So much of what we call hope is temporary. It is fleeting. At most, it lasts in this life only. Paul said (1 Cor. 15:19) that if Christ brings a temporary hope only, we are the most miserable of men on the planet. I would agree. Most people don’t wear parachutes because they are comfortable (in fact they are quite uncomfortable), they wear them for security. So many Christians today have ditched their parachute because it didn’t bring them happiness on the flight of life. God is not near as interested in pacifying or pleasing us with ‘the abundant life’ as He is protecting and preparing us for ‘eternal life.’ Here’s what to expect in the last days: Joel 3:16; Malachi 3:16; Revelation 3:16.
The Day of the Lord – Joel 3:16
Expect the judgment of God. The Scriptures are clear that the last days will be times of trouble. The entire book of Joel speaks of the Day of the Lord: an immediate judgment (ch1), an imminent judgment (ch2), and an ultimate judgment (ch3). One day, Christ himself will stand upon the Mt. of Olives and, from the city of Jerusalem, declare his verdict on all the nations (Armageddon). He will roar with victory against all who follow Antichrist. Terrible plagues will strike men, stinging demonic beasts will torment humanity, nature will be overturned – but this will be the worst judgment yet. Final judgment. But God’s people are give a great hope in the midst of this: “but the LORD will be the hope of his people…” God promises a safe harbor, a refuge, a shelter from the storms of His wrath. We don’t need to fear. We don’t have to be afraid (2 Timothy 1:7). He has always preserved a remnant as His own (i.e. – Noah’s ark).
The Deliverance of the Lord – Malachi 3:16
Expect God to bring salvation. Much of the Christian’s hope hinges on God’s love for His people. He calls us His ‘jewels‘ (v17) and His ‘treasure‘ (Ex. 19:5; Mt. 13:44). God has not forgotten us and we need not lose hope in this fact: He will come again to get us and take us with him (John 14:3). We should look for the ‘blessed hope’ of the rapture (Titus 2:13-14). There are great promises and rewards to those who look for (love) his appearing (Malachi 4:2; 2 Timothy 4:8).
The Scriptures give a snapshot of how Christians should live in the last days (according to Mal. 3:16)…
1. We should fear (reverence) Him – Christ should be our adoration.
2. We should talk about Him – Christ should be our communication.
3. We should think about Him – Christ should be our meditation.
The Disgust of the Lord – Revelation 3:16
Expect God to put His foot down. One day, He will be able to tolerate no more of the indifference, apathy, and lukewarmness that makes Him so sick! He wishes we were hot or cold. Hot refers to a fervent, holy zeal. Cold is worldly, unrighteous, and miserable. Lukewarm speaks of a halfhearted, moderate, distant love. Lukewarm temperatures suit human nature, yet this soul is reaction-less, numb, unconvinced. It is not excited nor antagonistic. It is not worldly, yet it is not radical either. It gives but not sacrificially. It yields but not entirely. It loves but selfishly. It cares but only for itself. And this will push Christ to His limit – until He gets sick to the point of vomiting. This kind of middle-of-the-road Christianity is repulsive and disgusting to Christ. He calls us to live a radically holy and surrendered life. The life of a disciple is a cross-carrying, misunderstood, self-denial kind of life.
Hope produces heat! I John 3:2-3 makes it clear that when the hope of Christ’s return truly grips a person, it changes that person. When it is real to you, it will purify you. You won’t want to meet Jesus as you are – you will want to be holy, you will want others to join you, you will be different. Literally, this last-days hope will create spiritual heat in our lukewarm souls.
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake : but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Joel 3:16
Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened , and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. Mal. 3:16