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THE IMMINENT RETURN
LORD JESUS CHRIST
Now I was TAUGHT the PRE tribulation rapture of the church point of view and that the return of Jesus would be IMMINENT, which to those that teach the PRE tribulation rapture that Jesus could come at any time without warning. Therefore we always need to be ready for his return.
The reasoning behind the IMMINENT return of Jesus or the PRE tribulation RAPTURE of the CHURCH is based primarily on the verses that state that NO man KNOWS the DAY or the HOUR of the coming of the Son of man.
BUT is this what the whole word of God teaches us? Is the return of Jesus IMMINENT, as in, we cannot KNOW when Jesus is coming a sound Biblical teaching?
Let us begin this study in God's word by reading Matthew 24:36 which says,
“But of THAT DAY and HOUR knows NO MAN, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father ONLY.”
This fact that NO man KNOWS the DAY or the HOUR seems to PROVE a PRE-TRIBULATION view of the rapture of the church, which is what I was taught and believed without question for many years, UNTIL the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was being TAUGHT INCORRECTLY.
Please read the study on the GREAT TRIBULATION where I share how the Holy Spirit brought me into the TRUTH of WHEN the rapture of the church will take place.
Now I say SEEMS to prove, because when we just skim over these verses and we are TOLD what to believe then they SEEM logical and true. However, when the entire CONTEXT is considered and viewed in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of God, it becomes quite clear that the words “KNOWS no man” does NOT mean that we will NEVER be able to know the time of our Lord's return.
Even those that teach the PRE-TRIBULATION view will agree that the day Jesus return, then EVERY man will KNOW. It is ALSO taught by the pre-tribulation view that after the abomination of desolation occurs, then those who know the word can count from that day to the exact day of the return of Jesus. So this word that is translated as KNOWS does NOT mean that no man can NEVER KNOW, because someday men will IN FACT KNOW that DAY and the HOUR of the coming of Jesus.
Again most will AGREE that due to the vast number of SPECIFIC sets of time, such as 3 ½ years, 42 months, and 1260 days that are given to us in God's word that for a certainty God desires us to discern the day of the coming of our Lord.
The word that is TRANSLATED as “KNOWS” also mean to come to know, to come to understand, and to perceive. So AT the TIME that Jesus SPOKE these words, NO man had come to know, understand or perceive the day of the hour.
Then if we read the CONTEXT we find Jesus telling us,
BUT KNOW THIS.... In other words, Jesus was saying NO man has PERCEIVED the day or the hour as yet, not even the Son of man, BUT this much I have come to understand, so AT LEAST KNOW THIS....
Take a look at Matthew 24:43,44
“BUT KNOW THIS, that IF the good man of the house had KNOWN in what watch the thief would come, he would NOT have suffered his house to be broken up.
THEREFORE be you ALSO ready: for in an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.”
In other words IF we as believers WATCH, then we WILL KNOW the hour when the Son of man comes.
Please take a look at Revelation 3:3 where Jesus gives STRONG WARNING to those who DO NOT WATCH!
“Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. IF therefore you shall NOT WATCH, I WILL come upon YOU (those who are NOT watching) as a THIEF, and YOU (again those who are NOT watching) shall NOT KNOW what HOUR I will come upon YOU.”
The word of God clearly shows that Jesus is COMING as a THIEF in the night, BUT Jesus is NOT coming upon the faithful believers who are WATCHING and obeying his gospel as a THIEF.
So therefore the opposite of this verse is just as true. Let me explain what I mean, IF therefore we do NOT watch, THEN Jesus will come upon us as a THIEF and we will NOT know the day or the hour.
HOWEVER the opposite of this is equally as true. In other words, IF we are WATCHING, then Jesus will NOT come upon us as a THIEF and we WILL KNOW the HOUR that Jesus will COME upon those who are NOT WATCHING as a THIEF.
Please read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, but for now I will focus on verses 4-6 which says,
“But YOU, brethren are NOT in darkness that THAT DAY should overtake YOU as a THIEF.
