Pause for Effect
''Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.'' Luke 12:40
We often talk of how close we are to the return of Jesus Christ, and the imminence of His return still lingers in the air - yet that day seems so far away at times. So many ‘could be’ dates have come and gone. So many seemingly perfect dates have aligned with so many other apparent prophetic signs. We thought it would have been a perfect time for the Rapture. Yet we are still here. We’re caught in a paradox of emotions that cause those of us who watch, to wait patiently, containing the joy of the prospect of our eternal glorification in Christ.
At this late stage in the game of human history, there are only three kinds of people left not awaiting the return of Jesus Christ: those who know and don’t believe, and those that don’t know or don’t care.
With all the craziness going on in the world, how could anyone not think that this is the last generation? At the very least, can anyone who even remotely keeps up on current events, think that life will continue as-is for more than a few decades at the most? Our national debt alone will force a radical realignment in the way our nation and the world function.
Many Christians aren’t actively looking for the Lord’s coming. One reason for this is the resurgence of Amillennialism. Most of Christianity today believes the Church is the true Israel, and all prophetic events are then allegorized or historicized. From that perspective, they deny any biblical significance regarding Israel and the Middle East.
But for those of us who are watching and waiting, our anticipation continues to build with each passing day. As the days and weeks go by, countries go to war, nations collapse into chaos, there are unprecedented natural disasters and we see the signs stacking up like never before. Most importantly, we also understand the incredible significance of the fact that Israel has retained its identity and re-emerged as a nation despite tremendous odds.
But as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months, before long, even events like Hurricane Katrina seem like a lifetime ago. So many things are happening in so many different spectrums prophetically, it is like we’re becoming desensitized to it all. It’s like being in a very noisy restaurant. No matter how loud it gets, you somehow get used to that level of distraction until it all blends into background noise. It’s not until we leave there and go outside, that you notice just how loud it was. This is the very thing we should be wary of.
As we move throughout the year, Jewish holy days will start to gain prominence and meaning as the time draws closer. The Feasts of the Lord are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Weeks, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. We talk about how significant these events are and how a rapture event could fulfill them prophetically. Jesus literally fulfilled the first three of the seven main Jewish feasts through His death, burial, and resurrection. The Church was born on Pentecost and, given that all the feasts have been fulfilled chronologically and literally, we can have full confidence that the Feast of Trumpets symbolizes the next major event, being the Rapture of the church.
Not to say that the Church is limited to only being raptured during Rosh Hashanah (September-October), but if these events are following some chronological pattern, then that may be the case. But as watchful believers, we have to counter this idea with the issue of imminence, and that Christ could return at any moment. (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess 1:9-10; 1 Thess 5:4-9; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:2-3; Revelation 22:7,12, 20)
In a way, we work ourselves up for the possibility of Christ’s return around these specific dates. But when these dates come and go, we allow our hope to get temporarily deflated, as if the Lord let us down somehow. Maybe this is a fleeting moment for some, but for others, it can turn that disappointment into bitterness. Many Preterists have become that way because, at some point in the past, they got burned by buying into some teacher/preacher/prophet sell them a load of goods by date-setting Christ’s return.
We are as believers, commanded to watch, and be watchful for the Lord’s return well over a dozen times in the New Testament, yet this message is increasingly not being echoed from the pulpits of Christian churches. If the return of Christ is preached, then it is falling on increasingly deaf ears and hardened hearts.
So many red lines have come and gone. So many ‘point-of-no-return’ moments have presumably slipped by without a peep. The world delicately balances on a knife's edge, wobbling to and fro, and just when things seem to lean a little too much in one direction, it somehow balances itself out. Wars that threaten to ignite World War III seem a whisper away and somehow remain there. Economies that seem to be faltering to the point of no recovery, suddenly recover.
And yet we can see the signs stacking up. We can see countries aligning themselves together politically, economically, and militarily in a way they’ve never done in the past and doing exactly as the Bible predicted. Those of us who take the Bible seriously can see the literal events of Zech 12:3 slowly gathering momentum and taking shape before our very eyes. Who would have thought, so many centuries ago, that a seemingly insignificant nation like Israel would demand such global attention?
We can turn on the news and see the steady downward trend the world is going. There appears to be no indication or possibility of a reversal. The apostasy in Christendom is rising and we can see the evidence manifest itself in the watered-down, lukewarm gospel messages on Christian television, in books, and in the pulpits. Furthermore, the very nature of Christ’s divinity, sin, and hell is being challenged by more and more so-called Christian leaders. This is all despite the optimism of the Postmillennialists and Reconstructionists.
Then, on a day when we least expect it, it will happen. We’ll wake up in the morning and thank the Lord for the day He’s given us. We’ll go about our usual routine. We might even think, ‘maybe today’. But then the reality of our lives quickly intrudes upon us - we have real bills to pay and real problems to sort out. You know the kind of day I’m talking about. Before you know it, it’s dark outside and you sit down to read or maybe catch the news...and bam! The Trumpet sounds and the voice of our Lord call out to us...“COME UP HERE!
We know that God has His predetermined timeline and ultimate purpose. His schedule isn’t ours. Peter reminds us that God is not willing for any to perish and that the day of the Lord will come as a thief (2 Pet 3:9-10).
As we watch all these worrisome and perplexing events unfold and ebb, we should be encouraged to occupy and witness to the lost while we still have precious time. Our world cannot continue indefinitely under its current course. We live in an age that is an ellipsis of sorts, God’s national plan for Israel on hold (or paused) until our fullness comes to completion (Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25) and we do not know when that moment will come.
In the meantime, we must stay alert because...It really could happen today.
"And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!" Mark 13:37
Originally published on Monday, February 20, 2012
by Pete Garcia and Alf Cengia
Author’s note: bit of a weird week for me. I’ve got three separate interviews I’m prepping for-
Tuesday: Southwest Radio Church
Serpents and Doves Part 2
Wednesday: Jan Markell
Thursday- Prison ministry
Teen fiction book “The Kingdom of the Ring” coming along nicely, presently at 15 chapters.
Still prepping for the conference in May, and will have a new article out this week at some point. Bare with me!
Interview with Prophecy Watchers on May 4th
Interview with Stand up for Truth on May 12