Matthew 24:36-39, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Those who know me and my teaching, know that I have this love/hate relationship with the news. I have stated it before and yet as responsible Christians, we SHOULD be aware of what is going on in the world. Jesus, when He taught the disciples told them to be aware of the changes that would herald His coming at the end of the ages. He WANTED them to be knowledgeable but not fearful. He assured them and thus us, that these terrible things HAD to take place for His return to take effect.
He was clear in telling them that just as things in the past happened so they would again come to past in the future. That in and of itself is a very sobering fact. It goes hand in hand with that old cliché that, “those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” The root cause of this of course is human nature. Our carnal nature when dissolved to its most basic is rooted in selfishness. I want. I WANT! It doesn’t matter if it isn’t mine to begin with I want what I want. As so many of you know, I teach that love is actually the opposite of selfishness. True, unconditional, Godly love is not concerned with what I want, but is more concerned with the needs and concerns of others around us.
Human nature has not changed since the time of Adam and Eve. It is the one condition that is evident we cannot change on our own. Thus, it is the one condition that will drive human-kind until the end of our time on this earth. The only hope we have, the ONE true hope, is in the redemption and salvation brought and given to us freely by Christ Jesus. It is the one gift that is free to accept, the one free gift guaranteed to help change, selfish human nature.
Lately as I have had time to think and meditate, I see the state of the world and I remember back in the seventies after I gave my heart and soul to the Lord, all the guest preachers that would come to our little Pentecostal church and tell us about the end days. Being raised in a Catholic home before knowing what it is to surrender to the Lord, I never heard preaching or teaching like that. At this stage in my life I can say that I am not Catholic or Pentecostal. I am label-less as it were, but I still follow what goes on in the world. I still relate the world’s condition to what the Bible is clear to tell us about the end times.
I never thought though, of all the times that I earnestly prayed “come quickly, Lord Jesus,” what has to transpire before His coming. It was like His coming and the things to transpire before His coming were two and distinctly separate circumstances. The sad truth of the matter is that Jesus took extra precaution to forewarn the disciples and Apostles of the very state the world would find itself! It is true, you can look back through history and apply many of the things that Jesus stated to times in the past, but the intensity and quantity of those events seem to be escalating on an ever increasing scale.
It isn’t just as the time of Noah that Jesus spoke about either. Looking back is always easier for us and it is evident that we are repeating the time of Jesus first walk in this world. The religious hierarchy is based more in making the Word say what the religious leaders want it to say to make it more “palatable” to those hearing it. Religious fads based on Scriptures taken out of context are becoming the norm and actually dividing those buying into these lies from their brothers and sisters who take the authority of the Whole Scripture, in spirit and truth. In this religious condition, the ones who truly need the message of hope and assurance are on the outskirts of the “recognized” churches. If you are one who no longer abides by the denominationalism of the organized church, you are considered a heretic and someone to be shunned as divisive. But, it is usually the actual love of doing for those less fortunate though separates the true believers from those playing the religious game.
Then to take one thing further, the condition of the world in which we live, where no two people can agree on the most appropriate way to deal with those caught up in the warring of nations, leads many to hope and pray for the Lord’s immediate return, and therein lies the “catch-22” of the situation.
As Christians, we need to intercede for the leaders of nations and the peoples of those nations, but we also need to pray for the Lord’s swift return. But, that “swift” return comes with it all the situations and circumstances that are to foreshadow His return. We can’t escape it! What are Christians to do?!
The simple and most basic answer? The same one that Jesus gave the disciples from His time on earth and the same thing His Spirit tells His disciples in this age; DO NOT FEAR! 2 Timothy 1:6-7, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
This is a Scripture that is alive and powerful today just as when Paul was inspired to write it to his disciple, Timothy. We live in a different age, yes, but the Living Scripture does not change and is not dependent upon what age it is given. It speaks to the human nature in all of us and that is why it is so powerful and unchanging.
Mankind was given a great gift. Without that gift we could never aspire to love as the Lord intends to us to love and yet because it is such a gift it is not always used for the benefit of others. That gift is the freedom to choose. We can choose to believe what the Lord tells us in His Word, or we can choose to remain selfish. The reason we see so many bad things happening to people is because those whom God, Almighty has created are exercising their ability to choose. They choose selfishness to the harm of others. The leaders of nations choose selfishness to the harm of their own people and other nations, but if they were not given the ability to make their own choices, we also whom choose to love would not be able to choose that path. So we wait; we wait until that time when the Father turns to His Son and says, “it is time to return.” Christ will be coming to set things right for a time so that mankind can exercise their ability to choose at the end of that millennial reign whom they will serve; Christ or themselves.
In the meantime, we are witnesses to one of the greatest times in the history of mankind. This generation may very well see the coming of the King of Kings as He returns to earth. We may see mankind on the verge of destroying himself before that time comes, but we as followers of Christ should pray for those who are caught up in that situation without any hope. We HAVE hope! Our mission should be to spread that hope to others before it is too late for them. We can do that by encouraging one another during this time we are living in. Remind one another that these things have to come to pass BEFORE the King returns. There should be no fear in that for us because our hope and assurance resides IN the King of Kings.
My whole point in writing this is to remind my brothers and sisters the gravity of praying, “come quickly, Lord Jesus.” When we pray this, when we wish for it to be soon, remember that the circumstances leading to His return are not separate from His return but very much a part of it. The consequences will change this earth in ways we can only imagine and what we see today with the rise of evil and selfishness gone rampant is only a portion of it.
The Apostle Paul wrote that creation itself is awaiting our salvation for it is tied to ours. Romans 8:18-25, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Maranatha; Come Quickly, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)