“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
Paul says he knows he’s about to die, and he’s ready for it. In another letter, Paul says he is torn between wanting to go and be with the Lord Y’shuaJesus, and stay here, on Earth, for the sake of those to whom he’s been called to minister. Now, though, Paul knows it is his time to go. He has fought a good fight, finished his assignment, kept the faith. He’s ready to receive a crown of righteousness. And so like Paul, he encourages us when he says: “Not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
There are two ways in which we can depart this world: the first is to die, as Paul is saying in this scripture. The other way is for the Lord to return to Earth—the Great Day of the Lord, as spoken of by Apostles, The Lord Y’shuaJesus Himself, and the Prophets. It seems to me that in this later way, the return of the Lord, we find easiest to long for His appearance. I’m reminded of a verse from a song that goes something like this: Everyone wants to go to Heaven. . . but nobody wants to go now. It seems pretty clear, though, that while we are meant to live a life on Earth for a certain time, we are to love the appearance of the Lord Y’shuaJesus, whether or not we go individually or as when all true-born believers are called to meet the Lord upon His return.
Regarding the Lord’s Return, Charles Spurgeon commented on 2 Peter 3:10-14, which begins, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.”
These passages convey that the predicted events are certain and that they may occur at any moment and are intended to evoke in the reader the ongoing expectation that the event is “about to happen” and thereby provide motivation for godly living (2Pe. 2Pe. 3:10-14):
The Impending Advent is the theme which pervades [the book of Revelation] from its commencement to its close. And just in proportion as he who is awake to the great truth of the Saviour’s speedy coming, and is engaged in waiting and preparing himself accordingly, is a better man, and in a safer condition, and really more happy, than the half-Christian and lukewarm;—in that same proportion is he who reads, hears, and keeps the words of this prophecy blessed beyond all other people.1
What a check, what an incentive, what a bridle, what a spur, such thoughts as these would be to us! Take this for the guide of your whole life. Act as if Jesus would come during the act in which you are engaged; and if you would not wish to be caught in that act by the Coming of the Lord, let it not be your act.—Charles Spurgeon, “Watching for Christ’s Coming” in Sermons on the Second Coming of Christ, 137-138.2
He says it well, doesn’t he.
Lord continue to grant us the strength to fight the good fight here and now, while loving and longing for His appearance, while always knowing that one day we will feast with our Lord Y’shuaJesus. Let us gaze intently toward Heaven for the Lord’s Return.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .