Today we begin to look at the topic of the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus spoke much about the things that lead up to His glorious return. He spoke of a division in families, and a fire that will take place:
49"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law" (Luke 12:49-53).
The division among families, I believe, speaks of a time when the family unit will be divided about the Lord Jesus, perhaps stirred up by what to do about sustaining the family’s health in the days before the coming of Christ, or maybe our Christian world view about what is happening in our world today or maybe even politics. Families will be separated as to the taking of the Mark of the Beast. Some will go along with the rulership of the world by the Antichrist; some will not (Revelation 13:16-17).
As to Jesus bringing fire on the earth (v. 49), some say that Christ is talking about the Holy Spirit, who came on the Day of Pentecost as tongues of fire resting on the heads of believers (Acts 2:3). I don't think that is the most plausible interpretation. This writer believes that the longing of our Lord Jesus is for the time of this fire and judgment on the evil of this world be over and done with, and for the fullness of God’s kingdom to come.
Many people have the perception that Jesus is meek, mild, loving, kind, and compassionate to all, and that He would not hurt a fly, but the truth of Scripture says that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Most of the time, when people think of Jesus, their first thought is of Him being born in a stable or, maybe, of His death on a cross for the sins of the world. Somehow, we do not have a perception of a Christ with a whip, overturning tables and being angry against sin and injustice. The thought of an angry Jesus does not compute in our minds.
The time will come when He will come for His people and, at the same time, bring the fire of His judgment and justice to Earth. Peter the Apostle writes about this time when he speaks about what will happen on the Day of the Lord:
The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10 KJV).
Jesus is longing for His bride, which is why He is desirous that the fire would be kindled already. The wrongs will be set right. Sin and injustice will be put up with no longer! The vindication that many have longed for will come.
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God'" (Zechariah 13:9).
Finally, we will be home with the Lord. “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (Psalm 34:5). I long for that day, and I hope you are too. Keith Thomas.