The Soon Return of Christ - By Pete Garcia -
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Revelation 22:12-13
The skeptic and scoffer will laugh and point to this verse, and mockingly ask, where is the promise of His return? It's been 2,000 years and He still hasn't come back. They have been mocking now for 2,000 years. Every generation has had their fill of these boastful ingrates, beating their chests and proudly blaspheming the name of Christ. Our day is only different in that it is getting worse.
First, is that every generation over these past 2,000 years has had their share of skeptics and scoffers. Every single one of those mockers prior to our generation, have since died. In death, they now know the truth as they await their judgment. You see, death is not the end for us as we will spend the rest of eternity in either one of two places. Our physical body will grow old, and our heart will one day stop beating, but our conscious never dies. And at the point of death, we will slip out of this physical, fleshly, body and immediately go into the next. What we believed in this life, will ultimately determine, where we spend the rest of eternity.
But death is not the end.
In fact, as one pastor eloquently puts it, for the unregenerate (the unsaved), their conscious becomes amplified in death. Every habit they craved in life, whether benign or evil, is amplified in hades. If you were addicted to drugs or pornography in this life, your conscious, immortal body, will have that addiction amplified without ever being fulfilled for the rest of eternity. For example, if you lived by the satanic law of do what thou will (fulfilling the lust of the flesh), you will suffer never, ever, being able to fulfill those lusts for the rest of eternity.
Every thought is amplified (for all to hear). Every impulse, addiction, craving, and every regret, is amplified so profoundly, that aside from the oppressive heat, darkness, and the pain, the person in hades/Sheol/torments, will spend every second for the rest of eternity with that profound gnawing of withdrawal eating away at them. They will never again satisfy whatever it was that got their rocks off in their former life. (See Luke 16:19-31)
Thus, those who are still alive today, have only their fellow mockers to keep them company. They mock in blind ignorance today, hating God (Romans 1), and are singularly comforted by their present company of mockers. But the moment they die, they are forever separated and alone for the rest of eternity.
The second point is that according to Scripture, God created time for mankind. He has not bound to it Himself. For Him, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years, as a day (2 Peter 3:8). In other words, our concept of time and His are very different. We in our present state, are in our mortal, physical, beings. We are generally limited to 70-80 years (Psalm 90:10), and then we die, and then our real selves, the soul of man, goes to either one of two locations: either with God in the heavenly, divine, realms, or apart from God, in hades/Sheol/torments. When, at the end of human history, and after the Great White Throne Judgment, God will cast those who are in hades/Sheol/torments into the Lake of Fire. This is their true and final home for the rest of eternity.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:10-14
All things considered, 2,000 years is not really that long a time to wait. Each person has whatever time in their life to make their amends with their Creator, and then, death. As the writer of Hebrews put it, and as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation (Heb. 9:27-28). Yes, it has been 2,000 years since Christ last walked the earth, but each generation has had to come to grips with who Jesus was to them, and have long since marched into the grave.
Ultimately, the born-again believer (spiritually regenerated) would like to have the single, most important question of our life answered. When is Christ returning? To this, I say what Christ said....soon. We are told we cannot know the day nor hour, but we are also told that we could see the day approaching and that we would not be in the dark regarding His return.
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:36-37
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 1 Thessalonians 1-4
As I put in a previous article, we can both know and not know, by the shadow looming over us. Although we don't know when specifically Christ will return, we know we are now standing in the shadow of the 70th Week of Daniel. It looms large over us, and the watching believer is joined by the Holy Spirit, with other believers, who sense the nearness of Christ return. In other words, for the believer who is watching and eagerly anticipating the soon return of Christ, we are being reaffirmed by the Holy Spirit who indwells us that His coming is very soon.
So how soon is that?
If I had to wager a guess, I'd say between now and ten years from now.
I'm sure there were people in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, etc. who probably felt the same way. They, in their humanity, could not fathom Christ's return extending beyond their immediate future. We here in the year 2019, soon to be 2020, feel the same way. We cannot fathom Christ's return going beyond our immediate future.
I like to think of it as a window of time.
Those speculating that Christ would return in the 1970s were too early. Those who think Christ's return will be no earlier than the year 2050, are too late. We here in the middle of those two boundaries must keep in mind that although God's specific timing is unknown to us, they are not random or arbitrary. His return will be tied to something significant, whether we recognize that or not, is irrelevant. So what makes me think we are in the middle of that 80-year window? (1970-2050)
The nation of Israel.
If for nothing else, the Christian today, has Israel as God's timepiece. I've chronicled before in much more depth about Israel's timeline (here), but keep this simple principle in mind.
Simply looking at Israel as God's timepiece then, we are in the last seconds, of the last days, which is why I don't think we can really push the envelope of God's patience beyond 10-years. Even escalating this timeline, was the election of the most pro-Israel president the US has ever had since Harry Truman. President Trump, as the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, became the first president to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital. Not only that but by moving our national embassy there, he cemented this decision into policy.
