From the Main Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
A Significant Passage of Scripture (II Peter 3:3&4):
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming, for since the father's fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation".
"Second Coming Fever"
From the years following the Second World War, until about the mid 70's, many Churches in the Western World were infected by a condition called "Second Coming Fever". That is to say, many Christians were sure that the Second Coming of Christ was going to happen at any moment and were very interested in the subject. Although this idea was proven wrong by history, there were good reasons for it.
One was the threat of atomic war. Many Christians saw in the concept of nuclear war the fulfillment of some Bible prophecies concerning the Final Judgment. The most prominent example is II Peter 3:10: "But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat" It may have been a mistake to interpret this passage as a prophecy of a nuclear holocaust, but it was not at all unreasonable.
A second reason for expecting the Second Coming in the latter part of the Twentieth Century was the time that has passed since the First Coming of Christ. It has now been nearly 2000 years since Christianity began, and this may have Biblical meaning. By Biblical chronology, it was about 2000 years from Adam to Abraham, and about another 2000 years from Abraham to Christ. Therefore, it logically follows that we should expect some kind of large scale divine intervention in our time.
A third reason was the restoration of Israel as a state. There are several Old Testament Bible prophecies that foretell this event, and that appear to link it to the Second Coming. This is particularly true of Isaiah 11:10 & 11: "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner for the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him....it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand the second time (emphasis mine: author) to recover the remnant of His people...". Orthodox Jews have noticed this, too, and link it with the long-awaited coming of their erroneously-conceived-of Messiah. Again, there is no problem at all with connecting the restoration of Israel with the imminent appearing of our Savior.
For all the good reasons to expect Jesus to really come soon, there was a big decline in "Second Coming Fever" in the 1990's. The result is that the goal of most Christian preaching and teaching is not about being ready (Matthew 24:44), pleasing God (I John 3:22) or setting our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-4), but rather about having a better quality of life in the here and now. Eternal goals seldom receive more than lip service in modern churches. Christians want revival, but only so that life will be better. This was demonstrated in the titles of two books this writer saw on sale in a Christian bookstore: One was entitled The Business Womans Topical Bible. The other was a tantalizing little offering called Secrets of Winning at Work: 20 Inspirational Keys for Success in Your Career. Clearly, the people who created these books didnt have the Second Coming on their minds. These books cater to Christians who are really "walking after their own lusts" (that is, their selfish desires). The big trend is away from believing in the imminence of the Second Coming.
Update, 4/2013: All the natural disasters, all the terrorism, and all the problems in the Middle East that have happened in the last fourteen years have provoked some revival of interest in the Second Coming, but it is still a minority topic among Christians. Worse yet, these things have also produced a proliferation of false predictions of the date of the Second Coming. One of them was the Y2K Bug hysteria of the late 1990's and more recently the failure of Harold Camping's false predictions in 2011. These were just the best known. Another one that was in circulation predicted the beginning of the Great Tribulation in 2012. Time has proven that wrong, too. These kind of false teachings discourage real expectation of the Second Coming.
Of course, there is still a small percentage of Christians who really do expect it (you, the reader, may be one of them), but this is still not the major trend. There may be several reasons for this. First, Christians may just be tired of all the hype about the Second Coming. Second, people are not as afraid of nuclear war as they used to be, especially since the end of the Cold War. But one of the biggest reasons for the decline is, again, all the times in recent years that individuals have tried to pinpoint the date of the Second Coming and have been proven wrong by history. These incidents have tended to assign serious belief in the Second Coming to what is generally perceived as the lunatic fringe of Christianity.
Special Note (February, 1999): Since the article that this page is based on was originally written (1995) this writer has observed that there has been a sudden resurgence in "Second Coming Fever". The primary reason for this is the approach of the year 2000. A secondary reason is the hysteria about the Y2K computer problem. A third is the proliferation of prophecies of an impending global economic collapse, especially in the U.S., which prophecies have been linked to both the approaching year 2000 and the computer problem.
This writer regrets to inform any and all misled readers that the year 2000 on our calendars has nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian Faith. There is a consensus of opinion among Bible scholars that Jesus was really born in either 7 or 4 B.C. We have already crossed the 2000 year point since His birth, and nothing has happened.
