Questions & Answers

Is Jesus' Return Near?

Just days before Jesus died, his closest disciples came to him privately as he rested on the Mount of Olives, and asked him what would be the sign of his return to earth and of the end of the world. There on the hill overlooking Jerusalem and its temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew listened as the Lord of heaven and earth quietly described the epochal events which would precede his return and the end of the world. Years later, while exiled on Patmos Island, the apostle John was given a vision of the end times, a vision recorded as the book of Revelation. The events John saw are the same as the events Jesus foretold to his disciples that night on the Mount of Olives, and by studying them we gain a clearer perspective on the otherwise indiscernible future.

On the Mount of Olives, Jesus distinguished certain troubles as "the beginning of sorrows". They are:

  1. The proliferation of teachers who falsely claim to be sent by God.
  2. A dramatic increase in "wars and rumors of wars".
  3. Famines and other natural disasters on a scale not yet experienced on earth.

It is obvious to anyone who is searching for the truth, that these things have NOT all happened yet, and because they have not all happened, it is just as obvious that the men teaching you that Jesus return is "any day" don't know what they are talking about!

In Revelation 6, which parallels Jesus's words that night, John describes the spirit of false doctrine going forth to conquer, like Jesus, on a White Horse (Rev.19). We have witnessed in this century just such a conquering of God's elect, a ruinous splintering of virtually every group which claims to be of Christ. The word Christ means anointed one, and how many there now are who claim to be anointed ministers of Christ!

Next, a spirit on a Red Horse is sent from heaven to take peace from the earth. This is the "wars and rumors of wars" mentioned by Jesus on the Mount, an era of unrelenting strife, causing distress among nations such as is now commonly seen.

Following what is perhaps a world-wide economic restructuring (John's Black Horse), comes a Pale Horse, ridden by a spirit named "Death"; and we learn that one fourth of the earth is given over to it to be killed by diseases, natural disasters, and wars! Still, said Jesus, "the end is not yet."

The Great Tribulation is a reality. After these four "beginning of sorrows", the greatest revival and the greatest persecution which the congregation has ever known will occur. It is the time when "this gospel shall be preached in all the world", and it is the time when "many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (Mt.24:10,14). Heaven will receive a multitude of martyred saints so vast that John could not count them (Rev.7:9-14). And as vengeance for the slaughter of so many saints, God blackens the sun for a time, makes the moon "as blood", and casts down the "stars of heaven" upon the earth (Mt.24:29; Rev.6:12-13).

However, the rapture [or that catching up] of God's elect still does not take place, as some errantly teach. The elect must remain on earth, as Paul said, until "the last trump". Let us look at these "trumps" as found in your Bible:

There are Seven Trumpets [trumps] . . . Each of the seven plagues described is signaled by an angel blowing a trumpet. During the first four trumpets, natural disasters on an unprecedented scale befall this bruised and distressed planet. With the last three trumpets, God turns from natural disasters to the use of monstrous creatures which put to shame the wildest imaginations of men. At the fifth trumpet, God brings out of "the bottomless pit" terrifying creatures with scorpion-like stingers, which will torment men for five months. "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them" (Rev.9:6). God allows these cruel creatures to hurt "only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads" (Rev.9:4). Child of God, pray!

The seal of God is God's Spirit (Eph.1:13). When a person receives that "seal" they speak in tongues, each and every time - that is the "sound" of the Spirit (read John 3:1-8) Reader, do you have this seal, purchased by Jesus' sacrificial death, which will save us from the coming wrath of God? Do you have this precious blessing? Are you keeping it as a "pearl of great price"? Or are you neglecting your gift from God? My friend, we are "born into trouble" when we are born into this world, and nothing but God's Spirit can deliver us from it. Let us not neglect our only help.

At the sixth trumpet, one third of humanity is slain by a terrifying two-hundred-million-man army. During these same days, God will send His mysterious "two witnesses" to preach the gospel three-and-a-half years in Jerusalem (Rev.11:1-13). These two prophets will cause plagues on earth, thus making themselves very unpopular with men. When they are slain by "the Beast", people everywhere will rejoice, even sending gifts to one another in celebration of their deaths. After three days, however, those great witnesses of God will be revived by God's Spirit and ascend into heaven, causing men to tremble in fear.

