What should the Church be doing to prepare Christians for the Lord’s imminent return? Find out with Dr. David Reagan on the show Christ in Prophecy.
Air Date: June 5, 2016
Dr. Reagan: Jesus is about to return, and the Church at large seems to be oblivious to the fact. In the Church today, Bible prophecy is neglected, abused or scorned. Most pastors simply ignore it as irrelevant or too controversial. Many abuse it by spiritualizing it to mean anything they please. Some just write it off as nonsensical gobbledygook. What should the Church be doing to prepare Christians for the Lord’s imminent return? Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Last week I began sharing with you the contents of a Prophetic Manifesto that I wrote in the spring of 2012, and which we published in June of that year. As I explained last week, I gave it this stark cover because it contains a very stark message. Since this publication of this little booklet we’ve gone through printings after printings, and tens of thousands of copies have been distributed to pastors all over the nation.
Last week I shared the part of its message that concerned our nation. In summary, what I said was that America is finished. We as a nation have turned our back on God. We have kicked Him out of our schools and out of the public arena. We have declared Him to be off-limits. We have given the boot to the very One who made us great and showered us with blessings. We are in the process of becoming a thoroughly secular and pagan nation. And in the process, we are courting the wrath of God.
This week, I want to share the message of the second half of the booklet. It focuses on the Church and its failure to prepare people for the imminent return of Jesus.
Jesus is about to return, and the Church at large seems to be oblivious to the fact. In the Church today, Bible prophecy is neglected, it’s abused or scorned. Most pastors simply ignore it as irrelevant or too controversial. Many abuse it by spiritualizing it to mean anything they please. Some just write it off as nonsensical gobbledygook.
The irony is that all this is a fulfillment of end time Bible prophecy, pointing to the fact that we are truly living in the season of the Lord’s return. Here’s how the Apostle Peter wrote about it: “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'”
I used to think this prophecy referred to unbelievers but they could care less about the return of Jesus. To them the whole concept is an absurd myth. It is Christian leaders who are mocking and scoffing. Some are liberals who are Christians in name only. To them, the idea of Jesus returning to reign over the world for a thousand years is a joke. They consider it to be as ridiculous as the virgin birth or the resurrection. Others are true believers who either know nothing about Bible prophecy or else have some perverted concept of it. Increasingly they are espousing the unbiblical concept of Postmillennialism.
Postmillennialism is the idea that the Church will take over the world either through political action or evangelism, or a combination of the two, and that the Church will then rule over the earth for a thousand years. At the end of this reign, the Church will surrender the kingdom to Jesus who will transport the Church to Heaven and burn up the earth. Folks, few concepts could be more unbiblical! The Bible makes it clear that the vast majority of humanity will always reject the Gospel. And the Bible makes it equally clear that as we approach the end of the Church Age, society will grow increasingly evil rather than increasingly righteous.
Furthermore, Postmillennialism is based upon the Humanist assumption of inevitable progress which, in turn, is based upon a belief in the essential goodness of man. Again, this is a very unbiblical concept. The Bible teaches that man is born with a sin nature that makes him inherently evil. Man cannot elevate themselves by their own effort. Nor can man be perfected by education or the revolution of society. God will prove this during the upcoming millennial reign of Jesus. During that time, all the world will be flooded with peace, righteousness and justice. And yet, at the end, when Satan is loosed, he will be able to lead a worldwide revolt against Jesus.
Jesus’ rule with a rod of iron may produce outward conformity, but inwardly, there will be boiling resentment that will explode into an open rebellion. Man will not be transformed by life in a paradise on earth. And that’s because people can only be truly transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that comes through faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
The end time viewpoint that is held by the Catholic Church and the majority of Christian denominations today is called Amillennialism. It is the strange concept that the Millennial reign of Jesus began at the Cross and continues to this day. Like the Postmillennial view, this view is based on a spiritualization of Scripture which is a nice way of saying that it is based on an outright denial of what the Scriptures plainly state.
Logic alone is sufficient to destroy the Amillennial viewpoint. For example the Bible teaches that during the Millennium, the earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness and justice. Can anyone truly argue with a straight face that such an atmosphere prevails today? Or the Bible says that during the Millennium, Satan will be bound so that he can no longer deceive the nations of the world. Is that a present reality? Of course not. All the nations of the world, without exception, are deceived and exist in a state of rebellion against God.
The Bible says six times in the book of Revelation that the Millennium will last 1,000 years. And yet Amillennials say the Millennium began at the Cross and will continue indefinitely until the return of Jesus. Who is correct? The Bible or the Amillennialists?
A literal reading of end time prophecies, seeking the plain sense meaning, will produce what is called the Premillennial viewpoint. According to this view, society will disintegrate in the end times, becoming as immoral and violent as it was in the days of Noah. The Church will be taken out of the world in an event called the Rapture, and then God will begin to pour out His wrath during a seven year period called the Tribulation.
At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return in majesty and glory. A great remnant of the Jews will accept Him as their Messiah. Jesus will then regather these believing Jews to Israel and establish them as the prime nation of the world. Jesus will then begin His thousand year reign from Jerusalem during which time the earth will experience peace, righteousness and justice.
This clear meaning of the Scriptures has been rejected by the Church ever since 400 AD due to anti-Semitism. The Jews were classified as “Christ-killers,” and the argument was made that God had “washed His hands of them.” Further, it was argued that the Church had replaced Israel and had thus become the heir of the promises which God had given the Jews. The wretched theology that developed from these un-biblical assumptions came to be known as Replacement Theology. It contends that the Church has replaced Israel and God has no further purpose for the Jews. Accordingly, the advocates of this theology argue that God’s promise to the Jews of a future kingdom has been annulled and has been transferred to the Church.
Replacement Theology is thoroughly unbiblical, as any reading of Romans 9-11 will clearly prove. In these chapters Paul affirms the Old Testament prophecies that God will save a great remnant of the Jews in the end times, and He will fulfill for them all the promises that He has made to the Jewish people. Paul specifically addresses the issue of Replacement Theology in two places in the book of Romans.
In the third chapter he asks this rhetorical question concerning the Jewish people: “If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” For almost 1,600 years, ever since 400 AD, the Church has answered, “Yes!” But Paul answers his question in directly the opposite manner by declaring, “May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar . . .”
Likewise in Romans 11, Paul addresses the issue again, once again using a rhetorical question: He says, “I say, has God not rejected His people, has He? Has He rejected His people?” And once again, the Church has always answered, “Yes! He’s rejected them.” But Paul responds by saying, “May it never be! . . . God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” Whether Church leaders like it or not, God has promised the Jews that one day the Messiah will establish a kingdom for them and through that kingdom He will reign over all the earth.
There is no excuse for the Church to be covetous of the promises of God which He has made to the Jewish people. God has also made some marvelous promises to the Church. And one, of course, is the Rapture.
Another is the promise that we will reign with Jesus over all the Gentile nations of the earth. My friends it is time to stop playing games with God’s Prophetic Word. There is just too much at stake to simply say, “Every man to his own opinion.” Jesus is about to return. The Church Age is about to come to a screaming halt. The world is on the threshold of the most horrendous time in human history the Great Tribulation when God will pour out His wrath on this God-hating world, and one half of humanity and two-thirds of the Jews will be killed in a period of only seven years.
Yet, despite this impending horror, Church leaders are lulling people into believing that the return of Jesus is some far distant possibility that is a current “distraction” to Christian living. What garbage! The Word says the return of Jesus could occur at any moment. The Word says that we are to live looking for the return of Jesus. The Word says that living with the expectation and hope of the Lord’s return will produce holiness in our lives. The Word provides signs we are to watch for that will signal the season of the Lord’s return.
Today, one would have to be spiritually blind to not discern the fact that the future has arrived. The ancient prophecies pointing to the season of the Lord’s return are being fulfilled before our very eyes. The signs are literally shouting the Lord’s soon return. And yet most Church leaders seem to be blind to the signs.
Speaking of signs of the times how, for example, can a person ignore the supernatural regathering of the Jewish people back to their homeland from the four corners of the earth? This regathering in unbelief is the most prolific prophecy in the Old Testament, and it is always pictured in an end time context. Jeremiah proclaims two times that when history is over and done, and the Jewish people look back on it they will consider the current regathering to be a greater miracle than their deliverance from Egyptian captivity. This regathering began in the late 1890’s and continues to this day from 40,000 Jews in Israel in 1900 to over 6 million today.
No other people in history have been so widely scattered all over the world. No other people in history have been so hated and so systematically persecuted. No other people have been submitted to such an unspeakable atrocity as the Holocaust. No other people have been so devoid of hope. Yet, God miraculously preserved them, as He said He would. And He has regathered them, just as He said He would. But Christian leaders write-off these miracles of their preservation and regathering as an “accident of history” with “no prophetic significance.” Incredible!
We are blessed to be the generation that is witnessing the fulfillment of these prophecies, and yet the average Christian seems totally unaware of them, and even worse, many who are aware of them have the unmitigated audacity to deny that they are a fulfillment of prophecy or that they have any spiritual significance.
Twenty-five hundred years ago the prophet Daniel said that in the end times the last great Gentile Empire — the Roman Empire — would be revived and that the Antichrist would rise out of it. Is the revival of the Roman Empire today, in the form of the European Union, an accident of history? I don’t think so. The prophet Zechariah said that in the end times the nation of Israel would come back into existence and that all the nations of the world would come against it. Is the rebirth of the state of Israel in May of 1948 an accident? What about the way in which all the nations of the world are coming together against Israel over the issue of who will control Jerusalem?
The prophet Ezekiel said that in the end times all the Arab nations would attempt to take the land of Israel. Are their attempts today an accident of history? Jesus said we were to watch Jerusalem. He prophesied that the city would be destroyed and the Jews dispersed, but He also prophesied that in the end times the Jews would return and occupy the city. Was the re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem by the Jews in June of 1967 for the first time in 1,897 years an accident of history? I don’t think so. New Testament prophets warned that one of the foremost signs of the end times would be an epidemic of apostasy in the Church. Is the present gross apostasy we are experiencing today an accident of history? I don’t think so.
What’s the problem with the Church today? Why are so many Christians and their leaders ignoring the fact that Jesus is at the very gates of Heaven waiting for His Father’s command to return? Why is the Church so spiritually blind? Why are so many pastors more focused on church growth than on sounding the alarm that Jesus is coming soon? Again, the lackadaisical attitude that prevails about the Lord’s imminent return is a fulfillment of end time prophecy. Listen to these words from 2 Timothy: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
We have arrived at the end of the end times which began with the establishment of the Church on the Day of Pentecost. Again, we are living on borrowed time. And Satan is working overtime to camouflage the fact. He is deceiving people into believing that the end times prophecies do not mean what they say. He is motivating well-meaning people to set dates for the Lord’s return in order to discredit Bible prophecy. He is convincing pastors that Bible prophecy is pie-in-the-sky, with no relevance to the here and now. He is convincing both Christians and their leaders that Bible prophecy is some sort of a Chinese puzzle that no one can understand, and thus it is a waste of time to study it. In short, there is a satanic conspiracy to keep the truths of Bible prophecy in the dark. Satan does not want anyone to know that Jesus is about to return. Nor does he want anyone to know that Bible prophecy reveals that when Jesus returns, Satan will be totally defeated and Jesus will be gloriously victorious and completely vindicated in history.
What pastors need to understand is two fundamental truths about Bible prophecy. The first is that the preaching of Bible prophecy can be a great evangelistic tool, as it was in the first Gospel sermon which Peter preached on Pentecost. Read that sermon. It is nothing but the recitation of one Messianic prophecy after another, followed by assertions that Jesus fulfilled each prophecy.
The second truth is that the preaching of Bible prophecy can serve as a great tool of sanctification, for if you can ever convince a Christian that Jesus really is coming back and that He could return at any moment, that person will be motivated to holiness and evangelism.Let’s face it: the average Christian no more believes in the imminent return of Jesus than he believes in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. He may believe it intellectually, but he does not believe it with his heart. It is only when a proposition moves from the mind to the heart that it is truly believed and will start having an impact on our minds and actions.
The three most urgent facts of our time that need to be proclaimed from every pulpit in America are these: 1) Jesus is coming back to pour out the wrath of God and to reign over all the earth. 2) The return of Jesus could occur at any moment there is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled for the Rapture of the Church to occur. 3) The signs of the times indicate that we have arrived at the time of the Lord’s return. These truths are like a two-edged sword. To unbelievers, they are a call to flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now. To the believer they are a call to holiness and evangelism.
The unbeliever needs to face the fact that our Creator God is a God of Justice. Accordingly, He must deal with sin — otherwise life has no meaning. And God deals with sin in one of two ways — either grace or wrath. Every person on this planet is living under either the grace of God or His wrath. It is a terrible thing to be subject to God’s wrath. The Bible says that when Jesus returns, the unsaved will crawl into holes in the ground and cry out for the mountains to fall upon them, so great will be the wrath of God.
The most tragic thing about this scenario is that all a person must do to move from wrath to grace is reach out in faith, confess that he or she is a sinner, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Salvation is a free gift of God’s grace through faith in His Messiah, Jesus. You cannot earn your salvation, and anyone who even implies that you can earn it is an agent of Satan.
For believers, the imminent return of Jesus is a call to evangelism — to share the Gospel with as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
The Lord’s imminent return is also a call to believers to commit themselves to holiness. In practical terms, this means making Jesus the lord of everything in your life your money, your job, your food, your entertainment everything.
And for those pastors who argue that prophecy is pie-in-the-sky, with no practical relevance, I ask, “What could be more relevant than a message that propels unbelievers to Jesus and motivates believers to holiness and evangelism?” And that brings me to another point concerning pastors. It relates to the number one cop-out that pastors use for ignoring the teaching and preaching of God’s Prophetic Word. It is often expressed in this manner: “I’m not Premillennial or Amillennial or Postmillennial – I’m Panmillennial because I believe it will all pan-out in the end.”
Let me give you a translation of that comment. What the pastor is really saying is that he is too lazy to study prophecy to discover its truths, so he has decided to set aside one-third of God’s Word and simply ignore it. And my friends that is tragic!
“Jesus is coming soon!” That’s the promise given by the prophets of the Bible. It’s a promise made to Jesus’ disciples by angels on the very day He ascended into Heaven. And it is the last promise Jesus made in the last words He spoke on this earth when He appeared to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos some 65 years after His death and resurrection. That promise means all, or it means nothing at all. To the world, it means nothing. To the average Christian, it is something that has been consigned to the indefinite future. To a true believer, it means everything.
True believers yearn daily with all their hearts for the Lord’s return. They share the Gospel at every opportunity, and they live with a commitment to holiness. And because they live with a yearning for the Lord’s return, they will be candidates to receive a special Crown of Righteousness when they stand before the Lord on their day of judgment. Here’s that promise in 2 Timothy 4: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
Dr. Reagan: Is there any hope for America? No! Our only hope is Jesus, and thus we have no hope, for we have rejected Him. We have turned our back on the very God who made us great and showered us with blessings. We have forgotten that God’s Word teaches that “to those to whom much is given, much is expected.” We have stubbornly set our course. We have determined to live as we please and not as God has dictated. We have chartered a course of self-destruction, and God is going to allow us to have our way. Many professing Christians have deceived themselves into believing that there is hope for our nation if we can only elect the right President or elect the right political party to control Congress. If that is your view, then you have set yourself up for certain disappointment.
I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I am a Monarchist because I have devoted my life to doing all I can to help prepare the way for the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords who will reign in glory and majesty from Jerusalem and who will bring peace, righteousness and justice to this earth. Allow me to repeat my fundamental point for emphasis: Our only hope is Jesus, and since we have turned our back on Him, we have no hope as a nation.
But there is individual hope for those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He has promised to walk with us through the fire and high water, comforting us in our sufferings and providing our needs. He will never forsake us.
We also have the incredible hope of the Rapture of the Church when true believers will be taken out of this world in the blinking of an eye to be with Jesus forever.
And there is hope for those who will be left behind to face the terror of the pouring out of God’s wrath, for even when God pours out His wrath, His major purpose is not to punish but to bring people to the end of themselves so that they will repent and be saved. Listen to these words from Isaiah: “When the earth experiences God’s judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” My friends that’s grace. Let us rejoice that our God is a God of grace. Otherwise, there would be no hope for any of us.
Dr. Reagan: The urgency of the moment demands action — action on the part of all of us If you have never received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I pray you will do so this moment. Time is short. Action is needed now. God has prolonged your life to this point because He does not wish that any should perish, but that all might be saved.
Perhaps you think you are already saved because you have been baptized or have become a member of a church or because you consider yourself to be a good person. None of these things will save your soul from Hell. Salvation is not a matter of religious rituals, or church membership or good works. It is a matter of relationship. Jesus said, “This is eternal life that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you committed your life to Him? Are you trusting in Him or in your good works? To come to know Jesus personally and to be sealed by the Holy Spirit for salvation, you need to reach out to God in faith through a simple prayer like this one: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess to you that I am a sinner and that I am sorry for my sins. I thank You for the salvation You have made possible through the sacrifice of Your Son. I accept Him as my Lord and Savior, and I welcome the indwelling power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Once you have prayed this prayer, seek out a Bible-believing church where God’s Word is preached and where Jesus is held up as the only hope for this world. Make a public confession of your faith in Jesus and be baptized to manifest your commitment to Him and to symbolize your own death, burial and resurrection as a new person in Christ.
For those of you who have truly placed your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, my plea is that you will get serious about reaching out to unbelievers with the message of the Lord’s soon return. Time is short. Urgent action is needed.
I pray too that you will examine every aspect of your life to see where you have made compromises with the world — where you have grown comfortable with sin. The Holy Spirit is calling you to holiness in preparation for the Lord’s imminent return. Identify those areas of your life that are not totally surrendered to the Lord and crucify them.
My plea to pastors is that you will commit yourselves to studying God’s Prophetic Word and take it to mean what it says.
This will enable you to recognize the signs of the times and the urgency of the moment. You then need to communicate this sense of urgency to your people, convicting them that Jesus is returning soon. And you need to teach them how they can best prepare for that momentous and marvelous event.
I’d like to conclude this series of pleas with a plea to God in the form of a brief prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for the manifold blessings that You have given our nation, for Founding Fathers of great wisdom, for unparalleled freedom, for abundant prosperity, and for the great joy of serving as a conduit of Your spiritual blessings to the rest of the world as You have utilized our riches and ingenuity to communicate the Gospel to all nations and to translate and publish Your Word in many languages. I thank You also, Lord, for the great patience You have shown toward us in the midst of our rebellion against You. I am terribly grieved, Lord, that in our pride we have deserted You. I realize that we fully deserve Your wrath, but I pray for mercy. I pray that before You deliver us from judgment to destruction, You will raise up one last national revival to bring more souls into Your kingdom. Most of all, Lord, I pray for the soon return of Your precious Son. Send Him quickly, Dear God. Send Him in glory and majesty, and through Him, please flood this wicked world with peace, righteousness and justice. Amen and Maranatha!
End of Program