Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
The presents are gone from under the tree. The wrappings, ribbons and bows are all in the trash, and all the guests left days ago. Not many days remain in what’s left of this year, and soon we’ll be singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
The older I get, the quicker the years seem to zoom by. This year is no exception. I must confess that this year has been somewhat of a disappointment to me. You may attribute that to the state of politics, the economy, the rise of terror, the decline of morality in our nation, etc., and while all those things can put a damper on one’s outlook, they really are not the source of my disappointment.
I started this year with the genuine hope that this would be the year that Christ returned, and we, His children, would be taken up in the clouds to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Many of the signs seemed to converge to make a good case for this being the year. First there was the third Blood Moon of the rare tetrad at Passover in April that was preceded by a total solar eclipse in March. Then the fourth Blood Moon of the tetrad appeared during the Feast of Tabernacles in late September. Add to that, the final Blood Moon followed the end of the Shamitah which modern “prophets” saw as a sign of economic collapse, (which did not occur in any way to cause great consternation). To boot, all of this leads to the Year of Jubilee, which began on Rosh Ha-Shanna, September 13.
All this year, I have looked toward the eastern sky and cupped my ear for the sound of the trumpet, and it didn’t come.
Jesus did not come. 😦
I am disappointed, but not disheartened or discouraged. After all, Jesus said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32, emphasis mine). The modern day prophets made some good guesses solidly based on Scripture, but they obviously missed it. To their credit, none would dogmatically set a date for Christ’s return, and all offered the disclaimer that God is not bound by their speculations. Still, there was the hope.
Should that hope be abandoned simply because mortal men guessed wrong? As Paul would say, “God forbid!” Jesus promised to return: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3, emphasis mine). There is absolutely no reason not to believe that He will do as He promised. The Old Testament is full of prophecies foretelling of His first coming, and all were proven true beyond any shadow of doubt. So accurately were those promises fulfilled, that the probability of one man fulfilling just eight of them is a virtual impossibility, yet Jesus fulfilled them all. If Scripture proved true about His first coming, then it will certainly prove true for His second coming.
A few days still remain in 2015. Jesus may return before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, or He may yet delay. Twenty-Sixteen is the Year of Jubilee and that would be a great time for Christ to return. And what if He does not come in 2016? So what! Jesus promised He will return. In the meantime He said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8, emphasis mine). “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20, emphasis mine). We must do this because, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine). Likewise, we should not be willing that any should perish.
Does this mean I should stop looking and listening? Of course not! “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3, emphasis mine). “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). So, no lollygagging! There is work yet to be done! “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:46). Perhaps in 2016!