Paul described to the disciples what would take place when Christ returns: “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (4:16-18).
The ancient stoics believed the world went through fixed periods of time. In their minds, at the end of each period the world was destroyed by a great fire. Then the earth was restored precisely as it had been, so that things began all over again and resumed just as they had before.
In other words, history repeated itself over and over. The same stars followed in the same orbits, and the same lives were lived again, with the same friends, the same concerns, the same experiences. Everything was restored each time, not just once but in perpetuity. Human beings were bound to an eternal treadmill from which there was no escape.
The apostle Peter’s words cut directly against this thinking when he said that, according to God’s promise, Christians are to “look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Moreover, he says, if we believe God’s Word, we can know that history is racing toward the day of the Lord’s coming, when “heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (3:12).
As followers of Christ, we should not be consumed by daily news reports or events taking place in our lives but, rather, on the coming of our Redeemer. Our world certainly is in great turmoil, but Jesus said, “They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:27-28). He was talking about where our focus should be.
Jesus is coming soon so keep looking up!