Could Jesus return this year? Find out with Dr. David Reagan and guests on the show Christ in Prophecy.
Last aired on January 26, 2014.
Spirit of Grace Ministries with Dennis Pollock
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Dr. Reagan: Are you earnestly looking for the return of Jesus this year? Or could you care less? Do you believe Jesus could really return this year? Or is that an event you have consigned to the indefinite future? What is your attitude about the return of Jesus, are your yearning or yawning? Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our blessed hope and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. I am delighted to have with me two experts on Bible Prophecy. The first is my associate and co-host Nathan Jones. Nathan is our Web Minister and in that capacity he is on our website 8 hours a day interacting with people all over the world answering questions about Bible prophecy and defending the Christian faith. Welcome, Nathan.
Nathan Jones: Thank you.
Dr. Reagan: Good to have you with us.
Nathan Jones: It is always good to be here.
Dr. Reagan: Nathan and I have a very special guest with us on this program one of our favorite colleagues in the field of Bible prophecy he is Dennis Pollock. And as many of you know Dennis was my colleague here at Lamb and Lion Ministries for many years until he decided to step out in faith and form a ministry called Spirit of Grace. It is an evangelistic ministry that focuses on the continent of Africa. Dennis thanks for being with us for the third week in a row.
Dennis Pollock: Well it is my pleasure, and thanks for not getting fed up with me.
Dr. Reagan: You know folks, every time a new year begins my heart fills with hope that it will be the year of the Lord’s return. So what about this year? Could Jesus really return this year, or are there prophecies that must be fulfilled first? If Jesus were to return what would happen? Would time come to an end? Would the earth cease to exist? Would you be struck dead or given a new form of life? For the answers to these and other questions related to the Lord’s Return, stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Welcome back to our discussion of the return of Jesus. In particular we are talking about are you yearning or yawning about the Lord’s Return. Well Fellas when we talk about the possibility of the Lord’s Return this year what are we talking about? Are we referring to what most people call the Second Coming?
Dennis Pollock: Well Dave there is a difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming as we all believe. And I wanted to just share what the Second Coming is and contrast it with the Rapture.
Dr. Reagan: Okay.
Dennis Pollock: John describes the Second Coming this way; the coming of Christ where He comes to rule the earth. He says, “I saw heaven open, there was a white horse and on the horse was Him who was called faithful and true.”It says, “In righteousness He judges and makes war.”You get a very militant sound here. “His eyes were like a flame of fire. On His head were many crowns, he was clothed with a robe dipped in blood. The armies of Heaven are following after Him. And out of His mouth goes a sharp two edge sword that He is going to strike the nations and He is going to rule with a rod of iron.”
Dr. Reagan: So He returns as a conquering warrior.
Dennis Pollock: A conquering warrior, very militant, it is military language here. Now when you think about the coming of Christ for the Church which is what we call the Rapture. This is a love experience. This is a bridegroom coming for His bride. Now imagine this Dave you are at a wedding and suddenly you see the bridegroom standing there waiting for His bride. He is wearing a camouflage army uniform. He has a rifle in his hand, hand grenades on his belt. He has a knife between his teeth and he is growling like he is ready to bust someone’s head.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah and I am ready to get under the table.
Dennis Pollock: You would say, “Hey guy go home and put on your tux. You know you are not dressed appropriately for a wedding.”And John’s language here in Revelation is not really appropriate language for a bridegroom coming for His bride. So when we talk about the Rapture we are talking about Jesus promised I am going to come and get you. He said, “I will come and I will receive you where I am you maybe also,”the Rapture of the Church.
Dr. Reagan: So when we talk about the possibility of the Lord returning this year we are not talking about the Second Coming?
Dennis Pollock: No there are a number of prophecies that would need to be fulfilled for the Second Coming, and that is what tricks a lot of people. They say, “Well we know Christ couldn’t come now because not all the earth has heard the Gospel, and there isn’t a temple built. The Antichrist hasn’t shown up yet, there are just so many things.”But that’s the Second Coming. Yeah, the Second Coming couldn’t occur this year, there is too much prophecy yet to be unfulfilled. The Rapture could occur today and that has always been the case because it is an imminent event something that we should always look for.
Dr. Reagan: What about it, Nathan do you agree?
Nathan Jones: Oh, definitely, the Second Coming and the Rapture are two different things, two different audiences. You can look at the verses for the Rapture which is clearly John 14 you can find it in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15. When you read those verses and it tells a different story than the Second Coming verses which is Matthew 24, and Luke 21, and Revelation 19, they are two totally different stories. I mean after all you can see that when Jesus comes back for His Church, the Church is brought up into Him, the clouds where He is in the clouds. But when He returns He brings those armies, those people that He raptured back with Him. So it is two different things. When Jesus calls us at the Rapture He brings us up to Him. When He returns He actually lands on earth, He lands on the Mount of Olives and it splits in two; so again two different things. He is coming for His Church that are saved. When He comes back He is coming to bring retribution against those who are unsaved; He is coming to judge.
Dr. Reagan: So what the two of you are saying is if we talk about the return of Jesus this year when I talked about how I yearn for the coming of the Lord. We have to be talking about the Rapture because for example as you said there are too many prophecies that have to be fulfilled before the Second Coming.
Dennis Pollock: Right.
Dr. Reagan: And yet the Bible tells us that the return of Jesus if imminent.
Nathan Jones: Exactly.
Dr. Reagan: What does that mean?
Nathan Jones: It means it can happen at any time. Nothing has to happen before it. There are no signs, there are no prophecies.
Dr. Reagan: So would you say to go as far as then as to say that there is not one prophecy that has to be fulfilled for the Lord to come in the Rapture?
Nathan Jones: Exactly, now some people will bring up Matthew, they will go to Matthew 24:14 that says the Gospel has to be preached to the whole world and then the end will come. Well that is a Second Coming prophecy that is not a Rapture prophecy. During the Tribulation the Lord provides all sorts of people to share the Gospel. He’s got an angel that travels all over the earth. He’s got the two witnesses in Jerusalem and 144,000 Jewish evangelists. He’s got all the materials that we have left behind. I mean there is definitely a great Gospel moving in the Tribulation. But that happens then, right now we don’t need, the Church does not need to be in the Tribulation to share the Gospel.
Dennis Pollock: Speaking of imminence I want to go back to the Old Testament institution of the Passover. God said something very interesting to the Israelites through Moses when they had that first Passover. He told them how they were to eat the meal; they couldn’t just eat it anyway. He said you are going to eat the meal with your belt around your waist. He said you are going to eat the meal with your staff in your hand and your sandals on your feet. And He said you are going to eat it in a hurry, he said I want you to eat it in haste. Well what does all that speak about? It speaks about the fact that they were to be ready to leave at anytime. You know when you come home you would take your belt off. You would take your sandals off your feet; you wouldn’t wear them in the house. And you certainly wouldn’t eat a meal with a staff in your hand. But God says to Israel, I want you to be doing all of this knowing that your time here is so short you could be leaving at anytime. Now I want us to contrast that with what Jesus says concerning His own coming. He says, “Let your waist be girded, and your lamps burning. And you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, that when he’ll return from the wedding,”and again we have the idea of a wedding, “He will come and knock and you will open to Him immediately.”So Jesus is telling us be in a state of readiness for me to come at anytime. That’s the idea of imminence. The idea that you should always be ready, you don’t know when. And He said that clearly, watch be ready the Son of Man is coming when you don’t expect. He said be ready you don’t know the day or the hour. The idea is you should live in such a way that if I came this second or next day, or whenever you will be ready. That’s the idea of imminence, that’s why we have to allow for Christ to come at anytime. If you wake up in the morning and say my theology says Jesus couldn’t possibly come today because of this prophecy not being fulfilled and this one, and certainly we have to win more souls and we have this and that. So I know one thing, you know I don’t know all that today will bring but I know one thing Jesus couldn’t possibly come today, you are breaking the express command of the Lord Jesus who said, “Watch I am coming at anytime, it’s a imminent event.”
