Do We Help or Hinder the Second Coming?

 

I had never thought about this question until today: Do I help or hinder the second coming of Jesus?

Perhaps you, like me, have the view that the Lord God is in charge and the timing is His too, so it will come to pass in His good time.  But is that what the Bible says?

Actually 2 Peter 3:11-12 says:

“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”  (King James Version).

The Modern King James Version renders the emphasised words as “… looking for and rushing the coming of the Day of God…”

As I read this phrase I recognised that without a scintilla of doubt,  we are being asked to rush-in, to hasten – to speed up, the coming of the day of God – the second coming of Jesus.  That given, then logically and reasonably we can also slow down the second coming of Jesus.  It is an amazing thought.

But then again, this is just what Satan and his kind have been doing since the very beginning.  They know the Bible well, and the fate which awaits them.  Remember the unclean man in the synagogue in Capernaum whom Jesus healed and cleansed and the words of the unclean spirit “Have You come to destroy us?” (Mark 1:24)

Though the demons seem to know all about “the coming day of God,” it would seem that by comparison, most Christians, do not.  Or if they do know, they are complacent and unmoved by it.  And not just today – for a very, very long time.  I’ve been in a few churches where one could say that they are actively seeking to hasten the second coming, but they are few and far between, I reckon.

What did Jesus say about people with this attitude?  What did Jesus say, and what can we infer, of those Christians who know the truth, but refuse to act upon it?

Well to start with, as the Bible clearly demonstrates, we are either with Jesus, or against Him.  Jesus made it clear in the Bible that there are no other choices we can make towards God.  FOR or AGAINST: these are our only two choices.  Jesus is King and a King rules and rules by decree.  When He says Yes, it is yes and No, then it is no.  As subjects of a King, we are in rebellion and in treason if we fail to act on the King’s decrees.  1 Samuel 15:23 says  “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idol-worship.”

When we know the truth and fail to act upon it, Jesus had a few things to say.  Consider the following parable he used to inquire of the Pharisees and His final comment:

Matthew 21:28-31   “’But what do you think?  A man had two sons; and he came to the first and said, Son, go work in my vineyard today.
He answered and said, I will not.  But afterwards he repented and went.
And he came to the second and said likewise.  And he answered and said, I go, sir; and did not go.
Which of the two did the will of his father?
 They said to Him, ‘The first.’  Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you that the tax-collectors and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you.’”

You need to recognise that those to whom Jesus spoke were the scribes and the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the time, the social leaders of the time and the crème de la crème of Jewish society.  Yet, because of their self-righteous focus on the law, rather than the law-giver, they were all far from God and in that, they forbad others a proper and true Biblical relationship with God.  In Matthew 23:13 Jesus makes it quite clear what He thinks about people who would deny His Kingdom to others, warning:

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men.  For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in.”      

Jesus himself does actually speak about those who hear, but do not perform, saying in Luke 6:49

“But he who hears and does not perform, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, on which the stream burst, and immediately it fell.  And the ruin of that house was great.”

We can interpret ruin (to rēgma) a imply like the crash like a giant oak in the forest resounded far and wide.  It is also the old word for a rent (rip) or fracture as in medicine for laceration of a wound and is only found here once in the New Testament.  Jesus clearly wanted to get the message across that he who hears but does not perform, is heading for sure disaster.

For those who teach others, the Bible has explicit dire warnings. As James 3:1 records:

“My brothers, do not be many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

Those who teach others, and that group in Christianity today comprises practically all church leaders and for all who have been granted a great gift and a ministry we need to recall that Luke 12:48 says “… For to whomever much is given, of him much shall be required…”  Being teacher for Jesus, one has been given a high responsibility.  We need to remember this.  If we do not do what we can, if we do not use the gifts and authority given to us, we shall have a price to pay.  Jesus sees this as particularly important and serious when it comes to how we deal with children and new Christians:

Mark 9:42 &  Luke 17:2  “And whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in Me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck and he were cast into the sea.”

1 Corinthians 8:9
   “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours becomes a stumbling block to those who are weak.”

Why does Jesus take it so seriously, especially in regard to the children?  Simply, God does not want one of them to perish.

Matthew 18:14   “Even so it is not the will of your Father in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

How do children and new Christians we perish?  In Hosea 4:6 God gives us a clue as He says: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”   If the Church leaders, if the teachers, if the mature Christians do not pass on the urgency of working to hasten in the second coming of Jesus, then they are guilty of destroying God’s people.  Here we need to remember that God is God over all mankind and that one day soon before Jesus, all knees will bow and all tongues will confess that He is God.  These are all His people in these end days, as we approach His second coming.

This is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 6:3 by Paul as a warning for all Christians who are in ministry of any kind:

“We are in nothing giving cause of stumbling, in no way, so that the ministry may not be blamed…”

Causing others to stumble invalidates our whole ministry.

Many do not speak up about the second coming of Christ or work positively and actively for it as Peter demands in 2 Peter 3:11-12.  I guess there are many reasons for why this is, and fear of being ridiculed may well be high on that list, it has, after all, been almost 2,000 years since Peter wrote his impassioned plea.  In this regard, the words of Jesus from Matthew 10:28 bear rereading:

“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

What is the conclusion for those who are sitting idly by and doing nothing to work positively towards the second coming of Christ?  I will leave the last words to the Lord Jesus Christ from Matthew 7:21-23

Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works?
And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!”

Amen.

 

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