Have you ever heard that teaching before? It is often stated today from pulpits across America. Why? It goes hand in hand with an imminent return of Christ. If Christ could have returned at any moment over the span of the last 2000 years since His resurrection; then an Antichrist must always be present in the wings to pave His way. Why? Because Scripture places the coming of Christ in relation to this Antichrist figure. But this teaching is based on assumption not Scripture. It stems from the idea: that if we do not know the day or the hour of Christs coming, that then neither does Satan? But more importantly it implies that God has told us nothing in the Scriptures that we could consider reliable on the times and seasons of His coming.
It comes very close to making the timing of His coming unknown even to God, because it involves a “should God determine to send Him” attitude. As though God has not already made up His mind. But that is a false assumption, because God does know the day and the hour, and His word does give us signs. Signs are given in order for our knowing as believers the times and seasons:
1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. (NASB1995)
This passage is often used to further prove that we do not and can not know, but that is not really the case. Paul here says: the day of the Lord will come… The emphasis by these teachers is always placed on the thief, but overlooks that His coming is associated with “the day of the Lord”. And scripture tells us in several passages Old and New Testament, of the elements of this day, which we can relate to the times and seasons spoken of in this passage.
But there is more, because in actuality neither of these theories can stand the test of history based solely on God’s Scripture. The very teachers who teach us themselves make clear that Israel is Gods time piece, but they totally overlook Israel with this theory of the always has been imminent coming of Christ.
Israel must be present as a nation in order for Christ to come. The truth is that for most of the last 2000 years they were not a nation; making Christs return during that time impossible. Paul said to us concerning this day of the Lord:
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (NASB1995)
These verses tell us that Jesus coming on the day of the Lord will be preceded by signs so that we will not be deceived. As you read on you find that Israel and their Temple must be present in order for the Day of the Lord to come, and Jesus coming begins that day.
Jesus told the Apostles “do not let anyone mislead you”. He further stated that He would send the Spirit, who would be in us and who would lead us into all truth. I often speak to you of discernment. The Holy Spirit is the sole reason that you and I have the ability to discern truth, and thus not be deceived by this world.
Jesus did not give a warning to us through the Scriptures that He did not also give us the means to obey. If Jesus is coming soon; then there must be one man on the scene today who will deny Christ, and assume His place as God in God’s temple. We can think of many men who might assume this role, but there will be only one, whom the world will willingly accept.