13 March 2013

Jesus Christ Is Coming Soon

To rapture or not to rapture? Premillennial, postmillennial or amillennial? While the spectrum of Christian eschatology is wide and varying depending upon one's beliefs and traditions, one truth ought to unite all believers in spite of their eschatological timeline. What is that truth? That the Lord Jesus Christ will return and that He will return soon.

Christians know this to be true because the Lord declared it to be so in His Word:
And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. (Rev. 22:7)
The return of Jesus Christ is the Christian's blessed hope. It is an event that the believer ought to anticipate with great joy and eagerness. The reality of the imminence of the Lord's Second Coming ought to compel the Christian to live a life of holiness that is worthy of the gospel which saved him—a life that glorifies God.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11–14)
And while no man may know the day or the hour of Christ's appearing (Mark 13:32), the Christian nevertheless may rest in Christ's promise that He will return for His own.
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:2–3)
How sad it can be, then, to hear some professing Christians declare that they do not wish for Christ to return soon. Whether they respond with the tired mantra that one ought not "be too heavenly minded to be any earthly good," or whether they fear that they may miss the marriage of their children, the birth of their grandchildren or whether they dread the judgment of their loved ones, it is a sorrowful thing to find a Christian who does not light up with joy at the prospect of seeing his Savior face to face.

Baylor University professor Greg Garrett is one who feels that Christians ought to stop talking about Christ's return. While the Harold Campings of the world no doubt would best serve mankind by remaining silent and refraining from date-setting, the true Christian must insist upon warning others that Christ is coming soon. Garrett appears to disagree, writing in a post entitled, "Jesus Is Not Coming Soon,"
But mostly I want us all to stop talking about Heaven and Hell, about who's going to be in either one, about the Rapture of the Saints, about whether Jesus will return with a sword or on a unicorn. . . .

If we believe Jesus is going to make a special trip to strap jetpacks on us, we aren't forced to care about our brothers and sisters (the heathen who are staying behind to be destroyed anyway), about the creation we've been given, about any of the tasks God assigns us through the prophets and through Jesus himself. . . .

Until Jesus comes again in glory, whatever that means, whenever that happens, we are supposed to be about our Father's business.

(Source)
Yes, let Christians be about their Father's business, but let them be busy with these matters precisely because Jesus Christ is coming soon.

What is that business about which the Christian should be concerned? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that the chief end of man is "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Is there any greater way to glorify God on this earth than to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ (Luke 24:47)? No deed of man can bring more glory to God than to declare Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). When one remembers that Christ is coming again soon, and returning this time in judgment, then that business, that message, becomes even more urgent.
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Rev. 22:12–13)
Whether 'soon' means that Christ will appear next week, next year or next century ultimately is immaterial. Man cannot be promised that tomorrow will arrive, and so today is the day of salvation. When the unregenerate are confronted with their own sin and unworthiness before a holy God, when they are made to realize that one day they must stand before His throne and face judgment, then they are prepared to understand why it is they need a Savior. It might just be that the truth of the Lord's impending return will cause the sinner to bow the knee in repentance and faith now so that he might enjoy God forever.

Jesus is coming soon, and the Christian ought not be ashamed to declare it. Let this truth motivate believers to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ without hesitation before all men. Jesus did not hesitate to declare it throughout His earthly ministry, and He further proclaimed it three times in the final chapter of His Word. Why, then, would the Christian seek to bury such a promise?

photo credit: Paco CT via photopin cc

Further Reading
John MacArthur on the New Birth
Lydia's Conversion and God's Irresistible Grace
The Bible: the Book, the Miniseries and the Sins of Sodom

5 comments:

  1. Marana Tha. Revelation 22:20 speaks about one coming and not 1.5 or close and almost one and then a real one... 1 Thessalonians 4 and specifically 1 Thessalonians 4:17 describes an event whithin the larger context and sequence of THE DAY OF THE LORD as the context qualifies and states. E.g. just two verses away from so abused 1 Thessalonians 4:17 the underlying context and the actual main even of THE DAY OF THE LORD is black on white stated and affirmed:

    " For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night."

    1 Thessalonians 5:2

    Please let us be mindfull that chapters and verses referral system has been introduced about 1,400 years after these words were penned down under the direct inpiration of God the Holy Spirit.

    1 Thessalonians 5:2 QUALIFIES and DEFINES the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:17

    ~ Despeville

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  2. Thank you for your encouragement to look toward the final coming of our Lord with great joy and anticipation. It should surely be proclaimed and shared with as much gusto as the gospel. Regarding the word "soon", it either means something specific or it means nothing. Generally it means within a short time. This means that not every generation could interpret "soon" in the same manner; "soon" would have had to have been fulfilled "soon" after the statement was made. So for the first generation to hear these words must have understood that Jesus would return soo much in their context, and He did in judgment in 70AD. Praise God that there will be a final coming to judge and consumate the Kingdom. However, I don't believe we can be true to Scripture and to the common meaning of the word to say it will be "soon".

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  3. Thanks EBenz, the Scriptures are clear enough for me. Soon is what I'll stand on. There's enough opinions out there by well-meaning and the well-versed. I try never to nail down any theology based on someone else's opinion of the Bible. You can nail down,"soon." We should live as if soon means soon...

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  4. It would be lovely if Christ's Bride could be unified by the Holy Spirit in this matter of His return, but alas, there is too much mis-information spouted by those who choose to remain in the dark. For the detractors of the rapture I would ask: What hope do you offer the Bride of Christ to replace that of the rapture? How does the 'no rapture' belief comfort the Church? Why should we 'watch' as commanded by the Lord if we must endure the tribulation? Why should we consider the "Coming of the Lord" and "The Day of the Lord" as simultaneous events when Scripture teaches they are not? There are other questions, but enough for now.

    And for those folks who contend that there will be no Millennial Reign of Christ on this earth I would ask: By what authority have you taken upon yourself to remove from the Word of God the last few chapters of Revelation? Do you not understand the warning given by the Holy Spirit in Rev. 22:18 & 19? Do you not realize that by saying there will be no 1000 year reign of Christ on earth that you have (hopefully through ignorance) called the Father a liar, because all the prophesies concerning Israel during that time have yet to be fulfilled and will not be fulfilled if there be no Millennial Reign? Dangerous ground, sinking sand.

    The Rapture is a source of great hope for the Church. Do not allow those who choose to teach otherwise to rob you of this hope and comfort.

    Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!!!

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    Replies
    1. Amen!!! It is indeed my blessed hope each day! Maranatha!

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