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10 The Return Of The King

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THE RETURN OF THE KING

IAN LORING WAS A MISSIONARY TO ALBANIA.

ONE EASTER SUNDAY AS HE WAS PREACHING

ON CHRIST'S EMPTY TOMB,

HE TOLD THE LISTENERS

THAT THE EMPTY GRAVE CLOTHES STILL HELD HIS SHAPE,

BUT THE NAPKIN, WHICH HAD BEEN WRAPPED AROUND HIS HEAD, WAS FOLDED AND PLACED A SHORT DISTANCE AWAY     FROM THE OTHER GRAVE CLOTHES.

THESE ALBANIANS IMMEDIATELY SAW THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS SEEMINGLY MINOR DETAIL.

YOU SEE, IN ALBANIA, WHEN A PERSON HAS FINISHED WITH THEIR MEAL AND THEY'RE PREPARING TO LEAVE THE TABLE,

THEY CRUMPLE UP THEIR NAPKIN TO SHOW THAT THEY'RE FINISHED.

BUT IF THEY'RE PLANNING ON COMING BACK, THEY'LL LEAVE THE NAPKIN FOLDED. 

IT'S A SIGN THAT THEY'LL BE BACK.

THE ALBANIANS SAW THE APPLICATION. 

JESUS IS COMING BACK!

THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT HE'S COMING BACK TO EARTH AGAIN.

HEBREWS 9:28 (NIV) SAYS
28 SO CHRIST WAS SACRIFICED ONCE TO TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF MANY PEOPLE; AND HE WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME, NOT TO BEAR SIN, BUT TO BRING SALVATION TO THOSE WHO ARE WAITING FOR HIM.

 

THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS ARE CLEAR

IN THEIR PROPHECY       ABOUT HIS SECOND COMING.

BUT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

THE PROPHECIES OF CHRIST'S FIRST AND SECOND COMING

ARE SO MINGLED TOGETHER THAT JEWISH SCHOLARS

DIDN'T CLEARLY SEE THEM AS SEPARATE EVENTS.

THIS MAY PARTIALLY EXPLAIN WHY THE JEWS AS A WHOLE REJECTED CHRIST THE FIRST TIME HE CAME.

THEY DIDN'T REALIZE HE WOULD COME THE FIRST TIME TO SUFFER AND THEN THE SECOND TIME TO CONQUER.

EVEN HIS FOLLOWERS EXPECTED HIM TO FULFILL THE GLORIOUS PROMISES RELATING TO HIS SECOND COMING.

IT WAS ONLY AFTER HE ASCENDED TO HEAVEN THAT THEY REALIZED THAT THEY WERE LIVING IN THE TIME PERIOD BETWEEN HIS TWO APPEARANCES.

THE TIME PERIOD BETWEEN HIS TWO COMINGS

IS KIND OF LIKE A PLAIN BETWEEN TWO MOUNTAINS.

JOHN WALVOORD EXPLAINS IT THIS WAY:

SINCE THE FIRST COMING HAS ALREADY HAPPENED,

IT'S HISTORY

AND CAN NOW BE EASILY SEPARATED FROM HIS SECOND COMING.

THE CONTRAST BETWEEN HIS TWO COMINGS ARE DRAMATIC.

IN HIS FIRST COMING

HE WAS WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES

IN HIS SECOND COMING HE WILL BE CLOTHED ROYALLY IN A ROBE DIPPED IN BLOOD.

IN HIS FIRST COMING HE WAS SURROUNDED BY CATTLE AND COMMON PEOPLE.

IN HIS SECOND COMING HE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE MASSIVE ARMIES OF HEAVEN.

IN HIS FIRST COMING THE DOOR OF THE INN WAS CLOSED TO HIM.

IN HIS SECOND COMING THE DOOR OF THE HEAVENS WILL BE OPENED TO HIM.

IN HIS FIRST COMING HIS VOICE WAS THE TINY CRY OF A BABY.

IN HIS SECOND COMING HIS VOICE WILL THUNDER AS THE SOUND OF MANY WATERS.


 

IN HIS FIRST COMING HE WAS THE LAMB  OF GOD WHO CAME BRINGING SALVATION.

IN HIS SECOND COMING HE WILL BE THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH WHO COMES BRINGING JUDGMENT.