Dr. Reagan: Okay so in summary what the two of you are saying than is that the Return of the Lord is going to be in two stages. First the Rapture of the Church where He appears in the heavens and we go out, He doesn’t even come to earth. And then secondly when we return to with Him to the earth in what is called the Second Coming. So when we talk about the possibility of Jesus returning this year we are talking about the possibility of the Rapture of the Church which could occur at any moment it is imminent. And let’s hope it happens this year, I am ready. I am ready to get out of here. Before we continue with our discussion of the Lord’s return let’s pause for a great song about the Rapture. The song is called, “Midnight Cry”and here to sing it is Jack Hollingsworth of Acts 29 Ministries.
Dr. Reagan: Wow! What a great song about the Lord’s return and what a delivery by Jack Hollingsworth. There is nothing quite like an anointed singer who sings about something he believes in with all his heart. Now before we return to our discussion of the Lord’s soon return. I would like to give our guest Dennis Pollock an opportunity to tell you how you can get in touch with him and with his ministry. Dennis.
Dennis Pollock: Well all of our information is on our website if you go to spiritofgrace.org you can get our phone number; you can get an e-mail address to send e-mails. You can get our physical address and there are a lot of good stuff there as well, articles and so forth. You can send an e-mail directly to me by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you have a criticism send it to email@example.com.
Dr. Reagan: I would prefer that you send it really to Nathan at–
Nathan Jones: At Dennispollock@spiritofgrace.org.
Dr. Reagan: Well folks I hope you will contact Dennis, I urge you to do so and to get on his mailing list and invite him to come to your church to conduct a meeting or a conference. Okay gentlemen let’s return to our discussion here about the Rapture. And let me begin by saying that quite often people who don’t believe in the Rapture will say to me, “Well the word Rapture is not even in the Bible. It is an unbiblical concept.”How about that Dennis?
Dennis Pollock: Well the word is not going to be in most English Bibles, but the concept clearly is. It comes from the words where Paul says that we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the dead who have been raised to meet Christ in the air.
Dr. Reagan: In 1 Thessalonians 4.
Dennis Pollock: First Thessalonians 4, and the words caught up come from a Greek word harpazo and the word harpazo means to grab something to take something forcefully almost violently. And I just want to illustrate with Nathan. Nathan, I want to ask you to hand me your Bible.
Nathan Jones: Okay.
Dennis Pollock: Would you do that? I promise to give it back?
Nathan Jones: Alright, my wife gave that to me so I need it back, ok.
Dennis Pollock: Now alright. Now that Bible hasn’t been raptured because number one you can see it. But number two he handed it to me. Rapture is not somebody handing anybody anything. And secondly it was way to gentle. Did you see how gentle he handed it to me? Now hold the Bible again and I will show you a raptured Bible. Now that Bible was raptured, and the reason is that it was violently grabbed. And the word snatched is probably the best English word for Rapture. In fact that same word harpazo, caught up is used by Jesus when He said, “I give my sheep eternal life, they will never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. “Rapture them, forcefully grab. He said that is not going to happen, I’ve got my sheep in my hand and they will not be snatched, same exact word in the Greek.
Dr. Reagan: Actually the word Rapture really is in the Bible isn’t it, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: Yeah harpazo being Greek was translated into Latin rapio, and then we got Rapture. So if you read the Latin Bible which we had for 1100 years people knew Rapture was right there. Just in our English version we just don’t have the word Rapture, we have something easier “caught up.”But is it easier to say the great snatching up or the great caught up, just to say Rapture.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah and if you don’t like to say I am looking forward to the Rapture you can just say I am so thrilled about the great 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. That might be a little long.
Dr. Reagan: I think I will stick with Rapture.
Nathan Jones: Yeah.
Dennis Pollock: I think so.
Dr. Reagan: You know I grew up in a church that never taught Bible prophecy so if you had asked me at the age of 35 what the Rapture was I would have said it is a sensation you feel when your girlfriend kisses you because that is all I knew about the Rapture. Well fellas let me ask you this question; the Bible really makes it very clear I think that the Rapture is an event separate and apart from the Second Coming. Because as you said one is a Bridegroom coming for His Bride in love, and the other is a warrior returning to pour out the wrath of God, those are two separate events. Now the big question that comes up at this point is when does that Rapture going to occur? Is it going to be before the Tribulation; at the beginning, in the middle, near the end? When does it occur?
