When Evening Comes

Bible Book: Zechariah  14 : 17
Subject: Christ, Return of; Second Coming of Christ; Eternity
Introduction

Zechariah contains more prophecy concerning Christ than any other Old Testament book of the Bible. There are at least 10 prophecies regarding Christ in this one Book of the Bible. Today we are going to concern ourselves with one of those prophecies. We shall consider the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, scientist set back the hands of the so-called Doomsday Clock from near midnight to about 11:45 P.M. Prior to this event, the clock had been set at almost midnight, the hour used by scientist to describe a catastrophe on the earth which will doom the human family to annihilation. The scientist move the clock upward or backward based upon their estimate of the danger created by events on the earth at any given moment in time. Following the 9-11 attack by terrorists, the Doomsday Clock was moved closer to midnight again. Some are now saying that the last human being who will be alive on earth has already been born.

No one knows the hour when the human family will face the greatest event in history - not nuclear annihilation or a terrorist nightmare, but the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has not revealed the hour of His coming, nor the day that it will occur, but He has warned us in His Word to be ready for that momentous day. The sun is going down on this old world. Soon evening will come and darkness will fall upon the world system which Satan has spawned and led. When evening comes to the sinful world, it will signal the dawn for the children of God. When evening comes to Satan, sin and society, the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings for those who belong to Him. Zechariah states that there will be light when evening comes. I want you to see seven certainties concerning the Savior's Sovereign return to this earth.

I. He Shall Come Forcefully 14: 3

First, it is important to note that Jesus will return forcefully. When we see Jesus in the manger of Bethlehem, we see Him meek and mild. When we see Him in the hands of Roman authorities, we see Him yielding to them. When we view Him upon the cross of Calvary, we see Him with a crown of thorns. When Jesus came the first time, He came as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. He came meek and mild.

But one day Jesus is coming again to this earth. The next time He comes He will come with authority and power to bring Satan and his system down to defeat. He will come one day on a stallion of victory. We are told that we will come with Him, but not to fight. Everywhere in the Scripture we are told that it will be Jesus who will fight and win the victory in the Battle of Armageddon! He will come forcefully! It will be evening time for this old world system, but it will be the dawn for God's children.

Most people in the world today do not believe this prophecy. To them, this is something of a wish or myth. Listen, Jesus came the first time just as the scripture prophesied that He would come. He fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies in an exact nature. The religious people of in the day of His first coming were either so ignorant, misled or unbelieving that they did not recognize Him when He arrived. They rejected Him. But, you can be sure that the next time He comes, the world will know who He is.

It is important for people to realize that God loves them. He gives us prophecy so that we can be prepared. You can be ready when He comes by embracing Him now. He opens His arms to you. Simply repent of your sin and trust Him as Lord. When you do that, He comes into your life as Savior and He will never leave you. Be assured that He is coming and His coming will be so forceful that no army, no leader and no force will be able to delay or stop His arrival.

II. He Shall Come Suddenly 14:4a

It will happen in a day. The Lord will come as a thief in the night - without warning! He will come in a moment, in twinkling of an eye! He will come suddenly. The only warning we get is the one given in scripture - and this warning is given over and over in the Bible - in both the New and Old Testaments.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 we read, "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness."

A school official came to visit a country school. He told the children he would be back to visit again and that when he came he would give the child with the neatest desk a prize. The girls began to ask Mary, who was notorious for keeping a cluttered desk what she was going to do. She remarked that she would clean her desk every Friday. They asked her what would happen if the man came in the middle of the week. Mary said that she would clean her desk at the end of every day. The girls asked her what would happen if the school official came in the middle of the school day. Mary thought for a moment and said, "I know what I'll do, I'll just keep my desk clean all the time!" That is what we all must do. Be ready for His return, for our Lord is coming at an hour that we know not!

There will be no time to turn to Him once He appears. He appeals to you now to accept His love - accept the sacrifice He made for you at Calvary. You see, the first time He came, He came to wear a crown of thorns; however, when He comes again He will wear the crown of victory - the diadem of glory!

III. He Shall Come Personally 14:4b

Acts 1:11 states, "'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’ “Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, which reads, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."

None of us alive today have seen Jesus personally. Many of us have felt the Father's call for us to embrace Him, and we responded to that call to salvation. From that moment on, Jesus has been real to everyone of us who has been born again. But, we have never seen Him face to face. When He comes in the clouds to receive us, we will behold Him! What a day that shall be.

From some His appearance will be terrifying. That does need to be so. Whosoever will may come to Him. He will save to the uttermost those who call upon His name and repent of their sins. He is a loving Savior. However, it will be too late to turn to Him when He appears. Trust Him today and you will be among those who rejoice at His return.

