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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - I Shall Return

John Bradshaw - I Shall Return

John Bradshaw - I Shall Return
John Bradshaw - I Shall Return
TOPICS: Second Coming

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

December the 7th, 1941, a day which then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt predicted, correctly, would live in infamy. On that day, 350 aircraft of the Empire of Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, which was then part of the territory of Hawaii. All eight US Navy battleships in Pearl Harbor were damaged. Four of them were sunk, although three were raised and returned to the war. Still other ships were sunk; 188 US aircraft were destroyed. And more than 2,400 Americans were killed and almost 1,200 wounded. But it could've been worse.

A couple of weeks after the attack, Admiral Chester Nimitz observed that if Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor on a weekday rather than on a Sunday, casualties would've been as much as 10 times higher. If the repair stations in Pearl Harbor had been hit, then damaged US warships would've had to have been taken back to the mainland. And if the massive fuel reserves just five miles out of Pearl Harbor had been taken out, Nimitz said the war would've dragged on for at least another year. So as bad as the attack on Pearl Harbor was, it could've been much worse.

Japan's burning desire to become a great empire drove it to try to grab control of the Pacific. Just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan attacked the Philippines 5,000 miles away. But while the United States had a military presence in the Philippines, it wasn't enough to counter a Japanese onslaught. US forces in the Philippines were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. He'd retired from the United States military in 1937. He became a field marshal in the Philippines army and a military advisory to the Philippines government. MacArthur came out of retirement to be the commander of the United States Army forces in the Far East, but it became very clear that not even MacArthur's experience and military expertise, along with the combined US-Filipino forces in the Philippines, were any sort of match for the Japanese.

The American and Filipino troops retreated in the face of attack by Japan. Eventually, 70,000 men, 12,000 Americans and 58,000 Filipinos, withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula, leaving them essentially helpless against the Japanese onslaught. The surrender of American forces on the Bataan Peninsula took place in April of 1942. The only American stronghold left in the Philippines was Corregidor. The Island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay covers just two square miles. For perspective, Manhattan Island in New York City is 11 times larger.

Corregidor was often referred to as "the Rock" because that's essentially what it is. As small as it was, the Rock was the scene of some of the most intense bombing of World War II, most of it confined to a tiny area. Millions of dollars had been spent fortifying Corregidor, which had been controlled by the United States since 1898. But the advent of air attack meant that those defenses became obsolete. In May of 1942, the thousands of US troops on Corregidor couldn't hold out any longer. Manila had proved to be indefensible. Bataan fell. Corregidor fell. American POWs were taken to Manila or sent on the catastrophic Bataan Death March. The Philippines, as far as the United States was concerned, was lost to Japan. Except for one thing.

On March the 12th, 1942, MacArthur, along with members of his staff and family, was evacuated from the Philippines. A B-17 transported him to Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory. And from there, he took a train to Melbourne in the state of Victoria. As he was changing trains at a railway station in a little town called Terowie, 120 miles north of Adelaide in South Australia, MacArthur faced the assembled media. He said, "The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing an American offensive against Japan, the primary purpose of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return".

Two thousand years ago, as the battle for control of planet earth was raging, Jesus left a group of His closest followers, His best friends, deep in the heart of enemy territory, and He said to them, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also". "I shall return". History tells us that MacArthur did return, but not immediately, and not before a long, costly, bloody, drawn-out struggle. Jesus will return. He's promised. It's been two millennia since He made that promise, and those 2,000 years have been marked by loss and desperation and death. So what does the promise of Jesus' return mean for us? I'll have more in just a moment.

Thank you for joining me on It Is Written. After General Douglas MacArthur was evacuated from the Philippines in 1942, he made a promise that was heard all around the world. MacArthur said, "I shall return". Two thousand years ago, standing in the shadow of the cross, knowing that virtually everyone in Israel would've judged His campaign a spectacular failure, Jesus said virtually the same thing. He said, "I will come again". The Bible speaks about the Second Coming of Jesus again and again. The Apostle Paul referred to the return of Jesus to the world as the "blessed hope". But the New Testament isn't alone in forecasting the greatest event since the creation of the world. Even the book of Job, considered to be the first book of the Bible written, speaks about Jesus' return to the earth.

