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A Recent Article
From the first two parts of this series it is
abundantly clear from God’s Word that both Jesus and Paul taught that
Jesus could return at any time and that his second coming was, and
remains, imminent. In order to get a complete picture we now need to
turn to the books from Hebrews to Revelation.
The writer to the Hebrews urged them to be in
fellowship “as you see the Day
approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Once again it is clear that those
who were alive at that time were being encouraged that the Lord could
appear in their lifetime. The writer was even more explicit when he
said: “For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (Hebrews
10:37). The message to the Hebrews was exactly the same as the rest of
the New Testament: Jesus’ return is imminent.
James said: “…for
the coming of the Lord is at hand… Behold, the Judge is standing at
the door!” (James 5:7&9). This means exactly what it says: The
Lord is at the door. He is about to enter the scene at any moment.
Peter confirms: “The
end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in
your prayers” (1Peter 4:7). Literally, the end of the world can
happen at any moment now! Peter continues: “The
Lord is not slack concerning His promise... But the day of the Lord
will come as a thief in the night… what manner of persons ought you to
be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming
of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved,
being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
…Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to
be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider
that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved
brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you”
(2 Peter 3:9-15).
In his epistles John urged the believers of
the first century to be ready: “…when
He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is
pure.” (1 John 3:2-3)
As we turn to the book of Revelation, we need
to remember that the book was written first to the seven churches of
Asia in 96 A.D. It was secondly written to all who would come after
them – including us. So, while
the book is prophetic, its statements, messages and warnings are
relevant and applicable to everyone until the Lord’s actual arrival:
I am coming quickly!”
“Behold, I am
time is at hand.”
behold, I am coming quickly.”
I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
The word “quickly” above is the Greek word “tachu”
and it means quickly, speedily and without delay.
The conclusion is that the idea of the Lord
Jesus returning at any moment is not a doctrine based on one or two
verses. This is taught throughout the New Testament. Every writer of
the New Testament warns and encourages that the Lord could come today.
Every one of the over 40 texts I have quoted in these three articles
are simple and straightforward in their message. It is impossible to
understand these verses as saying anything other than the Lord’s
return is imminent.
The only way anyone can reject the idea of
imminence is by rejecting the inerrancy, inspiration, authority, and
plain meaning of Scripture. There is no other way. One so-called
“teacher of prophecy” explains these texts this way: “The apostles
were confused in their thinking and they did not understand that the
Lord would not come till much later.” What this man says is that the
Bible is flawed and men wrote the Bible out of their confused and
limited minds; therefore nothing of the Bible can be trusted and it is
not the infallible Word of God. NO, a thousand times NO! The authors
wrote the Bible by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and every word
is the Word of God and is the truth (2Timothy 3:16; 2Peter 1:21).
There are no mistakes in the Bible. No matter whether it was Paul,
James, Peter or John who wrote, they wrote by the Holy Spirit, and
what is written is the truth.
Even if you reject the testimony of Paul,
James, Peter and John you still have to deal with the many direct
statements of Jesus, in the Gospels and in Revelation, that He is
coming quickly, suddenly, and at an unexpected time. You cannot reject
imminence and claim to believe the Bible – it is logically impossible.
Neither can you read “death” into these
verses. Jesus did not say, “You will see me soon in death.” He said “I
am coming quickly.” There is a huge difference. Yes, we can die at any
moment, but it takes a lot of mental gymnastics and twisting of
Scripture to read death
into “coming.” Death, by
definition is “going” (to be with Him), it is not Him “coming.”
I think you can see to what lengths men will
go to strip the Bible of uncomfortable doctrines and truths that
conflict with their manmade doctrines.
Only one question remains: “Do you believe the
Scriptures?” If you do, you have no choice but to believe that the
Lord Jesus could come today, without delay and without warning.
Therefore, “what manner of
persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and
hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens
will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with
fervent heat? …Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be
diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and
consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our
beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has
written to you.” (2 Peter 3:11-15)
To Be Continued…