Any time we talk of something being second, we imply there’s a first. So before we talk about Jesus’ Second Advent, let’s talk about His First Advent. His First Advent was His birth, widely known and celebrated as Christmas.
Both First and Second Advents were prophesied (see Genesis 3:15, Luke 1:26-33, Luke 2:25-32, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:14). The first was fulfilled years ago when Jesus was born; the second is yet to be, but will surely happen, because God said so, and He is faithful; nothing He’s ever said has failed! When Jesus was born, an angel announced the birth to shepherds who were watching their flocks. The angel said to them, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (Luke 2:10-11). Later, wise men from the East came inquiring about the whereabouts of Jesus, because they had seen His star as it rose and had come to worship Him (see Matthew 2:1-2).
Since the celebration of Christmas began, December 25 has been the date to celebrate. We’re all aware of the fanfare that accompanies it: parties, gift-exchanges, card-exchanges, and family get-togethers. All kinds of programs, performances, and movies are put out for public entertainment during the season. Some people take weeks to months to prepare for Christmas, doing things like shopping for gifts and buying and sending out greeting cards and invitation cards to events. The reason we’re able to prepare so well for Christmas is that we know exactly when Christmas is going to be, no matter where we are in the world—December 25 is the day!
How about the Second Advent? Like the first, it was prophesied, but unlike the first, there isn’t an exact date to look forward to or prepare for; it could be any day now! When Jesus’ disciples specifically asked when His return would be, all He gave them were signs to watch out for, but not a specific date (see Matthew 24:1-36, especially 36). In fact, the Bible compares the suddenness of His appearing to the flood in Noah’s time. It says, “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them away” (Matthew 24:37-39 NLT). Our preparation for the Second Advent will not be anything like our preparation for Christmas.
Currently, different people prepare differently for Christmas, but there is only one way for anyone to prepare for Jesus’ Second Advent—one has to be born again (see John 3:3).
What does it mean to be born again? Jesus explained that truth to Nicodemus, a puzzled Jewish religious leader who could not figure out how being born again would be possible after a person is out of the mother’s womb. Jesus explained, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit…everyone who believes in him (Jesus) will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:5-16 NLT).
As you read this article, if you’ve never believed in Jesus, please stop now and do that. Consider this as your invitation to have a personal relationship with God by believing in Jesus. Jesus says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20 NLT). If you don’t, you’ll only have yourself to blame for not gaining access into heaven. But why should you go to hell when you don’t have to?
Depending on how people plan to celebrate, preparing for Christmas can be very costly—by way of money, time, and physical and emotional energy. But preparing for the Second Advent will cost absolutely nothing. Instead, you gain peace of mind from the assurance that God has forgiven your sin and will never hold you accountable for it, because Jesus paid for it by dying on the cross. The Bible makes this assurance very clear, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1-2 NLT). Also, the Bible says, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God (Jesus), so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 NLT). This clearly means those who don’t believe in Jesus don’t have eternal life.
Where do you stand: do you or do you not have eternal life?
If you would like to go to heaven after this life, prepare now! Jesus is coming back soon, and once He shows up, it will be too late to express faith in Him. Physical death before the Second Advent without being born again places you in the same category as those alive without being born again when He appears. Jesus’ Second Advent won’t be for salvation; it’s going to be for judgment. Those who have ignored Him will wish for death, or anything else that could hide them from God’s anger, but will not find it (see Revelations 6:15-17). Prepare now so you can escape judgment and condemnation. This could be your last chance!