The turn of the millennium’s in both 1000 and 2000 AD were accompanied by a number of predictions that Christ would return on January 1, 1000 and 2000. During the Reformation Thomas Muntzer announced that the return of Christ was near and lead his followers to launch an armed revolt against the government. In 1914 Charles Taze Russel the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted that Christ would return in that year. JW’s went on to predict that Christ would return in 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. In 1981 Hal Lindsey predicted that Christ would return before December 31, 1981. More recently, Edgar Whiseant published “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” and Harold Camping famously published a book predicting that Christ would return on September 6, 1994 and then when it did not happen adjusted his calculations to May 21, 2011These are just a few of the thousands of predictions that have made about the 2nd coming of Christ. None of them, of course, came true. All of them resulted in confusion in the minds of those who earnestly believed the predictions were true and created scorn among the skeptics who laugh at the very notion of Christ’s second coming. Yet the second coming has been a constant source of interest and speculation for God’s people.
Years ago when I was Pastoring in West Virginia we used to do a monthly question and answer night. The most frequently asked questions that I received concerned the 2nd coming.
So what are Bible believing Christians to believe about the second coming of Christ. Please open your Bibles with me to Matthew 24-25 and let’s discover what Jesus said about the sign of His coming.
- The text gives us a List of seven things that do not point to the second coming of Christ
- False messiahs – Acts 5:26 mentions a man named Theudas “who claimed to be something” raised an army of 400 men, claimed to be the messiah and tried to start a revolt. According to Josephus n 44 AD, he led his army of followers to the Jordan river promising to divide it but ended up getting caught by the Romans and beheaded. Theudas was just one in a long list of people over the centuries who have claimed to by the Messiah. In 4 BC Simon of Perea was killed by the Romans after leading a revolt. In 2nd century AD bar Kochba claimed to be the Messiah and started the 2nd Jewish War with the Romans. Down through the years there have seen literally dozens of people who claimed to be the messiah.
- Wars and rumors of wars– Within just a few decades after the death of Christ, the Romans went to war with the Jews as a result of the growing Zealot movement.It was during that war the Jerusalem was besieged and the Temple destroyed. Over the centuries dozens even hundreds more wars have been fought. In many cases Christians thought that these wars were indicators that Christ was soon to return.
- Famines and earthquake
- Apostasy– We tend to think that we live in the worst era of apostasy but history shows that apostasy is an age ole problem. The NT books of 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Peter and Jude were all written to combat apostasy.
- False prophets
- Increase in lawlessness to the point that the love of most will grow cold.
All of these things were taking place in the days of the Apostles and have continued right down to this very day.These are products of the age we live in.
- They may grow in intensity and number but we should not be alarmed by them (v.6)
- Don’t allow the so-called signs of the times unnerve or rattle you.
- Jesus tells us that these things are going to happen and that we should not get too concerned about them but does that not mean that we should ignore them.
- Keep your focus on Jesus – Hebrews 12:1-3 ” Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
- Remember that God always has a purpose for your suffering and trials- Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
- Understand that you are not home yet– Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present age are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
I am convinced that one of the reasons that Jesus has allowed this world to be so difficult and why he allows us to grow through hard times is so that we will not become too attached to this world. Let me share with you the words of a Switchfoot song, entitled “I don’t belong here.” – ” It was a beautiful letdown when I crashed and burned. When I found myself alone, unknown, and hurt. It was a beautiful letdown, the day I knew that all the riches this world had to offer me would never do. In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt, I was trying so hard to fit it, until I found out that I don’t belong here…”
- Focus on the primary task that God has given us to do in this age — PREACH THE GOSPEL
3. Believers must be obedient in spreading of the gospel. (v.14)
- The key word in this verse is the word “nations”
- Ethnos= people groups, ethnic groups
- Matthew 28:18-20
- Revelation 5:9-10
The gospel must be preached to every people group on the face of the earth before Christ will return.
- According to the Joshua project there are 7,266 unreached people groups in the world, representing 2.91 billion people.
This is the primary indicator that we have concerning the timing of the end times:
When will Jesus come back?— When the gospel has been preached to every tribe, nation and tongue.That gives us our marching orders. As Christians who believe in the Word of God and that Christ is coming back, we need to dedicate ourselves to the task of taking the Gospel to the nations.