Luke 21:7-9 (KJV) And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
For a while, I had forgotten about the times, when as a child, I used to hear the older Believers talk about Jesus’ second return. It is a Biblical event that was once a prominent message taught within the Church and to society. Over time, however, we have heard this very essential message being taught less. We have heard this message being discussed within the homes less. We have observed it being shared with a dying world less.
Why is this? Is it because of fear of being ostracized by others, Believers and non-Believers alike? Is it because time has continued to pass and Jesus still has not returned yet? Is it because our focus has shifted to “abundant living” here on earth while we “wait”? Is it because we just simply do not believe in it anymore?
Whatever the case may be, we have to take this moment to stop and seriously reconsider the gravity of this message. It is an essential part of the foundation for our faith. It is an essential part of God’s salvific plan for His people. God did not send His Son to die for us to live on this earth and then die. He sent His Son that you and I might have everlasting life with Him.
The enemy has crept into the Church and has begun spreading the same lies to the people of God that he used to tempt the first Adam in the Garden of Eden and the second Adam in the wilderness (Gen. 3; Mt. 4:1-11; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). Many of us have bought into the lies unawares because they seemed so innocent and harmless to us. Many of us have bought into the lies unawares because we have turned our eyes from the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:1-11). As a result, when life begins to happen, it becomes easier and easier for us to pacify ourselves with the thought that God intended for us to enjoy all things. It is true that He has given us His creation to enjoy, but not at the expense of losing our souls.
Because we have turned away we have been unable to see with clarity the signs of the times as they happen around us. I believe that God, in His infinite love, grace, and mercy, has allowed the entire world to stop long enough to consider Him once again. As usual, we have participated in this little “Exodus” for a little while and as soon as we were offered a chance to return to “Egypt”, we jumped at the chance to return to the “normal life” that was familiar to us (Ex. 14:10-12;16:2-3;32:1-6; Num. 11:4-6;14:1-4).
But I also believe that as things begin to appear to become better, they will begin a descent into worse things. In continuation to the main Scriptures above, Jesus said:
Luke 21:10-19 (KJV) Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.
Some of the events mentioned above by Jesus have already been taking place and some with increased frequency and intensity. We can no longer afford to long for the things of this world to the neglect of the holding onto the promise of eternal things to come. Our “need” for immediate gratification is causing us to lose sight of what is most important at this very pivotal point in history and that is continuing the Great Commission (Mt. 28:16-20).
Regardless of what is going on in our lives now, we have to return to our first love (Rev. 2:4,5). We have to pray that God would open our eyes that we may see the sign of the times as they take place around us (2 Kgs. 6:17). Losing our present comfort is worth gaining eternal life and peace with our Lord and Savior Jesus. Losing in this world to gain in the life to come is worth far more than we can imagine.
Shifting our perspective means shifting our priorities. From what I can see, reclaiming our passion for the things of God will cause us to become aware of the lives that are being lost to eternity each day without knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We must tell them about the good news of the Kingdom. We have prayed for Jesus to come soon, but how many of us are praying and asking Jesus to give us more time to share the Gospel with those who do not know Him? Make no mistake, Jesus is coming soon. But in the meantime, we need to “occupy until He comes” (Lk. 19:13).