Stop Claiming Jesus Is Returning Soon

If you look closely you’ll notice that the Church has a black eye. She’s had it for a long time. And, just when it seems like it’s going to heal, along comes another blow that brightens the bruise.

The bruise that threatens to mar the reputation of the Church is the often-cited claim that Jesus is going to return very soon. This claim has been repeated many, many times over the course of church history, yet it has not come true. Jesus has not returned in spite of the many claims that He is poised to come back to the earth in final judgment.

I recall first hearing a lot of talk about the imminent return of Jesus back in the 70s. Everyone felt it was coming soon. Preachers preached it and teachers taught it. Some Christians even began to pick dates. I remember hearing that 1981 was the year Jesus was returning. Then, it was moved to 1988. Most recently, the late Harold Camping predicted that we would see Jesus returning on May 21, 2011. When Jesus failed to make an appearance, Camping did some recalculations and adjusted his date to Oct 21, 2011. That date came and went with no Jesus.

In my opinion, one of the reasons people continue to claim that the return of Jesus is very soon is because it has seemed to work well as a preaching tool. If a preacher can convince his audience that Jesus is about to reappear, then he might easily convince them to repent and become Christians. The obvious problem, however, is that many of these people aren’t really becoming Christians; they’re just buying “fire insurance.” When Jesus does not return soon, some of them fall away. (Click here to read an interesting testimony of someone who fell away because Jesus didn’t return as he was told).

Another reason why many are convinced Jesus is about to reappear is based on our egocentric natures. We tend to see ourselves at the center of life. Therefore, Jesus will most certainly come during “my” lifetime, so “I” can see it. It is about “me,” after all.

A third reason why we hear the claim made so often is because people tend to interpret the Bible by what they hear in the news. As soon as they hear about an earthquake or other major disaster, they immediately assume that the end is here. That’s not the way the Bible is to be read.

Let’s just stop it, okay? Let’s stop telling people that Jesus’ return is very soon when in reality we have no idea when it will be. Let’s stop giving people reasons to believe that the Church is disingenuous.

Let me be clear; I believe that Jesus will one day return to the earth. It might be soon, or it might be after another 2,000 years. I have no idea when this will happen. Neither does anyone else. So, rather than try to frighten people into becoming Christians with the threat that the end might be near, let’s try to woo them to God with the love of Jesus.





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