We’ve heard it taught for years. Jesus is coming like a thief in the night, so be ready. He could come at any moment, without any warning, so stay alert. You don’t want to be left behind!
I remember hearing this teaching when I first came to faith in 1971.
The signs were all there. The prophecies were being fulfilled in front of our eyes. You could feel it in the air. Jesus was about to rapture His church – to catch us away – at any moment.
Hal Lindsey’s mega-bestseller The Late Great Planet Earth laid it all out, and the countdown had clearly begun. We’ll be out of here any second now.
But that was a long time ago, almost 50 years now. And still, Jesus hasn’t returned.
Of course, from 1995-2007, there was the mega-bestselling series of Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and they fascinated and inspired a new generation of readers.
But still, with all the talk of Jesus coming any day now, with all the excitement about the prophecies being fulfilled, the Lord has not yet returned.
Have our expectations been wrong? Are we following a popular, relatively modern teaching rather than the Scriptures?
Without a doubt, the New Testament proclaims that Jesus will return to earth and establish His kingdom. And without a doubt, the New Testament calls us to live with readiness and expectation. We can all agree on that.
But does the New Testament teach that, for true believers, Jesus will come suddenly, like a thief in the night, without any signs? Or, to the contrary, does it teach that His coming will not be like a thief in the night for godly believers, since we are awake and alert, fully aware of the signs of the times?
To be clear, I don’t doubt for a moment that we’re living in prophetic times.
The gospel is spreading all over the world in unprecedented fashion, just as the Scriptures predicted.
Out of the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel has been rebirthed and Jerusalem remains at the center of world attention, again, in accordance with the prophets’ words.
And around the globe, Christians are being brutally persecuted for their faith, mowed down by the hundreds and thousands. This too is in harmony with Scripture, which speak of the last days as times of great blessing and great upheaval, of great light and great darkness, or great victory and great conflict.
But what if the teaching of an any-minute rapture, followed by the Second Coming of Jesus 7 years later is not biblical? What then? And what if, rather than being rescued from a time of Great Tribulation, God will enable us to endure and overcome while in the midst of it?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown