Getting Ready for the Lord’s Return

KEY VERSE: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” —I Thessalonians 5:23

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Thessalonians 5:1-23

LUKE, the beloved physician, records an instructive incident in the latter part of our Lord’s ministry. He writes, “As they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” He then relates Jesus’ parable of the pounds in which our Lord states, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. … And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.”—Luke 19:12-15

There is much in this simple parable that was timely to his newly won disciples, and which has been no less illuminating to his faithful followers all down through the Gospel Age. For one thing, our Lord desired to correct their false impression that the kingdom was immediately to be set up. Before that could happen the nobleman of the parable must first go into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

The nobleman, of course, represents Jesus, who is here tenderly explaining that he must leave his disciples for a time, that he must receive his kingdom, and then he would return, and thereafter establish his kingdom. But while the nobleman was away preparing to receive his kingdom, his ten servants were not to be idle. There was work for them to do; and so to each he gave a pound with instructions to multiply its value. As the nobleman pictures Jesus, so the servants represent those who would be his followers of this Gospel Age, during which time our Lord has, indeed, been away in the heavenly realms. The pounds of which they were to make fruitful use while awaiting his return symbolize the many blessings and advantages each receives when he takes up his Christian walk in the footsteps of his Lord—the Word of God, and through it a knowledge of his loving plan of salvation for all mankind; justification; the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit; the privileges of faith and prayer and communion with the Heavenly Father.

Those who faithfully occupy themselves with these ‘pounds’ will daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; they will increase in the fruit of the Spirit; they will preach the Word in season and out of season; and all this they will do till they come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of rod, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus has, indeed, already returned, unperceived by all except the watchers! Since his resurrection and ascension Jesus has been a glorious, immortal being “who is the image of the invisible God,” never more to be seen by the world! (Col. 1:15) His disciples evidently understood this, and therefore asked Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy [second] coming [Greek, parousia, ‘presence’], and of the end of the world [age]?” In reply Jesus said that “then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”—Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1

We believe the present universal “dismay among the nations and bewilderment … as they realize what is threatening the world” tells us that the nations are even now experiencing the foretold time of trouble with which this present evil world will be brought to an end, and which is a sign of our Lord Jesus’ second presence. (Luke 21:25,26, Phillips) It also tells us that the time to “occupy” is short, for Jesus said, “When ye see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”—Luke 21:31, RSV

Our Lord Jesus has already, invisibly, returned! The establishment of his kingdom is near. Each servant of the Lord, as he finishes his course, must shortly render up his accounts to show how much he “has gained by trading.”

We invite you to read the booklet “Our Lord’s Return.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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