What If Jesus Doesn’t Come Back Soon?

June 6, 2013


I was saved April 6, 1975 and from that time until now I have heard that Jesus may be back at any day. At first, I was a bit depressed as I was hoping to be a U.S. Senator back then. I had other goals I wanted to accomplish as well so a soon departure was not the thrill it was meant to be at that time. Now I wish He had come thirty seconds after I was saved. I wouldn’t have had time to serve but then I wouldn’t have had time to fail or sin either.

Some might ask if I have quit looking for His return in my lifetime since I have been waiting nearly thirty-one years. On the contrary, I am now thirty-one years closer so it may well be tomorrow or before I finish this sermon but what if He doesn’t?

Mark 13:31-33

31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. KJV

Amos 5:18-19
18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. KJV

While I understand that the return of the Lord is an exciting thing, though it will not be as wonderful to the unsaved, we must take great care in date setting and getting people’s hopes up falsely. When Jesus said that no man, angel or even Himself knew that day or hour I am saying that I have an inside track that even Messiah doesn’t have when I start predicting dates. When He said no man knows, no one knows. I’m not calling Him a liar, but you go on if you want to do so. It won’t work out well for you but you have the freewill to do it.

When I was in college, I saw all sorts of newspaper articles saying, “The Christ is now here”. A quick look at Matthew 24 would tell us that the claims were false but it was a good primer on how the False Prophet of Revelation may show up and point to the Antichrist. We had a preacher show up at my church in NC in 1980/1, telling us that due to the alignment of the planets in 1982 the world would be in major upheaval as described in Revelation so Christ would return or rather that Rapture would happen in 1982. He said that if it didn’t happen he would come back and apologize. Well, it didn’t and he didn’t.

Of course, we are all still familiar with the great Y2K disaster that never happened and Christians began preparing for the Rapture because 2000 would be nearly 6,000 years of human history so the Rapture had to happen. That way we could get the Millennium going to get the total of 7,000 years of history in before the new heaven and new earth.

I was called the worst doomsayer of all by one Sister, because I said it wouldn’t happen and that all the preparations were in vain even if it did. After all, if you are a Pre-Tribulation Rapture person, we will all be gone so who needs supplies? If you are Middle or Post-Tribulation you won’t be able to store up enough supplies for 3.5 to 7 years. Even if you managed that, it wouldn’t take long for people and the authorities to see that you are not losing weight or dehydrating. The authorities will bring you in and confiscate your stuff or you will have to start shooting all your neighbors to keep it. Unless you are able to hide in the hills or forests they will be checking for the mark even if you aren’t buying or selling anything. You would lose your head before the Rapture anyway. For the Post-Millennial folks they are just going to be disappointed and confused since the Beast won’t be bringing in the Kingdom for sure. Only the A-millennial people will feel justified for whatever comfort that will give them. I was just going to roll over in that Christian Sister’s eyes and to her that was anathema. She never came back and apologized either when I was proven right.

I do believe that there will be a total of seven-thousand years of human history, but we have a problem with calendars. According to the Hebrew calendar we are in the year 5766 not 2006. If that is correct, then we have 234 years left before the Millennial Kingdom and we could predict the Rapture to take place in 5993 or 2233. Still we could not say it would happen on Sept 30th at 11:38 AM.

Our calendar says 2006 AD. Several issues there. There is no year zero so we are actually in 2005. Some say that Jesus was possibly born in 4 BC or AD according to our calendar. We are then either at 2010 or 2002. Bishop Ussher in The Annals of The World, calculated by our calendar that the world was created in 4004 BC so that would make the Earth only 5996 years old in our 2000 or not depending when you set the birth of Christ. So, what calendar is God using?

Some are predicting the end of the world in December 21st 2012 because of the Mayan calendar ending on that date. Others say that it is the end of the old world of suffering and we will be embarking on a new world era of peace and prosperity. Indeed, a spiritual ascension will transpire according to these folks. Well, if it means the apparent success of the AntiChrist in the first 3.5 years of the Trib then the Pre-Trib people are in trouble. The Rapture should have happened last year if this is really 2006 not 2002. If it is really 2010 then we are past Mid-Trib so the Post-Tribbers may be right except there is no peace or temple in Israel. See how preplexing this can become?

Jesus said we could tell the season but even in agriculture you cannot predict exactly when the fruit will be fully ripe or the wheat ready to harvest when you plant the seed. You have general times but not day and hour. Doctors predict when babies will be born but my daughter was 2.5 hours late and my son two weeks early. They had the season of the birth down but were off on the day and the hour.

2 Peter 3:3-9

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, 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.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. KJV

There have been and will always be scoffers even if we didn’t get into date setting and trying to figure out who the Antichrist is but we do give the scoffers material to mock and blaspheme the Word of God. Yes, for two thousand years preachers have preached the imminent return of Christ. In man’s time economy that seems like a long time as the very best that we can do is 120 years of life but most of us are in the 70-80 years range. Yet as we see here God has a far different view since He works in eternity or outside of the space-time continuum as well as within it. By His estimation, Jesus has been gone barely over two days.

