David Reagan - Looking For Jesus
New Year's greetings to all of you! As we begin this new year let me ask you a question: Are you yearning for the return of Jesus? Are you hoping this will be the year when He will appear in the heavens? If not why not? Stay tuned for a discussion with two Bible prophecy experts who will give you six reasons why all Christians should be yearning for the soon return of Jesus.
Greetings in the name of Jesus our blessed hope and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. You know folks the writings of the early church fathers revealed that during the first 300 years of the Church Christians often prayed "Maranatha". That is an Aramaic expression that means, "Oh, Lord Come". The enthusiasm for the Lord's soon return though seemed to just wane out, die about 400 AD, and for most of Christendom the desire has never been rekindled. Most Christians today seem to be yawning rather than yearning for the Lord's soon return. In a moment I am going to lead a discussion with some Bible prophecy teachers about why all of you who profess to be Christians should earnestly desire that this year would prove to be the year when the Church will be raptured out of this world. But first let me introduce you to our panel members. On the far end here is my colleague Nathan Jones. Nathan serves as the co-host of this program and he also serves as our Web Minister. Welcome Nathan.
Nathan: Happy New Year.
David: Well yeah, always good to have you brother. And joining me here, this wonderful fellow right here is Dennis Pollock. Dennis is the Founder and he is the Director of Spirit of Grace Ministries a ministry that focuses on proclaiming the Gospel throughout Africa. Dennis it is always a blessing to have you on the program and welcome back.
Dennis: Well thanks, Dave it is an honor to be with you.
David: Folks, we believe that the return of Jesus is going to occur in two stages. The first, which could occur any moment, is called the Rapture. It will take place when Jesus appears in the heavens to take his church, both the living and the dead out of this world. The second stage will be the Second Coming, when Jesus returns to this earth with His church, to reign for a thousand years. Now I believe most Christians are apathetic about the return of Jesus because they are ignorant of what is going to happen when he comes back. You know I know that from personal experience because that was my case for many years. Think of it this way, how can you get excited about an event that you know nothing about? For example, how can you get all pent up with excitement about a surprise birthday party? You can't, it's a surprise. My personal apathy about the Lord's return rapidly dissipated when I discovered what is going to happen when Jesus returns to this earth. And I want to share with you six reasons why I am yearning for the Lord's soon return. The first is that I want to see Jesus receive what He has been promised which is honor, and glory and power. What about it folks?
Dennis: Well the last time the world saw Jesus He was on a cross being crucified. Now I am not talking about the believers they saw Him after His resurrection. The last time the world saw Jesus, the ungodly; it appeared that He had been totally defeated by His enemies. But when they see Him again at the glorious Second Coming He will not be looking beaten or bloody, or bruised or anything like that. He will come in glory. And there is an expression in the Bible that is used for the Lord's return that is not often used by the Church; I find it interesting that in the Bible sometimes they use certain words that we somehow never grabbed hold of. But one of the words that is used for the Lord's Return frequently in Scripture is the word revelation; the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter says put your hope firmly upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. The final book of the Bible is called The Revelation, but not just a general revelation it is The Revelation of Jesus Christ. So that word means unveiled, revealed, He will be no longer hidden. Right now you and I serve a Master who we have never seen. And the world has written books about Jesus, they have painted paintings of what they thought He might look like, but the truth is we've never seen Him. But on the day when He comes for the Church at the Rapture we will see Him. And then at the Second Coming every eye will see Him, and He will be glorified, He will appear in glory, and I am looking forward to that.
Nathan: There are just some great verses in the Bible that explain this. I mean Psalm 22:27-31, "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord". All of it; I mean picture what the world would be like today. "And all the families of the nations will bow down before Him. Even those who go down to the dust will kneel before Him". I mean the Lord will reveal to the whole world and all the nations will see it. And that is an exciting and victorious moment and we share in that victory as Christians and heirs and co-heirs of Christ.
David: Amen. Well a second reason I want to see the Lord return is because Satan is going to receive what he deserves, which of course is total defeat.
Nathan: Oh, yes.
David: Dishonor, humiliation, I can hardly wait. Crush him under His feet. What about it?
Dennis: Well in my boyhood the big thing on movies was cowboy movies, even television shows, cowboy movies were big; now days it is super heroes. But they had one thing in common, both in the cowboy movies and in the super hero movies of today, and that is they usually spend about the first half of the movie showing you how despicable the bad guy is. You get to the point that you hate him, you want to see him get crushed; you want to see him absolutely destroyed. And then in the second half usually the good guy begins to engage him and finally overcomes him. Well in some ways that's like the history of this planet. We have seen the bad guy. Satan is the most cruel entity that there is in this universe. And he delights in misery; he has a good time when children are abused, when women are raped, when people die prematurely. He loves to see human misery; he is the ultimate bad guy. But the Bible tells us the good guy is coming. In fact there is a place already reserved for the bad guy; Jesus said that Hell, the Lake of Fire was a place reserved, a place prepared for the Devil and his angels. And it is at the coming of Christ that He will be dispatched, placed in that pit for a 1,000 years and then ultimately cast into the Lake of Fire.
David: What about it Nathan? You want to see Satan crushed?
Nathan: Oh, Isaiah 14:12-17 is wonderful, "Those who see you stare at you they ponder your fate. Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble"? He is going to be brought so low and we will get to rejoice over that and see that. It is exciting.
David: A third reason I want to see the Lord come back is because He is going to fulfill promises He has made to the creation. What would those be Nathan?
Nathan: Well the Bible especially Romans 8 talks about the creation being under bondage, it is under the curse, it is suffering just as much as we are. And if it had consciousness which it doesn't it would yearn too for the time it would be redeemed, and that can only happen when the sons of God are revealed. We are the sons of God; we are the ones who will get our glorified bodies. The earth during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will get you could say its glorified body in a way; the curse will be lifted. We will get to those verses you know where it says the lion eats straw, and the wolf lies down with the lamb. A wonderful picturesque time period where the earth will be restored and then the eternal state totally restored to what is called the New Earth.
Dennis: Yeah. You know I don't know whether Global Warming is a reality or not. But one thing I know the world has a bigger problem than Global Warming. And that is the problem of sin and decay that is all over our world. No matter what you are looking at it will decay, it will grow old; it will eventually dissolve and be annihilated. And our nature is in bondage to this process of decay. And it is only when Christ returns, that will be reversed. It is amazing that in the original first few generations of man you read the Bible and these guys lived to be 900 years old. And then suddenly after the Flood, and man had done some damage to the earth and to himself; you look at the ages and they drop quickly down to 500, down to 400, within a few generations you are down to where Abraham starts and then it was a big deal for him to have a baby at 100 years of age. Well back in Noah's day and before that that was no big deal at all to have a baby at 100 years of age, those guys did it all the time. But the very earth itself, the process of our growth has all been corroded and corrupted by the process of sin and decay.
David: The whole of creation is in bondage to decay, and that is part of the curse that came as the result of the sin in this world. You know I find that most people are not aware of the fact that when Jesus died on the cross, He died not only to redeem mankind, but He died to redeem all of creation. This was indicated in Old Testament times when the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies once a year and he would sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat; and this was a symbol that one day the Messiah would die and through His blood we would be able to cover the law of God and the demands of the law of God. And by grace we could be reconciled to God. But what most people ignore is that it says, he always stepped back and he sprinkled the blood on the ground. And that was a symbol that the blood of the Messiah would also make it possible for all of creation to be redeemed. God loves His creation. When I was growing up in the church I was taught that when the Lord came back there was going to be the big explosion, the whole creation would cease to exist, and we would go off into a never-never world and exist as spiritual beings floating around on a cloud playing a harp. But we wouldn't be tangible, and have bodies and be on earth. But the Bible teaches just the opposite, God loves His creation, He is going to redeem His creation. The original creation there were no poisonous plants, no poisonous animals, no meat eating animals that is all part of the curse. It says the lion will eat straw with the ox. It says a little boy will play in the hole of the adder because the snake will no longer be poisonous. And I believe those are real promises that God is going to redeem and refresh and return this earth to what it was at the original time of the creation.
