Some dramatic events on God’s calendar must take place before the Lord returns to earth, and many of these are not going to be pretty. Those Christians who have adopted a materialistic, escapist view of the Christian life may be terribly surprised.
Many of the world crises we are beginning to experience were predicted in the Bible hundreds of years ago. What is shocking, however, is the rapid-fire speed at which these events are now racing ahead. Against all odds, the frameworks of the world’s economic, political, and social systems are being shaken and are beginning to crumble.
Before going any further, allow me to make a confession: I do not understand everything the Bible reveals to us concerning the Second Coming. I consider myself a student of the Scriptures, but I must admit, I still have questions about many aspects of eschatology, the study of future things. I do not know when Jesus is coming – it may be in my lifetime or it may not – but I believe He will return to Earth in power and glory, just as He said.
I used to listen in amazement (and sometimes with amusement) to some of the prophecy teachers we hosted at PTL. With their charts and graphs they would dogmatically teach exactly when the events described in the book of Revelation were going to come to pass. “This is going to happen, then this will happen, and then will be the Battle of Armageddon…” on and on they would go. I do not mean to imply that these teachers were insincere in their teaching or unlearned in the Scriptures. They were godly Bible teachers who felt strongly that they had exceptional insight or an unusual understanding of a complicated message.
Yet the truth is, we do not know when Jesus Christ is going to return. I can point you to the Scriptures that describe what will happen before His coming; I can (and will in the pages ahead) show you Scriptures that describe His return in power. But to set a date for His return is not my intention. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32 NKJV). In one of His last statements to His disciples, after the Resurrection and just before He ascended into heaven, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7 NKJV). For me to give you a play-by-play description of the events scheduled to take place in the future, events whose timing is known only to our heavenly Father, would be the height of presumption on my part.
On the other hand, I do not subscribe to the popular notion that it is impossible for us to know approximately when to expect our Lord’s return. Many Christians are fond of saying, “I am neither pretribulational or posttribulational. I am pantribulational. I just believe it will all pan out in the end.”
That’s a cute (and non-confrontational) way to look at the last days, but it flies in the face of Scripture. Jesus definitely gave us a lot of information concerning His return and, as I noted previously, numerous signs to watch for, signs indicating that the time of His return is near.
Sometimes I wish Jesus had been more specific in the information He gave to us. Imagine all the theological arguments He could have prevented if He hand only said, “I am coming back at the beginning of the Tribulation period, or the middle, or the end of the Tribulation.” Better yet, He could have said, “I am coming back on January 1, 20XX, so be ready.”
(To Be Continued)
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 2
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 3
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 4
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 5
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 6
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 7
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 8
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 9
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 10
Will We Go Through the Tribulation? – Part 11
Excerpt from Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse
Published in 1998