The Maranatha Network exists to help Christians obey the Lord’s command to keep watch for his Return.
He said: “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come … You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matt 24:42-44). He went on to tell the parable of the ten virgins to confirm his command to watch. He added: “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come … What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:32-37).
The Aramaic word “Maranatha” means “Come, Lord.” It was an Early Church prayer used by Paul in 1 Cor 16:22. See also Revelation 22:20 “Come, Lord Jesus.” It is a prayer for the Second Coming to happen. It is at the heart of the Maranatha Network to pray daily for the Lord’s return.
How do we keep watch?
There are various ways in which we keep watch for the Lord’s Return:
1. Use the brief daily meditation (below) each day of the month.
2. Note in the News examples of the signs “the beginning of birthpains” which Jesus mentions in the immediate context of his command to watch:
[We must avoid naivety - thinking these very early pointers mean the Lord will come imminently, because many more things need to happen. But we are to see them as reminders of the Lord’s coming. They jog our memory. They help us to keep watch. This would not work if we only think of future signs. The signs will grow in intensity in the future. But we need to notice the lesser signs now.]
Note also some of the later signs:
· Worldwide evangelism
· Falling away from the Faith
· Significant events in Israel, especially Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus as Messiah.
· Trends in society and the world which point towards the End Times.
The Maranatha Network will provide updates on these subjects
What else you can do
1. Encourage others to join the Maranatha Network and learn about eschatology. You can also refer them to Tony’s writings on the End Times at http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/eschatology.html for both a Full (more detailed) Version and a Summary (popular) Version. Tony also posts material about the End Times on Twitter (@TonyHigton) or Facebook facebook.com/tony.higton.1 and circulates it by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Arrange opportunities for Tony to teach about eschatology: articles, speaking engagements.
Maranatha Network: A brief daily meditation for each month
This section provides a brief daily meditation and prayer each day of the month. It can help focus our attention on the End Times alongside our other concerns as Christians. Each section includes the Maranatha Prayer, which we have already noted was an Early Church prayer used by Paul in 1 Cor 16:22. John uses a similar prayer in Revelation 22:20 “Come, Lord Jesus.” “Maranatha” means “Come, Lord.” It is a prayer for the Second Coming to happen. It is at the heart of the Maranatha Network to pray daily for the Lord’s return.
Jesus said: “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come … So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matt 24:42, 44). He also told us to pray regularly: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10)
Am I keeping watch for the return of Christ and praying for King Jesus to return or am I too preoccupied with the things of this world?
Lord, help me to live my life in the perspective of the Second Coming and to long for your return as a priority over the things of this life. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus said: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pains” (Matt 24:7-8). Luke records Jesus adding “pestilences” (Luke 21:11). These are not signs of the imminent return of Christ but “the beginning of birth-pains” of the Messiah’s coming. We should pray for those affected by such things but also see them as reminders of the End.
Am I keeping alert to the “birth-pains” of the Messianic age?
Lord, help me to note the signs Jesus mentioned, which remind me of his coming, and to help and protect those affected by war, famine, earthquakes and pestilence. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus said: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt 24:9-13).
Am I noting and praying about the growing persecution of Christians around the world as a sign of the End?
Lord, I pray for you to bless and protect Christians throughout the world who are terribly persecuted and for all those spreading the gospel around the globe. Help me also to see this as pointing towards the End. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus said: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14).
Am I noting and praying about evangelism locally and throughout the world as a sign of the End?
Lord, I pray for all who seek to proclaim the gospel. May they succeed in spreading it throughout the whole world in preparation for your Return. Maranatha, come Lord.
In his teaching about the signs of his return Jesus said (of the Jewish people) “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). We have seen the Jewish people return to their ancient land in unbelief. Jesus spoke of this as a sign of the End.
Am I praying that the Jewish people will recognise and turn to their Messiah, Jesus and so hasten the End Times?
Lord, lift the spiritual veil from the Jewish people and may we see the fulfilment of Paul’s End Time prediction “All Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:26). Maranatha, come Lord.
In the Parable of the 10 Virgins (Matt 25:1-13) Jesus warns us “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” [of his coming]” (verse 13). Paul says the Corinthians “eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1 Corinthians 1:7).
