Jesus is coming very soon - The Church Age is almost over
By Don Koenig
Writings of New Testament saints tell the Church what to look for just prior to the return of Jesus and we see these signs in the institutional churches of today
There are not a whole lot of scriptures that give specific signs to the Church that tell us when Jesus is coming. Most of the prophetic signs of His coming are to and for natural Israel. Nevertheless, there are a few signs given in the New Testament that were given as signs specifically to the Church. What these scripture signs tell us do not paint a pretty picture for most that identify with Christianity in the last days. Further, the picture these scriptures paint for the end times looks exactly like what we see in most of the churches that identify with Christianity today.
We will start with the letter of Jesus to the church of Laodicea in Revelation. This church was the last of the seven addressed by Jesus and most of those who take Bible prophecy literally see a parallel between the seven churches of Revelation and seven distinct church types on earth during the church age. If this understanding is correct, and we actually are near the return of Jesus, we should see a Laodicean type church dominating on earth today. I have already written an article about why we are in the Laodicean church age so I will not duplicate that article here. I will only say that this church in Revelation totally missed the truth about herself. She was lukewarm or indifferent; she was rich materially but she was spiritually poor. She said she could see but she was blind.
The type of church actually dominating on earth today is the seeker friendly mega church dominionists whose writers fill Christian bookstores with their containers of self-help Laodicean eye salve. They believe they are going to bring light for blind eyes and bring in the kingdom on earth using eye salve made out of the mud of pop psychology, humanism, ecumenicalism, and presumptive or contemplative mysticism. Jesus in Revelation said Laodicea says she can see (with help from her world famous eye salve) but she is spiritually blind. These modern day Laodicean teachers either give a false gospel or a Christianity "lite" message. They believe their lukewarm Christian teaching, which contains no true salvation message, is going to convert the world to Christ. I think not!
Therefore, is there a direct correlation between these Laodicean churches, the end time harlot of Revelation, and the soon coming of Jesus? You bet your spiritual life there is! Many of the seeker friendly mega churches offer their members all the social and self-help programs that they can digest. They mix Christianity with the mud of pop psychology stirred into their coffee and eaten with a Danish at their money changer booths but the meat of the word is hard to find in these churches at best. The message they teach the seekers at their Sunday entertainment service does not even provide a path to salvation. If what we see in the seeker friendly mega churches is not the prime example of Laodicea, I simply do not know what churches would qualify. Let's face it, the Laodicean age is here big time and that means the next big event on Christendom's calendar either takes place in heaven or it takes place in the tribulation on earth.
Some will say using the letter to Laodicea in Revelation in this manner is rather subjective. Even so, there are other scriptures directed to the church that tell us exactly how it will be in the last days with those people that identify with Christianity.
Where is the promise of His coming?
2 Pet 3:1 ¶ This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 ¶ Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 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.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 ¶ But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Peter said that in the last days scoffers would come walking after their own lusts saying “Where is the promise of His coming?” He also said these people are willfully ignorant of certain passages of scriptures. The passages they apparently are willfully ignorant about is that God has judged the world in the past and He will judge it in the future. We must first address who the passage is speaking about. In the full context Peter was talking to the church about false teachers in the church. Therefore, now that we understand that it is "false teachers" that are saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” and implying that judgment will not come to their generation, we have to ask, are there such false teachers in Christianity today?
I believe there are more false teachers now than in anytime in history. One should ask to whom are the false teachers saying, “where is the promise of His coming”? They could not be saying it to the world because the world does not believe Jesus will come anyway. The false teachers therefore must be making this statement to others that have identified with Christianity. Therefore, it is only logical that these false teachers must be making that claim in response to those within Christianity that teach that Jesus will be coming soon.
I believe they are saying it directly to the watchmen on the wall in the church. They are saying it to dispensational premillennial pretribulation rapture Bible teachers.
In other words, they are mocking the watchmen in the church and saying you guys have said you see signs of His coming for decades but nothing has happened, implying nobody knows when Jesus will return and that it could be hundreds or even thousands of years in the future if it even happens at all.
