"Then Look Up, and Lift Up Your Heads; For Your Redemption Draweth Nigh"

This Special Issue focuses on the Lord's words as recorded by Luke in chapter 21:24-36. In Luke's account of the Olivet prophecy, we find many of the signs of the Lord's second coming leading up to the fulfillment of our hope. Our Lord urged his latter day servants, at such time as they saw "these things (of which he had told them) begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh (verse 28). In this issue, we will examine reasons for concluding that this is that time - this is the day of salvation. Every passing day is filled with events that fortify our hope that our Lord is near, even at the door.

In spite of all this evidence, there is also increasing potential for distraction from the reality of our redemption drawing nigh. Has the Lord delayed his coming? Fifteen years have come and gone since the approach of the turn of the century that many had expected as the end of the 6000 year period of labor and the beginning of the 1000 year millennial "rest for the people of God." Actually, based upon Israel's appearance among the nations in May 1948, sincere brethren have looked to even earlier dates in the late 20th century in anticipation of our Lord's return. Were it not for the wondrous signs that we have now been blessed to witness, reaching the year 2011 might well be perceived by some as a delay in the Lord's return.

In the epistle to the Hebrews, the writer exhorts us: Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:35-39). In encouraging us not to draw back from our faith, the writer cities Habakkuk 2:3-4 in which the prophet declared that the vision is yet for an appointed time and though it tarry, wait for it. We are living in that stretch of time when it might be perceived to tarry, but the message is clear: have confidence in its certainty and wait for it, the coming of the Lord.

In addition to what some may consider the "lateness" of this date is the fact that we are now living in "perilous times" and a "time of trouble" both for the world and for our community; we are living in days like the days of Noah and Lot, in a time when the Lord had prophetically enquired: Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8) Peter had also prophesied saying: there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (2 Peter 3:3-4). Truly we all know some who have left the faith, some distracted by worldly pursuits and others still attending Christadelphian meetings but seemingly marking their time while real enthusiasm for service in the vineyard has greatly diminished. There are people who would love to share the hope that we have been given: the harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few (Luke 10:2).

In our theme verses from Luke 21, the Master spoke words of encouragement and words of warning. He warned his servants not to be distracted from seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness: Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.... Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:32-36).

His encouragement was expressed throughout this prophecy. When we are surrounded by Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, we should remember his promise − and then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When the powers of heaven are being shaken he encouraged his servants to lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. When we bear witness to the fig tree and all of the trees having shot forth we know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled (Luke 21:26-32).

It is our hope that all serious Bible students will appreciate the reality that we are the generation witnessing these signs; we are living in that day when we have every reason to take heed to ourselves. Will we be among those faithful and wise servant(s), whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing (Matthew 24: 45-46). Let us examine ourselves, not forgetting what manner of men we are so that we might in spirit and truth lift up our heads. These are the last days, the Master is at the door and This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.

The Christadelphian Advocate Publishing Committee