Preparation for the Lord’s Return

MEMORY SELECTION: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” —Matthew 24:42


A MORE correct translation the memory selection for this week’s Bible lesson reads as follows, from the Emphatic Diaglott: “Watch, therefore, Because, you do not know at what Day your Master will come.”

We believe that our Lord Jesus is now present and that we are living in the day of preparation for the establishment of his future millennial kingdom. As children of the day we are not in darkness, as the rest of the world of mankind is, concerning the great change of dispensation that is before us. As children of light we watch the events that are occurring around us and are enlightened by the Word of God concerning those things.

The lamp of truth has guided the Lord’s footstep followers all through the Gospel Age and into the harvest of that age. There has been a nighttime of sin and death, and many of the Lord’s people have suffered violence at the hands of their accusers. However, they have not been disturbed as others, while they continued to go forward in the narrow way. The watchers recognized the time of their visitation and rejoiced at the truth which was then made available, believing that they were very close to the time when our Lord would set up his kingdom. It was a time of enlightenment and rich blessings to the child of God.

Some, however, have become impatient at the delay in the establishment of that glorious kingdom of righteousness. Although he is present, the due time for the blessings to flow to the world of mankind has not yet come. There is watching and waiting even as the apostle explains: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [sonship], to wit, the redemption of our body.”—Rom. 8:22,23

From this passage we learn that the whole world of mankind is waiting for the completion of the bride of Christ. Then, when the members of that bride have been found faithful even unto death, the time for blessing the world will just be starting. The waiting time is not easy, and each one of us would gladly see the end of the present time of death and suffering for the human race. But we must be patient and recognize that time is an all-important factor in the plan of God for the recovery of his creation.

The background scriptures in the 24th chapter of Matthew indicate to the watching Bible student when our Lord is to be present. For his disciples asked him that very question when they “came unto him privately, saying, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming [presence] and of the end of the world [age]?” (Matt. 24:3) He then proceeded to outline some of the conditions that would come upon the world at that time. He told the disciples that many would come in his name to deceive the child of God, and that there would be wars and trouble throughout the earth. There would be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in many places—but that this would be only the beginning of sorrows. Further, our Lord explained that the time of his second presence would be accompanied by persecutions and betrayal, but that the glorious message of the kingdom would be preached worldwide.

There is much symbolic language associated with our Lord’s words concerning the need to renew one’s faith and consecration. We are admonished to leave the world and what it has to offer in the way of material goods, and to devote our time to the development of truth and righteousness in our characters. We should not be content with the milk of the Word alone, but should study the prophecies and the Lord’s instructions so that we may be overcomers and make our calling and election sure. The time is short, and there is much work to be done.

We are assured that the days of tribulation will be shortened, and that in the final analysis God will show that he has had control of events for the best interests of his people. This age shall not pass away until all things spoken of shall be fulfilled. We are living in that great time when our Lord shall shortly reveal himself to the world. We rejoice in the prospect that, if faithful, we will have the privilege of being associated with him in that kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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