Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Is the second coming of Christ "imminent," or is it "near"? Is there a difference? "Imminent" is from a Latin word that means there is something menacing hanging over one as a threat. The Bible never uses that word in relation to the coming of Jesus! Rather, His coming is spoken of as "the blessed hope and glorious appearing of ... our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
The popular doctrine that the second coming has been "imminent" ever since the time of the apostles is not biblical, for it tends to weaken or even destroy "the blessed hope" in human hearts. That "hope" is not a selfish one, but an unselfish concern for the suffering in this world, and God's suffering. Must it go on and on? Is there no "hope" for the world itself other than the wars and bloodshed and suffering of the last 2000 plus years?
The books of Daniel and Revelation teach a time-frame of prophecies fulfilled that has brought us to a point in time beyond a vague "imminence" to "even at the doors" nearness. While it is true that we cannot know "the day nor the hour," that does not deny that the fulfillment of time-frame prophecies clearly reveals a "this generation" nearness.
The 1260 years of papal oppression of Daniel 7 and Revelation 12 and 13 have brought us to "the time of the end" (Dan. 11:35, 12:4), a "time" distinct from that of the apostles. The "signs" of Matthew 24:29 and Luke 21:25 have been fulfilled in historical pinpoint accuracy. Only one "sign" remains to meet complete fulfillment, that of Matthew 24:14: "this gospel of the kingdom ... preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come," says Jesus.
The "delay" has confused many youth, and must be faced honestly: Christ Himself has not delayed His coming, but His church has done so. The root problem is understanding what is that "gospel of the kingdom." Directly in respect to understanding "the gospel," Jesus calls on His church in these last days to "be zealous and repent" (Rev. 3:19), especially the leadership, the "angel of the church" (vs. 14).
A "rich and have need of nothing" pride is the root problem. Repentance is the key factor. And here is the Good News: something can be done!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 19, 1999.
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