THE ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST

ALTHOUGH CHRISTIANS ARE MOST FAMILIAR WITH THE FIRST COMING OF CHRIST.

IT'S THE SECOND COMING THAT GETS THE MOST INK IN THE BIBLE. 

IT GETS MORE INK BY A FACTOR OF ABOUT EIGHT TO ONE.

BIBLE SCHOLARS COUNT 1,845 REFERENCES TO THE SECOND COMING, IN THE BIBLE.

JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF REFERRED TO HIS RETURN 21 TIMES.

EXCEPT FOR THE SUBJECT OF FAITH, THE SECOND COMING IS THE MOST DOMINANT SUBJECT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

THE PROPHETS FORETOLD THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.

 

MANY OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS WROTE ABOUT CHRIST'S SECOND COMING,

BUT IT WAS ZECHARIAH WHO GAVE US THE CLEAREST PICTURE.

ZECHARIAH 14:3-4 (NIV)
3 THEN THE LORD WILL GO OUT AND FIGHT AGAINST THOSE NATIONS, AS HE FIGHTS IN THE DAY OF BATTLE. 4 ON THAT DAY HIS FEET WILL STAND ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, EAST OF JERUSALEM, AND THE MOUNT OF OLIVES WILL BE SPLIT IN TWO FROM EAST TO WEST, FORMING A GREAT VALLEY, WITH HALF OF THE MOUNTAIN MOVING NORTH AND HALF MOVING SOUTH.

DO YOU SEE HOW ZECHARIAH DEALS IN SPECIFICS.

HE EVEN PINPOINTS THE GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION WHERE CHRIST WILL RETURN.

JUST LIKE ARMAGEDDON, THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IS AN ACTUAL IDENTIFIABLE PLACE

THAT EVEN STILL HAS IT'S ORIGINAL NAME TODAY.

UNLIKE VAGUE FORTUNE-TELLERS

AND PROPHETIC CHARLATANS,

THIS PROPHET DARED TO BE EXPLICIT AND SPECIFIC

SO THAT THE TRUTH OF HIS PROPHECY COULD NOT BE MISSED WHEN IT HAPPENS.

JESUS HIMSELF ANNOUNCED HIS SECOND COMING IN

MATTHEW 24:27 (NIV)
27 FOR AS LIGHTNING THAT COMES FROM THE EAST IS VISIBLE EVEN IN THE WEST, SO WILL BE THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN.

29 “IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE DISTRESS OF THOSE DAYS

“ ‘THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED,

AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT;

THE STARS WILL FALL FROM THE SKY,

AND THE HEAVENLY BODIES WILL BE SHAKEN.’ 

30 “AT THAT TIME THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN WILL APPEAR IN THE SKY, AND ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN. THEY WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY, WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY.

 

THE ANGELS ANNOUNCED THAT JESUS WOULD RETURN

RIGHT AFTER JESUS ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, THE TWO ANGELS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES.

ACTS 1:11 (NIV)
11 “MEN OF GALILEE,” THEY SAID, “WHY DO YOU STAND HERE LOOKING INTO THE SKY? THIS SAME JESUS, WHO HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM YOU INTO HEAVEN, WILL COME BACK IN THE SAME WAY YOU HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN.”

THE NEXT VERSE SAYS THAT THEY RETURNED TO JERUSALEM FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.

SO JESUS ASCENDED TO HEAVEN FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES AND ACCORDING TO THE ANGELS HE WILL RETURN TO THAT VERY SAME SPOT.


 

JOHN THE APOSTLE FORETOLD JESUS' SECOND COMING

THE PROPHECIES OF CHRIST'S RETURN ARE LIKE BOOKENDS TO JOHN'S REVELATION.

IN THE FIRST CHAPTER JOHN WROTE.

REVELATION 1:7 (NIV)
7     LOOK, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS,

AND EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM,

EVEN THOSE WHO PIERCED HIM;

AND ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN BECAUSE OF HIM.

AND IN THE LAST PAGES OF THE LAST CHAPTER

ALMOST THE VERY LAST WORDS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.

OUR LORD EMPHATICALLY AFFIRMS HIS SECOND COMING

 

REVELATION 22:20 (NIV)
20 HE WHO TESTIFIES TO THESE THINGS SAYS,

“YES, I AM COMING SOON.”  AMEN. COME, LORD JESUS.

