“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”
“Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time. Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner” (James 5:7-9 The Message).
Often, when a believer is suffering because of being treated unjustly, they can fall into deep discouragement and say, “Why is this happening to me? I just want it to end.” And sometimes, they may even be tempted to take action to make it end - or to get even somehow.
James wrote to Christians under such pressure. They were being treated unjustly by evil people who had the advantage over them (verses 1-6). But what he says to them in verses 7-8 is intended to bring them into a right perspective. Hope comes from having this right perspective - that is, that we are to look to Jesus Christ, and to see injustice as finding its ultimate resolve in His return. God, through His servant James, here teaches us that the strength to be patient when treated unjustly comes from fixing our hopes on the return of the Lord. We are long-suffering to the degree that we have our eyes fixed on Jesus and His glorious return.
Even Jesus, when He was here on earth was never treated with any kindness, He was pushed from pillar to post, hunted and persecuted.
The world hated Him:
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7).
The world did not know Him: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10).
His family did not believe Him: “For even His brothers did not believe in Him” (John 7:5).
He owned no real estate: “And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).
He was buried in a borrowed tomb: “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before (Luke 23:50-53).
He had only the robe on His back: “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots’” (Matthew 27:35).
He was betrayed by a disciple who swore he would never do that: “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them” (Mark 14:10).
Where were His disciples when He was going through His trauma? There was a cloud of dust on the road leading out of Jerusalem as they ran frightened, fearing the same thing would happen to them! Only John stood by Him.
The world mocked Him, spit on Him, scourged Him, jammed a crown of thorns down upon His head, plucked out His beard, beat Him mercilessly, and finally crucified Him. Our word “excruciating” means “out of the cross.” He suffered tremendous pain, indignation and humiliation, and for what? For us! “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures!” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Listen to the word: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3).
The Bible is God’s Word, it is absolute truth! I stand on the inspired (God breathed), infallible, inerrant, and absolutely true Word of God. “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). “Every word of God proves true” (Proverbs 30:5-NLT).
So when Jesus says, “I will come again” you can take to the bank! It will happen!
Jesus also says:
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory” (Matthew 25:31).
Even though time has spread over 2000 years between our time and His first coming, it is absolutely true, he will come again. And by the looks of our present world conditions, it won’t be long.
It won't be long till we'll be leavin' here
It won't be long we'll be goin' home
Count the years as months, count the months as weeks
Count the weeks as days, any day now, we'll be goin' home
There are nearly five-hundred prophecies in God’s Word about the second coming of Jesus Christ. One in every thirty verses in the New Testament describe Jesus’ Second Coming (Three-hundred-nineteen references in the two-hundred sixteen chapters of the New Testament). Paul writes about Jesus’ coming fifty times. More than one half of the Old Testament references to Christ refer to His second coming.
So I have the confirmation of God’s Word that Jesus is coming to earth again! If we only had one passage to prove His coming, we would still have to believe. That one passage is John 14:3, where Jesus Himself said, “I will come again.”
The time is short, we are coming to a new age on earth. We are looking for the glorious return of Jesus Christ to earth, but this time there will be no lowly stable, no swaddling clothes, no poor parents, no babe in a manger, no suffering at the hands of the enemies of God, this time it’s going to be different:
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).
“And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[a] a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[b] followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[c] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).
James 5:7: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.”
“The early Church lived in the expectation of the immediate Second Coming of Jesus Christ; and James exhorts his people to wait with patience for the few years which remain...the early rain was the rain in late October and early November; without it the seed which had been sown would not germinate at all. The late rain was the rain of April and May, without which the grain would not mature. The farmer needs patience to wait until nature does her work; and the Christian needs patience to wait until Christ comes.” –Barclay
The idea behind patience here is patient endurance. It does not speak of a quiet waiting, but of a standing up to the trials that face them without wavering and without retaliation. It includes the idea of longsuffering, facing up to whatever men throw at them and loving them just the same He makes clear that it will not always be easy.
Longsuffering is literally long-tempered, meaning, I can take anything people can dish out! Even if it means praising the Lord through gritted teeth, because Jesus is coming soon! Just as the farmer waits for the early and late rains which will hopefully produce an abundant harvest, sometimes he waits with great apprehension when there appears to be a delay, so are they to wait with patient endurance for what the Lord will do. But one thing they can be sure of. One day the great day of Harvest will come and great will be their rejoicing.
Verse 8: “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
“Patient” in Greek is makrothumeo, this word describes a state of emotional calm or quietness in the face of provocation, misfortune or unfavorable circumstances. It never says, “I’ve had enough.” It suffers indefinitely. It is longsuffering and continues in spite of conduct likely to quench it, especially patience towards people who act unjustly toward us.
“Establish” in Greek is sterizo, also meaning “strengthen,” it refers to a divine promise that even when you suffer, God will give you the inner strength and resolve to continue to resist the onslaughts of you adversaries, the devil, and stand fast in their faith. And He will do the same for you, beloved. The Christian is commanded to “strengthen his heart” in light of the coming of Christ. This is a common exhortation, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). The word means, “to make stable.” One commentator says it means, “mustering up courage, the strengthening of one's inner being,” while Thomas Manton calls it “holy hardness...firmness of faith and constancy of grace.”