Job 19:25-26, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God". He's referring directly to the hope of the Resurrection, which takes place after Jesus returns to the world. Virtually all of Matthew chapter 24, which was spoken by Jesus, deals with the Second Coming of Jesus, with Jesus saying in verse 36, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only". Which raises an important point. Jesus went out of His way to tell us that while we can know when His coming is near, there's no one who can accurately forecast the day of Jesus' return. People who say, "Jesus is coming back on this day or on that day"... No. The Bible says we cannot know. We don't know, and we won't know. And while Jesus waits, planet earth descends ever deeper into secularism and post-modernism and atheism, God allowing us to see that our -isms are not the way forward.

You can get a sense of the want of the world for the Second Coming of Jesus by thinking about what went on here at Corregidor in Manila Bay in the Philippines. It was held by the United States between 1898 and 1942, and was taken by Japan as part of Japan's quest to take the Pacific. It was a desperate struggle. The Philippines suffered immensely under Japanese occupation. Thousands of servicemen, Filipino and American, were killed. Servicemen suffered from diseases like beriberi and scurvy. Hundreds of thousands of civilians perished. Manila was destroyed.

MacArthur's biographer wrote that only Warsaw suffered more among Allied cities in World War II. Seventy-five percent of Manila's factories were destroyed, 80 percent of the southern residential district, 100 percent of the business district. And after American troops retreated to the Bataan Peninsula, they were marched to what's known today as Camp O'Donnell on what's now referred to as the Bataan Death March. Thousands of men died. The cruelty they experienced is almost impossible to believe. But there was something that gave them hope: General MacArthur had made them a promise, and the people here in the Philippines, the POWs, the Filipinos who wanted their country back, American POWs who'd been taken from here to Japan to toil as slaves, they didn't think that MacArthur was one to break his promise. He said he'd return, and they hung on to those words. He would return.

On October the 20th, 1944, MacArthur returned to the Philippines, coming ashore on the island of Leyte, 350 miles away. And that's when things really started to heat up on Corregidor. You look at Corregidor today, and you know that the fighting here was intense. One of the main landmarks on the island is what was known as the Mile-Long Barracks. In reality, they were 1,500 feet long, not quite a third of a mile. But a good name goes a long way in the service. Looking at the ruins here, you can only imagine how fierce the fighting was. Corregidor was an ideal sort of a place once upon a time. There used to be the island headquarters, a theater, a nine-hole golf course, a parade ground. The vast majority of what's here today testifies to the destruction of war.

And as bad as it was that the buildings were destroyed, the loss of life is what really mattered. In the 1920s, US Army engineers had carved out a labyrinth of tunnels on Corregidor. The Malinta Tunnels were a maze of tunnels that burrowed as far as 1,450 feet back into the hillside. There was a main tunnel and then a network of tunnels that spread out from the main tunnel. The tunnels were originally designed for storing supplies, ammunition, and equipment. They were a bomb-proof bunker. MacArthur and the Philippines president, Quezon, lived here in 1942. But as the war overtook Corregidor, the Malinta Tunnels became a defensive fortification and the home of a 1,000-bed hospital. One general remembers these tunnels being a scene of unbelievable disorder, congestion, and confusion.

On May the 2nd, 1942, the Japanese bombing was so intense that in one 5-hour period, 3,600 240-millimeter shells blasted the islands, mainly in just two locations. That's more than 720 an hour, more than one every five seconds. One day in May, more than 16,000 shells hit Corregidor. An American general recalled that "life on Corregidor could be compared to sitting in the middle of a bull's-eye during rapid-fire target practice". But still, men hoped. MacArthur said he'd return.

What other hope did they have? I wonder what other hope we have. Those -isms I referred to earlier, today the world is assailed by secularism, postmodernism, atheism, agnosticism, capitalism, Communism, polytheism, spiritualism. What's it all achieved? Have our developments and our enlightenment brought peace and security to the planet? No, far from it. Life can be so challenging that you can feel like you're in your own personal war with life or with circumstances or with destiny or the future. What hope, really, does a person have beyond this world? When you're looking into the eyes of death or loss or despair, what hope do you have? Well, there is hope because 2,000 years ago, Jesus said, "I will come again". More in just a moment.