THE ADVENT OF CHRIST

THERE ARE TWO TIMES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION WHERE THE DOOR TO HEAVEN IS OPEN.

THE FIRST TIME THE DOOR OPENS IS TO RECEIVE THE CHURCH INTO HEAVEN. THAT'S WHEN WE'RE RAPTURED.

(REVELATION 4:1)

AND THEN THE DOOR SWINGS OPEN AGAIN IN

(REVELATION 19:11, 14)

THIS TIME CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH WILL BEGIN

THEIR MARCH BACK TO EARTH.

WHEN JESUS TOUCHES DOWN ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, THAT MOUNTAIN WILL SPLIT APART

CREATING A BROAD PASSAGEWAY FROM JERUSALEM ALL THE WAY TO JERICHO.

DR. TIM LAHAYE DISCRIBES JESUS' RETURN THIS WAY.

HE SAYS;

CHRIST'S RETURN WILL SUCK THE AIR OUT OF HUMANITY'S LUNGS AND SEND MEN AND WOMEN

AND KINGS AND PRESIDENTS AND TYRANTS TO THEIR KNEES.

 

THE WORLD WILL SEE AND RECOGNIZE ITS RIGHTFUL KING.

HE CAME THE FIRST TIME IN HUMILITY AND SIMPLICITY.

THIS TIME HIS GLORY AND MAJESTY

WILL BE DISPLAYED FOR ALL TO SEE.

HIS DESIGNATION

IN REVELATION CHAPTER 19, THE LORD IS GIVEN THREE MEANINGFUL TITLES.

REVELATION 19:11-13, 16 (NIV)
11
I SAW HEAVEN STANDING OPEN AND THERE BEFORE ME WAS A WHITE HORSE, WHOSE RIDER IS CALLED FAITHFUL AND TRUE. WITH JUSTICE HE JUDGES AND MAKES WAR. 12 HIS EYES ARE LIKE BLAZING FIRE, AND ON HIS HEAD ARE MANY CROWNS. HE HAS A NAME WRITTEN ON HIM THAT NO ONE KNOWS BUT HE HIMSELF. 13 HE IS DRESSED IN A ROBE DIPPED IN BLOOD, AND HIS NAME IS THE WORD OF GOD.

16 ON HIS ROBE AND ON HIS THIGH HE HAS THIS NAME WRITTEN:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

THREE NAMES

NAMES THAT ARE NOT JUST EMPTY TITLES.

PROPHECY SCHOLAR HARRY IRONSIDE TELLS US;

IN THESE THREE NAMES WE HAVE SET FORTH

FIRST, OUR LORD'S DIGNITY AS THE ETERNAL SON;

SECOND, HIS INCARNATION -- THE WORD BECAME FLESH;

AND LAST, HIS SECOND ADVENT TO REIGN AS

          KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

THE FIRST NAME, THE ONE KNOWN ONLY TO GOD, INDICATES HIS INTIMACY AND ONENESS WITH THE FATHER.

THE SECOND NAME, THE WORD OF GOD, HARKS BACK TO THE FIRST CHAPTER OF JOHN'S GOSPEL AND INDICATES HIS INCARNATION WHEN "THE WORD BECAME FLESH,"

THE THIRD NAME, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS,

IS THE TITLE HE WILL WEAR AT HIS SECOND COMING

WHEN HE WILL RULL OVER THE WHOLE EARTH.

 

 

 

HIS DESCRIPTION

 

THE EYES OF THE RETURNING CHRIST ARE DESCRIBED AS BURNING LIKE A FLAME OF FIRE.

HE HAS THE ABILITY TO SEE DEEPLY INTO THE HEARTS OF MEN AND JUDGE THEM ACCORDINGLY.

THE HEAD OF THE RETURNING CHRIST IS CROWNED WITH MANY CROWNS TESTIFYING TO HIS STATUS AS THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGN

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

ISN'T IT GOOD TO KNOW

THAT CHRIST HAS ABSOLUTE CONTROL.

WE CAN TRUST HIM TO TAKE CARE OF US NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.

THE ARMIES OF CHRIST

WE MAY LEAVE IN THE RAPTURE, BUT WE'RE COMIN BACK.

JUDE DESCRIBES THIS EVENT IN VERSES 14-15.