YOU are children of the LIGHT, and children of the day: we are NOT children of the night, nor of darkness.
THEREFORE let us NOT sleep; BUT let us WATCH and be sober.”
WHY are we instructed to WATCH, to be sober, and to pray to escape THAT DAY when Jesus will come as a THIEF upon those who are NOT WATCHING, IF the DAY and the HOUR of his COMING as a THIEF can NEVER be KNOWN?
Even those that teach the PRE-TRIBULATION rapture teach that after the abomination of desolation is KNOWN, then those going THROUGH the time of GREAT TRIBULATION will be able to COUNT the 1260 days to the SECOND COMING of Jesus.
And the Bible does in fact teach that the time of this event called the DAY of the Lord can be KNOWN.
Please look at Daniel 12:10 which says,
“...none of the wicked shall understand, BUT the WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND.”
Earlier in the book of Daniel we are told that Daniel was to SEAL up the book to the time of the END, which leads one to believe that at the time of the END the book would be UNSEAL and those living in the time of the END would be able to DISCERN the TIMES.
Habakkuk 2:3 tells us,
“For the vision is yet for an APPOINTED TIME, BUT at the END (the time of the end or the last days) IT (the vision) SHALL SPEAK...”
Then in Habakkuk 3:3 we read,
O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid. O Lord revive your works in the MIDST of years, in the MIDST of years MAKE KNOWN, in wrath remember mercy.”
Ecclesiastes 8:5 says,
“Whoso KEEPS the commandment shall feel (or know) no evil thing: and a WISE man's heart DISCERNS (perceives or comes to understand that which was NOT known previously) both TIME and judgment.”
Now going back to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 right after we are told about the RAPTURE of the CHURCH we read,
“But of the TIMES and SEASONS you need NOT that I write unto you (WHY, because we can NEVER know the day or the hour?, NO absolutely NOT, this is NOT what Paul is saying to US, the CHURCH, just keep reading and you will see WHY Paul has no NEED to write unto you?) FOR (or because) yourselves KNOW PERFECTLY that the DAY of the LORD so comes as a thief in the night.
For WHEN THEY (the world) shall say peace and safety; THEN shall sudden destruction come upon THEM (those that know not God and those that do know God, but do NOT OBEY the GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ), as travail upon a woman with child; and THEY shall NOT escape.
BUT YOU, brethren are NOT in darkness, that THAT DAY (the DAY of the LORD when he comes upon the world as a THIEF in the night) should overtake you (us the CHURCH) as a THIEF.”
WHY will this DAY of the LORD which this entire passage of scripture is speaking of NOT overtake US, the CHURCH, who are watching as a THIEF?
Take a look at verse 9 which CLEARLY tells us WHAT this DAY of the LORD is referring to
“For God has NOT APPOINTED US to WRATH but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Who is coming as a THIEF in the night in FLAMING FIRE taking vengeance upon the ungodly and them that know not God and those which OBEY NOT the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. Yes God will pour out his WRATH upon his DISOBEDIENT CHILDREN who are NOT prepared and ready for his coming. Please read Colossians 3:1-10, but for now I will just quote verse 6,
“For which things' sake (or because of these things) the WRATH of God comes ON the CHILDREN of DISOBEDIENCE.”
So just because you have once confessed Jesus as your savior does NOT mean that you are forever saved and can NEVER LOSE your salvation. Being saved is a continual LIFESTYLE of obedience to God. Now this does not mean that you may stumble or fall in your walk with the Lord. Please read the studies on “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?”, “WHAT DOES BEING SAVED TRULY MEAN?”, “WHAT IS THE TRUE MEANING OF GRACE?”, “HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE FREE FROM SIN", and "DOES THE BIBLE TEACH THAT ONCE YOU ARE SAVED THEN YOU ARE ALWAYS SAVED?”.
