Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Seventh Article of the Creed.

And He shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

In the seventh article of the Creed it is stated that Jesus Christ will come to earth again to judge all people, living and dead, who will all rise at that time, and that after the terrible Last Judgment the Kingdom of Christ will begin, of which there will be no end.

The second coming of the Saviour is clearly discussed in Holy Scripture. For example, when Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, angels appeared and said to the Apostles, "This Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, will come again to earth in the same form, in the body of a man, as you saw Him going up to Heaven."

The second coming of Christ will not be at all like the first. The first time He came in the humble form of a man to suffer for us and by this to save us from sin. He was born in a stable for cattle, lived, not having a place to lay His head, and died between criminals on the cross. In the second coming He will appear suddenly as a King, with majesty. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matt.24:27). The second coming of Christ the Saviour will be extraordinary: The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man, (a cross) in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt. 24:29-30), ...and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations (Matt. 25:31-46), and He will judge all people, all of us, the righteous and the sinful.

This judgment is called terrible, because the conscience of every man will be revealed before all. Not only the good and evil deeds will be disclosed, but also the manner in which each man conducted his earthly life; every spoken word, secret wish, and thought will be laid bare.

According to this judgment, the righteous will enter into eternal life, and the sinners into eternal torment — for doing evil deeds and failing to repent of them, or to make amends through good deeds and a righteous life.

For the hour is coming, says the Lord Himself, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29).

The exact hour of the second coming of the Lord to earth is known to no man. It is a secret which, by the word of the Lord Himself, no one knows, not even the angels of God, only the Heavenly Father alone. Therefore, we must always be ready to appear before the judgment of God.

Although the exact time is not known to us, God’s word reveals several signs of the approach of the coming of the Lord. Before this time the Gospels will be preached to all people. The Jews will return in great numbers to Christ.

At the same time there will be more corruption, lack of faith, less love toward one’s neighbor, and increased wickedness and calamity among people. False prophets will appear. Discord and war will grow stronger among the people; famine and starvation, epidemics and earthquakes will occur in various places. Finally, when evil reaches its highest manifestation on earth, Antichrist will appear.

Antichrist, the antagonist of Christ, will appear before the end of the world, and will seek to exterminate Christian faith on the earth with all his power. But with the coming of Christ, the dominion of the Antichrist will end in terrible ruin, as will he, since he is a disciple of the Devil himself.

After all these things have come to pass the eternal Kingdom of Christ will begin.
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