JUDE 14-15 (NIV)
14 ENOCH, THE SEVENTH FROM ADAM, PROPHESIED ABOUT THESE MEN: “SEE, THE LORD IS COMING WITH THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF HIS HOLY ONES 15 TO JUDGE EVERYONE, AND TO CONVICT ALL THE UNGODLY OF ALL THE UNGODLY ACTS THEY HAVE DONE IN THE UNGODLY WAY, AND OF ALL THE HARSH WORDS UNGODLY SINNERS HAVE SPOKEN AGAINST HIM.”

JUDE USES THE WORD UNGODLY FOUR TIMES. 

HE'S EMPHASIZING THE FACT THAT WHEN CHRIST COMES THE SECOND TIME,

HIS LONG-SUFFERING PATIENCE

WILL HAVE RUN IT'S COURSE.

HE IS COMING TO PASS JUDGMENT ON THOSE WHO HAVE HARDENED THEIR HEARTS      BEYOND REPENTANCE.

THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN THAT ACCOMPANY CHRIST IN HIS SECOND COMING WILL BE MADE UP OF SAINTS AND ANGELS

PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND ME STANDING SIDE BY SIDE

WITH HEAVENLY BEINGS OF IMMENSE POWER.

EVEN THOUGH THIS IS A MILITARY BATTLE, OUR ROLE WILL BE LARGELY CEREMONIAL,

BECAUSE JESUS HIMSELF WILL SLAY THE REBELS

WITH THE DEADLY SWORD COMING OUT OF HIS MOUTH.

THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST

WHEN THE LORD RETURNS TO EARTH, THE MEN AND NATIONS WHO HAVE DEFIED HIM WILL NO MORE BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST HIM

THAN A SPIDER WEB AGAINST AN EAGLE.

THE GRAND TITLE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

IDENTIFIES THE UNEQUALED AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST.

AT HIS NAME EVERY KING ON EARTH WILL BOW,

AND EVERY LORD WILL KNEEL.

THE SWORD COMING FROM HIS MOUTH IS NOT THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT,

IT IS THE SWORD OF JUDGMENT.

THE AVENGING OF CHRIST

THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS DIVIDED INTO THREE SECTIONS.

AT THE BEGINNING OF REVELATION

WE HAVE THE WORLD RUINED BY MAN.

LATER WE HAVE THE WORLD RULED BY SATAN.

AND THEN AT THE END WE HAVE

THE WORLD RECLAIMED BY CHRIST.

LIKE CLEANING A HOUSE THAT HAS BEEN INFESTED WITH RATS, BEFORE YOU CAN MOVE IN. 

JESUS WILL HAVE TO CLEANSE THE EARTH.

 

 

THE FOWLS OF HEAVEN

 

MUCH LIKE THAT FILM "THE BIRDS" BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK

WHERE THERE WERE MASSIVE FLOCKS OF BIRDS ATTACKING AND TERRORIZING THE TOWNS-PEOPLE.

AFTER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS FINISHED WITH THESE REBELIOUS PEOPLE.

IT WILL BE MUCH WORSE.  THE BIRDS WILL CONSUME GREAT QUANTITIES OF HUMAN FLESH

WE READ IN ...

REVELATION 19:17 (NIV)
17 AND I SAW AN ANGEL STANDING IN THE SUN, WHO CRIED IN A LOUD VOICE TO ALL THE BIRDS FLYING IN MIDAIR, “COME, GATHER TOGETHER FOR THE GREAT SUPPER OF GOD,

18 SO THAT YOU MAY EAT THE FLESH OF KINGS, GENERALS, AND MIGHTY MEN, OF HORSES AND THEIR RIDERS, AND THE FLESH OF ALL PEOPLE, FREE AND SLAVE, SMALL AND GREAT.”

AND IN VERSE 21

21 THE REST OF THEM WERE KILLED WITH THE SWORD THAT CAME OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE RIDER ON THE HORSE, AND ALL THE BIRDS GORGED THEMSELVES ON THEIR FLESH.

HARRY IRONSIDE WROTE,

"IT IS AN AWFUL PICTURE --

 THE CLIMAX OF MAN'S AUDACIOUS RESISTANCE TO GOD."

BUT THE BOOK OF REVELATION TELLS US ABOUT ANOTHER SUPPER. 