General Douglas MacArthur led the United States and Filipino troops early in World War II from here on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay in the Philippines. In October of 1944, MacArthur put his feet on Philippines soil once more, and in February of 1945, Corregidor was retaken. Of course, historians differ in their estimation of General MacArthur. But he said, "I shall return," and return he did. And not long after his return, America took the Philippines back. But it took almost two weeks of ferocious fighting to win back Corregidor.

When American soldiers returned to wrest the Rock from the control of the Japanese, Japanese soldiers holed up here in the Malinta Tunnels. Of course, they didn't have a chance. Those that emerged ran directly into the path of waiting American guns. Rather than surrender, 2,000 or so Japanese soldiers chose to commit suicide here in the tunnels. They detonated explosives and brought down enormous amounts of rock upon themselves, burying themselves beneath. The bodies are still there, behind or beneath all of that rock. Their remains have never been brought out. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Two thousand men gave their lives for their emperor, a man who claimed to be, and who they believed to be, a living god. They could've given their lives for a Man who actually was God in the flesh.

We still have the opportunity to do that today. To do otherwise, it's all a bit like this, really. Although trees and vegetation have pretty much swallowed up this island over the years, graphic reminders of the war on Corregidor are still visible just about everywhere you turn, huge guns, craters in the ground produced by massive explosions, damage from artillery. The Pacific War Memorial stands in honor of the American and Filipino troops who gave their lives here on Corregidor. And beneath the memorial's dome is a circular altar, upon which are inscribed the words, "Sleep, my sons, your duty done ...for freedom's light has come. Sleep in the silent depths of the sea, or in your bed of hallowed sod, until you hear at dawn the low, clear reveille of God".

Which is the thought expressed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord". First Thessalonians 4:16-17. About 210 Americans died in the battle to retake Corregidor, 790 were wounded, and 5 were reported missing. Of the Japanese, almost 6,000 died, 20 were captured, and 30 escaped. Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August the 6th and August 9th. Japan's emperor, Hirohito, surrendered on August 15, and the instrument of surrender was signed on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September the 2nd.

When Jesus comes back to the earth, there'll be no more war. In fact, Revelation 21:4 says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away". The return of Jesus to this earth is going to be the greatest event in all of human history. Unless, of course, it isn't. You get to decide. For those who've chosen Jesus as their Lord and Savior, for those who've surrendered their hearts to Him, for those who've chosen to believe that God is love, well, the prophet Isaiah puts it this way in Isaiah 25:9, "And it shall be said in that day, 'Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation". But in every war, there's a defeated side.

Revelation 6:14-17 looks at it from the opposite point of view. "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?'" So who shall be able to stand? Well, it's all incredibly simple. Back in Matthew chapter 24, there's an emphasis on responding to the signs of the times and being ready for the return of Jesus.

Jesus said, "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming". Two verses later: "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect". Other than the sound of the surf, the beaches of Corregidor are quiet now. No more American soldiers waiting here to welcome the barges bringing Japanese soldiers ashore. The sounds of artillery are no longer heard. Corregidor is a peaceful place. One day soon, the battle raging here on planet earth is going to come to an end. What, then, for you? You know, there's no reason that you should be lost. There's no reason anybody should be left out of heaven. There's no reason that this earth is all that you should have to look forward to. God wants you to have everlasting life.

Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". John 6:35, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst". The last invitation in the Bible is found just five verses from the end of the Bible, Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely".

Jesus invites you to come to Him in faith. If you've already done that, then rededicate your life to God now. Tell Him that you want Him to keep you and save you. If you've never done so, if you've never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, if you've never accepted God into your life... You know, the Bible says that Jesus is coming back soon. You don't wanna miss that. Can you open up your heart to God now? Tell God you want Him to keep you close. Tell God that you want His perfect will to be done in your life. General Douglas MacArthur once said, "I shall return". Jesus once said, "I will come again". And if you'll allow it to be so, then when Jesus comes back, He'll come back for you.
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