a Thief in the Night...
one knows when thieves come. No one can predict when they will arrive.
They just do and usually when we least expect them. So, can we really
say that, based on the "signs" around us, Jesus is coming soon?
| More has been declared, written,
and discussed about the prophesied Second Coming of Christ in the last
fifty years than ever before. Due to the worldwide threat of nuclear
holocost, along with the advancements in technology (which alert us to
disasters within seconds no matter where in the world they occur), the
sense of Bible believing Christians is that all these things indicate the
soon return of Jesus.
In fact, the fulfillment
of the prophecies concerning His Second Coming have always been and continue
to be a cause of excitement and wonder for Bible believing Christians;
as well they should be. However, Baptists have been all too often
guilty of following the predictions of those who publish their "computations"
that Jesus is indeed going to come at such and such a time. They've
convinced themselves throughout their history that world wars, natural
disasters, and periods of national immorality prove that Jesus is on the
verge of rapturing the saints. However, we are still here and we
are still waiting for His return--sometimes with egg on our faces.
All that being said, we need
to be responsible in how we present ourselves to a lost world regarding
what the Bible says about the Second Coming. By taking heed to all
that the Scriptures teaches us concerning it, we will avoid the foolishness
that some of our brethren have exhibited and truly come to understand the
joy and peace that comes when we comprehend that He could come for us at
any time; regardless of what is happening around us.
Here is what we do know...
Jesus promised that He would
return again (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32) but also made it clear that we
would not know the exact hour of His coming. Therefore, the only
possible indications of His return drawing near would be those "signs"
that were further prophesied throughout the New Testament; specifically
the Book of the Revelation.
That book makes it clear
that Christ's coming will be marked by a taking up of all born-again people.
It is referred to as the Rapture (a transport of delight). Also included
in the "last days" are a seven year long Tribulation period that culminates
in the Battle of Armageddon (a historical battlefield in Israel) between
Christ and the forces of the Antichrist. Following that event, the
victorious Christ rules the earth for a thousand years (the Millennium).
The sticky point seems to
be the question of at what point the Rapture will occur. Most Baptists
lean toward it occurring just before the Tribulation begins, whereas, others
hold to either a mid or post tribulation view.
Let it be said that dogmatism
regarding events that have not yet occurred is a risky business.
Nevertheless, the Baptists have a reputation for being very convicted about
their beliefs and the subject of things to come is no exception.
You will doubtless encounter numerous views concerning both the timing
of the Rapture along with many other dearly held views concerning the last
days when conversing with a Baptist on this subject. Furthermore,
any attempt to talk them out of looking toward the Blessed Hope (another
name for the Rapture) will not be appreciated. Due to their historical
nature regarding a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, the Second
Coming of Christ is a doctrine that is as dear to them as the salvation
of their souls.
It would not only be unwise
to question their views regarding future prophetical revelation but one
might seriously consider that the best place to understand Biblical truth
is amongst those who have historically proven their trustworthiness in
being committed to it.
Keep looking up! Jesus
is coming soon!
|Slippage Questions: The
Doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ
we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard,
lest at any time we should let them slip." ~ Hebrews 2:1
|Does the church you attend teach the Second
Coming or are you now alarmed that you have not heard much about it from
those who should know?
|Are you looking forward to the possible
return of Christ in your lifetime or does the thought of it make you fearful?
|Does the church you attend debunk this
Biblical doctrine? If so, why is the Second Coming of Christ taught
throughout the entire New Testament with such detailed descriptions in
the Book of the Revelation?
|If you believe that Jesus will Rapture
His believers either at the beginning, midway, or end of the Tribulation,
can you honestly say that you have studied all three views as opposed to
simply believing what someone else has told you?
|Are the signs of His Second Coming to
be interpreted as events that will occur previous to the Tribulation or
|Why is it that we sometimes tend to accept
the conclusions of some so-called Biblical "expert" who states that Jesus
is coming again at such and such a time and such and such a date?
|Can you honestly state that is acceptable
for a Bible believing Christian to argue, contend, and offend other believers
with dogmatic views concerning prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled?