Wouldn’t it nice if we had an advanced warning system for the return of Christ? But we don’t, regardless of what the Left Behind films, the associated hoopla and the erroneous theology that surrounds them have to say about the matter. This whole Rapture business with the Tribulation and Christ’s multiple returns is a relatively modern invention from the mid-19th century, which took off with the publication of the “Schofield Bible” in the early 1900s. This might be as shock to some but we Lutherans, along with the majority of the Christian Church, have never held with what is called “Pre-millennial Dispensation” – a big word for “Jesus is coming back so you better be ready, and if not you get a second chance cause He’ll be back again.”
What we know is this: Jesus will return and we have no idea when that will be. Says who?…well, Jesus, that’s who. Read Matthew 24:36-44. Jesus clearly states that not even He will know. Only the Father knows. This is why we need to be ready at all times.
We are called to be like the wise bridesmaids who awaited with readiness the return of the bridegroom. It is easy to think that Christ’s return will be at some future date or there will be enough warning so we can run out and get the “oil of righteousness” or do everything at the last minute. Sadly this will not be so. This is why it is incumbent upon us to live in accordance with the will of God, follow His commandments, pray, incorporate His word in our lives and above all trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. It is not something we can buy or earn and certainly not something we can buy or earn once the bridegroom has returned.
Gracious and mighty God, we ask you to give us the wisdom of the wise bridesmaids so that we might seek your face while there is still time and not be like the foolish bridesmaids shunning your will and your way. Increase our faith in the only one who can save: Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN.