Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. – 2 Timothy 2:17-18In recent years there have been no lack of false dates set as the end, and all of them have passed without any incident from Heaven. Unfortunately, the toll on lives and souls in these failed prophecies has been horrendous, including suicides and hardened hearts. Worst of all, the name of God is blasphemed among the nations, tarnished by those who bear his name, yet do not bear his Spirit.
The Bible gives us several signs to look for to know the end is near. These were largely given because of an end-times scare in Thessalonica, and they give us some signs to know just how near the end is.
For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4In my study of the Bible, I have found three main reasons why the world cannot end anytime soon.
Reason 1 – No Apostasy
Paul tells us here that the rebellion, the apostasy, from the one true faith given once for all to the saints, must take place. Undoubtedly this rebellion is well underway, as the Presbyterian Church USA has just exalted themselves above scripture by allowing Sodomites to preach in their churches, but this rebellion is not yet complete. There are Christians to be found around the world, no major city is yet without a gospel presence. My church is not the only church which still loves the truth, standing firm on the rock that is Jesus Christ.
Reason 2 – No Antichrist in the Temple
Paul’s second sign of the end is far more objective than his first sign. He alludes to a man who will set himself up as God, seated in the Temple of God, and will do all sorts of amazing signs and wonders to deceive those whom the true God is deluding (vv.9-11).
Reason 3 – The Number of Saints is Not Yet Complete
Jesus gives us a definitive statement in the Olivet Discourse on when the end will come.
This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Based on predictions by the Joshua Project and the Wycliff Bible Translators, this date is still somewhere far off in the future. Over 5,000 people groups are yet to be reached, and over 2,000 languages do not currently have a Bible in their own language, comprising at least 340 million people.
– Matthew 24:14
If Jesus returned tomorrow, then it would not be that every nation, tongue, and tribe would worship him as Saviour. He is not willing that even a single one of his saints should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
What Can You Do?
In 2 Peter 2:12 it says the saint both waits for, and hastens the day of Christ’s return. There is a call for the Christian to be working in the world to do the works which he has prepared beforehand for them to do. In the three reasons above, we can be working towards their completion, though only one of them is truly the best way to glorify your Saviour.
Way 1 – Increase the Apostasy
As we’ve seen recently in the PCUSA, the rejection of the Bible as the final authority on faith and practice is a sure way to see a denomination’s demise, its sheep sold for slaughter, and its goats coddled and catered. Another great way to prompt the apostasy is to make ridiculous end-times predictions that will harden the hearts of many to the preaching of the Bible. Many will hear Harold Camping’s self-proclaimed Bible scholarship and assume that because he is clearly deluded and incompetent to exposit the scriptures, that no-one is capable and that the Bible is dead-letter.
Hymenaeus and Philetus were shaking the faith of many, in another place Paul explains that this Hymenaeus was making shipwreck of his own faith, and of the faith of others (1 Timothy 1:19-20). This is not a recommended way, because Christ tells you that it would be better for you to be cast into the sea than to lead someone astray (Matthew 18:6).
Way 2 – Build a Temple
Currently the temple which the Son of Hell will sit in does not exist. It is very difficult to exalt yourself as God, sit on the throne of God, and proclaim yourself to be God on earth seated in his temple, if there is no temple. The third temple, which this Antichrist will sit in, will be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, but is currently occupied by a Moslem mosque.
There have been no lack of effort in the past to destroy or deport this mosque so that a temple may be built. The wildest of these was a conspiracy to airlift, via helicopter, the entire building. A campaign last year called for Israelis to petition for a new temple. This movement is nearing fever-pitch, but has not yet accomplished anything. If you want to hasten the end in this way, then you need to exalt a false God, and build a building from which he will deceive many and lead them down the broad road to destruction. Another option, which I very much do not recommend, is to declare to both Moslems and Jews that they worship the same false god and that the Moslems should allow the Jews to renovate their mosque to make it into a temple.
Way 3 – Call Lost Sheep Home
Even if the first two are completed perfectly, Christ will not return until his very last saint has reached repentance. The Lamb who was slain will receive the full reward of his suffering. At the exact moment that the last saint reaches repentance (according to Zechariah 12:10 and 14:5, this person will very likely be a Jew in Jerusalem) then the sky will explode, Christ will ride triumphantly from Heaven, and utter destruction will follow. Anyone who is not a saint at the moment that the church leaves the earth will face Christ as a Saviour scorned, and his vengeance will be swift and complete.
Therefore, dear Christian, the preferred and commanded way for you to hasten the return of Christ is to preach the gospel to every person, making disciples of all nations, calling all to repent and trust in the One who was dead, but is yet alive. If they are to reject the only Mediator between God and men, then let them do so in the face of the truth and not because of a lie. Jesus said,
Because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. - John 8:45,47Conclusion
William Varner says, “prophecy is not given to form a calendar, but to form a character; a character of prayerfulness, watchfulness, honesty, and holiness.” Beloved, know that the end is near, but also know that it will not be tomorrow. At least three major things need to happen before Christ returns, and those three major things are at least a few years from happening.
Knowing this, it is your Christian duty to proclaim the excellencies of Christ, to call the world to seek him while he may be found, to not trample his blood underfoot in their rebellion. We see trials and tribulations around the world in the form of floods, earthquakes, wars, rumors of war, and we know that these are just the birthpangs of a creation that eagerly awaits the return of its Creator; the end is nearer than ever (Romans 13:11), but because Christ has not yet returned, we know that there is still work to be done.
There is so much to be done, and beloved, you cannot do it all, but you can do your part. Peter was walking with Jesus on the shore of the sea of Galilee and learned the surprising truth that he was to be crucified upside down and would glorify God through it. His immediate response was to ask, “Well what about John?” Jesus replied, “What is that to thee? Thou follow me.” (John 21:18-25)
What is it to you that there is no temple yet in Jerusalem? What is it to you that many are falling away in the rebellion, following false prophets like Harold Camping to their doom? What is it to you that God is still restraining the Antichrist? If you love Christ, you will obey his commands, you will love his church, you will strive to call his lambs and sheep home; calling all to repentance, knowing that many will come, but others will harden their hearts.
God is in control, he has given you a command, and so beloved, take this gospel of the kingdom to all nations, and then the end will come.