People don’t like delays in general, but it’s especially frustrating when we don’t understand why we’re being forced to wait. That’s true of waiting during a trip, at a doctor’s office, in the grocery line, being stuck in traffic, or waiting for a package to arrive.
It’s also true of waiting for God to deliver His promises — including His promise of the Rapture. After all, the very first verse of the Book of Revelation says: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place” (1:1).
Notice the word shortly. If I tell my wife, “I’m going to go down to the store for a gallon of milk, but I’ll be back shortly,” she wouldn’t expect me to be gone for two days, let alone two thousand years!
The final chapter of Revelation uses the word “quickly” to describe the return of Christ that will initiate the End Times.
In fact, you can find the word quickly used four times in Revelation 22. In verse 12, Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” And in verse 20 He repeated His promise, saying, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Is Jesus’ Return Really Imminent?
Rapture is imminent, meaning it can happen at any moment. Yet our Lord Jesus has not yet returned. For two thousand years, Christians have watched and waited for the catalyst of the Rapture to coalesce into the next phase in God’s prophetic plan. And we are still waiting.
It’s fair to ask the question: Why the delay?
The Bible teaches God exists in the past, present, and future at the same moment. For God, later is the same as earlier. The end is the same as the beginning. Now is the same as then.
This is a great mystery, and it’s hard to wrap our heads around the concept of an eternal God. But if God were anything less than eternal, He would not, in actuality, be God.
And, if one day with the Lord is like one thousand years and one thousand years is like one day, then from God’s perspective Jesus hasn’t been gone for as long as it seems to us. Just two days!
“Loved ones,” Peter said, in essence, “don’t forget this one thing. This is important—this is significant. Remember that God doesn’t work on our timetable. His plans are based on His perspective and His perception, not ours” (2 Peter 3:8).
Some of the false teachers in the early church were claiming God is slow to carry out His promise — that He is unconcerned, that He doesn’t care. But Peter said it’s better to take God’s delay in the other direction.
This delay in the coming of Christ is not because of a lack of concern but is actually a sign of how much He cares and loves people. He’s waiting because He’s patient. He wants people to come to Him before it is too late.
If Jesus had come in the year 500, or in the year 1500, or if He had come in, say, 1875, none of us would have yet been born. You would not have been able to enjoy your daily walk with Jesus Christ. You would not have been able to relish the promises in the Word of God.
You would not have been able to look forward to eternal life. Had Jesus come in an earlier era none of us would have been around, none of us would have been caught up in the Rapture, and none of us would have been resurrected.
But because of God’s patience, the epochs of time have been extended to include even us within His redemptive and glorious grace.
Thank You, Jesus, for Your patience!
How Can We Understand God's Eternal Perspective?
Finally, we come to God’s desire regarding the timing of the Rapture. Jesus has delayed His coming because He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). That’s God’s preference.
God longs for people to come to repentance. He wants to give people every opportunity to change their minds and return to Him and to His ways. “True Christian repentance involves a heartfelt conviction of sin, a contrition over the offense to God, a turning away from the sinful way of life, and a turning towards a God-honoring way of life.”
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son. Even though the prodigal had wounded and abandoned his dad with disdain and disrespect, the father waited patiently for his wayward son to come back to him, loving him the whole time he was waiting, looking for him from the front porch, longing for him to come home.
That is God’s preference for all people today — that we would end our rebellion and come back to Him.
It’s not possible for any person to physically run away from God. Our heavenly Father is present in every place and knows everything that can be known.
What Are We to Do Before Jesus Returns?
It is possible to turn away from God’s goodness and love. To rebel against His authority. Even to reject Him and remove ourselves from the protection of His lovingkindness.
If that’s the case for you, why not return today? There’s no ticket necessary. No distance to travel or red tape to cut through. Just turn back.
God is always waiting to welcome you with open arms.
Taken from The Great Disappearance: 31 Ways to be Rapture Ready by Dr. David Jeremiah. Copyright © 2023 by Dr. David Jeremiah. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson.
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Dr. David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church. He has been faithfully studying and teaching the Word of God for sixty years. He is also a prolific author, being the recipient of numerous awards for his books including bestseller lists in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today, the ECPA Medallion of Excellence Award, as well as two Gold Medallion Awards. Dr. Jeremiah is a sought-after speaker across the country—speaking frequently at universities, conventions, and conferences, as well as chapels for professional football and basketball teams. In 2020 he was awarded NRB’s Hall of Fame and President’s Awards. Believing our dreams should always be greater than our memories, he continually trusts God to accomplish great things through Turning Point’s ministry around the globe.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.