Today’s topic—Christ’s Return for Judgment—should be pretty straightforward…but it’s not. In the first paragraph we see the simplicity of the Scripture’s teaching on the return of Christ, a teaching that is Good News for the Christian. Then we see the false teachings that were already running rampant during the time of the Reformation: Annihilationism and Millennialism. Enjoy!
Collect of the Week (Proper 15-C)
Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church by the sacrifice of Christ. United with Him in Holy Baptism, give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Article XVII (Christ’s Return for Judgment)
1 Our churches teach that at the end of the world Christ will appear for judgment and will raise all the dead [1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:2]. 2 He will give the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, 3 but He will condemn ungodly people and the devils to be tormented without end [Matthew 25:31–46].
4 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils.
5 Our churches also condemn those who are spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed. (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 40).
This article affirms the biblical view of the end times. It pointedly rejects any speculation or opinion about believers ruling the world before the final resurrection of the dead. It also rejects all theories about a “millennial” earthly rule of Christ as contrary to God’s Word. (See also Ap XVII.)(Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 40).
Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord (LSB, collect #153).
Daily Prayer (For Friday)
We pray…for the preaching of the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and for the spread of His knowledge throughout the whole world; for the persecuted and oppressed; for the sick and dying.