Nathan Jones: Well I think there are plenty of Bible verses that talk about how the Church is saved from the wrath of God, I think of Revelation 3:10 for instance. That the Church those who God has put in the Church who He has called out, who He loves, who will be His Bride, will not be there for seven years to get beat up and bruised. I mean would my wife have married me if I spent seven years beating her up to the point she was a bloody mess through all judgments and tribulation and then say, “Ok honey, let’s get married.”
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Nathan Jones: No, that’s insane.
Dr. Reagan: Well listen that’s a good point because there are people who have actually argued with me over that and said the Church needs to go through the Tribulation because it needs to be purified.
Nathan Jones: Purified.
Dr. Reagan: You are going to beat your bride up for seven years before you come and get her? And furthermore isn’t the blood of Jesus sufficient to purify us from all sins?
Nathan Jones: Amen.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: When you take that position you’re turning the Tribulation into a Protestant purgatory.
Nathan Jones: That’s like the Partial Rapture theory too, this idea that it doesn’t matter when the Rapture happens, but only certain people will be raptured.
Dr. Reagan: The most spiritual.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, and it’s a form of Christian snobbery. I mean obviously the people who claim think they are in the group that is going to be raptured, you know. And that is not the case. Christ comes for His Bride the Church and that’s everybody. And we all live at a different point in our life in the process of sanctification so some struggle with sin more than others. But we are all saved, we are all covered by Christ and we will all be raptured.
Dr. Reagan: So you would place the Rapture before the Tribulation begins?
Nathan Jones: Yes, I think there are so many verses in there that talk about it.
Dr. Reagan: How about you?
Dennis Pollock: Yeah. To me I would agree with what Nathan said and add one more thing and that is again going back to the point of imminence. If you say the Rapture has to come at the end of the Tribulation then you know for certain Christ couldn’t come today because we are obviously not in the Tribulation.
Dr. Reagan: Good point.
Dennis Pollock: You would be looking for the Antichrist. You would be looking for at least about half the world’s population to be killed which you probably wouldn’t survive anyway. But you would have all these things that would have to happen. So if you say the Rapture comes at the end, Christ couldn’t come today. If you say Christ couldn’t come today you have just negated the whole heart of everything Jesus had to say about watching for His return.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right, that’s right. There is just no doubt about that. What point were you going to make?
Nathan Jones: I was wanting to read Revelation 3:10 I mean this is about as secure as you can get, “Since you have kept my commands to endure patiently. I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” I mean that is a clear indication in that verse and many others that says the Church is not meant to suffer under the wrath of God.
Dr. Reagan: And another one is in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 where we are told that we are to wait for His Son from Heaven whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who will deliver you from the wrath that is to come. We have a promise there that we are going to be delivered. Let me ask you this question have either one of you ever given thought to what kind of explanations will be given by the world for the Rapture? When all these people disappear I mean the world surely is going to have some explanations of this that are going to be able to deceive people.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, I’m not sure but I have a feeling they will at least be smart enough to figure out it was those religious fanatics that have all disappeared; the ones who talked about Jesus and carried their Bibles around, and went to Bible studies. You know I always thought something no good was going to come to them. You know that faith has just somehow gotten to the point where who knows where they are.
Nathan Jones: You know the New Agers, the New Agers are actually rejoicing, they are expecting the Rapture as much as we are, but they think that Christians are holding back human evolution.
Dr. Reagan: That’s right.
Nathan Jones: And once we are gone they think that is a good thing and that will happen. And maybe they will explain away UFO’s or global warming.
Dr. Reagan: Matter of fact in the early 70’s books were written by the New Age Movement that said that masters of the universe which are their channeled spirits have revealed to them that a time is coming when they are going to remove from the world all those who live by faith so that those who live by reason can continue in their evolutionary development. So I am sure they will rush the microphones and say, “See we told you back in 1970.”
Dr. Reagan: Fellas let’s talk for just a moment about the attitude that seems to dominate the Church today regarding the Lord’s Return, namely apathy. Why is there so much apathy about the Lord’s Return when the signs of the times are literally screaming from the heavens that Jesus is about to return? Why so much apathy?
Dennis Pollock: That’s a good question. You know the Bible says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So if you don’t have faith, you say, “I wish I had some faith.”You’ve got to do more than just say, “I wish I had some faith,”you’ve got to get into the Word and faith will grow, faith will come. Now in a corresponding light attraction to anything will come by exposure. The more you are exposed to something the more you become attracted. You know we’ve all had songs we first heard and we didn’t think too much of them. But we kept on hearing them and the more we heard them the more we liked them, they became our favorite songs because we’d been exposed to them. When I was 19 I decided I was going to become, I was going to enter the world of adults and become a coffee drinker. You know it just seemed cool to drink coffee. I hated the taste of coffee. I remember being at a friend’s house and his Dad asked me if I wanted coffee and you know, “Yeah, I would like some coffee.”You know I’m a big adult guy now. And so he gave me this coffee and my entire goal for that coffee cup was to drink it without grimacing and making this terrible face. But the more I became exposed to it the more I like it. And guess what now I can drink a cup of coffee and smile and enjoy it. It goes great with a lot of things that I have. So as you are exposed you become attracted to something, if it has any attractiveness at all. Now that is the truth with the Return of Christ. If you never think about it, if it is never preached, if you never read about it, if you never watch TV programs that are dedicated to that concept, well of course you have no revelation or excitement about the return of Christ. You never will, you know it is not enough just to say, “Well I just don’t think much about it. You know I just never have felt much excitement. I guess if the Lord really wants to He will just explode it in my heart.”No get into the Word, get a red pen start marking the Scriptures that deal with the return of Christ. Watch programs like Christ in Prophecy. Get good Bible books about, or Christian books about the return of Christ. And faith will come and excitement and attraction will come as well. So that is probably the primary way to get over the apathy is just start exposing yourself to this incredible doctrine that saturates the Scriptures.
Dr. Reagan: Nathan, why so much apathy?
Nathan Jones: I think there are two reasons and two groups of people. The first group of people are like a friend of mine a few years back who said she was really excited about Bible prophecy when Hal Lindsey came out with, Late Great Planet Earth. Thirty some, forty years later the Lord hasn’t come. Just the excitement, where did it go? Paul I mean we were talking about the Rapture 2,000 years ago and it hasn’t happened. In God’s perspective it’s a short time. But for us it is an eternity and so we just give up after a while. The second group I think is in 2 Peter 3 you can find it says, “First of all you must understand 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 since the beginning of creation.”But it also gives us this; it says “the Lord is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come into repentance.”He is waiting so you and me and all these people can be part of the Bride of Christ, the Church and be saved. And if the Lord came 100 years ago I wouldn’t even exist. So praise the Lord He is patient and waiting.
Dr. Reagan: Well speaking of waiting, what should we do as we wait for the return of the Lord, as we wait for the Rapture, what should we be doing?
Nathan Jones: One of the great things about people who love the Rapture, who understand the Rapture as Dennis was talking about and really got into it; is that their excited, their an excited group of people because it gives them purpose. They understand that they need to be holy; they need to be dedicated to the Lord. You know when I come into the house sometimes and my kids are watching something they shouldn’t; like they spending an extra half hour beyond their time. You know they get that look that kids give you; you know that kind of guilty look. You know God could come at any moment so what is going to find us doing? Knowing that the Lord would come back anytime gives us a sense of holiness.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah. And if you are an unbeliever obviously there is only one thing for you to do and that is be born again, receive Christ as your Savior so that you will be prepared. Because when Christ comes, He is coming for people that are exclusively His. People who–and in God’s eyes there are only two kinds of people in this world; either those who belong to Christ, or those who don’t. And you know we were talking about the partial Rapture which says that if you reach a certain level. But Christ is coming for His people. You know if you are a parent and you have children, those children are your children they are different from every other child on the face of the earth. Those happen to be yours; your blood is in them. And Christ looks on a certain people all across this world, black, white, oriental, Hispanic, that are His people because the Holy Spirit lives in them. And if you are not one of His you need to run to the cross of Jesus and believe on Him and be born again, that is your ultimate preparation. As a Christian what we do is we abide Him. John says, “So that when He appears we won’t be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
Dr. Reagan: Well folks that is our program for this week I hope it has been a blessing to you. I want to thank Dennis and Nathan for all the help that they have given in this discussion. And folks I want to invite you to be back with us again next week the Lord willing. Until then this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb and Lion Ministries’ saying, “Look up, be watchful for our redemption is drawing near.”
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