Sequence Of Prophecy


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The Refusal to Believe in The Imminent Return of Christ

It's true that Paul did not mention this doctrine by name, but he did mention it indirectly by telling his followers to watch and wait for the Lord's return. The Bible writers used those words and phrases that I mentioned above, to indicate that His return was imminent even though they probably did not realize they were teaching it that way. But God knew it because He had them write it that way so that no one throughout the Ages would be discouraged about His coming. If God had not inspired the Bible writers to write those words and phases in the Scriptures, the way He did concerning His coming, many Christians would have been discouraged and then they probably would not have been watching for the coming of Christ, and that would not be good. I do not think the peoples of the past could understand the prophecies as we do today. The people of Paul's day were expecting Jesus to return in their lifetime, but so were the people throughout the Middle Ages. And we today are still expecting Him to return at any moment, at any time, but don't get the idea that He's not coming again soon because of that. So, just because Paul did not mention the words "The Imminent Return of Christ" does not mean that doctrine is not taught in the Bible.

This doctrinal statement called "The Imminent Return of Christ" means that Christ can come at any moment, at any time, without delay or warning, and that no event needs to be fulfilled before the Rapture. Christ's return is "imminent." The Rapture will happen without warning. A friend of mine, who is a CMA pastor, said, "The question concerning the imminent coming of Christ is in the CMA ordination written exams. If a person does not define the imminent return on the exams then it is asked in the orals. To my recollection all who have been passed for ordination in the Western PA District of the C&MA had to say that they believed in the imminent return." Why then would one say or believe that Jesus' return will take place during or after the tribulation period (the 70th week of Daniel), mentioned by Daniel in 9: 27?

Paul, and the other Bible writers, did not actually mention that phrase called "The Imminent Return of Christ", but indirectly, I believe, Paul taught it in many of his writings, which are recorded in the Bible, even though he probably did not realize that he was doing so. He taught that Jesus' return was imminent by making statements about it. Paul taught his followers (the Christians) to be "...looking for..." "...look..." "...waiting for..." "...wait for..." "...patient (patiently) waiting for...", "...let us watch...", etc..., for His (Jesus') coming. (Read I Thes. 5: 4, 6 (KJV), II Thes. 3: 5, Titus 2: 13, Phil. 3: 20 - 21, I Cor. 1: 7, I Thes. 1: 10.).

Paul and his followers did not know that the Rapture would take place nearly 2000 years later. They believed it was going to happen in their day. So did the people in the Middle Ages, etc.... The Bible writers never taught that certain events had to happen first, before Jesus could come again. But remember, God was the One who was guiding and guarding their writings (Read II Tim. 2: 15, 3: 16, II Pet. 1: 21, Acts 17: 11.) so that they would be written perfectly to fulfill His will. God had them write the Scriptures in such a way that Jesus' return was to be imminent. I believe God wanted the Bible to be written in that manner so that all generations, and all Ages, would believe that Jesus could come in their day, at any moment, at any time, without there being any prophecies that had to be fulfilled before He returned. There were a lot of things that had to happen first, but no one in the past could see that in Scripture. They may have guessed it, but they could not be sure of it. We today know for certain that His coming is near, even at the door (Matt. 24: 33).

Did not Paul teach his followers to "wait for", and "look for" Jesus' return? I believe he did. Paul, and those to whom he ministered, believed that the Lord was coming in their day. They did not know that Jesus' return would take place 2000 years, more or less, later. Therefore, Paul was teaching an "imminent return" of Christ (perhaps without even knowing it) by looking for Jesus' coming in their day. Paul never taught that certain events had to take place first. He simply told his followers to "wait", "look for" Jesus Christ to return. If one believes in another view other than pre-tribulation there is no point for that one to "watch" for Jesus' return (even as Jesus Himself taught us to do,) because, according to their theory, He cannot come back until certain events happen first. Only then can Jesus return if he/she were right. He is not right. Of that I am sure. (Read I Thes. 1: 10, 5: 4, 6, I Cor. 1: 7 - 8, and Matt. 24: 43, 25: 13; See also Col. 3: 4, II Thes. 1: 10.).

By the way, just because the word "imminent" doesn't appear in the Bible does not mean it's not a good word, or not true. One may say that "The Imminent Return of Christ" is a relatively new phrase used. But what does that matter? We use phrases such as: "the Rapture", and "the Holy Trinity", and they're not in the Bible either, but the event of being caught upward and the three persons of the Holy Trinity are certainly taught in the Bible. The thought and idea are in the Bible. Just as the thought and idea of The Imminent Return of Christ is in the Bible. From Paul's day to the Rapture, Christians were to be watching, waiting for, and looking for Jesus' return. So, The Imminent Return of Christ is also a good phrase to use. Here are some verses to look up and read. Matthew 24: 42, 44, 25: 13, Mark 13: 32 - 33, 35 - 36, Luke 12: 39 - 40, I Corinthians 1: 7, II Thessalonians 3: 5, Titus 2: 13, Revelation 16: 15.

We know that His coming is near, because Daniel foretold that the 10 toes (10 kings), 10 horns (10 kingdoms or nations), would be here in the end times (Dan. 2 and 7), and that those 10 kingdoms (10 nations) would come out of the old Roman Empire. When we see the Common Market Nations, etc... we see the fulfillment of this prophecy. The Antichrist will "...come up among them...". He will come out of one of those 10 horns (nations) (Dan. 7: 7 - 8, 20, 23 - 24). Daniel, in chapter 12, verse 4, also speaks of the increase of knowledge. The sign of knowledge is here. This would include knowledge and speed increasing, people running to and fro, coming and going, going from one end of the earth to the other. Because of the computer, knowledge and speed have increased greatly, and man is able to go to the moon and back, which would have not been possible otherwise. Jerusalem is in Jewish hands (The latter part of Luke 21: 24 was fulfilled on June 6, 1967). That is one of the signs of the end of the Age. Those 3 events did not take place in previous centuries, but they are happening now in our day. I like to call them "one of a kind" prophecies. Well, God alone knows the end from the beginning. (Read Isa. 46: 10, also 41: 26.). Get Nathan M. Meyer's book called No Guillotine For The Bride. It's one fantastic book! It will help you to understand a lot of questions in a true way. Another book by Dr. Meyer is The Patmos Prediction. You'll enjoy it too. You can order it from Prophecy in the News P.O. Box 7000 Oklahoma City, OK. 73153. There order line is: 1-800-475-1111.

Now, in telling you all of that, I want you to know that if a person says that he or she believes in the doctrine called The Imminent Return of Christ and yet says he or she does not believe in the pre-tribulation view of when the Rapture will take place, he is not being truthful with himself and with those he ministers to.


  All Rights Reserved Glen A. Duitman
 

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