Monday, December 5, 2016

jesus-return-02In the first century the Jews were under Roman dominion.  In addition to their biblical tithes and offerings, Rome wanted it’s “fair share.”  Roman soldiers reminded them daily that their country was no longer David’s.  Jews had been looking for the “messiah” through signs and expectations.  After all, the Roman Empire had to be the last piece of Daniel’s puzzle (Daniel 9:25-27).

It’s terrible when you expect something, eagerly look for it, and can’t see it when it happens!

The inn keeper didn’t see it (Luke 2:7).
Herod didn’t understand it (Matthew 2:1-8).
Jesus’ hometown people and family were blind to it (Mark 3:21 compare KJV to NKJV and NIV).
Some mistook him for someone else (Matthew 16:14).
The religious teachers hoped he was from Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24).
As far as the high priest and supporters were concerned, Jesus was just one of many false messiahs (Matthew 24:5).
Pilate wrote the truth on Jesus’ sign, but it was written to mock, not to express faith (Matthew 27:37; John 19:21).
Some today are still looking for his “first” coming.
Others are looking for what is referred to as the “Second” one.
Some see that coming as a necessitated event because they believe Jesus’ failed to fulfill prophecy in setting up his kingdom during his first coming.
Others see it as the final judgment and destruction of the world.

Date setting on that return began in 500 A.D.*  Goggle listed 34 major failed dates given between the years 500 to 2012.  Some have been very specific with the rest supplying only the year.

The following have been involved in this fallacy:

•    John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, gave 1836 as the time of his return.
•    William Miller, a Baptist minister said October 22, 1844 would be it.   When Jesus did not appear, it was called “the Great Disappointment,” with some followers establishing the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
•    Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church gave 1891 as the magic date.
•    Charles T. Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses gave multiple failures as the time of Jesus’ return: October 22, 1844, August 7, 1847, 1861, 1863, 1874, 1891, 1901, and 1914.  His death stopped it from being more.
•    Judge J.F. Rutherford, second head of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, continued in Russell’s shoes giving 1925 as the date.  He wrote a pamphlet titled, “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” and distributed it throughout the United States.  When it didn’t happen, Witnesses went out to retrieve them.  The last known date given by this organization was 1975.
•    Reverend Moon, founder of the Moonies gave 1915, 1917, & 1930.
•    Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God gave 1935, 1943, 1972, and 1975 as dates for the return.  Later leaders apologized for this.
•    Jerry Falwell, a Baptist preacher gave June 21, 1982, 1988, September 6, 1994, 1999, and 2009 as specific times for the Lord’s return.
•    Hal Lindsey, a Baptist preacher, wrote a poplar book, The Late Great Planet Earth, which was first published on May 13, 1970.  He hesitated to set dates, but started with 1948 when Jews returned to Palestine.  He added a “biblical” generation of 40 years, arriving at 1988. Then 7 more “biblical” years for the Tribulation was added resulting in 1995 as the “suggested” date of the “Second Coming.”
•    Jean Dixon graced us with the year 2012 as the true time of His return!

According to Google, others have given the following years for that return: 2021, 2025, and 2057.

One reason for these settings was the date 4004 B.C. found in older copies of the King James Bible as the date of the creation.  Since the apostle Peter said a thousand years was like one day to God, and the world was created 4,000 years before Jesus’ birth, those years were seen as 4 “God” days.  Two more of these days brought us to the year 2000.  That would make 6 days.  Jesus came to establish his kingdom, but was rejected and crucified, so some believe God had to postponed the kingdom.  This postponement was supposed to happen around the year 2000 with Jesus reigning through the 7th day or from the years 2000 to 3000.  An exceptions to this math was what folks referred to as “signs of the time.”  WWI was considered to be one of those signs.   Others thought WWII figured into the equation.  1948 also became a pivotal date with the Jewish State being established in Palestine.   Hal Lindsey thought 1948 started the prophetic clock that had been stopped when the Jews rejected Jesus as king in the first century.

Those who believe Jesus set up his kingdom in the first century are not looking for it today since they believe Jesus was successful in establishing it on Pentecost in Acts 2 as a spiritual one (John 18:36).  But, some believe we are very close to the end of time and the final judgment.

Setting dates is not only disappointing, but demonstrates a glaring foolishness. It exposes an accepted true prophet as a bonafide false one (Deuteronomy 18:22).  In some cases, the failure has created new religious organizations rather than dissolving one built upon false information.  It has also turned the disappointed to unbelief.  Jesus and inspired writers warned against such (Matthew 16:6, 11-12; 24:4-5, 11; Acts 20:29-31; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 1:9).

So, aren’t we date setting if we believe he will appear in our generation?  The real question is not, is Jesus coming, but are you among those which God has added to the saved (Acts 2:41, 47 ASV).

*These dates were supplied by Google Search.