JESUS CHRIST is COMING SOON: ARE you READY?
December 30 Bible Reading: Revelation Chapters 16-18
"Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." (Rev. 16:15)
In the above verse, Jesus Christ Himself evidently gives a parenthetic invitation and a warning to all the believers living on the earth. He will come back again to this earth like a thief who comes suddenly and unexpectedly. While writing to the church in Thessalonica, Apostle Paul has referred to this event as follows: "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2).
Actually, during His earthly sojourn, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had warned His disciples to be vigilant because of the unexpected timing of His return: "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:42-44; Luke 12:39-40).
Now, as Apostle John is describing this unparalleled conflict between good and evil, Jesus Christ speaks a parenthetical message for all believers. The gathering of the world kings with the beast against the Lamb is the signal for Christ's coming; therefore Christ Himself gives the charge again to be watching out for His coming and be clothed in the garments of justification and sanctification, so as to be accepted by Him. While justification is a one-time event that has occurred due to Christ taking our punishment upon Himself; sanctification is an on-going process in the lives of the believers as they are cleansed by confessing their sins and washing it away through the shed blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9).
Due to the intensification of demon activity, as stated in the previous verses (Rev. 16:13–14), Jesus Christ warns all the believers who are alive during the Tribulation period against defiling themselves from the widespread corruption and idolatrous worship that will be prevalent all over the world. Christ also exhorts all the believers to watch and be on alert for His return, and to remain true to their faith during this time of intense persecution. To have garments, rather than be naked, relates to spiritual preparedness! For those believers, who will be spiritually prepared to receive Christ, would be among the ‘blessed’ people. This is the third of seven beatitudes that are mentioned in the book of Revelation (see also 1:3; 14:13; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14).
Even though the announcement from Christ about His return comes somewhat unexpectedly in this description of the looming battle, it is not inappropriate, since such a conflict will be in progress when Christ returns. The Bible theologian Alford writes specifically about this event: “This great gathering of the beast and of the kings of the earth against God and the Lamb is the signal for the immediate and glorious appearing of the Lord. And therefore follows in the next verse an exhortation to be ready and clad in garments of righteousness when He comes.”
Let us remember that the Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly and without any prior warning. As the redeemed followers of Christ, we should be watchful, spiritually prepared and ready to receive our Lord and Savior when He returns. Let us keep ourselves clothed with garments of righteousness and take heed of God’s counsel: "I counsel you to buy from Me…white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…." (Rev. 3:18).
We must also abide in Him so that we will be confident to meet Him when He returns: "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28).