Am I eagerly waiting for the return of Christ?
Lord, help me so to sort out my priorities so that I am eagerly awaiting the Second Coming. Maranatha, come Lord.
“But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thess 5:4-6).
Would I be shocked if Jesus were to return today?
Lord, help me to live in constant anticipation of the return of Christ. Maranatha, come Lord.
Paul told us to look forward as well as back in Holy Communion: “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). The angel said to John: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Rev 19:9).
Am I looking forward to the “wedding supper of the Lamb”?
Lord, help me, especially when I take Communion, to look forward to the great heavenly feast with the glorified Jesus. Maranatha, come Lord.
“We wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Am I anticipating seeing Jesus in his divine glory with the marks of the nails still in his hands?
Lord, I long to see Jesus in all his splendour and to be reminded of the cross by the marks of the nails in his hands. Maranatha, come Lord.
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1 Peter 4:7). The Last Days began with the incarnation. We are living in the Last Days and the next great event is the Second Coming.
Am I aware that Jesus is standing in the wings, ready to come onto the stage of this world?
Lord, help me to be aware that Jesus is very close and waiting to reveal his presence. Maranatha, come Lord.
“Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1 Peter 1:17). “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:11-12).
Am I living my life in reverent fear of God, knowing him to be my judge?
Lord, help me to live a holy and godly life so I may not be ashamed when I stand before you. Maranatha, come Lord.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thess 5:23-24).
Am I keeping close to God, asking him to sanctify me in preparation for that day?
Lord, cleanse me and pour out your Holy Spirit upon me so that I might be holy and blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Maranatha, come Lord.
We should be “Encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching … You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, in just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay” (Heb 10:23-25; 36-37).
Am I an encourager of other people?
Lord, help me to persevere and to encourage believers around me as we see the Day approaching. Maranatha, come Lord.
“Be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:8-9). We must “continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).
Am I seeking to persist in patience, avoiding grumbling against my fellow believers?
Lord, help me to be patient and to stand firm, not grumbling but living in union with Christ so that I may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. Maranatha, come Lord.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3).
Am I looking forward to being totally transformed into the image of Christ and seeking to purify my life in anticipation?
Lord, work in me by your Spirit to make me Christ-like in anticipation of your appearing. Maranatha, come Lord.
“Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Am I aware that suffering and trials are a means by which God can refine my life, if I react in faith, so that I might hear Jesus say: “Well done, good and faithful servant”?
Lord, whilst asking you to heal and deliver me now, help me also to recognise suffering as an opportunity to be made more like Jesus in preparation for meeting him. Bless, protect and heal all who suffer and give them victory, now and in the age to come. Maranatha, come Lord.
We “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). His coming “will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other” (Luke 17:24).
Do I often imagine how glorious the return of Jesus will be?
Lord help me to think regularly of your return in glory. Maranatha, come Lord.
John describes Jesus: “I saw … someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Rev 1:13-16).
Do I long for the day when I shall prostrate myself before the Lord of glory?
Lord, help me to worship you in your majesty in anticipation of seeing you face to face. Maranatha, come Lord.
“He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt 24:31). “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever” (1 Thess 4:16-17).
Am I rejoicing in anticipation of being included in the elect the angels will gather on that Day?
Lord, thank you for including me in your chosen people. Help me to draw others into your kingdom and to anticipate being caught up to meet you. Maranatha, come Lord.
We shall all be judged: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13). “We will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Rom 14:10-12). But Jesus said we shall not be judged in the sense of condemned: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:24-25).
Am I always aware that I will have to give an account of my life to God?
Lord, help me to live in the light of eventually standing before your judgment seat. Maranatha, come Lord.
We “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thess 1:10). “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:9). Jesus taught that Hell is a reality, e.g. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). This is a solemn warning and a motive for evangelism.
Do I take seriously Jesus’ teaching about hell?
Lord, as I rejoice that I shall not be condemned because of my faith in Jesus, help me to reach out with your love to those who do not yet acknowledge you. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus said: “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:39-40).
Do I regularly rejoice that I shall spend eternity with Jesus?
