Jesus’ Return – The Truth
I know many Christians believe that they will not suffer any distress before Christ returns, yet God’s Word is quite clear that before Jesus returns, “…there will be tribulation, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Mt. 24:21-22, Mk.13:19) Praise God, our days will be shortened, but we will be here through much distress. Why is this an important truth? Because I wouldn’t want people to be discouraged and lose faith when things begin crashing down around us. And sadly, most preachers are teaching the false doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture, that we will be taken before any tribulation.
In response to Jesus’ disciples’ question, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” it is clear that He will return in the clouds and gather His elect from around the world “after the distress of those days.” (Mt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:20-26; Luke 21:25-28) Also, please read Revelation 6-7. Here we see four different passages, which state the same truth. Instead of believing that we will escape all distress, let me ask you, “Which true prophet or disciple didn’t go through trouble?” Yes, the Lord gives us numerous promises to protect us from most tragedies, thank You, Lord. Yet, we are told by Jesus the signs before He comes in (Mathew 24:4-31, Mark 13:5-13, Luke 21:8-27 and Rev. 6-7):
1. “Many false prophets will rise and deceive many.” (Mt.24:11, Mk.13:22-23), which is occurring now and will increase.
“…the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’ ‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed!” (Jeremiah 14:13-15)
“An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-35)
“Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; They have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives, but have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.” (Lamentations 2:14)
When a preacher does not talk about the need of repentence, it’s a serious problem, as this is part of being saved. Also, when preachers do not speak of the need of fearing God, which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs), and that Christians will suffer, these are signs they are false, as they only want to give you the feel good sermons, or maybe out of fear themselves, and many take your money for doing so. “…ALL who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
2. Much war will occur (in fact, nation rising against nation and kingdom against kindom), which hasn’t yet happened.
3. Also, many more earthquakes, much more famine and disease will occur. I know it is happening now, as they’re increasing in magnitude and frequency, but we must know that it will get even worse before Jesus returns.
4. Christian persecution will occur (Jesus says, we will be hated by “ALL.” (Mt.24:9, Mk.13:9-13, Lk.21:12-19), which also hasn’t yet occurred. Yes, in Muslim nations this is occurring, but “all” means all. We’re going to suffer greatly for Jesus.
5. Being an English teacher, time transition words are quite important, as they tell us the order of events, so when Jesus says, “IMMEDIATELY AFTER the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. THEN the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and THEN all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Mt.24:29-31) This is what many call “The Rapture.” And notice that Jesus will be clearly seen.
And in (Revelation 6:12-16), we are told, “I looked when He (Jesus) opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind…”
Also, in (Acts 2:19-21 & Joel 2:30-32), “I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Thank You, Jesus.
6. Here we have several different Scriptures, which say the same thing. Let us not be fooled. We are headed towards great distress, but please do not be in fear, as our awesome loving Lord gives us many promises of help:
“…Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes. You shall laugh at destruction and famine, and you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. You shall know that your tent is in peace; you shall visit your dwelling and find nothing amiss.” (Job 5:19-24) Wow! Thank You, Lord.
I share this not to cause fear, but to let you know the truth and not be led away by false teachers. Although the “falling away” is already occurring, I believe we’ll see many more Christians falling away due to the hard times to come, as Jesus promises, because they are believing these false teachers.
“For God is not an author of confusion, but of peace…” (1 Corinthians 14:33) He wants us to know, so that we can prepare ourselves, mostly spiritually.
Therefore, we learn from Jesus Himself the events to come previous to His return. I understand that many are frightened by such things. Yet, Jesus wants us to know the truth, so that we are not surprised, but trust in Him. Instead of being in fear, it’s important to realize that our lives on earth are just a speck of time compared to eternity. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. He is our anchor in the storm. “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will take refuge.” (Psalm 91:4)
Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
And how do you come to know Jesus? Believe in Him, that He came to die for you, taking on all your sins, so that you can be saved. Confess your sins, and ask for forgiveness, repenting from them, asking Him to give you the strength to be strong and grow closer to Him who is our awesome loving Savior, in Jesus name. Thank You, Lord!