Search This Blog

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is Jesus Coming Back Soon?

Each generation since Jesus was ascended has believed that Jesus would come back during their lifetimes. Our generation is no different. Are things really that different from any other generation?

There are plenty of books that will point to all the parallels with prophecy about Jesus' return and today's events. There have been plenty of books reporting the same things in previous generations. Jesus said it would happen when no one would expect it. I wonder why people keep writing books that predict His return all the while knowing that Jesus said that no one will know.

There is no reason to expect that Jesus will not return today or any other day. The New Testament writers expected Jesus to return during their lifetimes, too. They did not believe that anything could hinder Him from returning.

Each of the current prophetic interpretations are done with the finite minds of humanity. God often steps outside of our mental capabilities to do something we would never have expected. The conversion of Saul is a good example of this. Saul/Paul never expected to become a Christian evangelist until after his Damascus Road experience. God stepped way outside his mental box to to call him.

There were prophecies of the Messiah that were missed by the most learned people around. The Pharisees expected a Messiah who would come because they had returned to God's law. Jesus came and did not recognize them as ones who should be exalted for their efforts. They rejected Jesus because He did not fit into their teachings of prophecy. Only after the recognition that Jesus is the Messiah did people interpret the prophecy correctly. Is it possible that the same thing could happen today concerning the prophecies of His return?

Believing that certain things have to take place before Jesus' return is dangerous. Some may think they have more time to get ready for His return. It will be like cleaning your house to them. They will not clean it until right before the Guest is expected. Continually cleaning the house comes when the Guest can arrive at any time.

Dogmatic statements about His return can be detrimental to preaching about His return. If He does not return at the given time people will treat these statements with less and less alarm. If you warn the villagers that a wolf is coming to take their sheep too many times without a wolf ever arriving, the people will not pay heed to the warning when the wolf actually comes. They will be lulled to sleep when they should be actively working.

However, preaching that Jesus is not coming soon is unbiblical. The Bible taught us to be ready. The parables of Jesus taught us to be ready. Jesus asked if there would be faith on the earth when He returned. Faith is found in Christians obeying Jesus on the day of His return. Each day should be lived with the expectation of His return.

A book was published in the 1980's called, "Eighty-eight Reason Jesus Will Return in '88." I was serving in west Texas and many of the younger adults were reading it. Many of them believed wholeheartedly that Jesus would come on the date determined by the book. Some came to talk to me about their faith. Jesus didn't come back that day even though the writer had some very convincing reasons he believed Jesus would.

I believe we will understand the prophecy when Jesus returns. I believe that some of the interpreters will be right about some of the things mentioned in the prophecies. I believe the danger arises if Jesus does not return at the appointed time or way. I believe this will cause subsequent generations to believe that He will never return.

Finally, I believe He could return today. Whether He is coming soon or not is not my place to say. We watch and pray. We make sure that we are ready for Jesus whenever He comes.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jesus gave Peter the "keys to Heaven." So Peter must be studied to understand (along with Daniel in the Old Testament)what these "keys" are. II Peter 3:8 says. "Beloved be not ignorant of this one thing,that one day IS with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." These very important mathmatical formula's are very important to better understanding when Jesus will return. The number "7" is associated with rest throughout the Bible (seventh day, 70 weeks, 7 years, etc.). IF one truly believes the Bible then they have to believe that God created the Sun, moon, stars, and all we see and are and rested the seventh day as He said He did. And He santified it (meaning "set it aside" as a sign to Him as our Creator who provided all that we enjoy from day to day. And in that first formula (remember that Peter is talking about the return of Jesus in II Peter 3), if it is applied to the Book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden the senario is this: God is in Heaven, Adam and Eve in the Garden and God said, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Eve and Adam did eat and one could assume that they would die before the sun set on that day. But Adam died when he was 930 (Gen. 5:5) years old. God was in Heaven when He told Adam (who was on earth) and Adam did die according to that formula (one day with the Lord [in Heaven] is as a thousand years [on earth]). The second formula appliies to the "Book of Endings, Revelation. The righteous are removed and resurrected from the earth and taken to live with Him for "a thousand years' (on earth) and during that thousand years Satan is "bound to the earth and "the wicked dead" remain dead until the end of that thousand years when they will be resurrected, "for a short season." In my Bible it is printed that creation took place in 4004 bc. The flood was two thousand years later, He left His Son two thousand years later, and here we are today, two thousand years later (by our calendar-and ours is wrong-but not quite by God's). Daniel was told over and over, ". . .the time is appointed."
When Danielasked the Angel when this would be the Bible says, "and he held up his right hand and his left hand." There are but five fingers on one hand-he needed both for a very good reason. Our planet is in trouble. The smartest minds around this earth are trying to figure out what is going on. Volumn's have been written on "Global change and global warming," and not one say's "God is in control of earth's history." Without Christ there is no hope for anything on this earth and this is our "training camp" for heaven: it's about what we eat, how we care for other's, and how we have our relationship with God. For of the Ten Commandments deal with how our relationship with God should be and six (the greater commandment) is how we should deal with one another. I didn't write it but I do believe it. No, I don't know the "day nor the hour." But the watchman is standing by.