As far as the Y2K computer problem, although it seems certain that there will be problems and some people will suffer, it is unlikely that it will cause the collapse of the global economy and civilization. And although people have been "prophesying" the economic collapse for some time now, from the standpoint of the world of high finance (where this writer works), it does not look likely to happen any time soon.
It is this writer's opinion that the year 2000 will probably come and go with no Second Coming and nothing else that constitutes, say, the beginning of the Great Tribulation. It is the Word of the Lord that when that happens, things will seem to be normal and okay (Luke 17:26-30 & I Thessalonians 5:3), and everyone will be taken by surprise.
If the year 2000 does come and go with nothing happening, then in about a year or two after the turn of the century, the present upsurge in "Second Coming Fever" will disappear quickly. Christians who have been anticipating the Second Coming so eagerly will go back to the good ol' apostasy - or worse. And when the Second Coming really happens, it will take them by surprise.
Special Update: As of 2/2/2000, the first part of this prediction has been proven correct by history. The Y2K Bug has failed to cause any significant problems, anywhere.
New Update: 6/1/2000; Yesterday I received a letter from a brother in Christ who has been running a significant Prophecy site of his own. Discussing the problems he has been having, he says this:
It is rather clear that interest in "watching" for the signs of Christ's return has greatly waned through much of the church, and even in our group, especially since many believed Y2K let them down by not bringing in the Antichrist, or something to that effect.
I cannot deny that I have also been waning in my interest in "watching" for Christ's return, partly because of "big events" of biblical proportions not taking shape as yet, but also because I have been experiencing my best ever career (and money) success. I can now very easily see why many people in this world do not want to even think that "the end" is near, since it would interfere with their own plans and dreams.
This brother, with this statement, confirms what I said above, and shows that history is proving me right yet again. I do not say this to brag, but to affirm that what is said in this site deserves to be taken seriously.
We Can't Know The Date
Anyone who has any Biblical knowledge of the subject of Second Coming Prophecy should know that Jesus made it perfectly clear that we can't pinpoint the time. The key Scripture for this is Matthew 24:36 (and also Mark 13:32): "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only". Anyone who claims to know the exact date and time of day of Jesus' Coming is taking an unscriptural position, no matter how much "Biblical evidence" or "insight" he may claim. Anyone who claims, as some have in recent years, to have been actually told by the Holy Spirit when Christ will come, is in an offhand way confessing to having given heed to seducing spirits (I Timothy 4:1). We can't know the exact date of His Coming!
But there is a Scriptural counterpoint to this: The Bible also tells us that those who are truly ready will not be surprised when Second Coming occurs, or, more specifically, when the Tribulation begins. One of the best known Scriptures for this is the Parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24:31 & 32: "Now learn the parable of the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and put forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, know that it is near - at the door!"
Special Note: contrary to popular belief, the fig tree does not represent Israel. Luke's rendition of this Parable - Luke 21:29-31 - contains the words "fig tree, and all the trees". 'The fig tree' means 'the fig tree', not Israel. Jesus used seeing the fig tree coming into leaf and realizing that summer is near as an analogy to discerning the "signs of the time" - see Matthew 16:2-3 & Luke 12:54-56.
Yet another passage on which we can base our certainty of being aware of the imminence of the Second Coming is I Thessalonians 5:4 (part of a passage that follows the famous "Rapture" passage in I Thessalonians 4:13-18):"But you, brethren, are not in darkness that this Day should overtake you like a thief". When the Tribulation is about to begin, those who are ready will know it.
Special Note: There is solid Scriptural reason to believe that when Jesus spoke of His Coming, He included in the meaning of that term all the events connected with it, i.e. the entire Great Tribulation. There is further reason to believe that the prophetic expression, "The Day of the Lord", refers to the beginning of the Great Tribulation rather than to Christ's actual Appearing. For example, see II Peter 3:10, where the expression "a thief in the night" refers to sudden destruction , not the Lord's appearing. See also I Thessalonians 5:2-4. The beginning of the Tribulation is the big surprise we must be prepared for.
Further Scriptural Support
There is further support for believing that we will know when the Second Coming is near in the Old Testament. In Amos 3:7, we read, "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets". Incidentally, by the context, this refers to outpourings of God's wrath, like the Tribulation. We find an example of this in Genesis 18 where God told Abraham what He was about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. God always tells the prophets what He is going to do, and, if circumstances call for and permit it, they share what they have been shown with the rest of God's people.
This is what this Web site is about.
In the Old Testament period, the Holy Spirit was only given to a select few who were chosen by God for special purposes. This included all the Prophets. Now, in our times, the Holy Spirit is given to all who truly repent (accept Christ) and are baptized (Acts 2:38). According to Revelation 19:10, anyone who truly testifies to faith in Christ is a prophet; "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". Therefore, it follows that everyone who truly testifies to faith in Christ and is really filled with the Holy Spirit will know when the Great Tribulation is about to begin.
A Second Look at the Time Factor
In the light of this, let us reconsider the Christians who were expecting the Second Coming to happen soon, but have now lost interest in the subject. Could it be that they were right in the long run? Did they, in effect, give up too soon? In the reasons for expecting Jesus to come soon given above, at least two of the three, Israel and the time factor, are basically valid. There has been, however, a significant error made relevant to the time factor. In the 1940's, when people started using that as the basis for their expectations, it wasn't 2000 years yet. And there is a question as to what we measure the 2000 years from. There are several possible marker events:
- The Birth of Christ: If that is the right one, we crossed that threshold in the late 1990's. Nothing has happened. But the first thirty years of Jesus' life are meaningless to Christianity, so perhaps we should look at the following:
- The Beginning of His Earthly Ministry: If this is right, we should expect the Second Coming circa 2020-26 AD.
- His Death and Resurrection (or Pentecost - the beginning of the Church - the year is the same): If this is the right one, we should look for the Second Coming circa 2029-33 AD.
- The beginning of the missionary journeys of St. Paul. That puts it all the way up to circa 2040 AD.
- At the most extreme, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. If that turns out to be the right one, most of the people who read this will die of old age before Christ returns.
Or, it could be none of the above. We don't know, and no one should claim that he does.
It could very well be sooner than any of the three latter time frames above. See the "BABEL RISING!" pages. See also "When Will Jesus Come Again?"
More Reasons To Expect Jesus To Come Soon
There are even more Biblical reasons to expect Jesus to come soon. One is Daniel 12:4; "...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase". If this is to be taken as a sign of the time of the End, as the context indicates, it has certainly been fulfilled in our time. When my own father was born (1902) no one had flown in an airplane. By the time he died (1974) men had walked on the moon.
It has been said that the sum of human knowledge is doubling every ten years. If that is true, the sum of our collective knowledge is now only 1/16 of what it will be in 50 years. Or to look the other way, we know 32 times as much, collectively, as we did in 1950. In this writer's lifetime, space travel has gone from science fiction to commonplace. In terms of passenger miles, there is more traveling done every day now than was done in a year just a century ago. And much of this traveling has to do with increasing knowledge. Many - enormous numbers of people - have been running to and fro. Knowledge has been increasing, dramatically. This means that the Second Coming has to be close.
Another reason to expect Jesus to come soon is found in His words in Matthew 24:12; "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold". This is supported by the words of St. Paul in II Thessalonians 2:3; "Let no one deceive you by any means, for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first..." There is no question but that lawlessness abounds today, and the moral decline that has been infecting the entire world in the last few decades may very well be the "falling away" that Paul mentioned (II Thessalonians 2:3). There is wide-open sin tolerated in the United States today for which people would have been put in jail when this writer was in school. Crimes unheard of then - like children committing murder - are now commonplace. 'Gay' marriage, once unthinkable, is now considered a 'right'. And this is not limited to the United States. In one form or other, it is world-wide.
