Summary: Ready or Not....He is coming and we should be ready for His appearing. Here is how.
There are many weird things you can hear about the return of Christ and the end of time.
This morning I would like to share my beliefs up front, and then cut right to the chase of exposition of what Jesus said about His second coming, the "Parousia".
Your pastor is a "pre-millennial-tribulationist". I believe that Christ will return to earth to rule for a thousand years when He comes; this will happen after a period of 7 years of Satanically-inspired world domination by the Antichrist and the Beast.
But that will all be AFTER the church has been "caught away" in the rapture (a term used to describe the lifting of the church out of the world so we can be with Jesus during those events described in the middle chapters of Revelation.)
Now, having unloaded all the complicated terminology I learned in seminary, let’s talk English about the event every Christian should be waiting for and thinking about, the next great event in the history of mankind, the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There has always been a lot of speculation, including those who would set a specific date for the end of things. Two decades ago a man was in the news constantly because he had announced the end was upon us. I read his booklet, listened to the hype, and took it in stride when the date came...and went!
Having heard the man interviewed I truly believe that he was sincere. But that doesn’t mean he was right....He was simply sincerely wrong. He had gotten carried away with Bible dates, prophecies and predictions. He attributed significance to certain Biblical and non-biblical events that were not bedrock when applied to accepted practice of interpreting scripture.
Example....If you take the world leaders of the World War II era, Churchill, Hitler, Roosevelt, Il Duce (Mussolini), Stalin and Tojo; you see that the first letters of their names spell Christ. Next, look at the chart...
Chrchl Hitler Roosvlt Il Duce Stalin Tojo
Year 1940 1933 1933 1922 1924 1941
Year Born 1874 1889 1882 1883 1879 1884
in 1944 70 55 62 61 65 60
in office 4 11 11 22 20 3
TOTAL 3888 3888 3888 3888 3888 3888
You notice that each column totals the same...3,888. You could make quite a compelling case for something based upon the numerical possibilities of all those numbers adding up to something.
However, what spiritual meaning can you draw from that? Is it the year 3,888 that Christ is to come back? And by which calendar? If it is our calendar, the Lord won’t come back for almost another two thousand years; if by the Chinese calendar, we’ve already missed it!
That kind of speculative hypothesizing might be intensely interesting, but you can’t draw conclusions about God’s plan for mankind that way.
In fact you can only get in trouble, because the Word of God strictly forbids such practices of numerology, astrology and the like for making decisions about your life. When the Bible is silent on an issue, it is safe to draw prudent, intelligent conclusions, not wild speculation.
But the Bible is not quiet about the day of the return of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It speaks loudly and clearly (Note verse 36), it says YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW THE DAY! Beloved, there are some things God, for His own reasons, does not want you to know. Deuteronomy 29:29 calls them the secret things.
Now, I have spent much space to bring us to the point of saying this one thing..... Satan has always tried to muddy the water when it comes to the doctrine of Christ’s return. He wants to keep us dangling like puppets on a spiritual string. He can’t do much about the documented fact of an empty tomb, and the day of Pentecost, and the witness of the church these past 2000 years. But if he can, he will mislead you, deceive you and keep you bogged-down in questions and wondering that will water down your effectiveness as a servant of the Lord.
So, what do we do? Do we forget about the Lord’s return, and just not worry about it? No, we should be studying, praying for, and proclaiming it. But let’s stay with what we KNOW, and leave the speculation and date-setting to the star-gazers.
Here are two TRUTHS you can count on about the second coming....
#1. He IS coming!
The return of Jesus Christ is a reality. Notice the CERTAINTY OF THE EVENT!
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30 (NRSVA)