Hope For Planet Earth? Owner Returning Soon *


[*The title of this tract was taken from a poster outside St. Patrick’s Church, Church Street, Coleraine. Northern Ireland.]






"From Maryland to Moscow there have been great sighs of relief that their respective sieges are over.


How can it be that going to school or filling your car with Petrol or going to the theatre or an evening can turn into such a nightmare?  But for young and old alike this is the siege that many thousands living around Washington DC and many hundreds held in a building in Moscow have experienced over recent days.


We don’t know the motives behind the Washington attacks that left school children bus drivers and police officers dead.  But we do know the reason for the Moscow siege was Chechnya.


Many of us couldn't find Chechnya on map if we tried.*  It is just one of those places that we hear of every so often and anytime is in the news it is always bad.  Chechnya is part of Russia demanding independence from the Russian Federation, but if they go, then others will want to go too and that would be the end of the country.  So the government are determined not to grant their demand.


Chechnya has never felt part of Russia and if it despises present government, then it is truly hated by the former Soviet regime. A regime that during the second world war forcibly transported every person out of the country and sent them to Siberia.  Many hundred thousands of people were killed in a period of their history which is still within living memory.


No wonder they want to break free from the Russians.  The Chechens themselves are apparently tough people who are uncompromising in their determination and ruthless in their actions as well.  This was clearly shown in the past when they beheaded some hostages including at least one British person.


Thankfully the sieges are over.  Unfortunately too many people died, for what?  A bit of shooting practise on the part of two mentally deranged men, or some misguided notion that half the Russian army was going to withdraw within hours from a position that it has taken years to establish?


The Russian authorities are now telling us that none of the Chechen rebels survived.  One newspaper called some of them the Black Widows, women who had lost their husbands in the on going conflict and who were determined to seek revenge.


Their deaths are now another statistic of this long running conflict and yet another sore that no doubt will he reopened at a later stage somewhere else with even more pain and death.


I'm sorry if this is all very depressing reading for you and thousands of miles away from your present situation.  But, what we have witnessed from Maryland to Moscow only goes to underline the fact that evil is all around us and the spiral of hatred just goes on and on until something or someone breaks it.


We know only too well what a spiral of distrust hatred and violence can do to a community and a province.  But as a people we should know equally as well, that there is a God who, if we embrace in a personal way, can give us the grace and power to start again, forgive the past and promise a new future.


He is the hope that there is for this world, in which we are afraid to allow our children to grow up in.  He is the hope that many, maybe even you, have been looking for.  He is real hope in a sea of hopelessness."


[* "By the way, Chechnya is found in southern Russia between the Black and Caspian Seas.  However, more importantly, the hope that you are looking for and this world’s needs, is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The psalmist says in 42: 5. 'Put your hope In God.'"]


- The Leader, Tuesday October 29, 2002.




Slowly but surely it appears that the people of God are beginning to realise the fact that earth cannot enjoy lasting peace until the Second Advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  But when will regenerate believers "take to heart what is written ... because the time is near"? (Rev. 1: 3).


It has been said:-


1. "It is one of the drawbacks of to-day, of which no one seems in the least conscious, that the leaders in prophetic study are unaware of the technical points which govern the present situation.  The Parousia, the keystone in the arch of coming events, so-ordinating all; the profound doctrine of miracle, underlying, not alone all past fundamentals, but also immense future developments; the open activities of evil spirits, and how to test the miraculous; the coming Gnosticism which will be the basis of Apostasy; the whole gamut of reward, the merest alphabet of which is not understood, but which largely shapes coming events:- such lost keys as these not only leave the prophetic schools confused and bewildered, but also in some measure bereft of a knowledge of the exact conduct required to meet the situation.  An army caught off its guard at night is lost."


2. "It is a revealing fact that while the leaders of the churches are twittering optimism dashed with interludes of panic, the world is being faced by facts to think and speak in terms Apocalyptic."


3. "That many of the Churches are moving in the outer ring of infidelity they themselves, before long, will put beyond doubt or denial traditional Christianity has already ceased to be the religion of a good many of our churches, and of a still larger number of our ministers.  The Creeds are for the greater part impossible of belief, the centre of gravity, as regards the doctrinal tenets of no small section of the Assembly, has undergone a striking change."


4. "That a fallen world requires something far more radical than the most radical politics, sometimes realised too late, is a fact more commonly never realised at all."


5. "It is pathetic to watch the well-meant endeavours of the world’s statesmen to establish perpetual peace among unregenerate men.  One might as well set up a Millennium of a den of wolves: "I send you forth," the Saviour said to His disciples, "as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matt. 10: 16).


When will Christians see that not all the saved will rule during the Millennium? – Only  him who overcomes and does my will to the end. … He will rule them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery(Rev. 2: 26, 27).


2. That not all will be considered worthy or resurrected at the First Resurrection - only the ‘blessed and holy’: "Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection" (Rev. 20: 6). "Those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection [out] from the dead" (Luke 20: 35).  Can we enter into the presence of God in Heaven before the redemption of our bodies?  The evil spirits, active within the Church today, who are succeeding in the deception of many of the regenerate today would say so.  They teach we will enter heaven - one by one - at the time of our Death!


3. That not all will escape the Great Tribulation - only the careful, the watchful, and the prayerful who ‘endure patiently’: "Be careful ... always on the watch and pray that you [disciples] may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21: 36).  "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (Rev. 3: 10).


4. That not all will wear a crown - only those who hold on to what they have: "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown" (Rev. 3: 11).


5. That not all will inherit the earth - only the righteous, that is, only those who are actively righteous, in addition to being righteous by imputation: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 20). "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of [their] righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 10). "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Saviour" (Psa. 24: 3-5).


6. That not all will qualify and win the prize - only those who run according to the rules to get it: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I [Paul] do not run like a man running aimlessly ; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize" (1 Cor. 9: 24-27).


7. That not all will reign with Christ - only those who suffer with Christ will reign with Him: " ... Co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." "God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering."(Rom. 8: 17b; 2 Thess. 1: 5).




"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed ... Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we are saved" (Rom. 8: 18, 19, 23).


The word "hope" is defined as follows: (1) n. "Confident expectation that something longed for will come; state of mind entertaining such expectation; someone or something that inspires such expectation or upon which success depends; likelihood." (2) v. "to desire and expect that something will come to pass; be hopeful, trust, desire." - Oldhams Concise English Dictionary.


Is ETERNAL LIFE the Christian’s HOPE?  NO.  We already have that life by the grace of God on bare faith alone: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3: 16).  Eternal life is a free gift, and a free gift is free of all conditions, except the outstretched hand of faith to receive it: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6: 23). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast" (Eph. 2: 8, 9).


If we are regenerate, we dare not hope for a free gift which we have at present or we will be found guilty of unbelief and mistrust in God.  On the other hand, we dare not assume we have won the prize until we await the results of the judgment of Christ.


What is the Christian’s HOPE?  It is the ‘confident expectation,’ upon which his/her ‘success depends’: it is something we long for which most certainly will come to pass.  That is, it lies in the future: an event of immense importance to every redeemed soul - the Millennial Kingdom of God.  The Christian’s HOPE is CONDITIONAL - conditioned upon us suffering for righteousness, on our ‘trust’ and our ‘desire’:-


1. "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me" (Matt. 5: 11, 12).


2. "Co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Rom. 8: 17b).


3. "Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples" [i.e., ‘ChristiansActs 11: 26] "and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships [afflictions] to enter the kingdom of God(Acts 14: 22).


4. "We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering."  "You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous, and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory." (2 Thess. 1; 3-5; 1 Thess 2: 10-12).


5. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing [Gk., ‘appearance of the glory.’] of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" (Tit. 2: 11-14).


If only the Holy Spirit would open our eyes to more of these truths, we would instantly realise why there is so much apathy in our churches and assemblies today.  May the Lord quicken His redeemed people by granting us the determination and power to do His will. (John 9: 30, 31, 39, 41).


How contrary are the teachings of the Holy Scriptures to the teachings of today with which we are so accustomed to hearing. How fearful it will be for the false teachers and men-pleasers in the day of judgment: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5: 10).


Let us ‘press on,’ for only the overcomers will win ‘the PRIZE’ and the ‘CROWN. (Phil. 3: 12-14; Rev. 3: 31). "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many [Christians] live as enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil. 3: 18).


We may note that the course of events in the world around us point to these events being closer at hand, and it behoves us to set our house in order while we may, and to be ever watching and waiting for the our Saviour’s second advent which will bring to an end this dispensation.




Christ is coming! Let creation
From her groans and travail cease;
Let the glorious proclamation
Hope restore and faith increase:

Christ is coming!
Come, Thou blessed Prince of Peace.

Earth can now but tell the story
Of Thy bitter cross and pain;
We shall yet behold Thy glory,
   When Thou comest back to reign:

Christ is coming!
Let each heart repeat the strain.

Long Thine exiles have been pining,
   For from rest, and home, and Thee:
But, in heavenly vestures shining,
   They their loving Lord shall see:
Christ is coming!
Haste the joyous jubilee.


With that blessed HOPE before us,
   Let our joyful songs be sung,
Let the mighty advent chorus
   Onward roll from tongue to tongue:

Christ is coming!
Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come!