Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: King of kings and Lord of Lords." Revelation 19:11-16

"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."  Revelation 20:4-6 NIV

I believe that the Lord is coming back, and it is sooner than any of us think.

I do not have proof of course; it's just my personal belief. It is also the belief of millions of Christians throughout the world. I don't have a timetable, nor would I venture a guess, but I believe it is sooner than we think…

Frankly, though, I don't believe most of the eschatological experts have figured it out either. But we should not let that divide us, or cause us to give up in our belief of Christ's return.

In my study bible before the book of, (as the apostle John called it), The Revelation of Jesus Christ, there is an introduction which includes a section that breaks down eight different historical eschatological beliefs:
·         Premillennial Pre Tribulation view, 
·         Premillennial Post Tribulation view, 
·         Premillennial Mid Tribulation view, 
·         Premillennial Pre Tribulation Partial Rapture view, 
·         Premillennial Pre Wrath Rapture view,
·         Evangelical Post Millennial view,
·         St. Augustine's Amillennial view,
·         A Second Amillennial view.

Every one of these scholarly believers who proposed these theories believed they were correct, but obviously, they cannot all be right.  They could all be wrong, but they couldn't all be right. I find it fascinating that believers who study the same scriptures can conclude such opposing views. Regardless, God's timetable and His plan are for an appointed time that will not disappoint.

I tell people that I'm a "pan eschatologist."   That is, I believe all of the end time things are going to "pan out" just like God has planned!  

I have always believed that Jesus will come back in my lifetime, and that this will be the last generation. However, all through church history, Christians have believed the same way.  

Throughout church history many believed that Jesus' return would happen in their lifetime because rampant sin had never been worse. Unfortunately, with each succeeding generation, evil does seem to wax worse than ever before.

The good news is that even though evil does seem to wax worse and worse, where sin abounds, grace much more abounds! 

In church history there have been extreme cases of believers who were so convinced of God's timetable that they did things like dressing up in white robes and waiting on a mountain top for the rapture.  Can you imagine the disappointment when it did not happen?

Personally, I remember in 1988 there was a book that sold millions of copies that predicted that Jesus would return and rapture the church sometime near September 13th, 14th, or 15th in 1988.  When that didn't happen, the author revised the book for 1989.  I'm guessing the author was sincere, but sincerely wrong, and of course twenty-eight years later we can say his "guesstimations" were way off.

During that time, I heard stories of people that sold everything they had or gave it away; and I heard other stories of people running up their credit cards to the maximum because "they would be raptured and not have to pay it back." (I think that is called stealing).

People can become foolish when they believe they are leaving the earth. I think that is why Jesus gave the parable of the master leaving and telling his servants to occupy until he came back. In other words, keep doing what is needed until the Master returns. 

Whether He comes back in a rapture, or for a millennial reign, or to fight at Armageddon, Jesus will return to the earth. Whether He returns to earth in my generation, or He waits for another, He is coming back.   We should occupy until He does come back.

All of us only get one generation to live, so this is our last generation, our one and only. So what should we be doing with the time we have left on the earth?

Well, one thought is to ask what was important to Jesus when He was preparing to leave the earth.  It was important to Him to tell His apostles and disciples that they should share the message of the gospel with this world.

I believe we should use every opportunity we have to share the love of Jesus Christ with this generation.  Every believer has a God-given love inside them to share with the people of their generation (1 Thessalonians 4:9). It is the love of God that compels us to share the gospel.

Another personal belief of mine (and many, many other Christians) is that there will be an incredible wave of harvest before Christ returns.  Multitudes of people will come to faith in Christ because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the earth. 

In our American history alone, we have seen many revivals…  We had the Great Awakening under the powerful preaching of George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards and others.  We had other Great Awakenings and moves of the Holy Spirit that drew multitudes into the kingdom of God.

In the past 125 years we have seen the Azusa Street Revival, the Voice of Healing Revival, the Charismatic Renewal, the Toronto Blessing, Brownsville revival, and many others that have touched millions and brought them to faith.

Crossing over generations and borders, God used people like Charles Finney, the Wesley brothers, Dwight L. Moody, Evan Roberts, Smith Wigglesworth, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, Reinhard Bonnke, and many others to bring in millions all over the world.

But as the Bachman Turner Overdrive song goes, "You ain't seen nothing yet!"  This next move of God will be the so-called "regular people," not just famous people.  There is a new wave coming very soon that will be like a tsunami of God's love and grace to sweep a billion souls into the kingdom.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.   Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming..." 2 Peter 3:8-12 NIV (emphasis mine).

Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha 

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