The Promise of His Coming
"Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming...'"
2 Peter 3:3-4
When I became a Christian in 1975, I had lots of 'when' questions about the coming of the Lord. When will the Son of Man gather His elect? When will the Messiah finish the mystery of God? When will the Word of God war against the Beast? When will the Lamb of God return with His bride?
When I asked my pastor these questions he smiled.
"No one knows when Jesus will come back. Studying end time events is just a waste of time. You should be out winning souls."
"If what you say is true, then why did the disciples ask Jesus for the sign of His coming?"
The tone of his voice changed. It was obvious my pastor wasn't comfortable talking about the coming of the Lord.
"Son, Jesus will come when He wants to. This world needs to hear the gospel. Worrying about the future is never God's will."
His reply sounded reasonable. Yet my questions wouldn't go away. My new Christian friends assured me the Lord will bring an end to this world in His timing not mine. My desire to understand didn't seem to matter. I even tried rephrasing my questions. That didn't work either. I couldn't help wondering why I couldn't get any answers. A close friend advised me not to be afraid that God was in control. He insisted there are some things we will never know until we get to heaven. It only took a few more brush-offs before the conviction faded away.
A few years later, the Holy Spirit led me to study The Revelation of Jesus Christ. In his vision John saw a great multitude standing before the throne of God (Rev. 7:9-13). One of the twenty four elders tells us who they are and where they came from.
"...These are the ones who come out of the Great Tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them." (Rev. 7:14-15)
Believers have come out of the Great Tribulation and are standing before the throne of God. This great multitude is praising the Father and the Lamb for their salvation. I suddenly realized my desire to understand His coming was never fueled by worry or fear about the future. It was the Holy Spirit prompting me to seek after the truth. Today, more and more Christians are convinced Jesus will not return in their lifetime. Driven by their lusts, some have become scoffers.
"Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming...'" (2 Pet. 3:3-4)
It's chilling to see the growing number of believers that have no desire to study the promise of His coming. There is no doubt the Holy Spirit wants us to comprehend the consequences of such denial. Why is there such confusion over His coming? Why do pastors teach so many different interpretations? And why is there such disagreement among Christian leaders? There are two reasons for such uncertainty. It begins with those training the saints for the work of the ministry. God chose apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, to equip and edify the body of Christ. Besides receiving salvation through the gospel, the greatest truth of the Great Commission is our Lord coming back at the end of the age (harvest) (Mat. 28:18-20). God wants every saint to be strengthened by this promise. Incredible as it may seem, after twenty generations, most ministers have abandoned this precious truth. How so? Ministers are not teaching the coming of the Lord in the words of Jesus and His apostles. They're redefining His coming by the traditions of men. How else can you explain it being taught in so many different ways?
Allow me to ask you some questions about His coming. What events warn us His coming is near? What event initiates His coming? What events make up His coming? When does His coming end? And what are the eternal consequences of His coming? Do you know?
Probably not. The fact is many Christians would love to understand the events coming before, during, and after Christ's coming. Most just haven't been taught.
The second reason for not understanding His coming is hard to watch. The witness from the Holy Spirit is being ignored. Our relationship with the Spirit of God is critical because He empowers us to continually abide in Christ.
"These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." (1 John 2:27-28)
According to John, those abiding in Christ will have confidence at His coming. Those who aren't will be ashamed. Trusting in the teachings of influential pastors, celebrated prophets, and compelling prophecy experts, without the witness of the Holy Spirit is wrong. Such compromise grieves Him. Only the Spirit can give us the correct interpretation. This lack of witness in the body has enabled Satan to sow a deceptive teaching that is lulling many Christian's to sleep.
"Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober." (1 Thes. 5:6)
While walking with His disciples Jesus shared He would soon be condemned to die (Mat. 20:17-18). He knew where He was going; Jerusalem. He knew who would betray Him; the chief priests and scribes of Judaism. He knew why He was coming; to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He knew what was going to happen; the agony of crucifixion (Mark 15:24-27, Psa. 22:16-18, 1 Cor. 15:3-5).
A couple of days before His crucifixion, four disciples followed Jesus from the temple in Jerusalem (Mat. 24:1-2) across the Kidron Valley, up to the Mount of Olives (Mark 13:1-3). Their hearts were heavy. Peter, James, John, and Andrew could have asked many questions. The one they did ask was about His coming back.
"Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him
privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'" (Mat. 24:3)
Jesus already told them His coming will be like the days of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:26-33). The world will be living in darkness when the Son of Man gathers His elect (2 Pet. 3:10). His disciples simply wanted to know the sign alerting them it was near. After describing the events believers should be looking for, Jesus shared the sign of His coming.
"For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Mat. 24:27)
Every eye will see this sign appear in heaven (Mat. 24:30, Rev. 1:7). The unsaved will mourn when they see the Son coming in glory of His Father (Mat. 16:27). They will be terrified; not knowing what to expect. It will be the exact opposite for the saved seeking physical redemption. Ever since the Son ascended to the right hand of His Father, every generation has watched for these events (Luke 21:28, Mat. 24:33). They never came; not yet. After describing the events warning us His coming is near (Mat. 24:3-33), Jesus made this amazing statement. Only His Father knows the day and hour of the coming of the Son of Man (Mat. 24:36). Even though the Son didn't know the exact day, Jesus prophesied a scenario He wants every Christian to understand.