In their mind, with their amillennial or increasingly post-millennial theology, Jesus will come only after the Church christianizes the world for Christ. I believe many Bible passages refute this view, as does Peter when he says the Lord will come at a specific appointed time. Peter then explains that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. Thus, if using a biblical week since creation, the time of His coming would be very short indeed. Bible prophecy written to the Jews says after two days he will revive them and in three He will raise them up. When did this happen? It did not. It is prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled. The time from when this prophecy was given to the Jews until now is over two days (a day is as a thousand years). Therefore, God is about to revive the Jews and soon thereafter He will raise them up early on the third day to live in His sight in the promised Jewish Kingdom on earth. It will happen as Jesus also raised His own body early on the third day and as Jesus will raise up His spiritual body the Church early on her third day (God is consistent).
Ho 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
So, the obvious question should be, are there many false teachers mocking the watchmen on the wall in the Church today? You bet there is! A few decades ago, the soon return of Jesus Christ was taught in most Evangelical churches as biblical truth but lately there has been a dramatic change in most churches due to the false teaching of preterists and post-millennial dominionist theology. These post-modern and “kingdom now” dominionists are teaching that the Church will bring in the Kingdom without the physical return of the King. They openly mock those who say Jesus is coming soon. They say the Church cannot know these things although scripture is clear that the astute in the Church will be very aware of the time of His coming. They call Bible prophecy a distraction and a diversion and insinuate that the watchmen are doing nothing useful for Christ in their study and teaching on end time Bible prophecy. Further, they generally do not take Bible prophecy literally and they spiritualize everything to the church without any reason other than preconceived theology that they themselves learned from other false teachers.
Speaking in another passage about “false teachers”, Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. What are the fruits of the false teachers that are now downplaying the coming of Jesus? Their fruits are displayed in every humanistic program man can dream up. Their fruits are seen behind many windows of their huge buildings on their huge campuses. Much of the fruit is wrapped in a gospel of wealth and prosperity, name it and claim it, or what you can believe you can achieve. Now we have the post-modern emerging or emergent church bringing pagan mysticism as your own personal truth into the church. Peter said that these false teaching scoffers would come in the last days walking after their own lusts. What could be a more fitting description of the Laodicean seeker friendly churches, the emergent churches, and many Christian media preachers of today?
Timothy says similar things about how it would be in the last days.
2 Tim 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
I believe Timothy as well, is talking about those who identify with the Christian church. Notice in verse five that they have a form of godliness but verse four says they love the pleasures of this world more than God. These false teachers lead people astray and although they keep learning, they are never able to learn basic absolute Christian truths. Tradition says that Jannes and Jambres were the magicians that withstood Moses in Egypt. They claimed that they also had authority and power from their god. They imitated the miracles of Moses to deceive Egypt and Israel. Well it turns out that the false teachers are just like them. They are men of corrupt minds who are reprobates concerning the faith. Many of them think they have a special anointing from God and are above all correction by those who are in the body of Christ. They deceive the world and the Church with their claim to speak for God and His Church but their words contradict the words of the real God. They like Jannes and Jambres opposed God's truth spoken through Moses and substituted a counterfeit lie to deceive the people..
I think the passage might imply that the miracle of Jesus actually coming for His Church in spite of their mocking and the judgment that comes on the earth following this event will manifest their folly to all men on the earth as did the further miracles of Moses in Egypt that they could not duplicate. God delivered Israel out of Egypt and He judged Egypt. God will deliver the Church from the world and He will judge the world. I believe one of follies of these false teachers is the presumption that Bible prophecy will not be literally fulfilled on earth. Another is that they believe they are saved because they prophesied or did something in Jesus name. Jesus will say to some of these false teachers “I never knew you”. Their earthly teaching plays into the lusts of unstable men and woman. You can see that from the huge support these dominionist prosperity-preaching receive.
Why are they reprobates concerning the faith? Because many do it for money and fame and the gospel that some preach is good for nothing. They do not teach truth. Some of these reprobates do not even believe that Jesus is the only path to salvation. The main messages these reprobates preach is get aboard my humanistic bandwagon and send me money so that “I” and “my programs” can help God to bring in His kingdom on earth. Never mind, that the Bible actually teaches that Jesus will thread the winepress alone, rid the earth of evil men through judgment, and bring in His promised Kingdom to the Jews. God really does not need the help of dominionists reprobates to bring His Kingdom on earth.
