to cause confusion on this matter. The word Hope is often used as a synonym for “wish."  The ordinary usage of the word, hope, allows for the possibility what is hoped for will not come to pass. When God uses the word, hope, referring to His promises, He's describing a promise, which will absolutely come to pass. It implies a certainty and confidence the expectation will definitely be fulfilled. It's not a question of 'if' but a question of 'when'.
God’s promise concerning the Return of Christ provides us with a special Hope, because God stands behind His promises with His power. The power lies in God’s ability and willingness to bring to pass what He has promised. In fact, God not only reveals these powerful truths in His word, but He provides us with a wealth of examples.  We can look to God’s word to see believers who were strengthened to endure, as they believed God would fulfill His promises. King David chose to hold God’s perspective in his mind. He knew God’s promises were enforced by God’s power.

Acts 2:25 KJV
For David speaketh concerning him [Jesus Christ],
I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.

Focusing on the hope of a coming Messiah gave David the strength and endurance
to remain faithful to God to the extent he was referred to as a man after God’s own heart.
Was David perfect? Of course not, but he was faithful.
When he messed up, no matter how bad, he eventually turned back to God.

Acts 2:26-33 KJV
26 Therefore [as a result of keeping in mind God’s promise]
did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad;
It’s clear that David was fully persuaded,
embracing, and confessing God’s promises.
   
moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:   
Why?
  
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [gravedom – state of the dead],
neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption [total decay of the fleshly body]
He’s giving details God had revealed to him
concerning the hope of the coming Messiah.
  
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;
thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 
{The Old Testament record referred to in this verse also states:
Thou wilt shew me the path of life;
in thy presence is fullness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Jesus Christ would have known this verse in Psalms.
He knew the scriptures, and drew strength and comfort from them.}


29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, 
that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet,
and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, 
that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh,
he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He [David] seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ,
that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
The details David spoke were absolutely correct.
When God reveals details about the Hope for the future, it’s always accurate.
That’s why we want to rightly divide the word concerning the Hope.
That’s also why we want God’s perspective of our lives.
  
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
God fulfilled his promises down to the very last detail.

33 Therefore [as a result of the fulfillment of that promise]
being by the right hand of God exalted [our position of power in Christ.],
and having received of the Father the promise of the holy ghost,
he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 KJV
8 Charity never faileth 
but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease;
whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Having this hope we can walk with power, knowing what God has promised, He is willing and able to perform. There is a purpose for our power in the Hope: It gives us strength to endure the world in which we live and enables us to persevere. This brings us to another aspect of the Hope: Perseverance.



PERSEVERANCE
This is a practical and much needed benefit of the Hope. God's Word shows us how other believers endured and received encouragement in the Hope. Hebrews Chapters eleven and twelve, tells us of many harsh circumstances, in which believers endured and prevailed, as the hope that was set before them anchored them to God and His promises.

Hebrews 12:1-3 KJV
Wherefore seeing we also are encompassed about
with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience
the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners
against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Did Jesus Christ want to die? Was he challenged emotionally nearing the time of his death? We don’t have to guess, because the answer is written in God’s Word:


Matthew 26:36-39 KJV
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemame,
and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee,
and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful,
even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me;
nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

Did Jesus Christ need hope from God to endure what he faced? He knew God’s will for his life, but he didn’t want to die. There are times in my life when there is a conflict between God’s word and my own will. We have the old man nature and our adversary with whom to contend. How did Jesus Christ remain obedient to God even unto death?
 
Hebrews 12:2 says:
For the joy that was set before him.

He looked beyond his circumstances to the hope he had for the future. This helped him carry out the most difficult task anyone could ever perform. Christ Jesus is now at the right hand of God, a position of authority and power. Now, because God was faithful to fulfill His promise, with the accomplishments of Jesus Christ, we can become born again and receive the gift of holy spirit.

Romans 10:9-10 KJV
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.


Romans 15:13 KJV
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the holy ghost.


1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV
…be ye steadfast [stand firm], unmovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

What an encouraging reminder this is! We will receive rewards for our labor at the Return of Christ. This is why the adversary works so hard to distract us from doing the word. He can’t steal our eternal life, so instead he tries to hinder us in our ministry of reconciliation and he tries to steal our future rewards.
Psalm 13:4
Those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

Hebrews 6:19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul…
The hope set before us anchors us in our walk with God so we will not be moved and carried away by the storms of life. When we feel we are being shaken up by the things of this world, the Hope helps us remain fixed on God and immovable. God is our sufficiency. The hope of the return of Christ is enough to sustain us in even the most treacherous times. The thief will rock your boat and try to convince you there is a life raft waiting for you below - if you would only jump ship. The tempter will try to entice you, saying, "Come on in! The water's great!" When that doesn't work, he'll try to make you fear and question the stability of the ship. He'll try to steal the precious cargo it carries. It's tempting, when the pirates rush towards us with weapons in hand, to turn away and run back in the direction from which we've come so far. It's tempting, when the waters of life get rough and the waves rage all around us, to abandon our new spiritual path. It's nice to quote scripture and console ourselves with flowery speech, BUT let's be real. Temptations are real. Pain is real, but I tell you this my friends, GOD is real. The POWER of GOD is real. He is an active presence in our life, and GOD'S PROMISES are real. The HOPE of the RETURN OF CHRIST is real. At the end of the day, all the temptations, pain, and heartache of this world will not stand. Even the worldly things we think are so great will not stand throughout time. All you see around you today will falter and fall. GOD & HIS PROMISES WILL STAND. God set forth a work to be done, and in the accomplishments of Jesus Christ, it is finished. God has a purpose for your life, and our adversary's sole purpose is to try to steal it. God does not want us ignorant of satan's devices, because God wants us blessed. The enemy will eventually flee as we submit to God and remained fixed upon God's Word and resist the alternative. (James 4:7)
God shares with us His eternal perspective, exhorting us to remain firm upon His Word and obtain all of the rewards waiting for us. He wants our thoughts on spiritual matters that last forever, not on earthly corruptible distractions, where the moths eat away at us, corroding and destroying our thoughts, and the resulting actions thereof. God has given us the Hope, as an anchor for our soul, to help us stand firm, strong, and powerful in our new spiritual path, to help us focus on our bright eternal future. You may have heard the saying, "When the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future." God does not want us to sink anchored to the heavy weight of the world. He wants us to rise in our believing, anchored to Him. He wants to part our Red Seas and to calm our waves of doubt. He wants us to walk according to our new life in Christ.

THE HOPE IN THE RETURN OF CHRIST GIVES US THE PERSPECTIVE AND THE POWER TO PERSEVERE! AND… 



Face to Face with Christ My Savior

Face to face with Christ, my Savior
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me?
              Refrain
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
 But a bless├Ęd day is coming,
  When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

 Face to face—oh, blissful moment! 
Face to face—to see and know; 
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.

Written by Carrie E. Breck, 1898





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Photo Credits
[I added my own frame and text to photo]
Portrait of Carrie E. Breck -1898. public domain