As students of history have seen proven over and over, and as the media took great delight in reporting last month, any attempt to predict the date of Christ’s second coming only makes the self-proclaimed “prophet” look foolish. Sadly, it also discourages and even devastates those gullible enough to believe the “prophecy,” while discrediting and making a mockery of Christians’ well-placed faith in the Rapture. As Christ so clearly told His disciples,
Matt. 24:36: But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Nonetheless, Christ clearly wanted us all to be aware of the signs that would precede and build up to His second coming, as He further described to His disciples in the Olivet discourse (Matt. 24), including men falsely claiming to be Christ (v. 5); wars and rumors of wars (v. 6-7); famines, diseases, and earthquakes in varied and unexpected places (v. 7), persecution of Christians (v. 9), false prophets (v. 11), and spread of the Gospel message to all nations (v. 14).
These general signs will culminate in a very specific sign, the “abomination of desolation,” (v. 15). The Antichrist, who will have been regarded as a peacemaker and messiah will desecrate the holy temple in Jerusalem, most likely by slaughtering a swine on the altar, clearly revealing that he is not the promised one the Jews are awaiting, but quite the opposite. This ushers in the great tribulation (v. 21) and ultimately Christ’s second coming (v. 30).
As we hear of all that is going on the world today we must realize that all these general signs are present and increasing, suggesting that the second coming will be very soon. Even more exciting is the realization that before Christ returns with His armies of believers to fight the battle of Armageddon (Rev.16:16), the Rapture, in which all believers in Christ are caught up to meet with Him in the air (1 Cor 15: 51-54), must happen at least 7 years before! So, as close at it seems the second coming must be, based on the signs of the times, it is actually 7 years closer!
Of course, even the disciples who watched as Christ ascended into Heaven believed, as we do, that Christ’s return is imminent, meaning that it could occur at any time. God’s timing is always perfect, and His sense of timing is very different than ours (2 Pet 3:8). We can thank Him for what we experience as a delay in His return, because it gives more souls an opportunity to be saved (2 Pet 3:9), and because it gives us more time to lead others to him and to win crowns to lay at His feet.
The world mocks Christians for believing that Christ will come again (2 Pet 3:3-4), but we can be blessed by knowing that we can have the crown of righteousness to lay at His feet just by eagerly looking forward to His second coming! (2 Timothy 4:8). Although we don’t know what day or hour the Rapture will occur, we do know for certain that it is closer today than it was yesterday, and that we should live each day as if it were our last before He comes again!
Matt. 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
And we also know that for those who don’t yet know Christ, that now is the time for salvation. We’re not promised tomorrow, so let’s be ready for His sure, imminent return, and waste no time in telling others about Him.
2 Cor 6: 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Love in Christ,
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