Watching and Waiting - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8176
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
Have you ever been talking to someone about bible prophecy, and how the signs we are seeing today are all pointing to Christ's soon return and they mockingly correct you by saying 'my great grandmother thought Christ would return in her day and He still hasn't come'?
I know I've heard that used on me a number of times as an attempt to discredit my concern for the lateness of the hour in which we find ourselves in. More often than not, it's from well-meaning Christians who perhaps don't know any better due to their denominational upbringing. But from others, the condescending nature of their rebuttal seems as if there is a hidden resentment against the very idea that Christ would have the audacity to return.
There are three instances in the New Testament that the Apostles themselves called the times in which they lived either the 'last times', or the 'last hour'. Even Paul expected Christ in His day when he concluded on a number of occasions by using the wording "we" and "us" as being included in the group that could see Christ return. We know that the Apostles (Paul, John, and Peter in particular), didn't write what they wrote arbitrarily, but rather, by inspiration from God the Holy Spirit...so it's not there by mistake.
It was their deeply held belief in the imminent return of Christ for the Church, which could happen at any moment. Since then, it has been some 2,000 years since Christ's departed planet earth, and if they thought they were in the Last Days, how much closer are we?
"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
The departure from expectancy was not missed by Christ. He foresaw the way the world would become even before He laid the foundations of the earth. He knew all that would transpire between Adam and Eve's fall from grace to the conditions the world would be in prior to His Second Coming. He even knows what will happen 100 billion years into even our future.
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 1:8), and although He has not returned as of yet, He will. He is God and cannot lie, therefore, when He said I will come again and receive you to Myself (John 14:3), we must take Him at His word. That day will be the trigger to usher in the final stage of human history, in which the wrath of God is poured out on a Christ-rejecting earth. As P.T. Forsyth once stated;
"The non-intervention of God bears very heavy interest, and He is greatly to be feared when He does nothing. He moves in long orbits, out of sight and sound. But He always arrives. Nothing can arrest the judgment of the Cross, nothing shake the judgment-seat of Christ" (in The Justification of God).
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure." Daniel 2:44-45
As the Holy Spirit moves over the face of the earth, explosions of revival breakout in former demonic strongholds along the way. This is the case today in places like Nigeria, Iran, and China where millions have turned to Christ. In response, Satan dials up the persecution to quell the outbreak of Christianity. This has been the case over and over for the past two thousand years.
It is primarily here in the West, where Christianity has long been incubated, that Satan has been most effective. He has been conducting a long war of doctrinal attacks aimed at corrupting the foundations of the Christian faith with things like; skepticism, eastern mysticism, replacement theology, human secularism, and Darwinian evolution. And while these have been very effective in knocking down formerly Christian strongholds within governments, educational institutions, media, and even the public arena of ideas...what Satan has found most effective within Christianity is simply getting man's focus off our eternality and back onto the here and now.
Satan's tool of choice in distracting man with the here and now has been to relentlessly attack true, biblical eschatology by offering a human solution to the idea of "the Kingdom". Instead of a 'blessed hope', we were told we have a 'sacred duty' to build Christ's Kingdom in the here and now, which sounds impressive but is misleading in its end state and is ultimately aimed at helping Satan building his.
Simply look at how Amillennialism drives men to try and establish a Kingdom here on earth. If Amillennialism were true wouldn't the "Kingdom" have already been built? I mean, we have had the "Vicar of Christ" (i.e...the Pope) since the 6th century AD. We've had crusades. We've had the Protestant Reformation. We've had the Puritans who settled in their new American homeland. We've had the 1st and 2nd Great Awakenings. We've had the Restoration movement. We've had the Social Gospel movement.
We've had in more recent times; the Toronto Blessings, Lakeland Revival, Third Wave, Latter Rain, New Apostolic Reformation, and Kansas City Prophets. We've had a renewed push for ecumenism between Mormons and Evangelicals. Between Roman Catholicism and Evangelicals. We've had Purpose Driven, Seeker Friendly, social-gospel, name it-claim it, emergent church, Promise-Keepers, and everything in between.
All of these groups and movements were supposed to be earth shattering, kingdom-building, and man-centered efforts to transform the world we live in into some type of Christian utopia. These groups also share similar eschatologies which are either of the Amillennial or Post-Millennial purview, redefining the Kingdom on man's terms.
If we were to judge the fruits of Amillennialism we would have to contend with Preterism, which is a byproduct of Amillennial teachings. What Preterism introduces is skepticism onto Scripture. Preterism seeks to dismiss any possibility of Christ's physical return to earth to establish His Kingdom by either spiritualizing it, (as does Amillennialism) or by redefining everything within Revelation to fit their narrative.
If we were to judge the fruits of Post-Millennialism we would largely from the aforementioned list above, which seeks to force change on a culture by assuming control of the Seven Mountains (or some variation thereof), in order to make society conform through their Christian influence.
While the intentions might have been in the right place, and some may have been saved in the process, none of these programs and movements ever built anything except perhaps more confusion within the body of Christ. (See 1 John 5:19, Luke 4:4-6, or 2 Cor. 4:4)
Skeptical theologians and scholars love to state that Eschatology is simply a second rate issue that has no bearing on our salvation. That is true in as much as how it affects Christians. However, it (false eschatologies) can be highly destructive toward the saving faith of those who are not yet Christians. Simply look at the damage that date setters such as William Miller and Harold Camping have put on Christianity as a whole and have turned away unknown numbers of potential converts.
What they also don't tell you is, holding to or promoting false eschatological beliefs, side-tracks that unwitting believer into following a path which ultimately ends in failure, spiritual emptiness, and ultimately disillusionment with the faith as a whole.
False eschatological views also breed a tendency towards militancy, skepticism, and anti-Semitism by confusing the Church with Israel (or vice versa). And if your end-times view has you going through the Tribulation, your focus now is not on waiting on Christ, but on stocking up, gearing up, and hunkering down waiting for all hell to break loose.
Needless to say, Satan has been busy.
So that is how we have arrived here in the final moments of human history, with Israel back in her land (as prophesied in Scripture), wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, pandemics, starvation, advancing technology, world government, and the overall convergence of signs, all while the church is asleep at the wheel.
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
Be of Good Cheer
For those of us who study Bible prophecy regularly from a Pre-Tribulation viewpoint, might feel discouraged at times because we are always talking about it and Christ said that He would come at a time when we 'think not'. We (I) tend to neglect the reality that we (as a community of believers) make up a tiny percentage of the total number of Christians who are actively watching and waiting for the Lord to return.
When you compare us as community to humanity as a whole, our numbers are even significantly smaller and probably microscopic in comparison. While those who are waiting on the Rapture is not a prerequisite for salvation, it is indicative of the 'state of the church' when Christ returns.
For those who are frantically working to build up some kind of kingdom here on earth, often accuse us of being lazy, head in the clouds, starry-eyed doom and gloomers, who are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good, prophecy nuts. Here is the will of God...that we believe on the One whom God has sent. (John 6:29)
As believers, we are instructed to share the gospel, to work quietly in whatever field God has put us in, to be workman who needeth not be ashamed and ready to give a defense of the hope that is in us, to love one another, to mature in the faith, and to watch and be ready for when our Lord returns. For those who ignore Christ's imminent return because they are so focused on trying to build their kingdom in the here and now, I would gently remind them...
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17