The world, which is currently being run by Satan himself, does not like this. (1 John 5:19). This is why President Trump has the entirety of the globalist, bureaucratic, satanic architecture coming down on his head. They are being steered with this blind, irrational hatred of him, and they do not even understand why. The reason why is that Satan hates Israel, and he will try everything in his power, to destroy them as a nation and as a people. If he can destroy Israel, then he can break/thwart God's prophetic promise to them, thus, potentially, nullifying his own fate of spending the rest of eternity in the lake of fire.
So how much longer will all this go on?
We know, according to Scripture, that Satan will make four attempts at wiping out the Jewish nation and the city of Jerusalem.
Psalm 83: has not happened yet historically, but could happen at any moment. We've seen numerous attempts (1948, 1967, 1973, etc.) already, but there is coming one which will significantly expand Israel's border for good. This time, they will not yield the land back. Sunni Islam as a religion will suffer a significant, devastating blow.
Ezekiel 38-39: has not happened yet, but we see the chess pieces (the nations) already in position. Nations who historically have always been at odds with each other, are gathering for the first time in what used to be Syria. The nations of Iran, Russia, and Turkey (the three major nations) are staging in Syria under the pretense of keeping the peace. This will change and God will put a hook in their mouths and lead them to war, where He will destroy them. This will put the final nail in the coffin of Islam, as both the Turks (Sunni) and the Iranians (Shia) are overwhelmingly defeated.
Revelation 19: will not happen until the end of Daniel's 70th Week. At the end of the seven-years (70th Week), the antichrist and the false prophet will lead a final charge against the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant. Christ returns visibly, as He peels the sky apart, and destroys ALL the armies of the world gathered there. See also Zechariah 14:1-15
Revelation 20:1-9: will not happen until the end of Christ's thousand-year reign on the earth. Here, Satan is released from the bottomless pit for a "short season" and is allowed to persuade those who were born in the millennium, to rise up against Christ who is ruling the world from Jerusalem. Needless to say, this is a short battle, as Christ calls down fire from heaven and consumes them for the last time.
As J.D. Farag once put it, these prophecies have a shelf-life. Psalm 83, Isaiah 17 (destruction of Damascus), and Ezekiel 38-39 are already primed and ready to go. I don't see how much longer these things can stay in their present state without falling apart geopolitically. As much as I believed God used a Trump-presidency to accomplish His purposes (just as He used the Truman presidency), the world-situation is exactly where He said they would be. The world hates Israel and has been coming against it since 1948. The world hates the Trump Administration because Trump enthusiastically supports Israel.
I can understand some people's sentiments regarding how they used to believe Christ would return in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, etc. and have felt burned by believing that. HOWEVER, they were not where we are today, regarding ALL that has happened since Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth first got published (1970). His book, like the Left Behind series, were runaway bestsellers. They were used for their time to point to the soon return of Christ.
Understandably, soon, can be a relatively subjective term. When I tell my children that Christmas is six-weeks away that seems like a lifetime to them. However, as parents, we recognize how soon six-weeks really is, and we begin to scramble to buy the presents and get the travel arrangements in order, and so forth. Although God isn't "scrambling" per se, He is methodically allowing for events to unfold that will prepare for the return of His Son, Jesus Christ, to take His rightful place on the throne of David.
To David, from Nathan the Prophet;
Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.
"When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." ' "According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David. 2 Samuel 7:10-17
So where is the throne of David?
It is in Jerusalem.
Which is in the land of Israel.
Which is why we say Israel is God's time-piece.
Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Luke 1:30-33
The current reality of a national-Israel being full of Jews, who are back in their ancestral homeland, makes us the first generation in 2,000 years to meet these prophetic conditions. Although we are overflowing with prophetic signs and markers these days, we often lose sight of just how prophetically significant Israel really is. I say lose sight because we start looking at a lot of different signs trying to determine just how close we actually are. Then we become inundated with information and begin to chase our tails.
It has to come back to watching Israel. This is because if you were born after 1948, you've only ever known Israel to be back in her land. However, if you lived before 1948, you understood that the nation of Israel existed only in history books. I've often wondered if this is why so many of our great Christian prophecy scholars have already graduated into glory, leaving us young bucks to carry the water. We get enamored with all the technology, signs in the heavens, geopolitics and so on, thus, we know we are near the end, but we forget to do our proper cross-scan (across the dashboard of all the prophetic signs).
The Bible emphatically states that Christ will one day rule from David's throne, which is in Jerusalem. The Bible emphatically states that Israel will build a third temple. The two previous temples were destroyed; the first by the Babylonians, and the second by the Romans. However, in order for there to be a third temple, Israel had to control Jerusalem. In order the Jews to control Jerusalem, they had to control the land of Israel. In order for the Jews to reclaim the nation of Israel, God would have had to preserve them as a people through 2,000 years of Diaspora.
"Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:1-6
Are you ready?