How many times have you heard of a religious denomination setting a specific date for the "RETURN OF CHRIST” only to see those dates come and go and Christ does NOT return? They see their hopes frustrated. They lose hope!
Millions know that the Bible contains much prophecy. However, fallible humans have time and again misinterpreted prophecies of the Bible--setting dates for specific events, only to see those dates come and go without prophetic fulfillment. Does this mean prophecy is fallible? Or, does it mean that human beings have been too prone to use prophecy as a badge of their own credibility, only to see their interpretations fail?
It's time you knew the truth about the surest prophecy of all! And, to know it is NOT an interpretation of any man.
The scene is the United Nations General Assembly. Speaking before the assembled dignitaries from nations all over the world, the Secretary General is soberly summarizing several days’ lengthy speeches. Those addresses have covered the incredible crunch of the population explosion, global pollution, the energy crisis, and the worldwide economic crisis.
Peace has been the topic. How to achieve peace in a world of chaotic unrest, squalor, disease, filth, poverty, and the threat of war. At the final "thwack" of the gavel, the Secretary General takes the rostrum and all eyes are fixed on his graying head as he faces the huge assembly of international representatives.
"Gentlemen," he begins, "we have been assembled here to assess the accomplishments of this great body in attempting to achieve a peaceful world. We have heard through the ambassadors of the United Nations a complete summary of the problems facing all nations; facing this body; facing humanity itself. It is my gravest and most seriously considered opinion, that only one great event can ever save this world from the specter of nuclear war, and that great event is the return of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to this earth!" Laughter begins to softly flow through the big room, as dignitaries shift positions, cross and uncross legs, look at one another incredulously, doodle on note pads, and wonder how the Secretary General of the United Nations ever came in contact with some idiotic, "pie-in-the-sky" idea such as that. Has he gone crazy? Since when has the Secretary General of the United Nations taken up with American fundamentalist religion? Reporters snatch up recorders and notes, and dash to exits and waiting telephones.
The Afro-Asian bloc stands, almost as one, and begins angrily and purposefully striding toward the exits. After all, they are mostly either the major Oriental faiths, such as Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism, or Confucianism, or perhaps Muslim or Animists, or holding with tribal religions or Communism (and therefore atheistic).
Shouts of disbelief and anger are followed by pushing matches near at least two of the exits, which, on one occasion, erupts into a fistfight between two Muslims dressed in their Arabic robes and two "Christians".
Unlikely? Sure, it is! That is, it's unlikely the Secretary General of the United Nations would ever make such a statement in public, or, for that matter, in private either. But, if he should, then the reaction is very likely to be the chaotic situation I described above.
To seriously suggest that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is this world's only hope for world peace places one in the position of “religious fanaticism,” instantly destroying his credibility as a member of the intelligentsia and upper diplomatic circles of the world. It would, for all practical purposes, ruin his future political and diplomatic career just as surely as a Justice Department indictment! He would probably be called "insane".
But this is no new reaction to bold assertions of impending divine intervention. As one ad on television goes, "They laughed at Fulton, at the Wright brothers, etc." And, to be sure, the millions have laughed, scoffed, and sneered openly at either the loud Bible-belt sermons warning of Jesus' impending return, or the more polished assertions of some such futuristic event in the more cultured tones of accepted evangelists who are recognized by heads of state.
Even during Jesus' day, when He said He would heal the girl whom He claimed was "not dead, but sleepeth," the people "laughed him to scorn" (Matt. 9:24). SINCE WHEN DO PEOPLE BELIEVE GOD?
When does the general public, let alone governments, believe biblical prophecy? And, more importantly, since when does whether men believe or not believe determine the outcome of prophecy?
DOES THE DISBELIEF OF MAN NEGATE THE POWER OF GOD?
Does the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy -- the surest prophecy of all -- that the return of a glorified, all powerful Jesus Christ of Nazareth to this earth to rule it with a rod of iron, totally depend upon the number of human beings who ultimately believe it?