Dennis: Yeah, you know Christians aren't anti-environment. Some people have accused us of being well we throw our garbage out of the car, and we don't care about our environment. We do care, and we should care. But we are realistic enough to know that this world and the environment will never be what it should be until Christ returns.
David: Okay, let's take a moment for review. We are discussing six reasons why Christian should desire the soon return of Jesus and thus far we have mentioned three.
Nathan: The first is that Jesus might receive what He has been promised; namely honor, and glory, and power over all the kingdoms of the earth.
Dennis: The second is that Satan might receive what He deserves; namely total defeat, dishonor, and humiliation.
Nathan: And the third is that the creation might receive what it has been promised; namely regeneration, and restoration and refreshment.
David: A fourth reason that I would like to see Jesus return is because I want to see the nations receive what they have been promised; namely peace, righteousness, and justice. What about it fellows?
Dennis: Amen, well in Psalm 2 the Father says to the Son, "Ask me," what a nice thing for the Father to say. "Ask me I will give you the nations as your inheritance". And that is going to happen. The Bible not only says that Jesus inherits them, but we are going to have a part in all of that inheritance.
David: Yeah, and you mentioned Psalm 2, right before that portion that you quoted it says that, all the leaders of the world are in conspiracy against God and His anointed One. Shaking their hands at God and saying, "Who are you to tell us what we can do, and what we cannot do". And then it says, while they are doing that God sits in the heavens and laughs because a day is coming when He is going to get it set alright.
Dennis: Yeah, and the thing that makes prophecy so exciting is that when you read this and you say, "You know what I believe it is going to happen just like it says". It is thrilling; it is wonderful to think of Christ reigning over the nations. Isaiah 24 talks about the Lord will reign in Jerusalem before His elders gloriously. And now of course there are some that say, "Surely that can't be". But what part of the Lord will reign in Jerusalem do you not understand? The Lord will reign in Jerusalem. And that is a thrilling thought that He is actually going to come to this earth. He said He would come again, He will do that, he will reign gloriously over this earth and He will be Lord.
David: That is the problem I have with Amillennialist who tell me that Jesus is reigning right now. He is reigning from Heaven over all the nations of the world. And I always say, "Well if He is, He is doing a terrible job of it, because every nation of the world is in rebellion against Him. But what a day that is going to be when all the nations are truly subjected to him. Nathan?
Nathan: Well they haven't read Micah 4 which talks about all the nations, it says, "Nation will not take sword up against nation, nor will they train for war anymore". Think if we took the economies, what is it 50%-60% of our budget is put towards defense, and we put that towards helping people and building and growing. And nobody is killing each other; we are not losing brothers, and cousins and family members to Afghanistan, and Iraq and all these other wars. No longer! What a world that would be.
David: All that money given to agricultural implements instead of war.
Nathan: No needy, no poor, no food problems.
David: What a day that will be.
Dennis: It is so pathetic you know as World War I was coming to a close some of the leaders of the nations said you know we need some kind of organization to make sure this never happens again. And they came up with the League of Nation. And that obviously didn't work too well World War II came along. As that war was coming to an end some of the leaders including Roosevelt and some others said, "We need a new organization and this one will make sure that it doesn't happen again". And that was the United Nations. Well we can see how that has worked out. But Jesus Christ will come and there will be that peace, everybody is looking for.
David: Only when the Prince of Peace comes.
Dennis: When the Prince of Peace comes.
David: Okay a fifth reason I want to see Jesus return is because I want to see Israel receive what they had been promised. What's that?
Dennis: Amen, they have been promised two major blessings; one and the greatest blessing really is that they would serve God from their hearts. You know people like to say Israel is a hard hearted people and you know God has washed His hands of them. But God has made some amazing promises. I wanted to read a Scripture from Ezekiel and this is a Scripture that is often used to apply to Christians, and they say, "When you got born again this is what happened to you". Now that is true, but it was first promised to the Jews. God says to the Jews, "I will give you a new heart; I will put a new spirit within you". I'll take out your heart of stone. I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit in you. He says, "I'll cause you to walk in my statues, and you will keep my judgments you will do them". Now God always keeps His promise. This does not depend on whether Israel does this or that. God is going to do that. So He has promised that and He will reign, Christ will come will reign over an obedient Jewish people. But not only obedient but they will be raised up to a place of primacy in the world. Before Christ ascended His disciples asked Him, "Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel"? And it is very interesting what He didn't say, He didn't say, "Well that is a stupid question why in the world would you ever think"?
David: It has to be to the Church.
Dennis: No He didn't say that, He just said, "It's not for you to know the times and seasons this is going to happen". So He was indirectly saying it will happen but you don't need to know that right now. So there will be a time when they will be restored to a place of prominence in the earth. This persecuted people, people who have been hated, despised like no other people will be raised up, God always keeps His promises. You and I have done various projects that we have just gotten tired of, at least I have I don't know about you but you probably have. And just put them on a shelf and you never finished them. God's not that way, when God starts a project He will finish it; and Israel is His project. What He has said He will do, He will do.
David: Nathan anything about Israel you want to add?
Nathan: Well I think it is exciting Zechariah 8:23, "In those days 10 men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of their robe and will say, 'Let us go with you because we have heard that God is with you.'"
David: Boy, what a promise.
Nathan: And you see how secular...
David: Today the Jew is the object of jokes, and hatred, and persecution, but in that day in time, when the Jews are elevated as the prime nation of the world, everyone will want to walk with a Jew.
Nathan: And like Dennis said, the important difference is they will love the Lord Jesus as their Savior.
David: That is the point. In Old Testament times they always ran to Egypt every time they go in trouble. Today they run to the United States. But we are seeing the prophecies say that in the end times all nations will come against Israel which includes the United States. We have seen our nation turn against Israel. A day will come when there is nobody to turn to, at the end of the Tribulation the remnant that is left will finally turn their hearts to God, and they will cry out, "Baruch haba beshem adonai," "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," and the Lord will come. And He will gather those believing Jews in a third regathering. We've had the regathering from Babylon, the regathering in unbelief going on now, and a regathering in belief. And they will be established as a prime nation of the world and all the blessings of the Lord will flow through the Jewish people to all the earth. What a day that will be.
David: Well that brings up to six reasons why we should all be yearning for the coming of the Lord. And that has to do with all of us and that is some promises God is going to fulfill regarding the Church. What are those?
Dennis: Yeah, well He has promised us: (1) eternal life, (2) we would reign with Christ on the earth, and ultimately we would reign with Christ forever. And again He always keeps His promises, when Christ returns we are going to be given a reign with Jesus Christ.
David: Are you going to be a mayor, or governor, or what?
Dennis: Well, I haven't yet decided. I thought I might be talking with the Lord about just where I would best fit in. But on the other hand He may have His own ideas.
David: But you know He said that is going to be some of the degrees of reward based upon our works in the kingdom now; that some would be put over one city, and one over two, and one over five or whatever.
Dennis: Yeah, and He said, "You have been faithful in a few things, I will make you ruler over many things". So a lot of people think well Heaven that is where you play the harp, you sit on the cloud and if you are lucky someone comes over to your cloud and enjoys a little harp time a duet you know with you. But the Bible does not say we will play harps forever, and doesn't say we will sing forever. It says we will reign with Jesus Christ forever.
David: One of the things I am really looking forward to that is a promise to the Church is that we are going to receive glorified bodies and I am ready for mine. I really am.
Dennis: I don't know why Dave you've got such a magnificent body.
Nathan: Yeah, all that energy.
David: Oh, yeah well my left knee hurts every time I take a step you know arthritis and all that sort of thing. I am just looking for that day when there's not going to be any of those pains, and I have a glorified body. And I could just hardly wait. The Lord has made so many, many wonderful promises to both Israel and to the Church. And we don't need to claim their promises, and they don't need to claim ours. He is going to fulfill all these promises.
Dennis: And He's gotten so specific, you know when you look at Revelation He describes this New Jerusalem that will be our home in eternity. And He gives all kinds of details about it. We know it will be made of a transparent gold. We know there will be gems. The gates will be made of pearls. We actually know the dimensions of it, around 1500 square miles, and then 1500 miles high. These are truths, this is God saying to His people, "Hang in there you may not be doing too well right now. You may be living in some little shack, but I have something amazing for you and I am going to give it to you". And He always keeps His Word.
David: Praise the Lord. Well gentlemen we just about exhausted our time for this program. And as we bring it to a close I want to ask you: Do you have any personal reasons why you are desiring the Lord's Return in this year? Nathan how about you?
Nathan: Well for me it hits close to home my elementary age son Zachary has autism, and he still can't talk. He will never be able to do the things a normal boy will do. He will grow up and be an adult there is no cure for it. And the promise of having the glorified bodies, I know when I go up to Heaven one day that my son Zachary will be whole again. And the whole of the millions of people in Heaven will be celebrating and glorifying God for that transformation. That's the day I live for.
David: Wow that is wonderful. How about you Denise?
Dennis: Well there are so many reasons but one reason I sometimes think of that might be a little unusual but you know when you get born again your love for Jesus is so strong and there is a euphoria and you just feel like all you want to do is live in His presence. And then you come down to earth and you find you still have this nature that wants to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, wants the wrong thing. And you realize there are these two natures in you at war with one another. And you never feel quite comfortable because no matter how spiritual you can get. Dave I have been sometimes in the most anointed spiritual states and suddenly the flesh will just put a thought in my mind or an urge and I will think, "Where did that even come from"? And when Christ comes and gives us our new body He is going to do an extraction and He is going to take out that sin nature and we are going to serve Him in purity without that ugly sinful nature that we have.
David: Boy, I tell you I agree. You know Nathan I have a grandson who is afflicted and doesn't know who he is, who I am. You can't hold him, you can't touch him, and he can't have a haircut without being put to sleep. I dedicated two books to him because he is a constant reminder to me that we live in a fallen world where the innocent suffer. And I look forward to that day when Jason will be able to talk with me; when I will be able to throw a football to him. When we will be able to have fellowship with one another and that is going to happen when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back. I look forward to reunion with family members, church members who have gone on before me. Bible characters, I can hardly wait to meet David, and to have David lead a worship service. Boy that will be something. Or have John, can you imagine sitting in a Bible study where John is teaching the book of John? Oh, so many wonderful things that I look forward to.
Folks the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15, "Oh death where is your victory? Oh, death where is your sting"? Folks only a Christian can look death in the face and sneer at it with such words, and that's because our Savior Jesus has concurred death. And He has promised that those who put their faith in Him will also overcome death. Here is how He put it in 1 John 11:25 He said, "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me shall live even if he dies". Dennis tell our viewers how they can be assured of eternal life.
Dennis: Certainly Dave, folks all the religions of the world except Christianity teach that you must earn your salvation through good works. Only Christianity teaches that salvation through good works is impossible. Sinners cannot justify themselves to a perfect and holy God. But Jesus was sinless; He died in our place as an atonement for our sins. All you have to do to receive that atonement is to place your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Nathan: And you can do that by praying a simple prayer, confessing to God that you are a sinner and that you are sorry for your sins, and that you desire to receive Jesus as your Savior. Salvation is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus; it is not something you can earn.
Dennis: And if you decide to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, let me urge you to seek out a Bible believing church where you can make a public profession of your faith in Jesus. Submit yourself to water baptism and start growing in the faith.