ONE ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT FROM THE VULTURES IN THE FIELD OF ARMAGEDDON.

REVELATION 19:7 (NIV)
7     LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD

AND GIVE HIM GLORY!

FOR THE WEDDING OF THE LAMB HAS COME,

AND HIS BRIDE HAS MADE HERSELF READY.

THEN IN VERSE NINE WE READ

9 THEN THE ANGEL SAID TO ME, “WRITE: ‘BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ARE INVITED TO THE WEDDING SUPPER OF THE LAMB!’

 

THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB IS A TIME OF GREAT JOY,

CELEBRATING THE WEDDING BETWEEN THE BRIDEGROOM CHRIST AND HIS BRIDE, THE CHURCH.

SO TELL ME, WHICH SUPPER DO YOU HAVE RESERVATIONS FOR?

 

WHICH SUPPER WILL YOU BE ATTENDING?

 

HAVE YOU CONFESSED YOUR SIN AND SURRENDERED YOUR WILL TO THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAMB?

BECAUSE IF YOU HAVEN'T

THEN THERE IS ONLY ONE OTHER PLACE LEFT FOR YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LETS LOOK AT THE FOES OF HEAVEN

 

REVELATION 19:19 (NIV)
19 THEN I SAW THE BEAST AND THE KINGS OF THE EARTH AND THEIR ARMIES GATHERED TOGETHER TO MAKE WAR AGAINST THE RIDER ON THE HORSE AND HIS ARMY.

 

COULD THERE BE ANYTHING MORE FUTILE THAN CREATURES FIGHTING AGAINST THEIR CREATOR?

LITTLE MEN STUCK ON ONE TINY PLANET,

FLOATING IN THIS IMMEASURABLE COSMOS,

STRIKING BACK AT THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE?

IT'S LIKE PERSUADING MICE TO DECLARE WAR ON LIONS.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________

THE FATALITY OF THE BEAST AND FALSE PROPHET

 

THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT GOD SIMPLY SNATCHES UP THE ANTICHRIST BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET AND FLINGS THEM INTO THE FIERY LAKE.

THEY HAVE THE HONOR OF ACTUALLY GETTING TO THAT AWFUL PLACE BEFORE SATAN DOES.

SATAN DOESN'T JOIN THEM FOR ANOTHER THOUSAND YEARS.

HARRY IRONSIDE POINTS OUT THAT

THE TWO MEN ARE TAKEN ALIVE ... THESE TWO MEN ARE CAST ALIVE INTO [THE LAKE BURNING WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE] WHERE A THOUSAND YEARS LATER, THEY ARE STILL SAID TO BE SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE. (JUDE 7)

THE MEN ARE ALIVE WHEN THEY ARRIVE, AND THEY ARE STILL ALIVE A THOUSAND YEARS LATER -- AND THEY ARE STILL EXPERIENCING SUFFERING.

THE LAKE OF FIRE IS NEITHER ANNIHILATION

NOR IS IT PURGATORIAL

BECAUSE IT NEITHER ANNIHILATES NOR PURIFIES

THESE TWO FALLEN FOES OF GOD.

HELL IS A REAL PLACE WITH REAL FIRE THAT BURNS AND NEVER GOES OUT.  IT'S TORTURE IS AS REAL AS ITS FIRE.

THE APPLICATION OF CHRIST'S SECOND COMING

THERE ARE FEW SUBJECTS TODAY THAT ARE MORE RELEVANT THAN END TIME BIBLICAL PROPHECY.

THE WORLD NEEDS TO BE WARNED.

CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE WARNED.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST EVANGELIST VANCE HAVNER PUTS IT THIS WAY.

THE DEVIL HAS CHLOROFORMED THE ATMOSPHERE

OF THIS AGE."

IN OUR DAY OF ANARCHY, AND APOSTASY  ...

WE NEED TO TAKE DOWN OUR 'DO NOT DISTURBE' SIGNS ...

WE NEED TO SNAP OUT OF OUR STUPOR,

OUT OF OUR COMA AND WAKE UP FROM OUR APATHY.

_________________________________________________________________

FUTURE EVENTS HAVE PRESENT IMPLICATIONS THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO IGNORE.