Is Christ waiting in heaven, impatiently glancing at His heavenly watch, hoping against hope that more and more of the church, evangelists, missionaries, and various denominations and sects can finally learn to cooperate together, so that a brand-new wave of second advent evangelism can sweep the earth until finally there will be a sufficient number expecting His return that He will say, "All right then, they have talked me into it"?
Whether this article convinces you or not about the surest prophecy in the entirety of your Bible makes no difference whatsoever to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, except as it may involve His own personal desires where your life, your happiness, and future are concerned. Your rejection or acceptance of Biblical truth does not alter the divine plan of God one whit.
The Word of God makes this eminently clear. He has said, "Let God be true, though every man be found a liar." God also says, "I change not," and "My purpose shall stand"!
Please believe this one thing! The combined thousands of sermons, whether screaming, sobbing, gasping and wheezing, or whether sedate, carefully prepared, and intellectually stimulating; the tens of thousands of ceremonies occurring in churches all over the world; the missionary efforts the millions upon millions of tons of printed literature; the combined efforts of all evangelical preaching and teaching from the time of Jesus to this day DO NOT represent God's own personal struggles and God's "best effort" to prepare this world for the second coming of Jesus Christ!
Maybe you should read that again! Jesus Christ of Nazareth speaks to you with authority from His Word, and tells you He has not tried to save this world in the past, and is not trying to save it now!
Jesus Christ is only now warning this world, by sending it a powerful witness of the promised intention of God Almighty and Jesus Christ of Nazareth, His Son, to intervene in human affairs. He is not begging, pleading, nagging at human beings to believe Him.
I hope this article has made that quite clear. Your belief or my belief does not change or alter the purpose or the plan of God!
When you study the Bible, you will see that Jesus' closest companions, His own disciples, didn't believe Him much of the time. They didn't really believe He would be resurrected from the dead. In the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night just before He was crucified, they so doubted Him that "they all forsook him, and fled" (Mark 14:50).
Later, even after they had all seen and recognized Jesus (John 20:19-29), Peter said, "I go a fishing," obviously meaning he was returning to his former occupation as much as to say, "What's the use? It was a good thing while it lasted, but now that they've killed Him, what's the use going on any further?" Several of the disciples followed Peter back up to Northern Palestine and the Sea of Galilee, to his fishing business (John 21:3).
Likewise, others scattered to their separate ways, fully expecting to pick up the reins of their former lives. Jesus had to prove by many infallible proofs, even personally making them handle Him, as in Thomas' case, before He could make them believe He had even been resurrected.
Then they KNEW! The disciples became believers after that; preaching in real power, and with real faith, and backed up by fantastic miracles, because they believed! They did not believe in the way you might believe, not in the way people are accustomed to believe. They knew! They knew and knew that they knew Jesus Christ of Nazareth was alive! That He had walked out of that tomb, and that He was the glorified Son of God who was going to return to this earth just as He had said!
But all during that 3 1/2 years experience, prior to their real conversion and begettal with the Holy Spirit, those disciples "believed on" Jesus. But deep down inside, they just didn't believe Him! Today, it's no different. Millions of professing Christians may "believe on" Jesus. They believe He was the Christ; believe He was the Son of God; even believe in His shed blood for remission of their personal sins, but those same millions do not believe what He said! They simply do not believe Him.
What about you? If you "believe" Jesus, believe He is your Saviour, and the only name given under heaven whereby men must be saved, do you also believe what He said?
One prophecy of Christ simply towers above them all. The surest prophecy involves no dates, no special understanding of Greek or Hebrew, no inside knowledge of Biblical types or symbolism, requires no knowledge of vague or obscure verses in Zechariah, Joel or Malachi. It requires no knowledge of Babylonian or Egyptian chronology, or time-cycles, or numerical meanings or interpretations of "time and seasons." You only need to believe Jesus Christ! You need only understand what He said, and believe it. You need to know that it is true!
