If you want to find a Biblical subject about which there is widespread misinformation and uncertainty, the topic of the Last Day would fit that description. But it doesn’t need to be. In reality, it’s quite simple, and, for those who believe in Jesus, it’s chock-full of good news.
Think about Jesus’ ascension. Jesus had led the disciples up onto the Mt. of Olives, he’d lifted up his nail-marked hands and blessed them. As he was blessing them, he powerfully ascended up into the sky, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Then we read, “Suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'” (Acts 1:10-11 NIV)
What’s going to happen on the Last Day? Very simply, Jesus will come back! Come back how? The same way he left–with his hands upraised in blessing, with the nail marks clearly visible. Does that sound like something to fear, or something to eagerly expect? Obviously, the latter! At least, for those who believe in Jesus it’s something to which to look forward.
The Bible gives us a few more details: there will be the voice of the archangel and the trumpet-call of God will be heard. All those who have died before the Last Day will be raised up, their bodies and souls will be rejoined, and their bodies will be made glorious. Those who are alive when Jesus returns won’t die – their bodies will simply be changed. The believers will be gathered to be with Jesus, and the unbelievers will be sent to suffer eternally in hell, separated from God. And all of it will take place so quickly that we’ll hardly know it’s happened until it’s done.
When will this take place? God tells us that Jesus will return suddenly, like a thief in the night. Could it happen today? Absolutely. Could the world last another 100 years? Yep. Could Jesus wait millions of years before he returns? Sure.
But what you know for sure is that when he returns, it will be great. After all, it’s JESUS who’s returning! The nail marks on his hands will still be there. He loves you, loves you so much that he was willing to die for you, to pay for your sins. If he loved you enough to die for you, will he also love you enough to take you to be with him in heaven? Absolutely!
So we pray the prayer which is found at the end of the Bible: “Jesus says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20 NIV)
(For more on the Last Day, read Matthew 24-25, 1Corinthians 15, 1Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:11. For some neat pictures of heaven, read Revelation 5, 7, 21-22.)