HERE ARE TEN WAYS WE SHOULD BE DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD:

 

1. REFRAIN FROM JUDGING OTHERS:

 

2. REMEMBER THE LORD'S TABLE -- COMMUNION:

 

3. RESPOND TO LIFE SPIRITUALLY:

SET YOUR MIND ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS OF THE EARTH.

4. RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE:

 

5. RESTORE THE BEREAVED:

 

6. RECOMMIT OURSELVES TO MINISTRY:

 

7. REFUSE TO NEGLECT CHURCH:

 

8. REMAIN STEADFAST:

 

9. RENOUNCE SIN IN OUR LIVES:

 

10. REACH THE LOST FOR CHRIST:

 

HOPING AND LONGING FOR CHRIST'S RETURN

 

SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON

ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 1914 TWENTY-NINE MEN SET SAIL IN A THREE MASTED WOODEN SHIP FROM PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND, TO ANTARCTICA ON A QUEST TO BECOME THE FIRST ADVENTURERS TO CROSS THE ANTARCTIC CONTINENT ON FOOT. 

SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON HAD RECRUITED THE MEN THROUGH AN ADVERTISEMENT THAT READ:

"MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY.  SMALL WAGES. BITTER COLD. LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS.  CONSTANT DANGER. SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL.

HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS."

 

NOT ONLY WAS SHACKLETON AN HONEST MAN, FOR THE MEN DID EXPERIENCE ALL THAT HIS HANDBILL PROMISED, BUT HE WAS ALSO AN ABLE LEADER AND A CERTIFIED HERO. 

HIS MEN CAME TO REFER TO HEM AS "THE BOSS"  ALTHOUGH HE NEVER THOUGHT OF HIMSELF THAT WAY.  HE WORKED AS HARD AS ANY CREW MEMBER AND BUILT SOLID TEAM UNITY ABOARD THE SHIP, APTLY NAMED THE ENDURANCE.

          IN JANUARY 1915, THE SHIP BECAME ENTRAPPED IN AN ICE PACK AND ULTIMATELY SANK, LEAVING THE MEN TO SET UP CAMP ON AN ICE FLOW --  A FLAT, FREE FLOATING SLICE OF ICE.  SHACKLETON KEPT THE MEN BUSY BY DAY AND ENTERTAINED BY NIGHT.  THEY PLAYED ICE SOCCER, HAD NIGHTLY SONGFESTS, AND HELD REGULAR SLED-DOG COMPETITIONS. 

          IT WAS IN THE ICE FLOE CAMP THAT SHACKLETON PROVED HIS GREATNESS AS A LEADER.  HE WILLINGLY SACRIFICED HIS RIGHT TO A WARMER, FUR-LINED SLEEPING BAG SO THAT ONE OF THIS MEN MIGHT HAVE IT, AND HE PERSONALLY SERVED HOT MILK TO HIS MEN IN THEIR TENTS EVERY MORNING.

          IN APRIL 1916, THEIR THINNING ICE FLOE THREATENED TO BREAK APART, FORCING THE MEN TO SEEK REFUGE ON NEARBY ELEPHANT ISLAND.  KNOWING THAT A RESCUE FROM SUCH A DESOLATE ISLAND WAS UNLIKELY, SHACKELTON AND FIVE OTHERS LEFT TO CROSS EIGHT HUNDRED MILES OF OPEN ANTARCTIC SEA IN A 22.5 FOOT LIFEBOAT WITH MORE OF A HOPE THAN A PROMISE OF A RETURN WITH RESCUERS.  FINALLY, ON AUGUST 30, AFTER AN ARDUOUS 105 DAY TRIP AND THREE EARLIER ATTEMPTS, SHACKLETON RETURNED TO RESCUE HIS STRANDED CREW, BECOMING THEIR HERO.

 

BUT PERHAPS THE REAL HERO IN THIS STORY IS FRANK WILD.  SECOND IN COMMAND, WILD WAS LEFT IN CHARGE OF THE CAMP IN SHACKLETON'S ABSENCE.  HE MAINTAINED THE ROUTINE THE BOSS HAD ESTABLISHED.  THE ASSIGNED DAILY DUTIES, SERVED MEALS, HELD SING-ALONGS, PLANNED ATHLETIC COMPETITIONS, AND GENERALLY KEPT UP MORALE. 

