"And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:10-11). He is coming again-the Christian's hope, the sinner's horror.

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. 24:30).

What a day that will be, the day of all days, when the angel stands upon the sea and the earth and swears by Him that liveth forever and ever that time shall be no more. No more time to pray, no time to repent, no time to get more serious, no time to deal with the hidden sins in one's life. No time to change from a lukewarm Christian or a foolish virgin to a wise virgin. The time of grace will be past forever and ever.

It will be the great dividing day when Christ shall divide the sheep and the goats. "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats" (Matt. 25:32). The sheep will be on His right hand, which is eternal bliss in Heaven forever, the goats on His left, condemned to hell, eternal fire forever.

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night" (2 Pet. 3:10). Jesus says to be ready, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:44).

To get ready, be ready, and stay ready are no small matters. It is of utmost importance. Repentance, forgiveness, and being covered by the blood of Christ prepare us for the coming of Jesus. To stay ready takes diligent, sincere Christian living, including prayer, Bible reading, and crying daily to God for His mercy and grace. He is coming again. He is coming for you. He is coming for me. He is coming for the sinner. He is coming for the saint.

In a very present way, He comes every day for someone. Like the song relates, "Maybe it's you and then, maybe it's me Who'll be the next to face eternity; When the day has come and gone, He will take somebody home" (Author Unknown, "Maybe It's You, Maybe It's Me,") Death closes this earthly life's chapter. What has been done is done. What has been left undone will never be finished. "If the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be" (Eccles. 11:3). In the face of death, the statement is sometimes made that death is so final. Relative to eternity, this is almost an understatement.

Today, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2), not tomorrow, not next month, not next revival season. Today places a special importance and urgency on getting ready for the coming of the Lord.

Only God knows the number of people with some Christian background or church connection who are not ready today to meet God in judgment. Maybe hundreds, maybe thousands are waiting for tomorrow, for a more convenient season, for someone to apologize to them or for a more suitable time. For many, it will never happen before it is too late. Then will arise the lamentable cry, "Had I only, had I only!"

Surely, we as God's people, members of the bride of Christ, pray earnestly for the lost. Today is the day. The Spirit and the Bride say come. The great invitation is still in effect. His mercy is free, His grace is plenteous, the door is wide open, and whosoever will may come and drink of the refreshing waters of salvation.

When will the coming of Jesus be? No one knows. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36). "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7). One sure fact is that every year, every day is one year and one day closer to His coming.

The signs that Jesus and the apostles taught about the end of time have been fulfilled, or at least mostly so. Jesus said that when this happens, "know that it is near, even at the door" (Matt. 24:33). "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:35-37).

The great day of Jesus' return is clearly portrayed in the book of Revelation. "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:15-17). No one escapes the all-seeing eye of God.

How different it will be for the redeemed, the saved. The coming of Jesus means deliverance, reward, victory, and rest. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:4-5).

Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come.

From Messenger Vol. 114, No. 26, December 21, 2016