Originally posted by rwingett
Let me ask you something. Why do you think Christians have been waiting for Jesus' return for over 2,000 years when the bible makes it plain that his contemporaries expected him to come back within their lifetime? Is he not coming back at all? Or has some condition not been fulfilled? Or does he think that you so-called Christians are all just a bunch of losers who have twisted what he said completely out of recognition?
Though the early disciples both hoped and expected a sooner appearing of the second coming, they were mature about the matter. And they, including Peter, and John, and Paul deliberately prepared their audience for the long distance race, in case His return was not in their lifetime.
I will not bring out many proof texts to show this. It is evident that as Jesus did with them
so, in like manner, they did with those to whom they ministered. They established them for a long distance race because they had not been taught precisely when the Great Commission would be complete and He would come. For He said -
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:14)
The "whole inhabited earth"
turned out to be a larger place than they may have first assumed. God made the earth, so it was no surprise to the Creator.
The reluctant disciples in Jerusalem barely wanted to leave Jerusalem, let alone go to "all Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8)
. God had to allow persecution from Judaism to scatter them from Jerusalem to the surrounding area.
And the gospel of Christ has been spreading throughout the whole inhabited earth until today. And it may well continue to spread for another 500 or more years. We do not know.
Though Jesus said "It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has set b His own authority" (Acts 1:7)
to bring in His Messianic kingdom over Israel and in the earth, the disciples still need to grow in Christ and spread the gospel.
This is a win win situation. For in the coming age only those filled up with the Holy Spirit through consecration will know how to live in that world. And though we serve the Lord and age and perhaps die, we grow spiritually in preparation to live on earth under His coming kingdom. Christ seeks not just quantity
of sinners to be saved but quality
of some to co-reign with Him.
So through the centuries as saints have lived and served and gone to sleep in the Lord, out of quantity He secures a remnant of overcoming ones filled up in soul with His life. This growing group of overcomers enlarges the ranks in Paradise who will reign with Him.
The reward, aside from eternal life, to reign with Christ is not automatic. And out of quantity a smaller number, a remnant like a little Gideon's army of 300 (so to speak), He secures with quality
consecration to Himself.
Furthermore, the intervening centuries have gone to demonstrate that the Christian church, though attacked from both without and within, cannot be destroyed. He said " ... upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18)
Twenty centuries of the gates of Hades doing everything Satan could do to destroy the Christian church has proven that she is indestructible. She has been tested, torture tested through flame and sword. Yet also through failure, abject failure, and all kinds of attempts to pollute her from within.
The the gates of Hades cannot prevail the gates of Hades certainly have tried to prevail.
So I too hope that Christ physically comes in my lifetime. But I don't know that He will. Why should I not hope that He will. What parted lovers never long to meet again ?
In the meantime I have the enjoyment of both serving the Lord Jesus and growing
in divine life and love, being built up into His church. It is as win win situation. For I know that I can use TIME
to open up more and more of my being to His Holy Spirit.
" But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day." (Proverbs 4:18)
It is a sheer enjoyment to serve the Lord Jesus even as He prolongs His return. For we are really with Him also -
"And behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age." (Matt. 28:20)
Paul's concluding word to his younger co-worker Timothy - "The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you." (2 Timothy 4:22)
There is not one note of dejection, depression, disappointment, or disillusionment concerning Jesus delaying His return in all of the New Testament. Until the end, even in Revelation the disciples are radiant and joyful expecting the Lord to come yet preparing their sheep for a long distance race should He tarry.
Praise the faithful Lord.