Upon careful reading of the verses that deal with the DAY of the LORD that so come as a THIEF in the night, you will CLEARLY see that ALL of these verses are speaking of the SECOND COMING of Jesus, BECAUSE the Bible does NOT teach a PRE-TRIBULATION rapture of the church.
I urge you to take a CLOSER look and search the TRUTH out for YOURSELF. The very first thing you should do is to HONESTLY ask the Lord, I do NOT care WHO ins right or WHO is wrong Lord. All I want to KNOW is the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING but the TRUTH. Lord help me to KNOW and teach me to UNDERSTAND truth from error just as PLAINLY as day is from night and white is from black and light is from darkness. Then start reading and STUDYING his word EXPECTING God to answer your pray.
Getting back to the study, does this verse NO man KNOWS the day or the hour mean that no man can NEVER know the day or the hour.
Again it should be plain to all that are seeking the TRUTH that God ALWAYS reveals to his people that which he is about to do BEFORE he does it.
God told Noah a year before the flood to PREPARE an ark in order to ESCAPE the destruction of the waters.
God told Israel to PREPARE the door post and lintels with blood in order to ESCAPE the plague of the death angel that would passover them.
God told Abraham about his plans for Sodom and Gomorrah BEFORE its destruction and Lot was brought out just as the fire from God's wrath came down.
The pre-tribulation view teaches that the early church was looking for an IMMINENT return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
BUT what does the WHOLE word of God have to say. John 21:18,19 says,
“Verily, verily, I say unto you (speaking to Peter) When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked wither you would, BUT when you shall be OLD, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you wither you would not.
This spake he, SIGNIFYING by what death he should glorify God...”
Then in 2 Peter 1:14,15 we read,
“KNOWING that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, (this body and give up the ghost) even as our Lord Jesus Christ has SHOWN me.
Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my DECEASE to have these things always in remembrance.”
This verse clearly reveals that Peter is near his DEATH that our Lord Jesus Christ SHOWED him some 34 years earlier. So therefore it is ALSO clear that Peter was NOT looking for an IMMINENT return of Jesus.
Jesus told his followers right before he ascended to heaven these words in Acts 1:7,8;
“And he said unto them, It is not for YOU (the followers of Jesus in that day) to know the TIMES or the SEASONS, which the Father has put in his own power.
But you shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.”
Now it should be easily seen that the early church did not expect an IMMINENT return of Jesus, because they knew that they had to preach the gospel into all the world BEFORE the end world come. Jesus told them this before on the mount of Olives PRIVATELY when they asked them what the sign of his coming would be. Please read Matthew 24:14
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall then end come.”
Then in the very next verse Jesus tells us, the CHURCH about the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet and emphasizes GREATLY, he that reads let him UNDERSTAND.
“WHEN (NOT IF) YOU (speaking of the CHURCH) shall SEE the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso reads let him UNDERSTAND:”
I personally believe that the ABOMINATION of DESOLATION is going to be the NEXT notable event on God's prophetic calender and NOT a PRE-TRIBULATION rapture as many of us have been INCORRECTLY TAUGHT.
Paul was also personally told by Jesus in a vision to go to Rome to preach, so Paul KNEW Jesus would NOT return at least until he had COMPLETED his commission to preach the gospel in Rome. So Paul was NOT looking for an IMMINENT return of Jesus.
Paul also states in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 that the DAY of CHRIST, which is the DAY of the LORD shall NOT come UNTIL the antichrist is revealed and a falling away or rebellion against God takes place first.
Therefore it is made perfectly clear that Paul did not believe or teach an IMMINENT return of our Lord Jesus.
We are taught by the word of God over and over to WATCH and keep ourselves PURE and WITHOUT BLAME. Now this word WATCH means more that to LOOK FOR. This word carries with it the meaning of staying awake, being aware spiritually, and is connected with PRAYING. We will continue this study by looking into what it truly means to WATCH.
Watch and pray that you may be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to ESCAPE the WRATH of God.
May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God.
Yours in Christ Jesus
Now and Forever,
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