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jesus is coming soon, but not tomorrow!
By Kerry A. Olson
Jesus is coming soon, but not tomorrow... not next Wednesday morning at
9:30! I know that statement sounds quite brash, and if you are biblically
minded you could be saying to yourself, “But Jesus said in Matthew
24:36 that ’No one knows the day or the hour Jesus will return,
not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’
“ Yes, nobody knows the day or the hour when Jesus will return,
but we know when He cannot come!
In the United States there has been a popular teaching, with increasing
focus and fervor, on End Times study and steps to prepare for the tribulation.
I wonder if much of this present-day fad is not a knee-jerk reaction to
the global recession that has been taking place over the past 24 months,
in particular the effect that it has had on the United States economy
and people’s personal income. Many have lost substantial amounts
of their savings in the stock market, income is down, inflation and unemployment
As missionaries living in a so-called “third world” country
for over half of our lives, our personal income has fluctuated by a 40%
margin for years. As is the case in many parts of the world, we have experienced
inflation rates and seen consumer prices rise in excess of 100% in a 12
I recently spent several weeks in the United States, and while it was
evident that many are struggling financially (perhaps for the first time),
I still see people eating out in restaurants, driving large SUVs and going
to the mall. To my amazement and added reverse culture shock, I saw many
ads on TV promoting a myriad of weight-loss gimmicks, Caribbean cruises,
and new cars; One television ad that caught my attention was for cat food
with real shrimp and Alaskan salmon!
Don’t worry about tomorrow!
I feel for those who have lost their jobs and are struggling to “make
ends meet,” but know that for many the only real effect this recession
has had on their pocketbooks is that numbers in their personal financial
portfolio have decreased and their sense of insecurity about the future
Many Christians love to quote Matthew 6:33, where Jesus tells us to “Seek
first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be
added to you as well.” Often we are selfishly seeking “all
these things” and forget about truly seeking first His kingdom and
His righteousness. The context of this passage of Scripture, both before
and after verse 33, says that we should not worry about our lives, what
we will eat of drink or wear, but should trust in a good and faithful
God who provides for us daily. Although it’s not very “American,”
I think it’s okay to ask God for “daily bread.” Hey,
that sounds biblical too! (See Matthew 6:11).
Preach the Gospel today!
On my Facebook page, I have an application entitled DAILY UNREACHED PEOPLE
provided by The Joshua Project, which highlights a people group somewhere
around the world that needs the gospel. Nearly every day there is a group
listed as “Unreached” with the sub-title: “No known
believers!” or “Few believers, if any!” The fact is
that there are still an estimated 5,000 - 6,000 unreached nations (1)
(people groups) around the world who still do not have the testimony of
I believe that we are in the “last days” and that prophetically
numerous things are coming into place for the return of Jesus, but Matthew
24:14 states emphatically that “this gospel of the kingdom will
be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN
the end will come.”
There are still thousands of unreached nations around the world without
a viable testimony (the Church established in their culture), and Jesus
says He will not return until this takes place. Northern India for example,
still has an estimated 3,000-plus unevangelized people groups waiting
to hear the gospel. Running through the entire Bible, from Genesis to
Revelation, is the theme of the evangelization of “all nations,
peoples, tongues and tribes” that must have their representation
before God’s throne.
Let’s all draw closer to Jesus and seek to be holy and live righteous
lives. But if we truly know Christ, our next obligation is to make sure
that others know him as well! The late singer–song writer Keith
Green stated 28 years ago that “This generation of Christians is
responsible for this generation of souls!” Today is the day of salvation
and salvation is the theme of today for many who still do not know Christ!
Don’t make the mistake of yesterday!
For centuries, Christian groups have formed “naval-gazing cliques,”
believing that the return of Christ is imminent. While we know that we
are closer to His return today than ever before, do not commit the error
of running up the hill outside the city next Wednesday, singing “Kumbaya,”
and waiting for Jesus’ return at 9:30 am!… Sound outrageous?
This type of incident and others similar in nature have happened repeatedly
in Church history, in the distant and not-so-distant past.
When Jesus does return, if I am still around, I want to be found faithful
– my “hand on the plow,” doing what He asked us to do:
preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. Not in my backyard building
a bomb shelter and creating a food bank for the assumed tribulation years
at the doorstep.
Nobody knows the day or the hour when Jesus will return, but it’s
possible to know when He cannot come! He cannot come tomorrow, because
we still have a task to fulfill, the task of the Great Commission to take
the gospel to every nation, tribe, people and language.
word nation in the Bible is ETNOS, translated as ethnic group
or people group referring to a group of people that has a common language
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