I believed in Jesus as my Savior and Lord in May 1974. The first Christian book I read was The Late Great Planet Earth, by Hal Lindsey. I actually don’t remember much about the book but as I recall it focused on the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth, the Anti-Christ, Mark of the Beast and collapse of society and something called “The Rapture.” One of the first books of the Bible I read was the Book of Revelation, which is a symbolic message from the Lord Jesus Christ about the final era of this earth, judgment of all those who have rejected The Way, The Truth and The Life and the creating of a new earth.
There was a lot of talk 41 years ago (as of this writing) of Jesus coming back to this earth.
Of late I’ve viewed several videos on You Tube about some interesting events happening in September 2015. In fact, in Asia, where I live, we just past a significant milestone in September, that of 23 September. This month and this day was supposed to be a significant event according to those who think they have figured out the Hebrew calendar and many other types, shadows and symbols in the Bible. One Baptist man made several presentations on You Tube about this and said that possibly even “The Rapture” might occur on 23 September. He was not adamant, but he strongly suggested it. Well, I’m here on 24 September and you are. Nothing happened again.
There have been countless times just since I’ve been a Christian, not to mention since the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, that people have predicted the end times, Jesus returning and the end of the world. (Remember when we entered the new millennium?
So what about all this? People have been saying for hundreds of years that Jesus will return. Is all this a myth? Hype?
What I Believe
The God of the Universe anticipated scoffers and mockers in regards to the Second Coming of Christ, so don’t get discouraged about that:
2 Peter 3:1-15
3 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation,
Here are some bullet point thoughts:
- Just because Jesus has not returned yet doesn’t mean he will not return.
- If we believe in a God who is powerful enough to create the heaven and the earth then he is surely able to fulfill his promises about returning a second time to this earth.
- God’s timing is different from ours. What seems like a long time to us does not seem like a long time to God.
- The Day of the Lord will come like a thief: We do not know the day nor the hour. It’s true, there will be signs and hints to those who are paying attention, but his coming will be a surprise. It will not be a day noted in your calendar.
- It’s clear from many passages in the New Testament Bible that things will deteriorate in the last days before Jesus returns. That’s why we get all hyped up about these things, for in truth, in my lifetime I’ve seen a complete turn around where now good is called evil and evil is called good. In my mind I think, “Surely it can’t get much worse and Jesus must be close to returning.” However, I remember…I’m not God. His thinking and patience is different from mine.
- This earth will be destroyed. This earth on which we live has been tainted by sin and the demonic. It must be consumed and cleansed by fire and a new heaven and new earth will be created for those who have been faithful to Jesus.
- If we believe this is going to happen then it will affect our character, our behavior, how we spend money and time. If we believe these things are true then it must affect our efforts to reach the world with the Gospel.
The Bottom Line for Me
For me, I don’t think much about all the Hebrew calendars, “signs of the times” and all that. I pay attention. I listen. I consider. But for me the bottom line is not to be distracted from the Main Thing: Reaching this world for Jesus!
If Jesus truly is coming back soon then we must make an extra effort (actually an “extra effort” to us is just normal effort to God – “sacrifice” to us is just the normal Christian life God expects of us) to reach this world for Christ. God is patient because he doesn’t want any to perish.
How about you? Do you care if millions die every day who have not heard the Gospel? Are you living the kind of Christian life as if the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back next week? This, my friend, is the normal Christian life. Please consider the times. Your life is limited. If you don’t know for sure you will go to heaven when you die, please do something about that today. Speak to Jesus right now and say something like this:
“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I have done many wrongs. I know I must be punished for my sins – big and small. But you died on the cross on my behalf. You took my sins and my punishment on your body. Lord Jesus, please forgive me. Wash me clean. Draw me to you. Help me to change my life according to what pleases you and not what pleases me. Invade and rule over every aspect of my life. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.”
Final Thought: Find a local church. Worship. Serve. Give. Study. Do everything you can to live a life pleasing to God. Help others know him, too.