We are spending the final day of 2015 in Atlanta. We were here three years ago when our youngest grandchild, Mckenzie was born. We spent some family time and activities celebrating her birthday. This evening Debbie and I joined Nathan’s parents, Don and Linda Munn for a meal. We enjoyed our time with our family-friends and rejoiced in the Lord’s work in our children’s lives.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…when Christ comes again, those who belong to him will be raised to life. Then the end will come. Christ will destroy all rulers, authorities, and powers. Then he will give the kingdom to God the Father.” 1 Corinthians 15:23,24 ERV
A popular commercial features the Rock band “Europe” singing the song “The Final Countdown” as an employee stands watching the seconds tick away on a microwave in the lunch room. As we come to the end of the year, there will be a final countdown in Times Square and other places for the beginning of a New Year.
Countdowns create a spark of anticipation. They are the signal of an end and a beginning. That which was is no more. That which was not is coming to be. Countdowns were made popular through the space program as anxious watchers viewed the clock and counted together to the point of the launch. The successful launch was a celebration of all the time, work and technology that has gone into the effort. There is also a sense of anticipation of what will be discovered on the new journey.
The words of the song, “The Final Countdown” actually gives an image of such an event:
We’re leaving together,
But still it’s farewell
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?
It’s the final countdown
The final countdown
The song goes on to describe a journey to “Venus”!?
There is another “final countdown” that is anticipated in the Bible. It is the time when Christ returns and “time will be no more.” All the events that have been fulfilled for Christ to return will be celebrated. In comparison and contrast to the lyrics of the song, we see that all believers will leave together and they will return.
Paul writes about the “believers leaving“:
“The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the people who have died and were in Christ will rise first. After that we who are still alive at that time will be gathered up with those who have died. We will be taken up in the clouds and meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 ERV)
John foretells of the time when “believers will return” with Christ to rule and reign:
“Then I saw heaven open. There before me was a white horse. The rider on the horse was called Faithful and True, because he is right in his judging and in making war.…The armies of heaven were following the rider on the white horse. They were also riding white horses. They were dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:11,14 ERV)
This is the “final countdown.” Like others we can relate to, it is the culmination of what is and the beginning of that which is new and that which has been anticipated. In the final analysis all followers of Christ “will be with the Lord forever.”
This is an end that we should anticipate and work towards. Jesus said, “…this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14 NIV) Our efforts to share the gospel with the whole world, moves us closer to the time when Christ returns.
The anticipation of Christ-followers for the final countdown is pictured in Revelation:
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Everyone who hears this should also say, ‘Come!’…Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:17,20 ERV)
This “countdown” to the end becomes closer with each passing year. Unfortunately there is no “countdown” clock in Time Square, that let’s us know exactly where we are in the process. It requires awareness, being ready and prepared whenever the Father says to the Son, “now is the time.”