The Belief of Jesus’ Return

I believe in the Rapture or the return of Jesus Christ with all my heart. I believe it’s very soon. Much more soon than many will admit. I find other’s reaction to it when mentioned very interesting. Today, a pastor stopped by my house to see if there were any children that would like to go to vacation Bible school. My mom and this minister got into a discussion. She asked him if he believed in the rapture. He said, “The Rapture?… Some what…. er… the Rapture… well.. yeah… um.. yes, I do.” I was astonished to see a minister hem haw around such an important event. If you read the Bible, it tells of this blessed event and that we, as Christians are to be watching and waiting for it.

However, lately, the Rapture has came under a lot of criticism and mocking. This would be expected from unbelievers but much of it is coming from some claiming to be Christians. I have never seen “Christians” get so hateful as those that try to put down a pre-tribulation Rapture. It’s like the fangs and claws come out on them. We live in an age when people’s beliefs are upside down. Wrong is right, right is wrong. The respect our ancestors had for God and fellow mankind, much less themselves, is missing. Now, people live for today. They refuse to think about tomorrow so you can forget about getting them to think about a Rapture and where their souls will spend eternity. They refuse to see or serve a God that cannot abide sin and will cast sinners into hell for eternity. This would make them have to take a long hard look at their lives, how they are living. They do not want to be held accountable… so they deny it. They deny that there is a Rapture, they deny what the Bible calls tribulation, they deny the fact that they will be held accountable for how they live and whether they accept the gift of salvation and many even deny the existence of  Jesus Christ and God.

A high school friend wrote the following in response to a discussion on facebook. It’s very good so I would like to share it with you.

The Belief of Jesus’ Return

The belief that Christ would return in one’s lifetime has been held by faithful Christians since New Testament times (in 2 Thessalonians Paul actually counters the belief that Christ had already returned). This belief rises from the nature of the language used by both Christ Himself and other New Testament authors. In Acts 2:17 Peter explains that what they were witnessing was what Joel prophesied concerning the ‘last days.’ In Revelation 1:3 John tells us that ‘the time is near.’ Throughout the New Testament we have language which speaks of the imminent return of Christ, admonishing us to be watchful, anticipating His return when He comes to judge sin and save those who trust in Him.

In Matthew 24 Jesus gives His disciples the parable of the fig tree, teaching them to recognize the signs preceding His return, just as one anticipates figs soon after he see the leaves on the tree. Although we cannot know the day or the hour, Jesus tells us that believers should know when it is approaching. Noah did not know the day in which God would send the waters on the earth, but he knew it was imminent when he had the animals in the ark and God closed the door. The unbelievers, however, continued on with life as normal until they were swept away by the flood waters. Jesus said this is how His coming would be.

Given Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:45-51,the prudent action for the follower of Jesus is to live as if Christ will return at any moment. It does not work out well for the evil slave when he decides his master’s return is far off (v48-51), only to be caught unprepared at his unexpected return. Judgment, not salvation, awaits him.

Since judgment awaits the unbeliever at Christ’s return, it seems only loving to warn of the impending judgment and the coming wrath of God against sin. We do not do this to scare people into believing, but because we understand that God is ‘not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance’ (2 Pet. 3:9). He has called us to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ which must include the certainty of sin and punishment for the unbeliever. There’s no good news without the bad news; we can’t fully understand the love of God until we understand His wrath toward our sin. Once we understand that God’s wrath toward believer’s sins was poured out on Christ at the cross, the depth of His love comes full into view. So we call sinners to repentance because ‘now is the acceptable time…now is the day of salvation’ (2 Cor. 6:2).

It is interesting that Jesus’ final words in all of Scripture call us to expect His return at any moment: “Yes, I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20).

With the Apostle John we say ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’

Certainly the truth of Christ is what should be held forth; Paul says it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16). False teachings and false prophecy have no place in evangelism. In reading what you wrote, I think what you are referring to is not so much false prophecy as incorrectly interpreting current events as fulfilled prophecy. Make no mistake, there are many bible prophecies remaining to be fulfilled, and we are wise to understand what has been prophesied so that, should it come to pass in our lifetime, we will not be caught off guard. However, much damage has been done to the cause of Christ in the past 50-60 years by those who claim every world event is a fulfillment of prophecy. The claims are always premature, and time always exposes the error. Its a vicious cycle, and I’ve listened to several men repeatedly claim ‘This is it!’ only to be proven wrong. I believe some, but not all, of this interpreting of events is done simply for profit. The problem is, these men cry wolf so often that the church has lost any credibility it may have had in the eyes of the world.

Scripture clearly teaches we are living in the last days (i.e. Acts 2:17) but that language speaks more of an era or a period of time. They are called the last days (or end times) because the next major event in redemption’s history is the return of Christ, when our salvation becomes complete.

One reason we in the Western world sometimes have difficulty living in anticipation of Christ’s return is that we have become too comfortable in this world. Titus referred to the appearing of the Lord as the blessed hope (2:13) because it meant an end to the persecution of the people of God, when everything would be set right, and the enemies of God would be finally and forever defeated. When all our needs and most of our wants are met, we hope very little. But our persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe (and there are many of them) hope greatly in the return of Christ, waiting with the rest of creation for ‘our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body’ (Rom. 8:23-25).

I hope that I don’t come off sounding like I have it all together; I don’t. I struggle with being too comfortable in this world like most other believers. As CS Lewis said, the problem with man is not that God finds our desires too great, but too small. We are to easily satisfied. I pray that all believers everywhere become increasingly dissatisfied with the things of this world. I pray that we become like Abraham, who was looking for ‘the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:10), and that discontentment with this world will leave us longing passionately for the one to come.

Salvation in Jesus Christ entails so much more that forgiveness of sin. God has taken us, His enemies, and made us co-heirs with His Son! The truth of the gospel cannot end with the forgiveness of sin, but it must surely begin there. The truth of God’s judgment of sin must be clearly communicated, but so must the riches of His glorious grace! To neglect either is to preach an incomplete gospel.

By Scott Guthrie

I truly belief this return of Jesus is very, very soon. Some see it coming… some are watching and waiting for it. Most refuse to think about it as it would mean they would need to take a long look at how they are living. I pray that you are ready when Jesus does come. The tribulation that will follow is going to be literally a type of hell on earth. Pray for your unsaved loved ones and friends. Above all… be ready yourself and be watching and waiting as the Bible instructs us. Jesus could come at any moment… be ready!

I have another website that goes more into the Rapture and tribulation. Visit www.SomebodysComing.com for more info on the Rapture and Tribulation.

 

 

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