A word about the specific teachings of Jesus on the notion circulating around the church called "imminence."
There is some validity to what is being taught. In Mark 13:32-37, for example, all of us are admonished to watch, for "you do not know when the time is." Even if Bible prophecy is a muddle to us, we are to be diligently living for Jesus, ready for Him at any moment. But as we grow in grace, we grow in understanding, and as He sees He can trust us with more knowledge about His coming, He gives us that light.
For some, knowing that Jesus will not come until after antichrist arrives would be a signal to let down and let up. These babes need to grow awhile before other truths can sink in. In Luke 21:34-36, Jesus tells people to watch and pray all the time, to be worthy to escape the horrible judgment that will come on the Day of His return. This is not to be taken lightly.
If prophecy makes no sense to you, and you are not sure of the validity of any of the books out there, and the Scriptures are not yet clear, just watch and pray. You will miss nothing! But, ask for more grace as the days go by to slowly get a hold of the hope of the calling of God. It can
bring sunshine to a dark day, and downright overwhelming floods of joy when it is discovered even more.
Clues for a long wait for the coming of Jesus are in the Scriptures . Peter (II Peter 3:3) says that in the last days people will scoff, saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?" That is, it has been a long time.
Jesus told stories of men going into far countries. (Matthew 21:33, 25:14). It takes a long time to get to a far country.
Some say that Matthew 24 is all about the final coming of Jesus, not the "secret" coming (which is an invention of modern man). They criticize those who say that, if you "know" exactly when he is coming, you will not need to watch. But in Matthew 24 itself are three warnings about watching:
v. 36) "But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven..."
v.42) "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming."
v. 44) "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him."
Here is the classic [though modern] doctrine of "imminence" in a context that is clearly talking of the return of Jesus to earth, not the "secret" coming. Others who interpret these verses have caught their mistake, and decided that in the latter portions of Matthew 24, Jesus is actually talking about the "first phase" of His second coming. But one must ask by what system of Biblical interpretation such a division is justified.
It would seem that the driving force here is the need to prove one's position by any means necessary.
The above quoted verses are only a few sentences away from clear signs and clearer illustrations:
v.15 The abomination of desolation, the signal for the beginning of the end
v.32 The fig tree. When you begin to see leaves, summer is near. This is also the beginning of the end. He gives us a sign of the season, but not the exact day.
v.37 Noah. Though judgment was only a week away (Genesis 7:10) only Noah and his family knew. But they knew. He walked with God and was not caught unaware. The world that rejected God's ways was caught totally off guard though the message had been going out for over a century. Noah becomes a picture of those who will see the end coming when no one else does.
For the world, it's "thief in the night." For Noah- like saints, no major surprise.
So the key is what we know and don't know. "Times and seasons " we'll know if we watch. The "Abomination" season. the "Fig tree" season. Paul agrees in I Thessalo nians 5:1, where "times and seasons" are what we are encouraged and expected to know. Day and hour? Not necessary to nail it down that close. But when the season comes, watch. Be ready.
And for now? Be ready to leave Earth at any time by that other certainty of life: Your death.
http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together in June of '07 to assist in getting the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. You'll find scores of blogs featuring books and news of North Korea, plus testimonies and history, and more. There's also a live news feed , lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love "Chosun" together!
I also enjoy sharing these articles about God's Word with you. Sermonaudio.com has full messages and accompanying audio versions of my teachings. Then please go over to chosunhouse.com to inform your prayer life regarding the suffering church in North Korea.
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Just a brother in the Lord, member of a local church, with full time work in the secular world. Write & tell me who you are. [firstname.lastname@example.org]