Lord, thank you for your protection. Help me to live in the light of eternal life with you. Maranatha, come Lord.
Paul says: “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed –in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor 15:50-54).
Do I regularly rejoice in anticipation of being instantly transformed when Jesus returns?
Lord, help me to rejoice that the process of my sanctification will be completed when you appear in glory. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus will destroy suffering and death. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor 15:26). “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4). “Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God ... Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8:20-23). “Death … will [not] be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39); “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54). “Jesus … has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10).
Do I regularly rejoice in the ultimate conquest of suffering and death and the transformation of nature?
Lord, help me to remember that for believers death is ‘promotion to glory.’ Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus said: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (Jn 6:40).
Do I rejoice in the sure hope of everlasting life which is completely free from human sin and weakness, sickness, ageing and death?
Lord, help me to reflect on the brevity of this life and the glorious freedom and fulfilment of eternal life. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus said: “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt 13:43).
Am I looking forward to being totally like Jesus?
Lord, just as Jesus’ face was described as “like the sun shining in all its brilliance” help me to remember I will share in his glory. Maranatha, come Lord.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:6-7).
Am I aware that Jesus longs to show the riches of his grace to us throughout eternity?
Lord, help me to remember your gracious, loving attitude towards me and to know I shall experience it fully after Jesus returns. Maranatha, come Lord.
“The lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming” (2 Thess 2:8). There are trends in the world some of which, although having good aims, could facilitate the rise of Antichrist – globalisation, surveillance, etc.
Do I fall into pessimism and fear about the way the world is going?
Lord, help me to remember that, however powerful the anti-Christ powers become, Jesus will destroy them and their ultimate fulfilment by the splendour of his coming. Maranatha, come Lord.
The angel predicts: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever … ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah for the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. (Rev 11:15; 12:10).
Do I remember that the devil’s influence: temptation, oppression, possession and opposition will be totally destroyed?
Lord, help me to remember that, in your name, I can resist the devil now and that ultimate victory is secure. Maranatha, come Lord.
Paul writes that the kingdom is characterised by “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17) and justice. The angel says of Jesus: “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom” (Heb 1:8).
Do I look forward to a world without war, strife, suffering, oppression and injustice?
Lord, in anticipation of your kingdom of righteousness, peace, joy and justice, help me to do my best to spread such values today. Maranatha, come Lord.
Jesus says: “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Rev 3:21). Paul says: Do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? (1 Cor 6:2). He adds: “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Tim 2:12).
Do I remember that Jesus said faithful believers will share in his eternal reign?
Lord, help me to persevere through all the experiences which could drag me down, in the joyful knowledge that I will reign with you in eternity. Maranatha, come Lord.
 The first part of Maranatha, ‘Mar’ means ‘Lord.’ The addition of ‘an’ or ‘ana’ means ‘our.’ ‘Atha’ is about coming. Professor Leon Morris writes: “Probably the most likely of all is to understand the verb as imperative (possibly dividing the word differently, Marana tha), Our Lord, come.’ This is a prayer like that in Rev 22:20, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ In this case it expresses the eager longing felt by the church in those early days for the speedy return of the Lord.” (Leon Morris, The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Tyndale NT Commentaries, Tyndale Press, London 1958). Professor F W Grosheide favours the meaning ‘Come, O Lord’ and writes that this translation: “appears to be the best. It offers a parallel with Rev. 22 20. We can understand that the believers after the Lord's ascension were praying that He might return (I Thess. 1:10). There may have been a prayer formula in the Aramaic which was taken over by Greek speaking Christians (cf. Amen, Hosanna, Halleluja). A prayer of this kind also suits the context. After the many admonitions, after a passage like 15:23-28 and after the pronouncement of a curse on those who do not love the Lord, a prayer for the return of the Lord is a fitting climax. When He returns the battle will be finished and the judgment will come upon all who did not believe in Him. 23, 24.” (F W Grosheide, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New London Commentary, Marshal, Morgan and Scott, London 1954). The NIV translates it in this way (as do the New Revised Standard Version, New King James Version, International Standard Version, New Living Bible, English Standard Version etc).
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