Webster defines ‘absolute’ as something that is unquestionable and unmitigated. While ‘absolute’ is not a Biblical term, ‘immutable’ is, which means ‘not capable or susceptible to change.’ Therefore, absolute and immutable can be used interchangeably.
Perhaps the greatest absolute in the Bible relative to the future is the return of Christ. The time of Christ’s return is called ‘the day of the Lord’ where He is referred to as the ‘Son of Man.’
The Bible has much to say about that wonderful event.
“For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be…Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth…will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:27, 30
Jesus was describing His return to His disciples approximately 570 years after Daniel recorded his vision of the same event.
“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!…Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom…His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away.” Daniel 7:13-14
To explain the Scriptures and illustrate the point of Christ’s return, the Son of Man will also be referred to as the Master, and/or Bridegroom/Husband.
Christ’s return will occur when the world least expects it. The time between Jesus’ ascension and His return will be illustrated by the Master/Bridegroom/Husband being on a long trip with His return time being unknown.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32
Inasmuch as the timing of Christ’s return is unknown but imminent, the Bride, i.e. the Church must be prepared from this time forward.
The Bible presents several exhortations to watch and be prepared for Christ’s return.
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country who left his house and gave authority to his servants…and commanded (them) to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming…lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13:33-37
‘Watch’ is an extremely important word in the Scriptures. Several synonyms include ‘vigilance,’ ‘ready,’ ‘sober,’ ‘prepared,’ and ‘alert.’
Jesus presented several parables alerting His disciples of the significance of being prepared for His return.
For example, He said that if the master of his house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
“Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:44
In another example Jesus spoke of a cruel servant who treated his fellow servants despicably thinking his master’s return would be delayed.
“…the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:50-51
And recall the parable of the ten virgins. The virgins represented bridesmaids awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom. Five were prepared should the Bridegroom’s arrival be delayed beyond their expectation. The other five were not prepared.
Again, the consequences of not being prepared for the Bridegroom’s arrival were catastrophic. When the five unprepared virgins attempted to join the wedding later, they were told:
“Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Matthew 25:11b-13
· Christ’s return is an absolute
· the timing is unknown
· the bride must be ready
· the consequences of not being prepared are devastating
Much more will follow next week including Solomon’s example of a husband’s journey and unknown return time.