The Promise, the Prospect, and the Period

In John 14 Christ encourages his disciples by declaring that while He was leaving them, He would return. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)

The Promise—Every believer in Christ has the promise that the Lord will come again and receive him unto Himself. A reassuring aspect of this promise is the Person who made it. It is the Lord Himself who made this promise, "I will come again." God manifest in the flesh has promised to come again. We can take comfort in this, for we read, "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:." (Heb. 6:18)

It will be the Lord "Himself" who comes for us. The same One who fed the 5,000 with a few loaves and fish. The same One who raised the dead, and made the blind to see. The same One who walked on water, and calmed the raging sea. The same One who walked with the two on the road to Emmaus. The same One man rejected and crucified. "This same Jesus" will come to take us home to be with Himself.

The purpose of this promise is stated by the Lord Himself, "that where I am there ye also may be." He is coming again to take us out of this world to where He is. The bride will be with the Bridegroom. For all eternity we will be where He is.

The Prospect—This promise gives each believer a prospect—the certainty of being with the Lord. We can look forward to be taken from this world, whether we are alive and remain at His coming, or whether we have already gone to glory through the gate of death, only to be reunited with our resurrected and changed bodies.

This hope is heavenly. (Col. 1:5) It is a living hope, in that it is in the living One who sits at God’s right hand. (1 Pet. 1:3) This hope is "an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast…." (Heb. 6:19)

One aspect of this prospect is its intimacy. It is the Bridegroom coming for His bride. The bride is to be looking for a Person, not an event. Paul said, "We look for the Savior." (Phil. 3:20) The Thessalonian saints had "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven." (1 Thess. 1:10) We should be waiting for the Lord as a bride waits for her bridegroom. Not just to be taken from the scene, but to be where He is.

Another aspect of the prospect of His coming is imminency." The Lord can come at any moment. This should keep us from driving our tent pegs deeper and deeper into this world.

The Period– Between the Lord’s promise to come again, and the realization of the prospect set before us is a period of time. It is an indefinite period of time. There are no "seventy weeks" for the New Testament church. How long this period is no one knows, except God.

The fact that this period is indefinite requires us to wait patiently. As in Noah’s day there are some who would question whether the Lord will keep His Word. In similar fashion Israel grew tired of waiting for Moses to return from the mountain and made themselves "other gods." Idolatry is an ever present danger as we wait "for His Son from heaven" in this indefinite period.

The period is not only indefinite, but one of increasing darkness, departure, and deception. This means we must be watchful. We must "wait," and we must "watch." There is to be an expectation. We must not fall asleep as did the ten virgins. The Bright and Morning Star precedes the rising of the sun and will arise in the darkest hour of the day. We must remember the longer the night, the closer the rising of the Sun.

This period will also be marked by impurity. We must then walk as children of the light. We must flee fornication, and walk as examples to the dark world around us.

Indifference will mark this indefinite period of time. This requires the believers to be working. So many are entangled in the affairs of life, and are indifferent with regard to the things of the Lord. Worldly events take priority over the gatherings of the local assembly, and personal time in prayer and the reading of God’s Word.

The Provisions—The Lord has not left us without provisions for this indefinite period of time. The following are some of those things which we have to encourage and enable us to patiently wait, watch, walk, and work until He comes again.

We have an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance reserved for us in heaven. (1 Pet. 1:4) We have the certainty of forever being with the Lord. This fact should keep our eyes forward and encourage our hearts. (Heb. 12:2)

We have an interceding High Priest who "ever liveth to make intercession for us." (Heb. 7:25) One Who has been here and suffered for righteousness sake.

The Lord has given us the indwelling Holy Spirit to comfort us along the way. One who will come alongside to strengthen us during this time.

Then there is the inspired Word of God. That which never changes is able to guide us through this ever changing world.

We also have the incense of the Lord’s Supper; that constant remembrance of the One who purchased us at great expense and Who will return to take His bride to be with Himself.

Having this personal promise of the Lord Himself to return for us, let us continue to wait, watch, walk, and work in this indefinite Period between the Promise and the Prospect, making use of all the Provisions He has provided.