This past weekend I was in Iowa speaking at a prophecy seminar. We had the most amazing fellowship and teaching time. The people of God were edified and I was humbled by their teachable spirit.
One of the most common questions and comments that came up during the seminar was why so many in the church today are apathetic to learning about Christ’s return and longing for his return.
I explained to them that there is a pernicious attitude in the church today that attempts to deflate conversation about what the Bible teaches on this subject—and shamefully much of it comes from leaders in the church.
I mentioned the common platitudes that are uttered to try to shut down any discussion of God’s Word about our Lord’s coming:
“What only matters is the fact that Jesus is returning.”
“It will all ‘pan out’ in the end.”
“This doctrine divides the church.”
“Who are you to think that you have the right answer?”
“Theologians have been debating this for centuries.”
These religious platitudes sound cutesy and pious but they are not only unbiblical, but are dangerous to the people of God.
It may come as a surprise for some to learn that the biblical writers themselves—including our Lord—did not believe that it was sufficient only to know the “fact” that Christ is returning, or that it would all “pan out” in the end. In the context of the future Antichrist’s great tribulation they warn that God’s people must discern the events that will just precede the second coming:
Jesus himself ominously warns us in the context of the great tribulation, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25).
In the context of eschatological persecution, Jesus asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Paul warns, “Let no one deceive you in any way. For…” (2 Thess 2:3, cf. v. 5)
Book of Revelation says, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must happen very soon. He made it clear by sending his angel to his servant John…Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!” (Rev 1:1, 3)
These platitudes that are intended to deflect believers away from learning about Christ’s coming are not viable. It is imperative upon every believer to take this teaching seriously—their very spiritual lives may depend on it (Rev 14:9–12).
Will you capitulate to the platitudes? Or will you stand firm and trust Jesus who says, “See, I have told you beforehand.” Will you join the apathetic crowd? Or will you foster a longing to understand what the Bible teaches on the second coming, so that you will have a longing for the second coming.
Difficult times are coming upon the church. Don’t fall prey to these platitudes. Satan desires the church to remain ignorant and apathetic.
The doctrine of the second coming of Christ should not divide the body of Christ but unify it. Those who would desire us to be silent are the real dividers in the church. Conformity is not unity. Unity requires meaningful interaction on this issue, even if everyone does not agree because there can be a spirit of unity when God’s people seek the truth.