Christ made one specific promise over and over again, "I will come again"
(Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 16:27; Luke 9:26; 12: 37-43).
There are millions upon millions of professing, churchgoing "Christian" people who have deep affection and sentiment toward Jesus Christ. Those millions no doubt feel they have a direct relationship with Jesus. They may have signs over their dining room tables or in their kitchens which say, "God bless our home," or "Jesus is the silent guest at every meal in this home," and they may have pictures in their Bibles, and even various religious pictures or articles in their homes. And those same millions just do not believe much of what Jesus Christ said.
While a converted Christian can earnestly desire the second coming of Jesus Christ to once and for all solve this world's problems, and bring this world peace, as well as save that individual by putting him or her into God's Kingdom, a converted Christian will also know that the glorified Jesus Christ is going to come, followed by "armies" (Rev. 19:14) and that He is coming as a powerful, war-making and conquering King, not as a sweet and kindly "humble carpenter from Nazareth."
In order to really understand the second coming of Jesus Christ as a pragmatic and practical fact, you simply must allow God's Spirit to wash out of your mind all the cobwebs of past sentimentality and "doctrine" in the sense of accepting and believing in the second coming of Jesus Christ only as a "tenet of faith."
You need to understand the second coming of Christ as a practical fact of future world history, just around the corner from you, as a great event, and not just as a Biblical "argument" or something you "believe," as you believe some moral dogma, political slogan or historical fact.
You need to capture a personal vision of what the second coming of Jesus Christ will really be like, just as surely as Jesus in His transfiguration gave His own disciples a foretaste of what He would be like and who would be there during His millennial reign.
When Christ was on trial for His life, knowing that He would have to endure a brutal and wretched beating, coupled with having spikes driven through his hands and feet into an upright pale, having Himself "raised up" as the prophecies implied, naked, bleeding, before men, and then to die with the thrust of a huge Roman spear into His side, He said, looking into the eyes of the High Priest, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven: (Matt. 26:64). Jesus did a great deal of His own personal "witnessing," but it was not like the kind of "witnessing" you see prated about today, such as a nagging, wheedling "Won't you please believe?" or "Do you know what the Lord has done for me?" or "Smile, Jesus loves you!"
There is not a single writer of the New Testament who does not allude to or directly talk about the second coming of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:9-11; Heb. 9:28; I Corth 11:26; I Peter 5:4; Luke 12:37-43; I Thes. 4:16-17).
Paul also used that great event as a sure prophecy, even as if it were something to be used as in a vow or "oath," though Jesus commands that we swear no oath. The apostle Paul said, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thes. 2:1), just as someone might earnestly urge someone by some great fact or event which is as immovable as the Rock of Gibraltar.
Paul told Timothy, "I give thee charge in the sight of God that you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Tim. 6:13-14).
Christ's second coming is virtually the whole theme of the New Testament, and, in practical fact, is a main part of all of the Old Testament prophecies, including whole chapters in the book of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and others in Hosea, Amos, and the whole book of Zephaniah.
The purpose of this article is not to "nag" you into "believing" the surest prophecy in all the Bible! It is, rather, to warn you that the second coming of Jesus Christ is a soon-to-be-accomplished fact of history, to be the proper witness to you, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, and to let you do whatever you will with this knowledge.
Remember, understanding the fact of Jesus' future arrival on this earth (and the countdown has no doubt already begun in heaven) does not depend upon the clever interpretation of some "lost" or obscure portion of Holy Writ, scholarly knowledge of other languages, or the use of various "signs and symbols."
Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth, the real earth upon which you walk, eat, sleep and breathe. Are you going to do anything about your own life now, or will you claim, even after reading an article such as this, when you look into the face of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in future years, "BUT I DIDN'T KNOW, NO ONE EVER TOLD ME"?