If Jesus Is Coming Soon ... What's Taking So Long?

Scripture: Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20
Date: 05/01/2021 
If Jesus Is Coming Soon ... What's Taking So Long?

Anything but Secret - Paperback or Digital (PDF)

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Doug Batchelor: One of the most important topics in scripture is the subject of family. From Genesis to Revelation, family is explained and magnified as being both a blessing and a necessity. There's a heavenly family above: the Father, the Son, Holy Spirit, and all the angels. And there are families on the earth in every nation, tongue, tribe, and people. And there's also such a thing as a church family, a collection of people coming together for one specific purpose: to worship God. It's that unity in the assembly, which is of particular importance to God.

In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul urges us to, "Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." If you think about it, this is what composes a home. People uniting to form a family, creating a home. Friends, Jesus is wanting to adopt you. He's inviting you to join His family. He draws everyone unto Him through Calvary with the intention to unite His people on earth and prepare them for that journey to the heavenly home. It's my hope that today's program will bring you closer to Jesus and inspire you with a desire to be part of His family. And don't forget, stay tuned for a very important free offer at the end of this presentation.

Doug: If Jesus is coming soon, what is taking so long? Have you ever had that thought fleet through your mind? Few things can be more climatic than the truth about the Second Coming of Jesus and yet I encounter people from time to time that say, "Oh, yeah, you preachers, you've been talking about Jesus coming for 2,000 years and He's still not here. How can you believe the Bible?"

Now, you expect that in the world, but what happens when you start hearing that in the church? The attitude: the Lord delays His coming. Well, Jesus said that He is coming quickly. If you go to the last book in the Bible and the last chapter in the last book in the Bible, just in that chapter, there are hundreds of verses about the Second Coming. But just in that chapter, look at what it says. Revelation 22:7. Jesus tells us He is coming quickly. "'Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who hears the words of the prophecy of this book.'" Revelation 22:12. "'And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.'" Revelation 22:20, last verses in the Bible here. "He who testifies says these things, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

So, is there any question but that the Lord said, "I'm coming quickly"? He certainly did say that. Now, you probably will be helped by knowing that the word quickly or soon, the word that is used for that, is not a very direct translation. In the Greek the word is tachus, that it is translated soon or quickly. It actually means without unnecessary delay. It does not always mean immediately. And that right there should help us understand; was Jesus saying, "I'm coming very quickly," and yet 2,000 years went by.

Keep in mind, when God told Adam, "I'm going to send the Messiah, a Redeemer," and every Jewish mother hoped that her child would be the Messiah. But after 100 years went by, 500 years went by, 1,000 years went by and they kept saying He's coming, the Messiah's coming; 2,000 years went by 3,000, 4,000 years went by. Finally, the wise men come into Jerusalem and they say, "Where is He that is born king of the Jews?" And God's people had grown tired of waiting. The only ones who are really looking for His coming, the first time, were some shepherds and some Gentile wise men. God's people were troubled by these wise men that said, "We've heard the king has come." They--it'd become a ritual for them. They weren't really thinking it was going to happen. Could that happen to the church again?

Well, here we are 2,000 years after Jesus said, "I will come again." And He says, "I'll come quickly." But quickly and soon, like I said, they're words that have perspective. It's a relative term. If I say the popcorn will be ready soon and you're using a microwave, you're talking three minutes. If you ask newlyweds, "Will you be planning on starting a family soon?" And they say, "Yes, soon." Well, that could be three years. It's at least nine months. So, soon means different things depending on the context. When you're speaking about the context of eternity, well, soon, of course, takes on a little different form.

Now, you have to have an eternal perspective. God tells us to look at time the way God looks at time. Psalm 90, verse 4, "For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, it's like a watch in the night." So, when God says, "Soon," keep in mind He lives forever. Psalm 90, verse 10, "The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they're eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off." Eighty years soon cut off?

You know, someone asked Billy Graham what was one of the most important things he had learned in his life? What did he learn about life that really stood out? He said, "The brevity of it." He was in his 90s and he lived, of course, to 99. He was in his 90s. He said, "The thing that's impressed me so much is the brevity of life. Yeah, I'm in my 90s, but it went by so quick." So, keep in mind it doesn't matter at what time in the continuum Jesus might come in your life, it's soon. You know, for most of the world it's going to be too soon. That's right. Most of the world will not be ready. It's going to overtake them as a surprise. Psalm 39, verse 5. "Indeed, You have made my days as a handbreadth. My age is as nothing before You; certainly, every man at his best is but a vapor."

This life, it's like the morning fog. The sun comes out and, poof, we're gone. You look at the history books, look at the generations of people that have lived, people like you, and you think, where have they gone? I mean, their lives right now, they're are a dash in the cemetery. And so, when God says, "I'm coming soon," when we get to heaven, we'll say, "Yeah, it really was soon." And after that first million years go by, you'll say, "Wow, it was really quick." Our lives are short compared to eternity. James 4:14. "For what is your life? It's even a vapor that appears for a little time and then it vanishes away."

A man asked the Lord, "So, Lord, what is a million years for you?" Lord said, "Well, it's like a minute." "Wow. And Lord, what is a million dollars for you?" He said, "A million dollars would be like a penny," said, "yeah, a million dollars would be like a penny for Me." Then he thought and he said, "Lord, can I have a penny?" He said, "Sure, in a minute." A day with the Lord is as 1,000 years. So, God is not late, as some men count slackness.

Why is God waiting? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise." He's made a promise, He's not slack. "As some people count slackness." It's based on their counting. They think that He has not come, "But He is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

You know, that when you fly in an airplane that sometimes it'll say the plane is supposed to take off at 10 o'clock and you're sitting on the plane and the door is still open and people are still boarding at 10:15. And you're thinking, we're going to be late. And lo and behold, they get there on time. You know why? They build in an anticipated delay to try to get some straggling passengers, to get as many of them as they can. More passengers they leave behind, because maybe they're late on another flight, they lose money. And so, yeah, they say, "Departure at 10 o'clock," but they don't always shut the door at 10 o'clock. Have you noticed that? Because they're wanting to get as many as they can.

Well, the Lord, He's wanting to get as many as He can. He's not late. He's still going to arrive on time, I promise you that. So, we've got to be careful about setting dates and false alarms. And one reason people say, "Well, where is the Lord," is because so many people through history have set dates. Another false alarm. Pretty soon, after someone cries wolf so many times, you think, there probably is no wolf. You know that story. And then, when the wolf really does come, people aren't ready.

The devil is using all of these false alarms to put God's people to sleep. He says, "See, everyone says He's coming. It doesn't happen." Matthew 24, verse 23. And Jesus said, "If anyone says to you, 'Look, here's the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders and deceive, if possible, even the very elect. See, I've told you beforehand. Therefore, if they say, 'Look, He is in the desert!' go not out; 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. It will be like lightning coming out of the east even unto the west." And so, everyone's going to know when He comes, but He says there'll be false christ. Same chapter, verse 4 and 5. "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and deceive many." Many false christ and many false dates that people set for His return.

Now, just to show that God knew that His coming was not going to happen in the first generation after Jesus. It's not like Jesus gave a bad prophecy when He said, "I'm coming quickly." Look what Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2, verse 1. "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," this is the context of the Second Coming, "and our gathering together to Him," being caught up to meet Him in the air, "we ask you, not to be soon," I thought He was coming soon. Says, "Don't be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or letter, as if from us, that the day of Christ has come. Let no one deceive you by any means," some things have to happen before He comes.

Now, He may come for you if you die, but as far as the world, the main--literal Second Coming, there's some things in prophetic chronology that have to happen. "For that Day will not come unless a falling away comes first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." We know that before Christ can return, God came to earth in the Son of God to reveal the truth and before the Lord returns, Satan is going to either possess somebody or he's going to create a grand impersonation of Christ to deceive. Paul said there'd be a great falling away.

Now, a lot of that falling away has already happened actually in history. So, he's basically saying, "It's not going to happen right away. Some things have to happen first." You can see that in that verse, correct? Luke 19, verse 11 and 13. "Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, He was--because He was near Jerusalem," notice, "and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately." Jesus gives them a parable because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. He didn't want them to think it was going to appear immediately. The kingdom of God did come spiritually right away. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is at hand." That's a spiritual kingdom, it's already here.

When you invite Christ into your heart as your king, that's where He reigns as king. The spiritual kingdom is available now. The literal kingdom where Christ comes to this world and the devil is destroyed, that kingdom hasn't happened yet. So, He speaks a parable to them and in the parable, it's a parable of the ten minas, He has His servants, He delivers these minas's money to him--to them. And He said, "Do business till I come. Occupy till I come."

What does Jesus want us to do until He comes? Stay busy doing His work. You know, someone said the secret to the Christian life is you want to live like this might be your last day and you want to plan like you could be here 1,000 years. If you want to stay busy, you want to plan ahead and--but at the same time, live every day like it could be your last day. Now, add to this that the Lord foretold there would be the appearance of a delay before His coming. Notice how I worded that. There is an apparent delay. This is clearly taught by the Lord. Remember Matthew 24:48? At the end of the signs where Jesus talks about it, He said, "If that evil servant says in his heart, 'My Lord delays his coming."

You know, Matthew 24 talks about the Second Coming, but if your Bible is red letter edition, you'll also notice Matthew 25 is also red letter. Meaning it's all one discourse. Christ does not stop teaching. At the end of Matthew 25 He tells the parable of the ten virgins and what's going on there. While the bridegroom tarried. Evidently, he's delayed. You can also read Moses. He goes up the mountain. He says, "I've gone up the mountain. I'm going to come down the mountain." They said, "When are you coming down?" He didn't tell them when. He says, "I'm going to talk to God. I'll come back." And while the people saw that Moses delayed, what was happening during the delay? They were being tested. Jesus said, "If that evil servant says, 'My Lord delays his coming.'" Samuel told Saul, the king, says, "You're going to go fight against the Philistines and I'm going to give you victory. Go down to Gilgal. Wait for me seven days. I will come to you. After seven days, I will come to you." That's, by the way, 1 Samuel 10, verse 8.

Then you go to 1 Samuel 13:8. "He waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come." He was delayed. Saul was being tested. He lost patience. He assumed the prerogatives of the priest. He offered sacrifice, which he was not supposed to do, then Samuel came. He did come on the seventh day, but it was later than he had expected. You can look here in Matthew 24, verse 44. "Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." And again, Matthew 24:13, "He that endures to the end the same will be saved." Endures what? Endures apparent delay.

You see, this is taught all through the Bible connected with the Second Coming. People were going to think, what's taking so long? I think we're living in that time right now, where the church is being tested. Which means we're right on schedule. Everyone's wondering, "Where is the Lord?" Even when Jesus resurrected Lazarus, his sisters did not understand. They said, "Lord, if You had been here--why are You late? He wouldn't have died. What took so long?" He said, "No, this delay was planned because I'm going to use it for the glory of God."

You can be sure that if God has not come yet, it's for your good and for the good of the gospel. He is not late. Now, I want you to also notice in Revelation 10, verse 5 and 6 it pictures, "An angel standing on the sea and on the land with his hand raised up to heaven," this is during the time of the remnant church prophecy, "and he swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and earth and all the things that are in the earth, and the sea and all the things that are in the sea, that there should be delay no longer."

Why would the angel say, "There should be delay no longer," except there must have been delay? Did you get that? Why would the angel say, "There shall be delay no longer," which means now it's going to happen. And when the final events do begin to happen, they're going to happen quickly.

Friends, I think we have a little window left to preach the gospel to the world. You know, there's a letter that was written October 14. It's called, "Letter 131." I want you to notice this. "There are those who say, not only in their heart but in their works, 'My Lord is delaying His coming.' Because Christ's coming has been long foretold, they conclude there must have been a mistake regard to this doctrine. But the Lord says, 'If the vision tarry, wait for it; it will surely come. It will not tarry past the time that the message is borne to all nations, tongues, and people.' Shall we who claim to be students of prophecy forget that God's forbearance to the wicked is part of His vast and merciful plan, by which He's seeking to compass the salvation of souls? Shall we be found among the number who cease to co-operate with the Lord, who are found saying, 'My Lord delays His coming?'"

You know what the word Adventist means? It's a people who are excited about the imminent advent. They are proclaiming and living in an expectancy of the imminent advent of the Lord. How sad if Adventists ceased to be adventist? Another reason it is so important to keep this expectancy alive is there is a sanctifying influence when we realize that our lives are limited. That for every one of us listening, Jesus is coming soon. It is true. "Beloved, now we're the children of God; and it's not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed," when He comes, "we shall be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone that has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."

Looking forward to the coming of the Lord has a purifying influence on us. James 5:7 and 8. "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord." What is the apostle telling us? Be patient. "See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and the latter rain." We're waiting for the latter rain. "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." Well, it's like when Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is at hand." Whenever you invite Jesus in your heart, in one sense He's come for you.

In Romans 13, verse 11 Paul says, "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry or drunkenness, or lewdness and lust, nor in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust."

How do we respond to the truth that Christ is coming back? Don't make a provision for the flesh. Live godly lives. 1 Thessalonians 3:13. "So that He might establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all of His saints." Why is the Lord waiting as long as He can, not just for the world but for the church? Because He's calling on us to be holy and we aren't there yet. He tells us He wants us to establish our hearts that we might be ready for His return. 1 Thessalonians 5:23. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Notice the emphasis on holiness before His coming. The Bible tells us that we are to pray always that we are accounted worthy to escape all the things that are going to come upon the world and to stand before Him blameless when He comes. That should be our goal. That we're living lives where we're a witness in the world.

I heard about this man. He pulled up to a stoplight. There was one car in front of him where a lady, unfortunately, was texting on her phone and this guy was in a hurry. And he was supposed to be a Christian, but when he saw that the light turned green and the lady was looking down at her phone and texting, he finally got impatient. He honked the horn. Well, she looked up and looked over her shoulder and then the light turned red again. Now he's really mad and he is banging his dashboard and he's shouting, he's shaking his fist, and he's carrying on. And while he's doing all of that, he hears a policeman outside his window and he rolls down the window and there's a policeman, he's got his gun drawn. He said, "Sir, please get out of the car." Said, "What did I do wrong?" He said, "Sir, get out of the car." He says, "I'm allowed to vent and yell and scream in my car if I want to." Said, "Sir, I'm asking you to get out of the car."

So, he gets out of the car and he says, "Now I want you to turn around," he handcuffs him, he puts him in the back of the police car. Says, "I don't understand. I didn't break any law." He says, "I'm allowed to carry on and yell and scream. I had my windows up. I was in my car." Policeman ran a license check and then he unlocked the handcuffs and he let him go. Says, "This is not the last you're going to hear of me." Policeman said, "Well, let me tell you what happened." He said, "I was right behind you when you started to honk your horn and carry on because that person missed the light." And he said, "I saw you screaming and yelling, shaking your fist and pounding the dash, and honking your horn." He said, "And then I looked on the back of the car. You got the little fish, Christian fish. You've got a, 'Jesus is coming soon,' bumper sticker." Says, "I thought for sure you stole the car."

So, we need to be living like Christians, right? Can't just do the bumper sticker thing. It'll have a purifying influence in our lives. Titus 2:11 through 15. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."

How do we live holy, godly, looking forward to His coming, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify to Himself His own special people, zealous of good works." And yet, there are some in the church that say that we're not really supposed to be transformed and holy. Everything I read about the Second Coming tells us that we're supposed to be holy. And that's why Peter said, "Scoffers will come walking after their own lusts saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?'" Why did they say that? Because they're living walking after their own lusts.

Romans says, "Knowing that it is high time now that we wake out of sleep, how are we to live eagerly waiting for His return?" Don't know when that day is, but we know it is soon. Jesus tells us, "You may not know the day and the hour, but when you see the final signs lift up your heads." What does it mean for people to be living in the last days with their heads lifted up? It means they're living with expectancy. They are proclaiming, they're talking, about Jesus coming again. And you know, this church has exploded around the world because it is a church that talks about Jesus's coming. We are the church. This is the age that the world needs to hear that particular message. Get ready, get ready, get ready. The king is coming. Amen?

Doug: You know, a lot of folks misunderstand how Jesus is coming again. There's a lot of confusion about, will His return be a secret? When is the tribulation taking place? And to help clear this up, we have a special, free offer for you. It's a booklet that I've written called, "Anything But Secret." This resource is absolutely imperative. Jesus warned us there'll be many false christs and false prophets. How can you avoid being deceived? Filled with scripture resources, this will bless your heart. To get your free copy, call the phone number on your screen and ask for offer number 106 or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend.

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