Recently, I read a prophetic word given to a person regarding judgements, end times events and timing of these things unfolding. I don’t know the person who received the prophetic word, but I found much of what they wrote to be confirmation of what I’ve been hearing the Lord say. I was greatly encouraged in the Lord with another wake-up call and reminder to keep my eyes on Jesus, be obedient and alert as Jesus is coming soon.
Then I read the comments posted at the end of this person’s prophetic word. Person after person posted some version of, ‘it’s not time yet,’ or ‘not for several more years.’ Over and over people tried to explain away the prophetic word’s timing. As I read through the posts I saw a tragic trend. On the surface people seemed to convey that they believed there was much work left to be done for the kingdom, which sounds noble enough but as I read on it became clear that something much less noble was motivating the belief that we have many years before Jesus returns.
At first, I was reminded of what the Holy Spirit had Peter write to us in 2 Peter 3,
“knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
We certainly see that word coming to pass, but the Lord showed me something else was at work in the posts I was reading.
Each post was filled with someone’s idea of how things will unfold in a systematic way and how much more preparing they need to do or the Lord needs to do, Jesus showed me two things missing:
1. Humility to be wrong in one’s understanding of how end time prophecy will unfold
2. Longing for Jesus
It’s so easy to find teachings and explanations on bible prophecy in which someone has very neatly laid out a timeline of events that makes sense to my little human brain. I’m much more comfortable thinking I understand how things will go then I am feeling uncertain of exactly what’s going to happen. Many times, the Lord Jesus has lovingly taken me by the scuff of the neck to get me off a path I thought was rightly explaining how end time events will unfold. He has so kindly brought me to repentance and shown me ideas I had accepted because it’s what I heard growing up or ideas I had accepted because they were the common teachings in many churches or seminaries.
A few years ago, I said to Jesus, ‘it seems like there’s a lot still to happen and it will take a long time to accomplish all this before you come back.’ Jesus said to me, “Do you not think I can accomplish all this in one day?”
His gentle and firm rebuke cleared my head of regarding end time prophecy and how it will unfold. Jesus took me to His parable of the virgins found in Matthew 25.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps[a] and went to meet the bridegroom.[b] 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Please consider the Lord’s wisdom as He so perfectly describes our situation through this parable. In the previous post on End Times Endurance, brother Jeremy was led to write to about a famine of God’s word and the wrestle we have in remaining watchful and obedient in such times. We can see Jesus’ fore-warning of this when He says the virgins became drowsy and slept when the Bridegroom was delayed.
In as much, Jesus calls us to be in a state of readiness for His return. This parable has a very clear warning to us if we have an I-still-need-to-do list or He-can’t-come-back-until list. The watchmen call out, “Here is the Bridegroom,” and half the virgins say they aren’t ready. The Bridegroom didn’t wait for them to get ready. He didn’t wait for them to finish anything. He didn’t change His plans to fit whatever they thought should happen. He didn’t say His Kingdom wasn’t finished because they hadn’t finished something.
Brothers and sisters, we need to get rid of our lists be they personal or corporate, or we are going to be tragically disappointed. Our hearts should be in a state of longing for Jesus with no rim of anything else.
In Peter 3 we are told,
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up
your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy
prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles……..
that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed
We have absolute certainty that everything the Lord has said He will do before His return, He will do. But we must not become arrogant nor fixed on our understanding of how He will do it. Jesus tells us to watch and be ready. People weren’t watching for a baby at Jesus’ first coming. They had all kinds of ideas about what the Messiah should do and be. They were wrong on most things. We easily do the same with Jesus’ second coming. We have all kinds of teachings on exactly how things will unfold in a nice tidy timeline.
We who are filled with the Holy Spirit must submit to His explanations, not our own ideas or ability to understand. If we have a ‘not-until’ list, it would be good for us to humble lay it at the feet of Jesus.
My husband used to travel for work. When he returned, I liked to have everything ready at home, but on the occasions that he arrived early, I cannot imagine locking the door to keep him out until I had finished cleaning the house. My heart was thrilled to be united with him no matter what chores remained.
Do I have such affection and longing for Jesus?
When the watchmen call out, am I tempted to say, ‘not yet?’ Or do I find great encouragement in hearing and seeing the reminder of the nearness of Jesus’ return?
If everything changes in a single hour, if the Lord accomplishes everything remaining in a single day…..are you ready?
My friends, our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Be encouraged that the Lord Jesus is coming soon. He will faithfully accomplish everything He has said He will do. He will save everyone He has purposed to save. He is not obligated to our understanding of events. He does all for His Name’s sake. Let us not strain to figure it all out, but forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
May Jesus get us across the finish line.
Come, Lord Jesus!