This is a great mystery to unbelievers, the mystery of the personal nature of Jesus in the lives of those who know Him as Savior. He is real to me. But, I look forward to that day when I shall see Him face to face. No, I'm not worthy of that meeting, but His sacrifice at the cross and my acceptance of His call to salvation gives me peace now and a sense of the peace I will have when He comes.

Do you feel that peace. If Jesus appeared the clouds today, would be rejoicing or crouching in fear? You see, the difference in your attitude depends on whether you are ready for His appearing. Those who have accepted Him, do not fear His return.

IV. He Shall Come Gloriously 14:5b-7

Jude 14, "Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones.’” In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 we read, "and give relief to you who are troubled," and to us as well.

As I stated earlier in this message, Jesus will not appear at His second coming as He did in His first coming to this earth. He will come with great glory. He will shine like the sun at noonday. His appearance will bring great relief to all who trust Him, especially because the world will become ever more evil prior to His return.

I want to say a word to those who have never trusted in Christ. It does not appear to be a glorious thing to accept Christ - at least not to this world. The world makes fun of us and mocks us. To accept Christ is to take up a cross and follow Him. Be assured that knowing Jesus is glorious, and it will be even more glorious when He returns to take you home to be with Him.

The world does not embrace Jesus. He told us that in this world we who are believers will have tribulation. It is no surprise to the Christian that the world system laughs at us and at times turn its wrath upon us. The New Testament teaches us that the suffering believers experience in this world is not to be compared to the glory we will share when we are at home with Him.

V. He Shall Come Royally 14:9

Revelation 11:15,"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.' "Philippians 2:9-11, "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. "Revelation 22:5, "There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is praise as majesty by all of us who know Him. What a royal and exciting day that will be when we see Him crowned with many crowns!

VI. He Shall Come Eternally 14:11

"One little hour of watching for the Master,

Eternal years to walk with Him in white;

One little hour to bravely meet life's duties,

Eternal years to reign with Him in light.

One little hour for weary toils and trails,

Eternal years for calm and peaceful rest;

One little hour for patient self-denials;

Eternal years of life where life is best."

The world as we know it is coming to an end, but His kingdom will know no end. He will reign forever and ever and all those who trust Him will reign with him.

It is interesting to hear of all the predictions concerning man on earth. Some today predict that we will so heat the earth with our carbon emissions that we will all die out and no humans will be left on earth. Others predict that a great meteorite will strike the earth and that will destroy life on earth. Still others say that we will wipe out our kind with nuclear weapons. Listen, my friends, God is in control on this planet and everything that exists. He has the final say and He has already said it! He is coming to reign eternally and those who know Him will reign with Him.

VII. He Shall Come Joyously 14:20-21

Revelation 19:6, "Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: 'Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.’ “Everett L. Fullam, the writer, tells of his father's death using an illustration from the death of an eagle. Fullam points out that when an eagle dies, he flies up to a rock, fastens his talons upon, looks straight into the sun, and dies. Fullam said that his father looked beyond the sun when he died. His father was in a coma, from which he wakened while the family was gathered around his bed. He spoke appreciatively to each family member at his bedside. They stood with tears streaming down their faces. Then Everett reports that his father told them that if they could only hear what he had been hearing, if they could only see what he had been seeing, they would not want him to recover. Then, gathering up his last once of strength, he exclaimed, "Rejoice with me, This is my crowning day." With that he died. What joy, what jubilation there is for the child of God who goes out to meet God in eternity!

Conclusion

In National Geographic magazine there was a fascinating article entitled, "A Pacific Island Awaits Its Messiah." The messiah referred to is not the Lord Jesus, but a legendary figure called John Frum. The author points out that the islanders think this person will be either a "beneficent spirit," a "god come to earth," or "king of America." The third description has its origin in the fact that U.S. troops occupied the area during World War II, and their presence was accompanied by many material benefits. The people therefore concluded that John Frum had finally arrived. Although they later experienced keen disappointment when the soldiers left, their hopes did not die. To this day they frequently march with bamboo "rifles" slung over their shoulders and the letters USA painted on their bodies. They are still looking for the messiah that they think will usher in "a prosperous, work-free millennium" of unlimited earthly goods.

We are not looking for a false Messiah but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is coming and His Kingdom will know no end! His name is not John Frum - His name is Jesus Christ!

Are you ready should He come today? You can be! Turn to Him, trust Him and He will give you eternal life. If you are already a Christian, decide to keep "your desk clean" everyday - for we do not know at what hour He may come!

An unknown poet has written:

"What would He find, should He come just now;

A faded leaf or a fruitless bough;

A servant sleeping, an idle plow;

What would He find should He come just now?

What would He find should He come tonight,

Your garment soiled or a spotless white;

Your lamps all burning or with no light;

What would He find should He come tonight?"