“Sterizo means to make as solid as granite. Suffering of body and sorrow of heart do one of two things to a man. They either make him collapse or they leave him with a solidity of character which he could never have gained anywhere else. If he meets them with continuing trust in Christ, he emerges like toughened steel that has been tempered in the fire.” –Barclay
As the farmer waits patiently, as he expects the return of the rain, so you may anticipate deliverance from your trials. “Establish your hearts.” Let your purposes and your faith be firm and unwavering. Do not become weary and fretful; but bear with constancy all that is laid upon you, until the time of your deliverance shall come.
The imperative, “stabilize, sterizo, strengthen!” used with “patience, makrothumeo,” specifies that the believer's stance is not just to wait for the inevitable restitution, but to be resolved to wait for God's time to enrich us according His will; he has promised to care for us until He rewards us.
“Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”
“It is one thing to patiently endure external trials, it is quite another to endure the internal behavior and attitude of various ‘brothers’. So once more James has to emphasize the need to control the tongue. They must nor murmur and complain against each other. This was clearly a constant problem in the early church, as it is in all churches. But they are to remember that they will be judged by the words that they have spoken. The idea of the judge standing before the door is an awesome picture. It is a picture of looming judgment, and is a reminder that all will have to give account. As we live our lives it should for all of us be with the awareness of the nearness of the Judge.” –Peter Pett
I know that sometimes we get a little frustrated at life in general, and tired of the constant struggle. We get annoyed at the way we are treated in this world, but as my mom said as she was dying, “I’m going to a better world than this one!” And patience says to us, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). This earth is not our home. We are strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11). Preparations are being made for us, Jesus said, I go to prepare a place for you…” (John 14:3). When He has everything ready, He will come again and we will be with Him forever. This promise is the foundation of the Christian's hope for the future. When we are frustrated and distracted by people who are evil and cruel, we are to focus on our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
So, we encourage ourselves by “establishing our hearts,” with the thought, this world is not all there is, I’m headed for a better place. Our hope is firmly established in God and His word:
1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
Colossians 1:4,5, “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,”
Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…”
Jesus is coming! “For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:27). “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming…Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 22:42,44).
Hos coming is “at hand,” meaning, literally, within reach. We can say in June, that Christmas is getting closer. In September, that it’s pretty close. But when December comes around, Christmas is “at hand?” The term “at hand” is the Greek term, eggizo, meaning near, or imminent.
Jesus told us to be ready any time. Not even the angels know the exact day, but we're to “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is” (Mark 13:33).
Jesus could come at any moment. The stage is set, all prophecy is either fulfilled or is presently being fulfilled, everything is ready, Jesus is coming. It will be a day, just like any other day, people will be in their cars, on their way to work, taking the children to school, some will be in bed sleeping, others will be going to parties, watching a ball game, sitting down for a meal, going shopping, playing golf, some may getting married, not knowing that the “marriage of the Lamb” is imminent, babies being born, life as usual, just another day, like any other day, but it won’t be like any other day, “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30 NLT).
Suddenly, without warning people will disappear, leaving piles of clothing and jewelry where they stood. Swings will dangle empty as children go to be with the One who said, “Let the children come to Me…” (Matthew 19:14). Driverless vehicles will careen out of control. Pilotless airplanes will crash. Runaway trains will plow through stations. The world will be in utter chaos, caught by complete surprise. Just as soon as the world realizes what has happened, millions will say, “Oh if only I had been ready, if only I had listened.” Jesus said it would be this way…When you least expect it…Expect it! “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).
The next event on God’s timetable is the rapture (“enrapto,” meaning, caught up) the taking up of all believers. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).
As some of you know, Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor of New York during the Depression, and he was quite a character. He would ride the city fire trucks, take entire orphanages to baseball games and whenever the city newspapers went on strike, he would get on the radio and read the Sunday “funnies” to the children.
At any rate, one bitter cold winter’s night in 1935, Mayor LaGuardia turned up in a night court that served the poorest ward in the city, dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. After he heard a few cases, a tattered old woman was brought before him, accused of stealing a loaf of bread.
She told LaGuardia that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick and her grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, insisted on pressing charges. “My store is in a very bad neighborhood, your honor,” he said. “She’s got to be punished in order to teach other people a lesson.”
The mayor sighed. He turned to the old woman and said, “I’ve got to punish you,” he said. “The law makes no exception – ten dollars or ten days in jail.”
But even as he spoke, LaGuardia was reaching into his pocket and pulling out a ten dollar bill. “Here is the woman’s fine,” he said, “and furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone in this court room fifty cents for living in a city where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Baliff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”
The following day, the New York Times reported that $47.50 was turned over to the bewildered old woman. It was given by the red-faced store owner, some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations and city policemen – and they all gave their mayor a standing ovation as they handed over their money.
That’s how it will be with God’s world. Just when it seems that all hope is lost, and goodness and mercy shall never win, the Great Judge will come to set things right, deciding for the hungry and the meek of the earth. Yes, there is also an Advent promise for the nations of the world in perplexity and distress: “Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” –Erskine White, Together in Christ, CSS Publishing Company
“And now children stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for Him when He appears, ready to receive Him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when He arrives. Once you’re convinced that He is right and righteous, you’ll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God’s true children” (1 John 2:28,29 MSG).
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV