For those of you wondering why Jesus has delayed His coming for over 2,000 years, Pastor Ray Hagins has some insightful clues:
These excerpts taken from his sermon, ‘There will be no rapture’ which can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FiLq5UWNIuA#
Pastor Hagins starts off by saying, The Bible says, “There will be no rapture, and Jesus is not coming back.” Our primary response would be, “Show me where it says that.” We shall get into that after we address 3 core questions.
Pastor Hagins then asks three key questions:
Is it possible that Jesus expected His Messianic Kingdom to be established on Earth within His generation?
Is it possible that Jesus thought that the end of the world was eminent because of a fulfillment of prophecy? Not 2,000 years later but right then in His time.
Is it possible that what Christians teach about what is yet to come has already happened? This is important because if it’s already happened; then what are we waiting for?
On careful examination of the words of Jesus in the Gospels, it seems to me, Jesus sincerely held the belief and taught that He was the long looked for Messiah and He was going to usher in the Kingdom of God within His own generation.
Luke 21:31-32 “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is nigh.” What things? The things previously mentioned and we’ll get into that. What does nigh mean? It means near or now not 2,000 years from now.
“I tell you the truth, [or, rest assured] this generation [what generation? He is talking about his generation; not the generation of 2012. Don’t look at it from the perspective of the reader but from the perspective of the speaker.] this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Those people listening would not die until what he said happened.
Matt 24:34-35 “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” In other words, you can take this to the bank.
Matt 24:3 “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Then what does Jesus tell them? And keep in mind who was He talking to? The disciples, He wasn’t talking to us.
Matt 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [Who is ‘you’? the disciples, not us. He was saying, ‘James, Peter, Andrew, I don’t want you guys to be deceived.’ And what was He concerned about for His disciples?] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Many preachers like to say that in the end, people are going to come to you and say, they are the Christ. That is not what that scripture says! Have there been many people in history who have claimed to be the Christ?
It doesn’t say many will come in my name claiming to be Christ. What it says is many will come in my name, or as my representatives, saying that I am Christ and shall do what? Deceive many. It clearly states that people are going to come along teaching that Jesus is Christ and deceive a lot of people. Why would He have to be concerned about 12 men, who’ve followed Him 3 years, being deceived by somebody claiming to be Him? Why would I have to stand here and say to you, “Take heed because someone’s going to come along claiming to be Ray Hagins?” it’s ridiculous; Jesus was not saying someone is pretending to be me. Now the primary question here is: Are people teaching that Jesus is the Christ? Yes.
Matt 24:21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” ‘Ever shall be’ negates the entire point; however, based on what Jesus is saying, we must assume He is talking about the great tribulation. Now this next section is talking about the rapture.
Matt 24:29-31 It says after the tribulation then the rapture comes; contrary to what most of us have been taught, that we will be taken up before the troubles begin. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
I Cor 15:51-52 “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This use of ‘we’ in this verse indicates that Paul also believed Jesus was coming back in his own time.
Matt 24:34 “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” You people I am talking to right now, shall not die until all this happens. This means that if the Bible is in fact true, then it means everything you’re looking forward to happening in the future has already happened. It means that He has already come back in the clouds, the trumpet already blew, and the angels have already gathered up His elect from the four winds of the Earth.
Now let’s look at how John the Baptist fulfilled the end time’s prophecy:
Mark 1:14-15 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” The time is now, everything we’ve been waiting for is now, it is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is eminent. Why are we waiting for it to happen later?
We need to understand who John the Baptist was. Jesus believed and taught that John the Baptist was Elijah. The Muslims believe that the prophet Elijah who was to come was Elijah Muhammad.
Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi prophesied the coming of Elijah as a sign that the end is here. Elijah had died 700 years earlier. Jesus told his disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah.
Matt 17: 10-13 “And his disciples asked him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they wished. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist.”
Matt 11:11-15 “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now [this ‘now’ means the days of Jesus not our days.] the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, [if you will listen to what I’m saying] this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” So John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi of Elijah’s return and that is the sign that the end is here.
Mark 9:1 “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” Who was Jesus talking to? Not those of us 2,000 years later. There are some of you standing here right now who shall not die till you see Me coming in the clouds. I ask this question again: Is it possible Jesus expected His Messianic Kingdom to be set up within His own generation? Yes, He did. There is nothing that would lead us to believe that He thought He was coming back some 2,000 years later.
Mark 13:32-37 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” This is a serious mind game; one which has stopped young people from going to college; one which has caused this industrial revolution to rape and poison our planet because it breeds a nonchalant attitude that it doesn’t matter what we do if Jesus is going to make a new Heaven and Earth soon anyway.
Matt 10:5-6 “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This was a message not meant for the Europeans.
And what did Jesus say later in verse 23, “When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.” You better hurry up and get going, because before you have gone over the cities of Israel, I will be back. Jesus has already come back or He is not coming back at all. Do you imagine that His disciples are still out there proselyting from one Israeli town to the next?
Mark 10:35- 37 He was so adamant about His impending eminent return that two of His disciples asked to be seated next to Him in His coming Kingdom. “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” This is also interesting because in another Gospel He already promised all 12 of them that they would sit upon thrones. Matt 19:28 “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
And the final question is: What are you going to do with this information.