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Next Year in Jerusalem

            For hundreds of years, the expressed wish of all Jews at the end of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) and Passover activities was “Next year in Jerusalem”.  This embodied the desire of Jews of the diaspora (Jews scattered throughout the world) that the coming year just might be the one in which the Davidic kingdom might be reestablished and that all Jews would have the opportunity to return to Palestine to observe their high holy days before the Lord.  While some of the world’s Jews have returned to live in Jerusalem, this wish espouses the false hope of a return to God’s favor lost by their rejection of his son, Jesus Christ.

            In the next few days, if the Lord allows the world to stand, we will begin a new year.  I have no way of knowing, but 2015 could be the year that the Lord returns to bring His people home.  I would like us to keep in our thoughts this idea that next year we could be in heaven.  In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 it says,

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Again, while I have no way of knowing if 2015 could be the year the Lord returns, some people should ponder the idea that next year they could be in hell.  In 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9 it speaks of that day, saying,

the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

While 2015 may not be the year of the Lord’s return, we do know we have never been closer to His coming, and we will never be this far away again.  Let us, as Christians, look forward to the possibility of next year being in heaven.  However, if you do not know the Lord or have not obeyed the gospel, it would be good for you to consider the terrible possibility of next year being in hell.  It is so easy for us to consider the Lord’s return as something so distant, it rarely enters our minds.  But let us determine as Christians to contemplate this event with greater joy and immediacy than ever before.  And if you are outside of Christ, please realize the sense of urgency necessary to correct your condition.