Jesus’ Preeminence… Hope In His Soon Appearing :: By Jonathan Brentner

Jesus’ Preeminence Verifies Our Hope in His Soon Appearing

At the church that meets in our home, we recently read and discussed the words of Colossians 1:15-20:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

As I continued to reflect on the words of this passage, I couldn’t escape the thought that they confirm my anticipation of Jesus’ imminent appearing.

This text doesn’t predict what’s going to happen next or reveal what lies ahead for this world. It’s not Bible prophecy per se. However, the descriptions of our Savior in these verses verify what I believe about a pre-Tribulation Rapture, a literal seven-year Tribulation, and Jesus’ thousand-year reign over the nations.

“How does it do that?” you might ask. Allow me to explain how the words of these verses….

Confirm a Futuristic Interpretation of the Book of Revelation

Anger swelled up inside me as I read about President Trump’s felony convictions by a New York City jury. My feelings soon mixed with anxiety as I feared for the future of America. I thought not only of the injustice done to him but also of what this means for all of us. If they can manufacture felony charges against a former president, they can certainly do so for those of us who speak out against the great wickedness cherished by those in power over our land.

As the emotions from hearing the news overwhelmed my soul, I turned to Colossians 1:15-20. Why? Because the words of this passage reassure me of the Lord’s sovereignty over all matters pertaining to this life. They remind me that there will most certainly be a day when He brings justice to the earth as the warnings of Psalms 37 and 94 become reality. The judgments prophesied in Revelation chapters 6-18 will sweep over the entire earth.

As I have previously written, the entire book of Revelation overflows with portraits of Jesus’ grandeur and power. It exalts Him as “the head of the body, the church.” The outpouring of His wrath will destroy the realm of Satan and lead to His thousand-year reign. All the people of the earth will magnify the name of Christ and celebrate the uniting of “all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:10).

The Colossians text confirms the necessity of Jesus’ reign over the nations as described in Revelation 20:1-10). It’s then that Jesus fulfills the words of 1 Corinthians 15:25-28 and He brings all things into “subjection” to Himself and defeats the last enemy, death. This extended time of Jesus’ supremacy over all the nations of the earth is a prerequisite for the eternal state described in Revelation 21-22.

Align with the Bible’s Description of Jesus’ Glorious Rule over the World

President Trump’s guilty verdict on May 30, 2024, is symptomatic of the absence of justice throughout America. The month of June has arrived, and with it, we see vile and wicked demonstrations here and throughout the world in support of an agenda that is causing irreparable harm to multitudes of children. Lawlessness abounds as never before in the U.S. The slaughter of innocent blood in the womb and sex trafficking continue unabated with support at the highest levels of many governments.

Where’s the justice for these young, innocent victims of the deadly assault coordinated by the elite?

Those who tell us Jesus is now ruling over the earth as described in Psalm 2 and Daniel 7:13-14 dishonor the Lord Jesus in no small way. To say that today’s world fulfills the words of Daniel 7:26-27 not only contradicts the clear words of Bible prophecy but also blatantly contradicts both the tenor and intent of Colossians 1:15-20. I wrote about this in a previous article. When Jesus reigns, justice will prevail. Is it any wonder that the Messianic Psalms that speak of His kingdom overflow with overflowing praise for Him (in particular Psalms 93-100)? It’s then that all of humanity will sing praises to the One who reigns with justice and righteousness over all the nations of the earth. That is the future; it is not now.

Did you notice what the Apostle Paul doesn’t say in his glowing description of Jesus’ magnificence? He says that He’s the head of His body, the church, but nowhere in these verses does he say that Jesus is now ruling over the nations. Surely, if this were the case, Paul would have included it here, or we would see it in other New Testament passages that proclaim our Savior’s glory. But we do not.

Necessitate that the Lord Keep His Promise to Come for Us

These are the three most popular beliefs regarding the Rapture in churches:[1]

  1. There’s no such thing as the Rapture of New Testament saints (most prevalent view).
  2. It’s of such low importance that we dare not mention it from the pulpit lest such teaching lower attendance numbers.
  3. It’s just another way of describing the Second Coming.

How do these viewpoints demean the preeminence of Christ?

First, they undermine His promises to us. Pay close attention to how Paul begins his description of the Rapture when writing to the Thessalonians, “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15, emphasis added). Isn’t it striking that as he begins to write about our meeting the Lord in the air, he credits his words as coming directly from the Lord?

How is it possible to proclaim a belief in the inspiration of Scripture and yet ridicule our hope in an event that the apostle describes based on words that came directly from Jesus? If Jesus is who Paul describes in Colossians 1:15-20, then we can surely rest on the promise of His appearing that came directly from Him to the apostle in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:10. How is it that so many mock an event that Paul describes based on words that came directly from the Savior?

Second, when Jesus first introduced the matter of His appearing for His Church, He told His disciples that He would return to take them to “his Father’s house” (John 14:2-3). The Lord later gave Paul more details about this event, which he then recorded for us in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Philippians 3:20-21, Colossians 3:4, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:10. All these passages tell us that when the Lord returns for us, He will take us out of this current world to “glory.”

Our hope in Jesus’ soon appearing to take us to glory doesn’t rest on our wisdom but rather upon the words that the Lord revealed to His apostles.

Third, in the last book of the Bible, Jesus spoke directly about the Rapture in His message to the church at Philadelphia:

“Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon” (Revelation 3:10-11a).

As the rest of Revelation clarifies, “the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world” refers to a time of judgment that all the people of the earth would experience. How will the Lord keep us out of it? He will come quickly to take us out of the world to His Father’s house in heaven before the judgments of Revelation chapters 6-18 begin.

Anchor Our Hope in Jesus Alone

The words of Colossians 1:15-20 have become a refuge for my soul because they assure me of His imminent appearing, His judgment on the great wickedness of our day, and my reign with Him in a kingdom that will be glorious beyond all that I can imagine. These are not things that came from my own imagination or wisdom, definitely not.

My hope rests upon the promises that the Preeminent One revealed in Scripture regarding these things. If He says we will meet Him in the air someday, who am I to doubt His word?

Despite the despair that I might feel at any given moment because of the lawlessness, murder of innocents, and vast injustice throughout the world, I remain absolutely confident in what the Bible says about the future because it’s based solely upon Jesus and His words.

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 6:19-20).

Maranatha! Come soon and quickly, Lord Jesus!


Note: In Hereafter, It’s Far Better Than You Can Imagine, Terry James and I describe the future glory that awaits us as believers, beginning with Jesus’ appearing to take us home. From beginning to end, we emphasize the jubilant joy that awaits us in Heaven. The last chapter contains twenty-seven frequently asked questions and answers pertaining to Heaven and our experience there.

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[1] I have recently heard all three of these viewpoints proclaimed by pastors who claim to believe in the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture.