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Is The Coming of the Lord Near (2 Peter 3)

by Bob Russell

(gleaned from www.bobrussell.org)

Written on September 17, 2012

The middle east is a dangerous powder-keg. Last week thousands of Muslim extremists in Arab nations rioted in the streets, burned flags, stormed embassies, killed four U.S. citizens and hurled venomous threats against America and Israel. Numerous American military personnel have been sent into the area in an attempt to bring stability.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hinting at a preemptive strike against Iran to prevent a future nuclear attack. Iran’s top military commander responded that “nothing would remain” of Israel if it were to attack Iran. Jerusalem is surrounded by enemies and the world is a very unsafe place right now.

Of equal concern to the threat of global war is the threat of global wickedness. The Bible predicts that in the last days evil will increase as it did in the days of Noah when, “the earth was filled with violence” and “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”

Pornography pollutes our planet. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and crime are plaques in every nation. Divorce, spouse abuse, homosexuality, abortion, and experimentation with human embryos are causing discerning people to wonder if we are nearing the time when God will say, “That’s far enough! It’s closing time!”

Simon Peter predicted that just as God once suddenly destroyed the world by a flood, “…the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:10).

Of course there are those who ridicule any suggestion of the intervention of God. “Christians have always felt the return of Jesus Christ to earth was near,” they say. And in a sense they’re right. The Apostle Paul wrote that the Lord would soon crush Satan (Romans 16:20). James 5:8 predicts “the Lord’s coming is near.” And Jesus Himself stated that He was coming soon (Revelation. 22:20).

The passing of time, however, is relative to an eternal God. With Him a thousand years are like a day. So “soon” in His definition may seem like a long time in our understanding. But since the soon coming of Jesus motivates people to hope and holiness, it’s God’s will that every generation live in eager expectation. So if we are wrong in believing that His coming is near, we are right in attitude.

The mocking by arrogant unbelievers should only serve to quicken our expectation of the Lord’s return because it’s a fulfillment of Peter’s prediction that, “in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

But have you noticed that while sin has been increasing, God’s grace has been increasing all the more? Think of the millions of Bibles that have been translated into hundreds of languages and distributed throughout the world. Think about the popularity and worldwide distribution of the Jesus film which has been translated into 1100 different languages and seen by over a billion people in third world countries. Consider the Left Behind books and the Purpose Driven Life, both of which topped the best-seller list for weeks. Have you noticed how the gospel has been shared with millions through the Internet and satellite television? Think about how the phenomenon of megachurches has created worldwide curiosity. Think of how the movie, The Passion of The Christ portrayed Jesus’ sacrifice in a gripping and powerful way.

In these precarious times it seems God is reaching out to people all over the world in unprecedented ways. He is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Maybe the Lord’s coming won’t be for another thousand years, but it sure seems like it’s near. As salmon instinctively swim upstream, believers intuitively are lifting up their heads for their redemption draws near.

One thing’s for certain, this is no time for casual Christianity. This is a time for believers to “live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:11-12).

Bob Russell is the  retired  Minister  at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY


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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8