“What Only Matters is that Jesus IS Returning!”

This mantra sounds nice and pious, but it is certainly not biblical reality.

What is implied in this slogan is all these other “side” issues regarding the timing of the rapture, great tribulation, Antichrist were not concerns for the biblical writers.

It may come as a surprise to many to learn that the biblical writers did not believe that simply knowing that Christ will return is sufficient. Indeed, Jesus is coming back, and there is no question that knowing this truth should compel us to holy living.

However, Jesus himself ominously warns us to be aware of what will happen before he returns: “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt 24:25). Jesus, Paul, and the book of Revelation consistently teach that the church will have their faith tested by the Antichrist and his persecution during the great tribulation. In the context of endtime persecution, Jesus asks,

“when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). And Paul commands, “Let no one deceive you in any way” (2 Thess 2:3). And the book of Revelation warns, “This requires the steadfast endurance of the saints—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus” (Rev 14:12).

All three endtime teachings by Jesus (Matt 24–25), Paul (1&2 Thessalonians), and the book of Revelation give prominence to the event of the Antichrist’s great tribulation that will happen before Jesus returns for his church. In fact, especially in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus devotes more space and prominence to how to live in the testing period before his return, than on his return itself!

Accordingly, since the Bible gives prominence to what will happen before his return, we must model its example by also emphasizing the ramifications of the Antichrist’s great tribulation upon the church.

It is incumbent upon the student of prophecy to know not just that Jesus is returning, but the condition at his return of the Antichrist’s persecution—the period when God will refine his Bride for his Son’s return.

On a related topic, see my pamphlet “I Am a Pan-Millennialist” – Will It All Just “Pan Out”?

 

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