The Soothsayers: Jesus Is Coming Again, Soon
By Al Cronkrite The Covenant News ~ October 31, 2008
ďComing Again, Coming Again, Maybe morning, Maybe noon, Maybe evening, and Maybe soon. Coming Again, Coming Again, Oh what a wonderful day it will be, Jesus is coming againĒ. Click here for the melody. Wait for the chorus then hum it as you read the words. The lilting melody brings life to the lyrics and hope for the imminent return of Jesus brings euphoria to a bleak world.
It is a wonderful thought that has been a part of Christianity from the earliest times. Jesus, Himself, seemed to be speaking about a contemporary event in the 24th Chapter of Matthew and the Apostle Paul also expected a quick return (I Peter 4:7 and James 5:8).
However, Jesus did not return during the First Century nor has He fulfilled the hopes of hundreds of thousands of contemporary Christians. If you are a Pre-Millennial Dispensationalist and have been patiently waiting for Hal Lindseyís forty year old prognostication, you are getting older and maybe a bit dubious.
Indiscreet Christian support for the formation of State of Israel in 1947 created a tidal wave of expectation that Biblical prophecies were being fulfilled and the Second Coming of Christ would soon follow. In the rush to support an Epiphany, major problems were overlooked. It was forgotten that many Jewish leaders were not only Pharisaical but totally secular, that the disobedience which resulted in the Diaspora was still evident and had never been repented from, that the land being invaded was already owned and occupied, that support for this people was a direct affront to Jesusí rebuke, and that if Christ returned to Israel today He would very likely be crucified again.
The relatively recent theology of Dispensationalim has supported and added to the humanistic attempt to usher in the Second Coming. Though its supporters point to similar time frames in St. Augustineís writings, the heretical weed did not germinate until the beginning of the Nineteenth Century when Americaís exuberant rebellion against Englandís King George III seemed to ignite a similar rebellion against the English roots of Christian theology. (I am not intending to depreciate the American Revolution but only to point out that it was a rebellion and that rebellions are contagious.) When the Westminster Confessions were put on the shelf sound theology was lost and additional anarchic seeds were planted in the Protestant Church.
The American Revolution preceded the drafting of the United States Constitution by 14 years and before it was ratified in 1789 stalwart Christianity, which had been brought to America by the Pilgrims and Puritans, had already begun to disintegrate. In Boston, the Reformed Faith was giving way to Unitarianism. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware housed Quakers, Catholics, Lutherans, and Jews. In Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia Anglicans and Baptists predominated. Freedom of religion was one of the major attractions of the New World attracting Catholics and a variety of different Protestant religions.
Humanism centers on the creature while sound Christian doctrine centers on God. Arminianism contends that the creature is able to overrule God in the realm of selection by refusing to respond. Since they see themselves as the determining factor in their conversion to Christianity, adherents to this doctrine cannot claim to be Godís Chosen people. This is a serious theological error that elevates individual human decisions above Godís sovereignty and erodes the unique position Christians should enjoy.
As the rebellion against orthodoxy continued the exclusivity Christ claimed for Himself and the doctrinal purity St. Paul worked so hard to maintain was forgotten and proudly replaced with the now popular sin called religious freedom.
Devout Reformed Christians and serious students of the Bible would have been opposed to the ratification of the Constitution since it yoked them with heretics and non-believers. That they did not is a testimony to the condition of the Christian religion in America during this relatively early period.
Now, 200 years later, our citizens flock to churches that preach a seeker friendly Gospel and most of our Christian leaders deliver people centered sermons because the sin of pragmatism is rampant and every preacher seems to place himself and his church above the clear intentions of The One True God. Humanistic sermons and failure to uphold Godís Law (Antinomianism) combine to allow a numerical revival while the moral condition of our nation drops into the sewer.
