Thursday, April 09, 2020

Will Jesus Christ Actually Return?

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As we prepare to remember His painful death and celebrate His Resurrection, 8 in 10 pastors say they believe Jesus will return---literally and personally return to earth again.

And 56% believe He will do so in their lifetime.

Are we ready for this?

Be informed.

A recent survey by LifeWay Research has found that 8 in 10 pastors believe Christ will return, and 97% of evangelical and historically black church pastors believe He will "literally and personally return to earth again."

And 56% said they believe He will return in their lifetime.

How Christian pastors view current events.

Pastors were also asked if they believed current events are the birth pangs that Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24.

Here's how they responded. On each option, most pastors said they viewed it as a sign of Jesus' return.

  • 83%, the "rise of false prophets and false teachings."
  • 81%, the "love of many believers growing cold."
  • 79%, "traditional morals becoming less accepted."
  • 78%, "wars and national conflicts."
  • 76% "earthquakes and other natural disasters."
  • 75%, the "number of people abandoning their Christian faith."
  • 70%, famines.
  • 63%, "anti-Semitism toward Jewish people worldwide."

The pastors were also asked their beliefs regarding amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism.

  • 60%, believe the millennium "will be a future literal 1,000 year period during which Jesus reigns on earth following Christ's second coming. This is known as "premillennialism."
  • 21%, believe the millennium is a "symbolic way of describing the period between Christ's ascension and second coming. This is known as amillennialism.
  • 9% believe the millennium "is not a literal 1,000 years, but an era in which the world will gradually become more Christian and just, ending with Christ's second coming. This is known as postmillennialism.

This is what I believe.

The coronavirus has essentially shut down the world, causing people to look outside themselves---some for the first time in a long time. The things that have entertained us, consumed us, and often directed us, including much of our decision making, have been stripped away.

Many, Christians and non-Christians are struck with fear--- Christians, mostly fear of change, non-Christians, mostly terrorized by the fear of not being in control or the ability to regain control, and the fear of the unknown.

The current events listed in the survey are taken from the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 24.

Look at verses 7 and 8:
"For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. And all these are the beginning of sorrows."

This teaching of Jesus is meant to be comforting to biblical Christians, however, it should be a warning to non-Christians.

Recently I've been seeing more and more articles claiming we have now come under the "wrath of God" in America, claiming the coronavirus is evidence of God's wrath.

We are not yet under the "wrath of God." It will come, but we are experiencing what Jesus called "the beginning of sorrows."

The wrath of God will be poured out, as described in the book of Revelation. His wrath will be directed at a world and a people who have mocked and rejected His Son Jesus Christ even though they have been given an opportunity to heed the call of His Holy Spirit to open their hearts and accept Him.

Today, I believe we are in the "beginning of sorrows," as God gets the attention of His people---and others who will become "His people" by accepting His Son as the only begotten Son of God, crucified, dead and resurrected.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Here's how to "believe" and take action.

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

Christians, listen up: this is not the "Tribulation," it's the beginning of sorrows, which began in 1948 when Israel became a nation. You, as a believer in Jesus Christ, will not go through the "Great Tribulation"---you will be caught up to be with Him in the air. Then the "Tribulation" will begin.

And the pain and horror will be indescribable. Why would God punish His people, when the sin of the world has already been placed on His Son, Jesus?

Was Christ's death not sufficient?

It was. And is.

No, this is not the "Tribulation" but it's certainly a call to action. God has given us a reprieve to get right with Him and to share the Good News with everyone you possibly can.

In the ashes of the pandemic, the light of the Gospel is beginning to shine more brightly.

Last Sunday---Palm Sunday, Pastor Greg Laurie's mega-church in Riverside, California was empty, except for his worship team, his wife, and himself. They sang, they worshiped, and Pastor Laurie shared the gospel.

President Trump had tweeted that he planned to attend that service online. Laurie has learned that 1.3 million people also joined that service. And 11,207 people contacted the church to tell them they accepted Jesus Christ as a result of that one service.

There is a spiritual awakening underway.

The Good News is that He is Risen. And His return is soon. Very soon. Rejoice. Look up.

Be Informed. Be Blessed. Be Prayerful.