(There is a special message at the end of this article for those who do not have Jesus in their life and are looking for peace and a way to better understand the present-day insanity and confusion.)
Let me first begin by saying that I also long for, look for, and pray for His appearing.
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
This brief, hope-filled verse, found in (Revelation 22:20) is on the lips of most of my diligent Bible reading brothers and sisters now more than ever. Given the present state of the world, it is no surprise.
I have had many conversations and contacts with my brothers and sisters where they have said (with great emotion) that they want the Lord Jesus to come back “right now.” I fully understand how they feel as I, too, am vexed and disgusted with what the world has become – what now passes for “normal” or is being pushed as such by a world reeling under a load of sin, depravity and insanity; especially the evil intentionally directed at helpless children and elderly people.
The Lord was quite clear that the present conditions would abound, and He provided a list of them, so there is no need to enumerate them here. They are found in your Bible (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:3-7) and can be readily referenced. In fact, I am certain that most are already familiar with these verses, as the resonance of their reality has now pervaded every single aspect of everyday life. Even when we try to avoid them, we are unable to escape from them. I am reminded of how often, when I am out and about, that a vehicle will go by or pull up with loud, pounding music forcing itself on everyone within earshot: It is the pounding beat of a lost and dying world at the threshold of judgment.
Here I must point out that there is another longing that I have. Let’s continue this discussion by considering the desire for the return of the Lord in conjunction with our responsibilities to Him and a heart for the lost.
I am an unabashed holder of the Pre-Tribulation view of the Rapture. It is my understanding that the “appearing” being referred to in Revelation 22:20 is viewed by these brothers and sisters as the removal of the Church from the world prior to the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation. It follows that anyone who is not taken in the Rapture as the Bride of Christ will be “left behind” to endure the Tribulation (70th week of Daniel / Time of Jacobs Trouble).
Based on that view, we must all consider another sobering reality. That is that when we “long” for His appearing, before adding that “NOW” word, what are we, unintentionally perhaps, really asking for?
Note: I realize that there will be some that will hold/defend the idea that this “appearing” references the second coming at the end of the 7-year Tribulation (or some variant of that view). The reader is welcome to hold any view they wish to hold. Salvation does not depend on any particular view of the timing of this crucial prophetic event. So that we are clear, this discussion is based upon the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view.
I am of the belief that the timing of the Rapture is not linked to a “time” but instead on an “event” based on a custom that existed when Paul wrote the epistles. Much like the Galilean custom of betrothal and marriage that the Rapture is clearly patterned after (or perhaps, the custom was patterned by God to reflect His plan for the Rapture!), this “event,” I believe, was also planned by the Lord as further proof of His sovereignty over all creation and for our confidence in Him, and for His Glory.
(There are articles describing that custom and how it relates to the Rapture that have been written over the years. A good link to this concept as well as other material can be reached by this link:
At that time in history, a ship waiting to embark could not sail until the “full number” of crew that was required in order to fulfill the mission had arrived. Once the full number was reached, the captain would issue the command to depart. The Rapture ship, however, is Heaven-bound!
While God certainly knows the “time” when the last person will come to salvation under Grace, the timing of the Rapture is left open-ended [to us] by Him for His own good and righteous reasons, and He is the Captain that will issue that order to the Lord Jesus.
Now to the crux of this article.
When a Christian adds “NOW” to the desire for our Lord to return for the Church, what are the questions we should first consider related to the realities that accompany it?
- Are we failing to consider that there could be many more people who have yet to be saved under Grace, and that our desire for “now” would leave them behind?
- Are we failing to consider that God has a plan for us, and we should be patient and willing to live it out?
- Are we failing to consider our charge by Jesus to witness and help spread the Gospel and that we might have the glorious opportunity to lead someone to the foot of the cross?
- That this person might even be a beloved friend or relative or even a total stranger!!?
- Are we focusing inward instead of upward?
- Are we forgetting that our actions here have an impact on our eternity and the eternity of others?
- That we should NEVER decide for ourselves that any person we witness to will not repent and be saved (I have some personal experience with seeing that miraculous conversion that I had decided, in my flesh, would never happen)! Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit!
- Are we allowing fear of the future in this life to reduce our effectiveness in serving God?
- Have we forgotten Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He shall direct your paths?“
- That we already know that the Sovereign Lord will execute His plan on His timing?
- And perhaps most important of all, are we forgetting the second most important command: “To love our neighbor as we love ourselves?”
How much time has God given us? We should consider our years. Out of gratitude for what Jesus gave us, should we not first desire to wait on Him and give back whatever time we still have left here to Him and to people who can still be saved, out of love and gratitude? Just a word or a kindness to others from us can sometimes make all the difference.
I do not live in fear of the future, but I certainly am aware that it can be unnerving, frightful, and very disturbing at times. The world is unraveling, and it is all that we have known thus far, but we have the Lord of Glory and His promises made more certain and also confirmed by the evidence of already fulfilled prophecy.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
For anyone who may read this article who has not trusted in Jesus Christ and, therefore, has no hope or peace in your life:
You can have hope. You can have the peace that Jesus has promised in the verse above. It requires that you come before God on His terms. And, what are His terms according to His Word?
- Genuine repentance (turning to God instead of continuing to reject or ignore Him).
- Confession of sins (that you are a sinner and acknowledge that to God).
- That you understand that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
- To acknowledge to God that you are unable to pay that debt.
- Belief that Jesus Christ paid your death sentence for you on the cross.
- To believe that Jesus is the Way, the only Way, that God has established by which humans may be saved from the consequences of their sin and rebellion.
God has made it absolutely clear that there is no one who comes before Him, under His terms, that will be refused.
- No one: no race, no color, no country of origin, regardless of any previous belief system: no one.
- No matter what your past sins have been, God can and WILL forgive you because He says He will.
- Salvation is available to everyone without any exceptions.
If you put all your trust for salvation in Jesus, and Him only, you can follow that prayer up by simply saying, “Thank you, Father God, for hearing my prayer and saving me,” because we can trust Him to keep His Word. He always has. He always will.
John 5:24: Truly, Truly, I say to you that he who hears My words and believes the One who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed from death to life.
There are no answers, and there is no hope in the world by governments, organizations, politics, or politicians. There are only lies and deception. But you can have the Truth and the peace you seek.
The answers are in the Word of God. The Bible. If you ask God, with all your heart, He will hear you.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
NOTE: In my previous article (Deception and The Beginnings of Sorrows), I made a typographical error in quoting Luke 14:18-19 (7th paragraph). It should have been Luke 4:18-19. The quote was the correct one and properly applied in context, and the verse numbers were correct, but the Chapter number was a typo. My most humble apologies. I will strive to proofread more closely in the future.
Pro Salvator Vigilans
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