Verse nine tells us why He is delaying things from our point of view though He is on right on the second according to His plan designed before time began. It is His mercy, not his slackness. He is not being lackadaisical or forgetful about His promise nor has He broken it. He is giving people time to get saved as well as for His people to be about their task so that people will hear and be saved. Now if you want to talk about slackness, His people have fallen down on the job and in many cases failed miserably. Some of that time may be given to us in order to get back on track that men can hear and repent. He is being merciful to the unbeliever and the believer. We both need repentance. The unbelievers need it that they might not perish and the believers so that unbelievers do not perish because of our failures. Neither group should take this time of mercy lightly for it will end one day.

2 Peter 3:10-13

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. KJV

Matt 24:23-27

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. KJV

Peter is giving us a brief synopsis of what Christ gave in Matthew and what John gave us in Revelation but he is emphasizing how the world will be destroyed versus the timetable of events. The Lord will come as a thief in the night without warning and it will be as swift as lightning. The Rapture will happen in a twinkling of eye. Therefore all those “the Christ is now here” reports back then and any in the future are false. The truth is that indeed the Antichrist may already be here and working in the background like a Hitler or Sadaam preparing for his takeover, but Jesus won’t be coming back the second time the same way He came before. There are many false Christs and Christians in the world that are preparing people to accept a leader with charm and lying wonders. True Christians are the ones standing in the way of such men and we irritate them but one day their source of irritation will be gone. Praise the Lord! They will have their way but they will also pay.

The Lord gave Peter not only the vision of the end in this passage but also the concept of it being a long time by man’s standard before Christ’s return in chapter 3. I am sure that the scoffing began when Christ didn’t come back before the Apostles or early Church Fathers died. Two thousand years later many are on the bandwagon. Looking through our perspective we get into big trouble as we saw earlier. One noted atheist speaker said that two thousand years was enough for Jesus and his followers. Their day was over. If we are truly in the last days then that gentleman was being prophetic like Caiaphas when said that Jesus must die for the nation. The age of grace is approaching its sunset but the sunrise of the Day of the Lord is about to break forth and its light will blind that atheist and his followers as they are now blinded by the devil. It will be a day of darkness for unbelievers with no way to escape judgment like the man in Amos 5.

What then, shall we not look for the signs of His coming? Should we not consider the season? Yes and no. John Wesley had it right when he said, “I plan my life like Jesus isn’t coming back for a hundred years but I live my life like He is coming back tonight”. Too many people only study prophecy for curiosity, thrills, and head knowledge. Everyone wants to be the one who discovers the true identity of the False Prophet and the Antichrist. They have the process of how the mark of the Beast will work down pat. Lots of exciting and glamorous stuff shows up in books and movies, but all of it misses the whole point of God’s purpose in giving us what He did.

1 John 3:2-3

2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself , even as he is pure. KJV

We are told all these things so that we will seek to be holy as He is holy and to turn from the pollutions of this present world as we see the new one approaching. Many have great head knowledge of these prophecies but do not make the application needed in their lives. None of us are as holy as we should be and fewer and fewer seem to be trying. Yes thank God for mercy, grace, sonship and security but we should not be taking all that for granted. Remember why Paul said many were sick among the congregation and many sleep? Also, why does James 5 mention sins along with sickness? Not all sickness is because of sin but it needs to be considered as a cause. We will never be perfect in this life but we must seek to reach a much higher standard then most of us are achieving. If we must fall short let us aim very high rather than trying to seek a minimum level of performance. We should not be saying, “How low can I go and still be saved?” but rather “Lord, take me to new heights that I cannot achieve in my power”. Preparation and purification are big reasons for prophecy.

Heb 10:23-25

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. KJV

Isn’t it interesting that with the predictions of the end being near church attendance is down and Sunday night services are being cut out when we are told to meet more often as the day is approaching? The early church met every day and we have trouble with four hours a week and we wonder why we are so weak.

Note that the reason we are to meet together is to exhort one another and provoke one another unto love and good works. It doesn’t say that we are to go to see what we can get out of it for ourselves but what we can do for others. We are to be “seekers” of others needs and to learn how do to the work of the ministry as we are told in Ephesians 4:12.

The only churches that are growing rapidly are the ones catering to the desires of the individual and entertainment. The Word is often watered down and separation from the world is not taught. In fact, some places would be hard to tell from a rock concert and nightclub if the lyrics were different and the building didn’t have church or something religious in its name. Many have become more of a fish and loaves ministry versus ministering the Bread of life. They don’t want to offend anyone or shut anyone out even at the cost of sound doctrine.

One so-called Baptist church is seeking to change their membership requirements from believer’s baptism by immersion to accepting a person’s infant baptism if the person appears to be saved and the person is satisfied with the ritual they had performed. I hope they drop the name Baptist as well for they shall no longer be Baptists. One has only to search the Scriptures to see how wrong that new doctrine is let alone that baptize itself means immerse not sprinkle or pour. Ah, but membership and inclusion are more important than truth. Where does it end? Give a little here and a little there and soon the antithesis will be the thesis as the unbelieving philosopher accurately stated.

Matt 24:11-12

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. KJV

We live in an ongoing state of spiritual synthesis. All the old heresies are cropping up under new names and groups challenging the eternal truth of God and His Word. They shall ultimately fail but the sad part is that they will take many people with them and Hell’s membership will increase faster than the Church’s. Only the elect will not be deceived but the devil has plans for them as well.

If you can’t send a person to Hell you have to make then ineffective. Come up with fun filled “churches” that keep you happy but not convicted and you won’t do much and ultimately when the thrill is gone you will end up at the home cold as ice. Let men with great charisma or elocution preach polluted doctrine from polluted and twisted versions and your heart will grow cold to the things of God since you aren’t hearing His pure word.

1 Peter 2:1-3
2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. KJV

I am certain that many who are truly born again are babes in Christ. They are stuck as Paul says in Hebrews 5 on the first principles of the faith. They haven’t gotten those straight in their mind or embedded in their hearts and thus they are unskillful in the Word not being able to discern between good and evil. They still need milk. Sadly, the milk they are getting is soured and it is no wonder they have colic and other digestive disorders.

The word sincere in this passage does not mean what we have made the word to mean. We will look at a person that is doing something wrong in ignorance and say, “He was at least sincere about it”. How much cyanide was required in the Kool-Aid® in Guyana to kill those sincere folks at Jim Jones’ compound? I would say very little. He did not have to pollute or adulterate the drink much to bring about disaster. Honesty plays a part in that the word sincere means undeceitful but it is also means unadulterated or pure.

Now since God led Peter to exhort the believers to desire the pure milk of the Word it would stand to reason that it was expected that pure milk would be available. Much of what is purported to the Word today is polluted. If they are serving sour milk it is easy to understand that their meat is spoiled as well. Indeed, deceitful arguments are used to get people to drink it. Many will get a little sick, others severely ill and many will die from this spiritual food poisoning. It has been “Yea, hast God said” from the Fall until now.

It did not take much adulteration of God’s Word to lose Eden and to bring death into the world. I am sure that Mother Eve was very sincere in what she believed that God said or that she added the “neither shall ye touch it” part to give her greater safety at least in her own mind. After awhile though she must have gotten it mixed up in her mind because she quoted her part with God’s part as God’s Word and that is when the devil got her. Five words different and poof goes Eden and in comes death and despair. Not much adulteration, just a bit.

Yet we have untold numbers of scholars that tell us that God can inspire men to write His Word exactly as He desired yet keeping the writer’s personality and style intact but He cannot preserve it except in the originals. Jesus said that one jot and tittle would not pass away but somehow He allowed us to have a polluted text for over four hundred years until He let finally let us find the more ancient and better texts. Hmm, does God mean what He says or not? Sounds like some mighty educated folks asking the same serpentine question that got us into this mess in the first place. He adds curses to those who add and take away from His Word. From Mother Eve’s experience we can see that He is dead serious about the adding to it so why should we take lightly taking away from it?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the so-called neutral or critical text is made up of texts that were either the botched copies of rookie scribes or the intentional adulterations by heretics that Paul warned of in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. Their only agreement is that they disagree with each other in every point. These are better texts than the ones God has blessed for hundreds of years? Only if you are on drugs or greatly deceived can you possibly believe such a thing. This is sour milk indeed.

We must return to a more sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19) if we hope to grow into disciples that can chew on strong meat. If we cannot discern what is and what is not the very Word of God then we are most unskilful. In a very real sense the pseudo-scholars have sought to destroy the very foundations and what can the righteous do? They can abstain from impure milk, yea poison, and feed on that milk that raised up giants of the faith not CEOs and motivational speakers. Returning to the very milk that led to great personal sacrifices and deep meat preaching is what we need not “Ten Easy Steps to Holiness” by men in million dollar homes. The great saints cared more about offending God than men and often paid with their lives rather than being on TV reaping great paychecks. They reaped souls and strengthened the sheep not fleeced them. They gave the Church and the World what they needed to hear not what they wanted. May God raise up such men one more time before He returns. I doubt that they will come from the current scholarly class. Jesus used unlearned fishermen and even the scholars He used counted everything dung but to know Him and the power of His resurrection. We need thousands like them but Jesus commissioned twelve. May we be given at least that many like them before the Rapture.

So after thirty-one years I still expect the trumpet at any day but if Jesus doesn’t come soon we can rejoice that He has given us time to return to a pure word and to purify ourselves. He has given us more time to quit entertaining the flesh and enter into His work. Yet, ready or not, as John says in Revelation, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”. Maranatha!

 

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