At the seventh and last trumpet, wondrous signs appear in heaven (Rev.12), and Satan launches his final, murderous assault on the elect. He does so by giving his power, position, and authority to a man. About 2,500 years ago, Daniel spoke of this man as one who will be incomparably brilliant, and who would "wear out the saints" and "destroy the mighty and the holy people" (Dan.7:25; 8:23-24). John confirms Daniel's prophecy, saying that power will be given to him "to make war with the saints and to overcome them" (Rev.13:7). The Bible refers to this great world ruler as "the Beast", but he will be human. What makes him beastly is his complete surrender to the evil wisdom and power of Satan. Not only will he rule the world, but the world will worship this man, being deluded into doing so by another man, a backslidden preacher of the gospel, called "the False Prophet".

When the final trial of the seventh trumpet time ends, John wrote, "I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man [Jesus], having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap, for the time is come for thee to reap" (Rev.14). This is the catching away of the faithful to be with Christ; and it takes place, just as Paul said, "at the last trump" (1Cor.15:52).

Seeing that many prophecies have yet to be fulfilled before Jesus returns, how is it that we hear so much preaching about Jesus coming "at any moment"? Many of Christianity's best-known theologians have been teaching (in some cases for decades) that all the signs which are to precede Jesus's return have been fulfilled. We must ask them, "Why doesn't he come?" The obvious answer is that the signs which are to precede Jesus's return have not all been fulfilled. If God had truly sent those ministers to preach all these years that it is time for Jesus's return, then Jesus would already have come. You need to flee their doctrines, lest you be destroyed with them.

Since God has given this marvelous light to me concerning the end times, I understand that Satan, not God, has sent these Christian ministers to confuse and embarrass the called out ones and to bring the true gospel of Christ into scorn before the world. It is not time for Jesus to return, and thank God that it is not, for were Jesus to come today, he would not find his bride to be "without spot or wrinkle", to be sure. Jesus would not have the assembly in its present condition. He would be ashamed to present it to his Father. The elect has much to suffer and to learn before it will be prepared to meet God.

This brings us full circle, to the sign which Jesus said would mark the very beginning of the end: false teachers who claim to be carrying Christ's message to God's elect. Jesus said that these false teachers would come, and that part of their message would be that it is time for Jesus to come back! When asked by his disciples concerning signs of the end, this was his response: "Take heed that ye be not deceived, for many shall come in my name, saying, `I am Christ' [I am anointed], and `THE TIME DRAWETH NEAR'. Go ye not therefore after them" (Lk.21:8). So, the "beginning of sorrows" is marked by the coming of Christian ministers who, as though ordained of God, teach that the time for Jesus's return has come. Do not follow them. The fact that there are now so many of such teachers shows only that we have reached the beginning of the end times. And the fact that they preach that Jesus's return is imminent merely marks them as being the deceivers of whom Jesus spoke.

It is good to ask the question, "Are you ready for Jesus to return?"; but, it is more appropriate for our time to ask, "Are you prepared to face the things which will befall this earth before Jesus returns?" The answer can be a victorious "Yes!" if we follow after the righteousness of Christ, and not follow the voice of strangers who claim to speak for Jesus, but who have not stood in the counsel of God.

We must echo the words of an elder in this faith, Joseph Murray, who, prior to his death said: "Who would have ever thought - until now - that the antichrist is a Christian?" The next time you hear a man in the pulpit or on the radio or television teach that Jesus could return at any moment - remember who his "lord" actually is, and who he is really speaking for.

Jesus will certainly return to earth to reign with the saints for a thousand years, but he will not come tonight, next week, or next year. His return is years away, and we must understand that in order to prepare adequately for what lies ahead. The first thing we must do is flee Christianity, because it's deception marks the "beginning" of the end.

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