Christianity has reached a crossroad where the ill-equipped individuals that make up Godís retreating army must decide if they are going to continue to follow the Dispensational heresy by supporting neo-Israel, expecting the deterioration of the social order, and ignoring Jesusí admonition that ďof that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father aloneĒ (Matthew24:36) or if they are going to leave the Second Coming in the Hands of the Father, where it has always belonged, and return to the solid Calvinist, Reformed theology that possesses the weapons to successfully challenge the evil rulers of our world and return Godís creation to His dominion.
The decision that must be made is whether or not the dire circumstances we are now experiencing are a result of Godís fulfilling the prophecies that are to precede the Second Coming of Christ or a result of Godís judgment on the blatant sins that seem to emanate from Europe and the United States and are being spread throughout the world.
In light of the hundreds of Christians who have erroneously predicted the end times it would behoove prudent Christians to understand the quicksand on which they have based their faith and step out onto solid ground by seeking to establish Godly order under His legal system.
The Bible is hard on false prophets. When their predictions do not come true the penalty was severe. History has seen cult leaders who have predicted the end of the world, mystics who have claimed the ability to predict the future, and hosts of Christians who have claimed the ability to predict the time frame of the Second Coming of Christ by using Scripture. Time has proven all of them wrong.
Faulty eschatology and Dispensationalism are not the only problems. The majority of the Christian body believes in the Great Commission. Taken from the penultimate verse of Matthew 28, ďGo therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name the Father and the Son and the Holy SpiritĒ, Jesusí directive has become the only goal for many Christians and their leaders. The trend toward overemphasis on the New Testament to the detriment of the remainder of the Bible has contributed to this serious distortion. Christians who have thoughtfully read through the entire Bible will understand that while the Great Commission is an important part of our marching orders obedience is the overwhelming desire of Godís heart. The final verse in the Book of Matthew is actually part of the sentence that outlines the Great Commission. It reads: ďteaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the ageĒ.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law. He, Himself, obeyed it and expects us to teach others to do likewise. First we are to be obedient, then, we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Salvation and obedience are the primary messages!
On Sunday morning in the parking lot of a grocery store in a town south of our home a group of Spanish Christians were proclaiming the imminent coming of Christ. Over an amplified megaphone they announced that soon many Christians would be missing, carried away in the Rapture, they urged their listeners to come to Christ.
They may be right. However that determination remains in the Hands of The Father. When we attempt to attach a time frame we are encroaching on His sovereignty. God seeks an obedient body bent on seeing His Laws proliferate in His creation as more and more converts begin to obey Him. We need evangelists, preachers, and teachers of the Gospel that are willing to place proper emphasis on Godís standards for individuals and their societies.
First, we must support Godís sovereignty over His creation through obedience to His legal standards. Second, we must bring the good news of Jesus to a dying world. Third we must help newly chosen converts learn to obey Godís Law. The One True God created the entire world and everything in it. We belong to Him and all that surrounds us belongs to Him. Made in His image, those He chooses are to be caretakers of His creation, managing themselves and their environment in accordance with His instructions. That, gentle reader, is the only road to righteousness, peace, and prosperity. We have been lost in a labyrinth of humanism but God has provided a fork in the road. If we are to prevail we must choose the path He has provided.
My email is inundated with warnings about Barack Obama. Many of the warnings are intended to create fear so that I will support John McCain. Others are based on a fatalistic, end-times perspective that reeks with defeat and acceptance. I am also regaled by those who believe Grace and Law are incompatible. There is mortal error in all of these positions. Pragmatism is sinful. Christians can never allow the end to justify the means. Our first duty is to be obedient and because we have failed in that duty in a few short months we may be living under the leadership of Barack Obama. The candidacy of Barack Obama is being supported by the defeatist philosophy of end-times minions. Without Law, Christians have no defense against codified evil. It is humanistic law that is responsible for the deterioration of our nation and until Christians understand that Godís Law is the only proper solution, we will continue down the road to tyranny and destruction.