Over the past 2000 years, Christians have time and again reevaluated Jesus Christ’s return. What will the end look like? Why hasn’t Jesus come back already? Who will the Antichrist be? Perhaps the more important question is, should we be looking for signs of His coming, or should we be looking for revival? Jesus’ answer for His disciples was this: “Wait on the Holy Spirit to come over you. He will give you power! Then testify of the Gospel to all nations!”
God’s people are familiar with delay. Abraham didn’t live to see the multitude of his children as many as the dust on the ground (Genesis 13:16). Isaac, his son, saw the beginnings of the nation of Israel. In this, we see two things: (1) God is faithful to His promises. (2) Sometimes, our successors inherit the fulfillment of God’s promise. It was partially for this reason that God commanded Israel to pass down His word to their children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). The Jewish people had to learn to practice God’s law and maintain traditions for generations. From the beginning of their history, their children were expected to remember God’s covenant.
Many Christians have found this generational mindset difficult to relate to. Since the foundation of the Christian church, believers have expected Christ to come imminently – at any time. The apostles expected Jesus to return and establish His earthly throne as King of Israel in their lifetime (Matthew 24:3; Acts 1:6-8). In Acts 1:6-8, when the apostles asked Jesus if He would reign over Israel, He said this:
“‘It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
In other words, it shouldn’t be our focus to pinpoint a date for Christ’s return. Our first responsibility is to spread His Gospel.
And yet, the Bible is clear about what will precede the end. Several key factors have come to fruition recently, marking this as an end-times generation:
- The Jewish people, who were displaced from their homeland, were only returned to it recently in the span of human history. Jesus told us that Jerusalem would be occupied by the Gentiles until the “time of the Gentiles” was over (Luke 21:24)!
- Since then, human knowledge has increased exponentially as God told Daniel it would in the end (Daniel 12:4).
- Likewise, we are told that the church will experience a “falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). While we won’t delve into that topic within this article, it’s certainly arguable that we are seeing such a falling away right now.
- Joel and Peter both tell us that the Holy Spirit will do great works and reemerge as the church’s focus (Joel 2, Acts 2).
- Jesus tells us that before His return, the Gospel would be preached to all nations (Matthew 24:14). It’s only within the last few decades that technology has allowed us to reach remote people groups, and at this point there are very few left who have not heard of Jesus.
Why would Jesus tell us that it’s not for us to know the time of the end, but also give us hints about when it will be? Because we are to act like He will return any moment. We should always preach the Gospel and expect revival as though the world were ending tomorrow.
It is because of God’s merciful nature that Christ has not yet returned. There are more sinners to be saved. Jesus said that He would appear as a thief at an unexpected moment (Revelation 16:15; Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:28-30). The church, in light of this fact, shouldn’t walk in fear, but should boldly preach the Gospel!
Interested in learning about the biblical indicators of the end times? Consider taking ISOW’s courses on the Prophetic Calendar or Harbingers Explained. Want to know how you can do more and reach more people for the Gospel while you still can? Take a look at our courses on Missions and Evangelism and Equipping the Church for Revival. ISOW wants to do our part in spreading the Gospel by providing quality biblical teaching to believers around the world. Help us make that vision a reality!