Posted by: pastortomvabeach | September 17, 2014

Thought for the Week September 21, 2014

There has been an awful lot of prophetic speculation in the news in the last couple of years (or maybe longer). From The Harbinger, which describes the happenings of 9/11 and subsequent events and unveils what the author believes to be the prophetic significance of these events; to the blood moon prophecy, a rare celestial event known said to coincided with periods of monumental change affecting Israel and ultimately the world; to an article in just the last couple of weeks suggesting that next year may be the beginning of the seven year tribulation period; many are presenting opinions and scenarios of the final days of earth leading up to Christ’s return.

Events all over the world seem to indicate that the blessed hope can’t be far off. Certainly there are wars and rumors of wars on almost every continent. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and famines caused by drought are prominent in the news. Nations continue to align against Israel despite its relative insignificance in terms of global power or economic muscle. And every sort of false prophet and pretender to Christ’s stature can be found with a few clicks of a mouse on the Internet. Jesus said all of these things would happen as we neared His return.

So why am I not promoting the speculation, showing reruns of Left Behind (not the new one, the old one), and jumping on the bandwagon with all the prognosticators of the end? It’s not that I don’t’ believe Jesus is coming back. The Scripture is very clear and I expect He could show up at any moment. It’s not that I don’t notice the signs He said would happen that are now showing up in abundance. I am not getting too excited about all the speculation because I believe that too much attention to all of these possibilities can side-track us from what the Lord really wants us to be doing leading up to and when He returns.

I don’t believe that Jesus told us to pay attention to the signs of His coming so that we could spend our time paying attention to the signs of His coming and trying to figure out exactly what each sign means, how that affects this or that country, how it relates to every geopolitical event in the world, and then, somehow, maybe, get a better guess of just when He’ll return. Now that may seem overdone, but sometimes I feel like that’s what is happening with all the “prophetic” books, movies, TV interviews, etc.

For my money, there are three things we must be about if we’re convinced, as I am, that Jesus will come back and it could be soon. The first is found in John’s first epistle. He says, Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (I John 3:2-3) John is saying that If we believe Jesus is coming back and we will be like Him, we better be about living our lives to be more and more like Him every day. Are you pursuing that kind of lifestyle?

Secondly, after a lengthy talk about the signs of His coming, Jesus said, Watch..for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:42-44) Now this is almost the same as what John says. If we’re really on the look out for Jesus to return we must keep ourselves ready. How? Be growing in relationship with Him, keeping our attention fixed on heaven, resisting the temptation to stray from His commands.

Thirdly, there is actually something that we can do to cause Him to return sooner than later. Matthew wrote Jesus’ words, this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14) I believe that the Lord is waiting for the day when everyone has had the opportunity to turn to Jesus and then He’s going to say, “OK, Son, go get my people.” Then Jesus will descend, as Paul says, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (my paraphrase of I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Don’t take me to be saying that the books, writings, sermons, movies, etc., that present the Bible’s prophecies are not of some value. My journey to Christ began by reading The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey’s speculation of what might occur when Jesus returns which was all the rage in the early 70’s. This fictional account of the possible unfolding of Biblical prophecy started me thinking, searching, and wanting to find the truth about Jesus Christ.

All I’m saying is that if we focus too much on these speculations, because that’s what they really are, we can be distracted from pursuing a holy lifestyle, keeping ourselves from the pull of the world, and actively getting the gospel out any way we can. Didn’t Jesus say, No man knows the day or the hour? If that’s so, I don’t get too excited when any man begins to try to narrow down the day or the hour. It’s tough enough for me to keep up with the three things I mentioned without getting too distracted with things that only God knows. Just something to ponder.

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