Yet another reason for expecting the Second Coming in the near future is based on an obscure statement in James 5:3; "You have heaped up treasure in the time of the end". This passage occurs as part of a diatribe James makes there against the sins of the rich. But notice again those words..."in the time of the end". It appears that this may be one of those passages in the Bible wherein a few words have prophetic meaning that is not obvious from the context. If it is, this statement may be understood as another prophecy of the Second Coming. And if so, it is also being fulfilled before our eyes. There has never been a time in which so much wealth has been in the hands of so many people. The average person may not see this, but look at it this way: this writer once worked in an environment (international high finance) where deals in the hundreds of millions of dollars are commonplace, and deals in the billions are not unusual. More than that, people outside the world of big business may not realize it, but success in big business is not considered to be acquiring wealth. Success is creating wealth. And many, many people are succeeding at creating wealth! The result is that wealth is being heaped up, heaped higher and higher, and that to a degree unknown in the whole previous history of the world. More than that, the accumulation of wealth does not appear to be likely to stop anytime soon. The present recession slowed it down but did not stop it. It appears likely to accelerate in the foreseeable future. Again, this is a sign that the Second Coming is close. (Update: the present recession has not changed this situation.)
In his second Epistle, chapter 3, verses 3 & 4, St. Peter gave us what may be understood as yet another sign that the Second Coming is near: "Knowing...that scoffers will come in the last days...saying, "Where is the promise of His Coming?" It appears that these scoffers have come, and unfortunately, many are in the Church. In fact, some words used in that passage (top of page), "fathers" and "creation", suggest that that is exactly what Peter meant! They tend to be subtle in their scoffing, expressing it by their goals in life. As previously stated, the goal of modern Christianity is not pleasing God and winning souls for Christ or being ready for the Second Coming, but rather is having a better quality of life in the here and now. Eternal goals are given lip service, but are not part of the mainstream of Christian thinking and ministry. Serious belief in the Second Coming of Christ has largely been assigned to what is perceived as the lunatic fringe of Christianity.
Unfortunately, even if everything else a Church does and teaches is perfectly Scriptural, it isn't teaching the whole counsel of God if it doesn't teach the imminence of the Second Coming of Christ. See II Peter 3:10-12. Christians should remember the warning that Jesus gave us in Luke 12:40: "Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect". Many Christians no longer expect it. Some Pastors never mention it. In fact, there is at least one line of doctrine that is gaining considerable acceptance that denies that there ever will be a future event that could be called the Second Coming of Christ in the sense that we expect. This lack of expectation is in itself very likely a sign that the Second Coming is almost upon us. In accordance with what Jesus said, the Second Coming, i.e. the beginning of the Tribulation, will happen at a time when most Christians don't expect it. The more that Christians don't expect it, the more likely it is to happen, given that the other prophecies are fulfilled.
Again, this decline in belief has been in part due to all the people in recent years who have tried to pinpoint the date and have been proven wrong by history. But this could be a satanic ploy to discredit anyone who really believes that Jesus will come soon and to discourage belief in the imminent Second Coming. The Bible suggests that the devil does have some idea of when the Second Coming will take place: "...the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time" (Revelation 12:12). If the devil believes that Jesus will come soon, the last thing he wants is for Christians to be conscious of it and to be seriously concerned about being ready. Such a consciousness could precipitate a major genuine revival. Far more Christians would be ready, and far more people would get saved. So he is playing a "boy who cried wolf" game with false predictions of the Second Coming so that Christian will ignore the real warnings. And by the way, these false predictions also discredit Christianity in the eyes of the unsaved world as did Camping's May 21 falsehood. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the unsaved don't see things like that. They do!
There is another entire line of argument for expecting the Second Coming to take place in the near future. That argument is presented in the "BABEL RISING!" section of this site. There are circumstances developing in this world that God is going to have to deal with if His plan of salvation for the human race is going to be fulfilled and if there is ever going to be a Second Coming of Christ that in any way resembles Christian expectations. But understand this: For any Bible-believing Christian, there is plenty of reason to believe that Jesus will come soon. Remember, again, His warning that; "the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect". So, in His own words, (Mark 13:37),
So we see that there is good reason to expect the Second Coming of Christ in the near future, but exactly what does this term mean? There are many erroneous ideas about this being bandied about these days. We will discuss exactly what the term means in the following page:
What Do You Mean,
"The Second Coming of Christ"?
Contact Author, William D. Brehm: email@example.com