I am starting a brief series responding to platitudes we hear from individuals that can deflate our enthusiasm to study biblical prophecy, shutting down discussion of God’s Word about our Lord’s coming.
There are a handful of platitudes that we hear frequently. I have addressed this first one before and I also address it in my recent book, but it is a good one to kick off the series. My goal is to equip you to respond quickly to the person who utters the platitudes. To be sure, most of the time people mean well. But they are uttering their platitudes out of ignorance. Accordingly, this will give you an opportunity to correct them and help them foster a love for the Lord’s return and a vigilance of what must happen before his return.
Many of these platitudes are so entrenched in our Christian circles that most people do not give them a second thought to what they are actually uttering and their implications.
Without further ado, here is the first one:
“What only matters is the fact that Jesus is returning”
Wow, how many times have you heard this one? It sounds like a pious statement, but underneath the surface-level utterance, there is no biblical substance.
What this platitude implies is that these other “side” issues such as the great tribulation, timing of the rapture, the day of the Lord’s wrath, etc. were not concerns for the biblical writers, and therefore should not be a concern for us. This is wrong. It may come as a surprise for many that the biblical writers themselves did not believe that it was sufficient simply to know the “fact” that Christ is returning. Indeed, Jesus is coming back, and there is no question that knowing this truth should propel us to holy living. But Jesus himself ominously warns us to be aware of what will happen before he returns:
“See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25).
In the context of describing this eschatological persecution, Jesus asks,
“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
In the context of the Antichrist, Paul commands:
“Let no one deceive you in any way” (2 Thess. 2:3).
In the context of the mark and image of the Beast, 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).
The 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)
It is imperative that every believer take these imperatives seriously.
The end-time teachings of Jesus (Matthew 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, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus places more emphasis on how to live during the testing period before his return than on his return itself! Accordingly, we, too, must model Jesus’ example by emphasizing the ramifications of the Antichrist’s great tribulation upon the church. The task upon the student of prophecy is not just to affirm that Jesus is returning but the conditions surrounding his return. This includes the Antichrist’s persecution, the period when God will refine his bride for his Son’s arrival.
Takeaway: 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 and ignorant crowd? Or will you foster a longing to understand what the Bible teaches on 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.