Paul says the Church "will know" the general time of His coming
1 thes 5:1 ¶ But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 ¶ Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
It is clear in the passage that when “they” shall say peace and safety then sudden destruction will come upon them like birth pains. So who are the “they”? Who is Paul talking about here? Paul makes it clear in the passage that it is said to those who are in darkness so the “they” is not the true Church. The focus in most scripture is the Church, Israel, or the enemies of Israel. The “they” in the context of this passage could only be unbelieving Israel or the enemies of Israel. Jesus said He will come as a thief in the night to unbelievers but Paul goes on to say “you brethren (the true Church) are not in darkness, that "that day" should overtake you as a thief”. So obviously, Paul is making it very clear that the true Church will be watching and those that are will know the general time of the Lord's coming.
The church of Philadelphia in the letters in Revelation was promised to be kept out of the great trial for all the world because she watched and kept the word of His coming. Thus, there is a faithful Church that knows the time when Jesus is due to return and she is watching. We will not know the exact day or there would be little reason to be told to watch. However, the passage makes it very clear that we are of the day and those in Christ will be able to see this time approching. The passage even tells us the sequence when this occurs. It says, “God has not appointed us for wrath”. Therefore, it is clear from other Bible passages that the great hope of His coming (that believers watch for) is before the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of God foretold in Revelation.
Undoubtedly, the reference in the above passage to the woman with child is analogous to Revelation chapter 12 that speaks specifically of a woman with child. The birth pains are the birth pains of the Jewish Kingdom. Therefore, going back to the subject of the passage, is the world today dealing with Israel and saying peace and safety? Not exactly, but the astute can see the stage for that statement is being set as the power brokers of the world try to force a peace treaty with Israel with the promise of peace and security.
They believe Israel has to just get with their program and appease all their enemies for the sake of world peace. Nevertheless, the scripture says when they think they have peace and safety sudden destruction will come on them like a woman with child. Thus, the Church should see that the time is very near from the world's reaction toward Israel. Some in "Christianity" do, but the majority in the institutional churches do not because their amillennial and postmillennial theology is man-made. Jesus in Revelation tells us that there is a church type that would not know the time of his coming and that He will come as a thief to them (big clue) because they are spiritually dead and did not watching for His coming (Re 3:3). That is an apt description of the majority that identify with Christianity today. They not only are not watching themselves, their false teachers mock those who say Jesus is coming soon. There is another Church that Jesus spews out of His mouth because they are lukewarm. That speaks of another major segment of Christianity that have church programs but no Spirit within.
There is also a church that is into Babylonian mysticism at the end. These are most Catholics and now also the postmodern Emergent Church movement. Thus, the majority of three of the four churches that are identified in Revelation as being in the end times apparently go into the tribulation. In the end times only the Church identified with Philadelphia are watching and keeping the word that Jesus is coming soon.
Jesus said when he comes “will He find faith on the earth (Luk 18:8)?” The answer is obviously yes to the people of the Church identified with Philadelphia who are watching for His soon return but it is no to all those who are not watching and that cannot be identified as overcomers.
There are two major segments identified with Christianity that are spoken of in Bible prophecy.
This might be symbolized in the parable of the five wise and foolish virgins. It was announced that the Bridegroom was coming but five were not prepared to meet Him. There is a segment of Christianity that today is watching and waiting for Jesus because they and their watchmen believe the time of the Lord's return is at hand. There is another segment that call themselves Christians but they are building their own kingdom on earth by their own self-efforts and they do not have a clue about the prophetic times that we live in. They actually believe Christians are going to bring about a paradise on earth without Jesus physically present to rule it. Since the kingdom they envision looks much like the utopia of the world socialists with all its humanism and materialism these false teachers are very popular in the world. However, to stay popular with the world they must water down the gospel, downplay sin, and deny that judgment is coming upon this world. Some even teach that satanically inspired religions such as Islam, and Mormonism worship God.
One church identified with Christianity is teaching the gospel as written and one group identified with Christianity is selecting certain scriptures to be popular with all. The group that is teaching all of the Bible are very much the same ones that are watching for Jesus to return. The group that is watering down the gospel message is very much the same group that downplays Bible prophecy and mocks the watchmen of the Church that are saying Jesus is coming very soon. So logically, both groups are fulfilling prophecy because the scriptures indicate it would be like this in the last days. However, only one group can be correct. Which group can any true Christian believe that is? Is it the group teaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ or the group selecting only certain passages many times taken out of context and/or paraphrased to say what the passage does not say just to kiss up to lustful sinful people of the world?
Just the fact that both groups now exist as the Bible said they would in the last days should tell those with eyes to see that the church age is almost over and Jesus is coming very soon.
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