During the time when our country was involved in two world wars it could have been that many thought the Lord’s return was on the cusp of occurring. With such catastrophic destruction before humanity, if there was ever a time, surely the Lord could have come at either one of those times. Yet, the Lord did not come.
Move ahead into our century. In August of this year (2012) the USA Today ran an advertisement for a group that said: “8 Compelling Reasons Why: Christ is Returning Soon” (8/16/2012). This group is from Bloomington, Illinois. Those 8 reasons: 1) Israel’s rebirth as a nation, 2) Plummeting morality, 3) Famines, violence and wars, 4) Increase in earthquakes, 5) Explosion of travel and education, 6) Explosion of cults and the occult, 7) The New World Order, 8) Increase in both apostasy and faith.
I have heard these before, with the exception of #5. When I looked at their justification it was from Daniel 12:4 and the rendering of The Living Bible. The advertisement of the verse reads this way: “travel and education shall be vastly increased.” In the NKJV the same verse reads, “many shall run to and from, and knowledge shall increase.” The Living Bible is not what is properly called a translation; it is a paraphrase, and was originally produced by one man (Kenneth Taylor) in order to help his children understand the Scriptures (The Bible in Translation, Bruce Metzger, pp. 179-185).
The point, however, is not the Living Bible—though that is a significant point of discussion. The point is the attempt, once again, to speak of the Lord’s return when the Scripture is very clear that His return (coming) will be as a thief in the night. Moreover, the effort by some to utilize Matthew 24 in this connection is a plain perversion of the chapter. The Lord gives us the keys to understanding properly what He had in mind. First, His words in 24:34 make clear the time frame in view; second, with regard to His return note what He said in 24:36.
Christians long for the Lord’s return; I know I do. There are some days that are just plain bad, and trying to live through these days is a struggle. These are the kind of days that encourage me to look forward to His return. On the other hand, there are days that are glorious such as when the sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing and the family is able to sit outside and enjoy the sounds of nature. These, also, are the kind of days when one can (and is to) look forward to His return.
Longing for the Lord’s return is a matter of preparation and a state of mind. I enjoy life as much as anybody, but I really look forward to the Lord’s return. Do you? RT
(Bulletin article from Highway Church of Christ, 11/4/2012)