ORIGINALLY POSTED 06 JULY, 2008
It seems like every year our family has been a part of the Messianic community, we have witnessed that we are confronted with yet another teaching or prognostication about why we are nearing the End of the Age, or why we must be the last generation. Now, being a political science undergraduate, I am the last person who is going to say that we should not be paying attention to the goings on of today’s world. We should! Unfortunately, though, a great deal of fear is present throughout the Messianic movement as it pertains to the future—fear that the enemy has been able to capitalize upon again and again. Too many of us forget the meaning of Paul’s words to Timothy: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV). How we learn how to truly use God’s power and the mind that He has given for the benefit of His people (Ephesians 1:17-19) is a great challenge for us.
Much of today’s Messianic movement has been bombarded over the past thirteen years with various calculations regarding the end-times. There are many people who believe that they know the date of Yeshua’s return. They have picked Date X. They believe they have “astronomically and agriculturally correct” Biblical calendars. They believe they know the exact time of the Second Coming. They believe their data and method of sorting through their facts is correct.
Some of you are not going to like this, but do you know what most of these people have done? They have wasted your time, my time, and the Messianic movement’s time. While some have gone out on their sideshow roadshow clown acts, they have failed to tell you that there is not a single Scripture verse in the Bible which tells God’s people to look for Date X. The Scriptures instead admonish us to look for political, social, and spiritual signs which indicate that the return of the Messiah is nearing. That is significantly more complicated.
For almost two millennia, multiplied millions of Believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) have eagerly anticipated His return. Many theories, doctrines, and creeds have been produced concerning the Second Coming, as well as an entire score of books. In today’s world, many Christians think that the Messiah can return at any moment in an event called the “pre-tribulation rapture.” Even among those who do not believe in this imminent rapture, are those who still think that the final days of humanity are upon us. Are they? Is absolutely everything in place for the Messiah to return quite soon? Or, are there some things that might be overlooked, regarding the Messiah’s return?
Before Yeshua was taken up into Heaven, the Apostles asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The Apostles were eagerly awaiting the Messiah to restore Israel, but much work still had to be accomplished, as Yeshua commissioned them to go out into the greater world, and make disciples among all nations. In our era, much more has notably happened, most especially with the salvation of many Jewish people coming to Yeshua, but also with many non-Jewish Believers entering into the Messianic movement, embracing God’s Torah and their Hebraic Roots in a very tangible way. Something unique has undeniably started.
A major challenge is that far too many non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua do not understand who the Lord is actually returning for. They will often consider themselves part of a separate “Church,” with really no connection to Israel. Because of this, it is concluded that the Messiah can imminently come for “the Church,” to leave Israel behind to face the Tribulation period and the antichrist. Is this a valid teaching? Are Israel and “the Church” separate entities? If they are not, how would this change our perception of various aspects of the end-times?
When Will the Messiah Return? is a unique book addressing the end-times from a Messianic perspective. The Messiah stated plainly that He would gather the saints “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29). Discussed are common false understandings as they relate to “the Church” being taken to Heaven for the duration of the Tribulation period, and instead how all Believers in Messiah Yeshua get to participate in restoration of Israel’s Kingdom via His return. Some overlooked elements regarding what has been prophesied in Scripture, may hold some of the insight for today’s Believers evaluating why the Messiah has yet to return to Planet Earth.