          BECAUSE THE CAMP WAS IN CONSTANT DANGER OF BEING BURIED IN SNOW ... AND BECOME COMPLETELY INVISIBLE FROM THE SEA, SO THAT THE RESCUE PARTY MIGHT LOOK FOR IT IN VAIN, WILD KEPT THE MEN BUSY SHOVELING AWAY DRIFTS.

          THE FIRING OF A GUN WAS TO BE THE PREARRANGED SIGNAL THAT THE RESCUE SHIP WAS NEAR THE ISLAND, BUT AS WILD REPORTED, MANY TIMES WHEN THE GLACIERS WERE CALVING AND CHUNKS FELL OFF WITH A REPORT LIKE A GUN, WE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS THE REAL THING, AND AFTER A TIME WE GOT TO DISTRUST THOSE SIGNALS.  BUT HE NEVER LOST HOPE IN THE RETURN OF THE BOSS.  CONFIDENTLY, WILD KEPT THE LAST TIN OF KEROSENE AND A SUPPLY OF DRY COMBUSTIBLES READY TO IGNITE INSTANTLY FOR USE AS A LOCATOR SIGNAL WHEN THE DAY OF WONDERS WOULD ARRIVE.

          BARELY FOUR DAYS WORTH OF RATIONS REMAINED IN THE CAMP WHEN SHACKLETON FINALLY ARRIVED ON A CHILEAN ICEBREAKER.  HE PERSONALLY MADE SEVERAL TRIPS THROUGHT THE ICY WATERS IN A SMALL LIFEBOAT IN ORDER TO FERRY HIS CREW TO SAFETY.  MIRACULOUSLY, THE LEADEN FOG LIFTED LONG ENOUGH FOR ALL THE MEN TO MAKE IT TO THE ICEBREAKER IN ONE HOUR.

          SHACKLETON LATER LEARNED FROM THE MEN HOW THEY WERE PREPARED TO BREAK CAMP SO QUICKLY AND REPORTED: FROM A FORTNIGHT AFTER I HAD LEFT, WILD WOULD ROLL UP HIS SLEEPING BAG EACH DAY WITH THE REMARY, GET YOUR THINGS READY, BOYS, THE BOSS MAY COME TODAY.  AND SURE ENOUGH, ONE DAY THE MIST OPENED AND REVEALED THE SHIP FOR WHICH THEY HAD BEEN WAITING AND LONGING AND HOPING FOR OVER FOUR MONTHS.  WILD'S CHEERFUL ANTICIPATION PROVED INFECTIOUS, AND ALL WERE PREPARED WHEN THE EVACUATION DAY CAME.

          SHACKLETON'S STRANDED CREW DESPERATELY HOPED THAT THEIR LEADEER WOULD COME BACK TO THEM, AND THEY LONGED FOR HIS RETURN. 

BUT AS DILIGENT AND DEDICATED AS SHACKLETON WAS, THEY COULD NOT BE CERTAIN HE WOULD RETURN.  HE WAS AFTER ALL, A MERE MAN BATTLING ELEMENTS HE COULD NOT CONTROL, SO THEY KNEW HE MIGHT NOT MAKE IT BACK. 

UNLIKE THAT DESPERATE CREW, WE HAVE A PROMISE THAT'S  CERTAIN.

OUR LORD WILL RETURN.

OURS IS NOT A MERE LONGING OR A DESPERATE HOPE,

AS THEIRS WAS,

FOR OUR LORD IS THE CREATOR AND MASTER OF ALL,

AND HIS PROMISE IS AS SURE AS HIS VERY EXISTENCE.

THE SIGNS THAT TELL US, THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD IS DRAWING NEAR

SHOULD MOTIVATE US AS NEVER BEFORE TO LIVE READY.

FUTURE EVENTS CAST THEIR SHADOWS BEFORE THEM. 

AS WE ANTICIPATE HIS RETURN,

WE SHOULD NOT FOOLISHLY SET DATES

AND LEAVE OUR JOBS AND HOMES

TO WAIT FOR HIM ON SOME MOUNTAIN TOP.

WE NEED TO REMAIN BUSY DOING THE WORK SET BEFORE US, LIVING IN LOVE AND SERVING IN MINISTRY.

BE ENCOURAGED!  BE ANTICIPATING!

AS THE OLD SONG SAYS,

"SOON AND VERY SOON, WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE KING!"

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