To say the world is the same today as in years past – that we don’t live in unique times – is just not true. More than any other generation, ours has reason to expect the Second Coming. Jesus and the prophets said to look for specific signs heralding the end times. For over 1,800 years, you couldn’t find one of the signs they said to look for. Today, in one form or another, you can find all of them. Here are just a few examples:
Though only a small child at the time, I remember the sight of a large old farmhouse with a peculiar small room on top of it with windows on all sides. The farmer told my dad that the previous owner of the homestead had the lookout post built on the pinnacle of the roof so he could watch for the return of the Lord.
While we admire this man’s confidence in Jesus’ promise to return for us, is this really what Jesus meant by watching for His appearing? Although our English word for “watch” fits such passive behavior as looking out a window, the word in the original implies much more than that.
What does Jesus tell us to do in light of His imminent return? What do His instructions tell us about our expectation of His appearing?
We live in the last days of human history as we know it before the start of the tribulation.
We do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will come for His church or when day God’s fierce wrath will begin. The prophetic signs we see all around us, however, tell us these things are getting ever so close.
I shared this list a couple months ago through my newsletter. As events continue to point toward the soon return of Jesus, I decided to update the list and make it available to more who may be interested. I have also changed the order a bit.
With each step I took, I begged the Lord to work on my behalf. I had waited long enough; it was time for things to change. Surely God would listen to my desperate cries for help. I had recently interviewed for a promotion at work and was sure it represented the answer to my financial woes. As I awaited the decision of the hiring manager, I used my late afternoon runs to plead with the Lord to give me the position I so earnestly desired.
Most of us have seen it at some point in our lives. The daytime sky becomes dark ahead of an approaching strong storm; the blackness of the clouds makes it seem like night outside our window as our smartphones buzz with weather warnings. This happened outside my window as I was writing this post.
In Jesus’ day, people did not have our technology to warn of approaching storms. Instead, they learned to recognize signs in the sky that told them what to expect.
If you are like me, you find it difficult to maintain your sanity as you watch the growing apostasy in the church and look on as the world descends deeper into wickedness and violence seemingly every day.
One morning this week I read the story in Luke 9:51-56 about a Samaritan village that would not accept the presence of Jesus. In response to the city’s rejection of Jesus, James and John said “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” There are days, I confess, when I have sentiments that are far too similar to these two disciples than not.
On the afternoon of June 19, 2019, the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) voted to remove the word “premillennial” from their statement of faith. As one who has attended EFCA churches in the past, I feel a deep sense of sadness at the decision. I believe this removal of the word “premillennial” takes the EFCA in an unacceptable direction.
I believe that the members voting in favor of removing “premillennial” from their statement of beliefs made their decision the basis of three false assumptions.
In my last post, I looked at what Scripture teaches about our glorious role in Jesus’ kingdom during the millennium, which takes place between the Second Coming of Christ and the eternal state (referred to as “eternity” in the above timeline). For those of us in Christ, this thousand year period of time will be a thrilling time of renewal as we reign with Jesus for a thousand years sharing in His inheritance.
After reading my previous article, some might ask, “Is the millennium really necessary for us to experience the wondrous restoration you wrote about? Won’t these things also be true in the eternal state?”
At some level, all believers share in the sufferings of Jesus. We may not face torture and martyrdom for our faith as many of our brothers and sisters in Christ experience throughout the world. But nonetheless, we know the pain of rejection and ridicule as a result of our love for Jesus and His Word.
Just as we share in Jesus’ suffering we will also someday share in His triumph. Now we endure the ridicule and persecution of those who reject the Savior; in the future we will reign with Jesus.
Scripture tells us the last days will marked by those who mock our hope in Jesus’ imminent return. The apostle Peter reveals that in the last days scoffers will appear ridiculing such hope with this question, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
How can we recognize these modern day scoffers? Below I list five ways they make themselves known:
You and many others who have chosen to read this commentary are likely in agreement. We find ourselves at a time in which the future is indeed murky. The very fact makes it a time of uneasiness–of profound uncertainty.
With so many existential threats (factors portending possible, even probable, future disruption for our lives), many look to the 2020 presidential election with a shadow of oppressiveness clouding their thoughts.
The opposition to Jesus’ future reign on earth remains intense. Although premillennialism grew dramatically during the twentieth century, many Bible-believing teachers and pastors have reverted to Augustine’s platonic view of reality that denies biblical teaching regarding the millennium.
What has caused this reversal in recent decades? I believe the roots of today’s passionate opposition to premillennialism lie in Satan’s continuing hatred of anything to do with Jesus’ future reign.
During the past year, I have written many articles defending my belief in premillennialism, which is the belief that Jesus will return to earth after a literal seven year tribulation, destroy the armies arrayed against Jerusalem, and rule the world for a thousand years seated on the throne of David.
At this point you may be asking, “What difference does it make?” After all, many pastors who deny these things preach the Gospel and expound the Word with great conviction. Does it really matter if they deny Israel’s place in future biblical prophecy or regard the book of Revelation as having little relevance for us today apart from the final two chapters? Yes, it absolutely matters.
Back in the last century, most Bible-believing churches affirmed premillennialism. Not only that, many of these churches held week-long prophetic conferences teaching believers about the rapture, the tribulation, Jesus' second coming, the millennium, and the eternal state.
Sadly, this has changed. Many pastors no longer believe Israel has a place in God's prophetic program. The Lord's promise that we will reign with Him in the millennium is either relegated to another era or completely dismissed.
When it comes to the book of Revelation, many divorce the opening chapters from the remainder of the book. They do so by regarding the opening chapters as “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1), but not the remainder of the apocalypse.
Jesus’ words to the seven churches, for example, represent not only Jesus’ message to a sampling of current congregations, they also reveal the future of the church. This article provides a few examples of how we can connect the dots from the introduction to the remainder of the book of Revelation.
While most Christians agree on the fulfillment of prophecy relating to Jesus’ first coming, such harmony quickly disappears when one turns to prophecies related to His return to earth.
As one who has spent much time in the midst of the fray, I can attest to the pressing need to defend all that we hold dear. Attacks against our beliefs in the rapture, a literal tribulation, the second coming, Jesus’ reign seated on the throne of David, and the eternal state not only come from outside the church, they also emanate from Bible-believing pastors, writer, and teachers.
Believers who do not know how to defend the message of the book of Revelation can become easy prey for those who seek to rob them of its message of comfort and hope.
Why do I make such a seemingly outrageous clam?
It’s because even some pastors of Bible-believing churches relegate much of the book of Revelation to allegory.
Today, many Bible-believing pastors ascribe to replacement theology, which asserts that God has replaced Israel with the church. They preach that Israel no longer has a place in God’s prophetic program for the future.
Is this true? No! This doctrine contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture in so many places! In Romans 11:1-2, Paul leaves no doubt as to the continuing place of Israel in prophecy, “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. . . .”
I know “courageous hope” sounds like an oxymoron. After all, does it really require courage to hope for a sunny day, a successful job interview, or a speedy recovery from an illness?
Biblical hope, however, differs radically from what typically comes to our minds when we hear the word “hope.” For those of us in Christ, Jesus’ resurrection provides absolute confidence that His promises for our tomorrows will not fail.
Although our desire for the weather to cooperate with our plans may not happen, we can trust the words of Jesus regarding our future.