The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Prophecies (of Love)"
I have had several discussions recently with fellow believers about prophecy and the end times. We live in an era that may be the season wherein our Lord will return for His church before the tribulation and His second coming. This has led me to consider what should be our first response to "the promise of His coming" (II Peter 3:4). The answer is love, the love of Christ presently known by Christians, but which will be known in far greater measure in a wondrous moment to come, and in an infinite measure of such moments forevermore.
"The love of Christ… passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).
Imagine with me. The year is 1830. Henry serves as a diplomat for the United States. He receives a commission to a faraway land where he will remain for six years. His destination exists in a state of turmoil, with the possibility of war breaking out at any time. Because of this, Henry will be required to journey alone to his duty post. His wife Juliette cannot come with him. This breaks Henry's heart. He loves Juliette so dearly. This also breaks Juliette's heart. She loves him the same. We can see in our mind's eye a sad farewell on the day of Henry's departure. Or perhaps we do well to reverently leave the tearful scene of sorrow to those hearts broken by it…
The days, weeks, months, and years pass ever so slowly. Henry and Juliette often correspond. Their letters take months to reach one another, making each all the more precious. Henry closes every missive with the same expression of hope and anticipation: "The day draws ever sooner, Darling." Juliette's tears stain the stationary and blur the benedictions. She keeps all of Henry's letters, reading and rereading them over and over. And waiting, waiting for the day that "draws ever sooner."
Knowing the challenge she faces, Henry's superiors in the government frequently write Juliette to assure her of the timetable for her beloved's return, and to let her know he is well. She finds great encouragement in these kind notes, grateful to have confirmation of Henry's well being and his scheduled return. She frequently rereads the messages when needing assurance.
Finally, the day comes when Henry will return home by ship. Juliette arrives at the landing of the port before dawn. Through the morning, she cranes her neck and fixes her gaze upon the far horizon. Just after noon, she sees the top of a mast. Her heart thrills, and she imagines Henry standing at the rails of the ship on which he journeys to her. She can see him in her mind's - her heart's - eye. She knows that like her own, his neck is craned and his eyes fixed, looking for land, looking for Juliette. Sails follow the mast, and then the outline of the entire ship. Soon, Juliette sees an American flag fluttering in the wind, and then, the ship's banner that identifies her husband's transport. It is Henry's ship. He is aboard. Juliette knows it. Her heart knows it, and almost stops beating. But then it begins to flutter no less than the flag that flies on this blessed vessel that at long last brings her beloved home to her.
We could continue this narrative of two hearts long separated by an ocean, but somehow united all the more by the expectation and realization of a blessed day when, well, let us once against reverently leave those tears and this time, joy, to those who shed them and felt it…
So much can be said, written, and felt about God's wonderful gift of Biblical prophecy. The subject fascinates all who ponder God's foretelling of "things to come." (John 16:13). Promises already fulfilled, and many still awaiting unite with precise numbers of days and also approaching wonders that remain challenging to our understanding. However, every consideration of prophecy actually begins with one thing from which it must never stray:
"We love Him because He first loved us…We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is… so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I John 4:19; 3:2; I Thessalonians 4:13).
In the moment of our Lord's return for His church, whether by rapture of believers upon the earth, or resurrection of those whose bodies will reunite with their spirits, all will be utterly, completely, and immeasurably overwhelmed by the love of God. Moreover, "we shall be like Him," meaning that for the first time, we will be able to love our Lord as we so have long desired. Nothing we have experienced during our earthly lifetimes will compare with that first moment when we will be cherished by a Love that "passeth knowledge," and when we will love God by that same love perfectly dwelling within our hearts. Yes, Biblical prophecy flows with this current of goodness, as does every subject we find on the pages of Scripture. Or, as the old hymn sings, "Love is the theme."
Our hearts were born and born again for the moment and its eternal glories to follow. Someday, perhaps soon, we will look upon the Lord Jesus Christ. And… well, yet again, perhaps we do well to leave the blessed prospect to imagination. God's prophecies, His prophesies of love, promise us wonders to come, when we shall see Him as He is, and when we shall forever be with our Lord.
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."
(II Timothy 4:8)
Weekly Memory Verse
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.