"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand." (Mat. 24:15)
The Abomination of Desolation (Antichrist) is going to defile the Holy Place in Jerusalem before the elect are gathered to heaven. This is what the early church believed concerning the timing of the Antichrist (Mat. 24:15; 30-31). The saints victorious over the Beast will be delivered to heaven by the Lord (Rev. 7:9-14; 15:2). This doesn't faze the author of the Left Behind Series, Tim LaHaye. He isn't worried about the persecution by the Antichrist because He believes the church will be gone. [1. The Rachel Maddow Show-Apocalypse Now, T. 6:08-6:23] Pastor John Hagee also believes the church will not be here. [2. John Hagee-Glen Beck Bible Prophesies 4, T. 0:32-1:10] LaHaye and Hagee teach Jesus can come at any moment. They insist there isn't another event that has to happen for the rapture to take place. Is this what our Lord taught? Why should believers be watching for the Abomination of Desolation if Jesus could come at any moment? Many say it doesn't matter; let's just be ready. So how does one know they are ready for His coming? If you died today and your sins are washed away by His blood (Rev. 1:5), then you're ready to join the Lord in heaven. You're not necessarily ready for His coming. If being saved meant you were ready for His coming then the warning by Jesus to repent and watch would be meaningless.
"Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you." (Rev. 3:3)
Why does the Lord want us to repent?
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth...." (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
Why does the Lord want us to watch?
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near." (Luke 21:20)
Jesus taught expectancy. Every Christian should be living with the expectation the Abomination of Desolation could invade Jerusalem in their lifetime. Jesus and His apostles never taught a secret coming with no events preceding it. So who wants to keep the saints in the dark until it is too late? Let's review three lies deceiving many believers.
The spirit of antichrist is whispering, "Anyone trying to figure out the warnings in the Book of Revelation is wasting their time. They're majoring in the minors. Even the pastors don't agree."
"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it..." (Rev. 1:3)
The spirit of antichrist is whispering, "Look at these teachers trying to fit the six o'clock news into Bible prophecy. This nonsense has been going on for years. There is no proof the church will ever be raptured."
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord..." (1 Thes. 4:17)
The spirit of antichrist is whispering, "The Devil has no power over a Christian. Those who fall away were never saved."
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of
demons." (1 Tim. 4:1)
Only those abiding in the doctrine of Christ have the Father and the Son (2 John 1:9). The Holy Spirit is warning us of apostasy in these last days. Depart means to reject, sever, or fall away. Christians are departing from their faith in Jesus by believing in doctrines of demons being spread by deceiving spirits. Yet, Pastor Charles Stanley teaches falling away is never about losing one's salvation. [3. Charles Stanley: Can You Recognize False Teaching 1, T. 6:30-7:27] He insists a Christian cannot be lost; they simply become useless. Is useless mentioned in this verse? And how can a useless believer heeding doctrines of demons serve Christ? Dr. Stanley claims only unbelievers can fall away. Seriously, how can unsaved people fall away from a faith they never had? A partaker of Christ is someone saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). One cannot continue to receive grace if they choose to deny their faith in Christ (2 Tim. 2:12, 2 Pet. 2:1).
"For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." (Heb. 3:14)
Christians are being taught they will never face the Antichrist; much less receive his mark. [4. 2009 International Prophecy Conference, T. 0:01-1:20] Satan is using this Trojan horse teaching to lull many to sleep. This is why the Holy Spirit led me to write this book. The goal of 'Til Eternity is to empower believers to overcome and not be deceived.
In The Wolves In Sheep's Clothing we will begin our study by exposing the teachers deceiving millions of Christians. What are they teaching? Who are they targeting? What is the fruit of their prophesying?
In The Coming Of The Lord Jesus Christ we will define the events which make up His second coming. We will see when it begins and ends. And what events will be fulfilled.
In The Seventy Weeks Of Daniel we will examine a vision given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel. The focus of this prophecy is the physical return of the Messiah to fulfill the mystery of God.
In The Day of the Lord we will study a crucial event on God's
end time calendar. We will examine how the wrath of God will punish the world for its evil. By comparing scriptures we will see when His
wrath begins and when it ends.
In Then Comes The End we will highlight the events initiating the countdown to Armageddon.
For the past ten years I've taught end time prophecy. Keeping track of the events coming before, during, and after His second coming can be overwhelming. This is why so many have given up trying. There had to be an effective way to communicate a truth that will affect the salvation of so many. The answer from the Holy Spirit was simple, yet profound. The best way to understand His coming is to study in chronological order the last seventy events until eternity begins. This way you can see the purpose of each event, how it relates to other events, and never be confused. What is this event? Who is involved? Where will it happen? When will it happen? Why will it happen?
For anyone desiring to stand before the Son of Man there are several reasons why you should read this book (Luke 21:36).
● To identify the teachers sowing heresies in the church.
● To identify the False Prophet and his false signs.
● To identify the Beast before he wars against the saints.
● To identify his mark before your classmates, your neighbors, your friends, even your family members receive it on their right hand or forehead.
As you see these events approaching what is God's will for your life? The Son wants you to overcome the Beast through the power of His blood and the word of your testimony. Many ask, then why isn't the Holy Spirit warning the church? And if the saints aren't heeding the urgency now, what makes you think they will once the world follows the Beast? The frightening truth is many never will!