Can Christians Bear the Weight of the Wait

In a recent online conference meeting I was asked to speak to a group of Christian women. I chose as my subject the four reasons we don’t study the doctrine of the second coming of Christ very seriously or extensively. The reasons are rather simple and have a great deal to do with human nature. The same reasons can apply to both the lack of study in the believer and the lack of belief found among people in general. Briefly stated they are as follows.

1. It seems too complicated and hard to comprehend. It can be difficult and that being so the answer is to get a little help. It behooves the serious student to stay close to the certified and qualified teachers on the subject. That does not always mean you will agree with them in every detail and they will not agree with each other in all aspects of this powerful portion of Gods word.

That is not anything to worry about because some things on this subject require patience and timing. Remember some of the 167 Messianic prophecies (first coming of Christ) were still being debated in part even as Christ walked on the streets of Israel.

For example, the scribes and Pharisees could not reconcile the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem when the scripture clearly said Messiah would hail from Nazareth. Jesus family home was in Nazareth and he had to be born in Bethlehem because of an edict concerning taxation. The only irreconcilability in the matter was the refusal of people to give up a mindset.

Terms like Biblical scholar and eschatology make people nervous and although they may at times be quite helpful remember the real teacher (the Holy Spirit) abides within the believer. Trust the God who gave the prophecy to give you its meaning as well. If you are going to study others views be careful.

The internet is filled with the ranting of dozens of second coming kooks, buffs and wannabes. Stick close to the certifiable ministers like Hal Lindsey, John Hagee and Jack Van Impe just to name a few. They may not agree in every point so just remember that we all know how to spit out the bones when we are eating a good piece of fish.

2. The second reason that some believers shy away from serious study of the last days is because they are hiding. I have trouble being gentle here because it is often the scripture itself that they are hiding behind. They quote Mark 13:32,”But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” This is their excuse to leave off the study of second coming even though it comprises almost one quarter of the entire Bible.

Christ admonished believers to “be ready” for the second coming. Mt 24:44 He also warned that we could know the “season” and the “generation” even if we can not know the exact hour or the day. In the plainest language possible, no part of scripture is telling you not to study another part of scripture.

3. A third and powerful reason Christians ignore the important study of Christ’s second coming is the common fear of embarrassment. We all know that there have been some who have named dates for the second coming. When those dates came and went everyone is a bit shaken. We try to distance ourselves from those who make this mistake and this is easy to understand. The remedy for this is not to associate with those who name dates. No association with them means you will never have to go through the messy business of disassociating with them.

We get flushed and embarrassed when we see a guy down on the streets with a placard or sign strapped to his body that says “the end of the world is at hand.” Remember it isn’t how we get the message out that needs to be questioned but that we get it out at all. Tread lightly before judging the methods used by anyone. Think of John the Baptist, a man who Jesus exclaimed was “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” Mt 11:11

John the Baptist was a man who wandered the wilderness clothed in camel hair like a common cave dweller. He ate bugs and wild honey for his subsistence and undoubtedly was often found unwashed and disheveled. He called for people to cut out their sinning and he proclaimed the coming of the Savior of the world. The guy down on the streets of Cleveland or Los Angeles probably looks good by comparison.

4. The fourth reason Christians shrug off a serious study of last days is similar to the excuse unbelievers use not to believe in God at all. The lack of close proximity to the events of Christ’s first coming and the promise of his second coming makes people doubt that it will happen anytime soon or at all. That attitude is one of the very signs that it is near. Check it out. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 2Peter 3:3-4

Don’t worry he will get here. If you were well versed on second coming doctrine you would be far surer of that. In fact if you couldn’t see that we are approaching the last generation it would testify to the fact that either you are asleep or you have studied no part of this wonderful doctrine at all.

In summary it must be noted that almost all unbelief and ignorance of the second coming doctrine is due to common and trivial matters of everyday life. Jesus said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Mt 24:37-39

The world is to busy too believe and the Christian is too busy to see the signs of the times but the event is too sure to be disregarded. We install elaborate intrusion and burglar detection devices on our homes because we know that when we least expect it someone can break in and wreak havoc. We arrange for our children’s college funds when their still in grammar school. We insure our aged so we can be ready to give them dignified burials. We buy health insurance to be ready for some catastrophic health problem. But alas, we do little or nothing to prepare ourselves and warn others of an event that will change our world and everything in it forever. We would rather take a chance that makes not wearing a safety belt look like forgetting to buy a stick of butter.

It is little wonder that when Christ described the general condition of the world at the time of his second coming he said simply, “And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” Luke 12:39