I read and think and research a lot about prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled (i.e. the return of our Savior and the final judgment of this world). I love to imagine what heaven will be like, and before that, what it will be like to have a glorified body like Jesus and serve God on earth during the Millennium, when Christ Himself will sit on the throne in Jerusalem. And if you know me at all, you know that it is on my mind a lot these days, when the circumstances and current events seem to have us on the fast-track toward fulfilling what God has told us is coming.
Should we be thinking about these things? Is this a good and profitable use of our time? Or, as many godly Christ-followers would say, we can’t “know the day or hour” so we shouldn’t dwell on it, but just focus on living this life and leave the future to God?
Paul’s words in Colossians reassures me that we should absolutely be thinking about heaven and we ought also to be talking about it a lot.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:2-6)
If we have indeed been crucified with Christ, buried with Him and raised to new life, then we are connected to the Head, Christ. Just as your physical head, your mind, directs the actions and intentions that your physical body carries out, so the spiritual Head of the body of Christ (the church) directs the actions and intentions that we carry out in the name of Jesus. We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We are indwelled by the Spirit of God, and our minds are set on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5).
Our minds should be on what His mind is on.
Our thoughts should be on what He is thinking.
Whenever God is doing something monumental in the affairs of men and is actively moving forward in establishing and expanding His kingdom, He gives signs. The Exodus came with signs (Acts 7:36); remember the plagues? God empowered the Old Testament prophets to perform signs; remember Elijah? Elisha? God prophesied many signs pointing to the Messiah who would come. When Jesus did come, He performed many miracles, and chastised the Pharisees for being unable to “discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3). When the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers and establish the Church, many signs were performed (read the whole book of Acts!).
What about today? Are there still signs? Jesus gave specific signs of His return throughout the New Testament which can be studied in conjunction with Old Testament prophecies and the book of Revelation. We dismiss Revelation as “too hard to understand,” yet its very name invites us to discover its truths: it’s a “revealing.”
What is the purpose of signs? Signs are warnings of what is to come, and confirmation of what is happening now. As believers, we ought to be familiar with God’s warning signs of impending judgment and be faithful to proclaim this to those who don’t believe.
Do we long for heaven? Well, if we belong to Christ, we ought to. There should be a supernatural, unexplainable feeling that we are not home yet. We should have a desire to be complete. If we are truly connected to the Head, we ought to be reading the signs of the times and be concerned about what Jesus is concerned about: that time is running out, that He is at the door.
Isn’t it interesting that God commands us to keep seeking the things above? That He tells us to set our minds on those things? He knows we are easily distracted, and that our old flesh is still drawn to the things of this world. Let’s not waste what time we have left, whether it’s a few days, or fifty years.
Paul urges us to make the most of every opportunity. Well, folks, we have an opportunity. The world is in chaos and things are changing faster than we can keep up with. A virus we can’t see has paralyzed most of the world in fear. Governments are seizing the opportunity to make inroads toward controlling populations and removing personal freedoms. The technology is in place to do every single thing that is prophesied to happen as the world unites under one rule. We’ve already seen that people are quite willing to surrender every right if they are promised safety. These events aren’t random or coincidental. God has opened up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ.
These are the signs of the times. A great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now is coming (Matthew 24:21). God is again doing something monumental in the affairs of men, and we have a responsibility and an urgency to talk about it. We cannot be silent because people will think we are too fanatical or just simple-minded people who believe in conspiracy theories.
If you know Jesus, then talk about Him. We have a reason for the hope that is in us, for the peace that overcomes fear. Let’s not keep it to ourselves.
If you don’t know Jesus, then I urge you to consider the signs of what is happening in the world today. What will you do when you realize the Bible is true, and God did indeed tell you what was coming? Heaven is real, and the door is still open, a door that Jesus died to open because of His great love for you. The invitation is still valid, but there’s an expiration on the RSVP.