Maranatha


http://www.pre-trib.org/data/pdf/Ice-ImminencyAndTheAny-Mo.pdf

We believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ could come in the clouds at any-moment and take His church to be with Him to His Father’s house (John 14:1-3). What a great hope, that while you are reading this article, our Lord could return and rapture His church. We have come to call this any-moment hope of the rapture an imminent event.

What New Testament passages teach this truth? Those verses stating that Christ could return at any moment, without warning and those instructing believers to wait and look for the Lord’s coming teach the doctrine of imminence. Note the following New Testament passages:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:7 – “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
  • 1 Corinthians 16:22 – “Maranatha.”
  • Philippians 3:20 – “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”
  • Philippians 4:5 – “The Lord is near.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:10 – “to wait for His Son from heaven,”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 – “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:6 – “so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:14 – “that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,”
  • Titus 2:13 – “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;”
  • Hebrews 9:28 – “so Christ . . . shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
  • James 5:7-9 – “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. . . . for the coming of the Lord is at hand. . . . behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”
  • 1 Peter 1:13 – “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
  • Jude 21 – “waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
  • Revelation 3:1122:71220 – “‘I am coming quickly!'”
  • Revelation 22:1720 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.'” …”He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

It is significant that all of the above passages relate to the rapture and speak of the Lord’s coming as something that could occur at any-moment, that it is imminent. This is why believers are waiting for a person – Jesus Christ – not just an event or series of events such as those related to the tribulation leading up to Christ’s second advent in which He returns to the earth and remains for His millennial reign.

The New Testament exhortation to be comforted by the Lord’s coming (John 14:11 Thess. 4:18) would no longer have meaning if believers first had to pass through any part of the tribulation. Instead, comfort would have to await passage through the events of the tribulation. No, the church has been given a “Blessed Hope,” in part, because our Lord’s return is truly imminent.

Maranatha!

The early church had a special greeting for one another, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 16:22, which was “Maranatha!” Maranatha consists of three Aramaic words: “Mar” (“Lord”), “ana” (“our”), and “tha” (“come”), meaning “our Lord, come.” As with other New Testament passages, Maranatha only makes sense if an any-moment or imminent coming is understood. Such an understanding supports the pretribulationism.

No wonder these ancient Christians coined such a unique greeting which reflects an eager expectation of the Blessed Hope as a very real presence in their everyday lives providing a motivation for godly living, evangelism, and world wide evangelism. The life of the church today could only be improved if “Maranatha” were to return as a sincere greeting on the lips of an expectant people. Maranatha!

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. — John 14:27 NET

 

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