What Will It Be Like When Jesus Comes Again?
2 Peter, Day 13
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness.
- 2 Peter 3:10-11, ESV
When I was growing up, I loved taking family road trips, just like my own kids love taking them now. I remember eagerly wanting to know three things: where we were going, how long it would take to get there, and what it would be like once we got there.
All creation is headed for a destination on our journey through time and space. This destination is the Day of the Lord, the ushering in of the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth. This new creation was inaugurated by the resurrection of Jesus, the firstborn from the dead, the first-fruits of the new creation. The full arrival of the new creation - our ultimate destination - will come when Jesus comes again.
We have learned that Jesus is coming again and that He is waiting to return until the full number of His elect exiles are redeemed into His kingdom. But what will it be like when Jesus returns?
First of all, His coming will be completely unexpected: "the day of the Lord will come like a thief." Many people over the years have made bold and confident and completely incorrect predictions about when Jesus would come again. When He comes, He will take the whole world by surprise.
The day of the Lord will also bring destruction and exposure. This present world is passing away. Like our mortal bodies, which perish and die, so this present world is a mortal world, which will perish and die. This should teach us not to put our hopes in the temporary, passing pleasures of this world.
The day of the Lord will expose the true spiritual character of everyone and everything. The enemies of God will have their evil natures exposed. The redeemed children of God will have their glorious new natures in Christ revealed, too. All of our works will be tested by fire and burned up, the worldly and rebellious destroyed and the God-honoring refined and made to shine.
A chunk of gold or silver dug up from the earth may not look much different from an ordinary rock, but the trial by fire makes the one more glorious and destroys the other. That's exactly what Peter teaches us to expect when Jesus returns. Shouldn't this motivate us to seek to have more gold and less garbage in our lives?