Joseph Prince - Why Hasn't Jesus Returned Yet?
This excerpt is from: Release His Glory In Your Life (1 Aug 2021)
We are living in prophetic times and like I said just now, there are so many prophecies that are being fulfilled, especially in our generation and in the generation to come. As we step into the millennium because after the rapture, seven years is very short, then it will be the millennial rule of Jesus Christ. There are more prophecies about this time period than all the prophecies of the first coming of Jesus. Wow, think about that! And the Bible says there will be mockers in the last days that will say this in 2 Peter. The Bible says clearly: "knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’"
So the Bible tells us clearly that it sounds like there is a delay, it feels like there's a delay. The Lord is not coming as soon as they expected and then there are mockers among the believers, even in that day saying: "Where is the coming of the Lord? Where is the coming of the Lord? Our fathers fell asleep". which means our fathers are dead and gone and the Lord has still not come. So likewise it's a prophecy of our days. Our days when there are mockers saying of the rapture: "Where is the rapture? Where is the coming of the Lord"? They make fun of the coming of the Lord and there are even believers who don't even believe in the rapture anymore. I know the word "rapture" is not in the Bible. But the word used in the Bible is "harpazo", which is the seizing away. The idea is the same. Just like the word "trinity". The triune God. That word "trinity" is not in the Bible but the whole reality is. Amen. So let's not split hairs over terms. Praise God. The "harpazo", the great catching away of the church, if you would. Amen. It's a reality. Paul preached on it and at anytime, it can happen. Praise the Lord!
We are looking forward to that! Hallelujah! Praise God. So the Bible says these people, they are scoffing, but let's drop down and see what the Holy Spirit says to us. "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Now the Lord is not slack concerning His promise," Why does it seem like the Lord is delaying His coming? Why? "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise," The promise of His coming that is. "as some count slackness, but is longsuffering. He is patient towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance". God's heart is that God is not willing that any should perish. And yet we know, reading the book of Revelation that there are people who perish in the lake of fire. We see that but God's heart. See God's heart, people. His heart is not willing that any should perish and perhaps, listen carefully. Not perhaps. It is! God is delaying His coming so that more and more people can be saved. So He is delaying His coming so that more and more people will get to hear the gospel of grace and be saved. Hallelujah!
So with the Lord, a thousand years is like one day. And one day like a thousand years. And this is very interesting because in the gospel of John, the gospel of John is known as the book of signs. Some people say there are seven signs, some say eight signs. Okay? But give and take there are eight signs. Unless you consider after Jesus was resurrected, the miraculous catch of fish is a sign, which I believe it is, then it's eight signs. But the seventh one is actually the one I want you to look at. The Bible says: "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, that's Mary, and Lazarus". Wow! What an opening, isn't it? "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus". In other words, we know that there's a special love that the Lord has for this family. He loved the brother, Lazarus, who was dying at the time, and Martha and Mary. "So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, Jesus stayed two more days. Jesus stayed two more days in the place where He was".
Isn't it interesting? He just heard that Lazarus was dying. Lazarus was sick to the point of dying. And what did Jesus do? First of all, the Holy Spirit tells us: "Jesus loved Martha and the sister Mary and Lazarus". And then it says: "When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days". So, friend, there's no insignificant details in the Bible. He didn't stay because He had something against them. Okay? No, on the contrary, it's because He loved them! That's why the Bible purposely, the Holy Spirit made us know that Jesus loved this family in a special way. Yet, He stayed two more days. There's something that's beyond the natural that God wants us to see and this family represents all the church world, okay? All those that He loved in a special way. God so loved the world. Listen, God loves the sinner in the street, even the one that's profaning His name, blaspheming His name overtly. He loves him but it's a different kind of love with the way He loves us, the way Jesus loves Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
That's how Jesus loves us, His church. The believers are loved in a special way. Amen. And it's for us to believe in that love. So it's greater than the love that He has for the world. Amen. And yet we have to learn why He is delaying His coming for two days, just like they had to learn why did He delay? If He loved us so much, why did He delay His coming? Because He's gonna show us a greater glory, the glory of God. He wants us to see the glory of God. Praise God! Hallelujah!
If you go on, you find that by the time Jesus says: "Let us go to Judea". Lazarus had died. And then Jesus made His way and let's follow Him now to the scene where the sisters met Him. First of all, Martha met Him. "Jesus said to her, to Martha: ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him: ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’" Now the first part: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live". This refers to people who have died. He says: "Though he may die".
Notice He says: "Though he may die". Because not all will die. The rapture generation will not die. So those who have died, "though he may die, yet he shall live". Why? "Because I am the resurrection and the life". The next category are those who we talk about. The rapture generation that will not die. These are the one He says: "Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this"? And we are that generation. Amen. The second part of what He said and He asked Martha: "Do you believe this"? And of course, Martha says: "Yes I believe You are the Christ, the Son of God that shall come into the world".
Now if you drop down to Jesus before the tomb. "Then Jesus again, groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it". Now, let's go back to 2 Corinthians 3 and look carefully at this word. "Ministry of death, written and engraved on stones". This word "stones" is the Greek word "lithos". Now, not every word for stone is "lithos". Friend, in fact, Greek is a very expressive language Like the word "love" has many words for love, different kinds of love, specifically about different kinds of love but even the word "stone", it is very specific. There is "lithos". There is "cephas" where they took the word from the Aramaic which means "rock". And then there's "petra", which is a huge boulder, a massive rock, okay? And then there's "petros", which is the name of Peter. "Petros" is a chip off the block. Amen.
A smaller rock from the boulder. So all these are different words for stone but guess what? This word: "Ministry of death, the law, written and engraved on stones" is "lithos". Do you know where else you find "lithos"? And the Holy Spirit is very careful about using "lithos". Amen. The stones. It is actually in the story of Lazarus because don't forget, the gospel of John is all about signs and God wants us to see more than the event itself. What it is pointing to. "It was a cave, and a stone ('lithos') lay against it". So here you have a stone which the Holy Spirit chose the word "lithos" to associate us with this. What is blocking Jesus’ miracle, in a sense, in these last days.
After two days, He has come. After two days, He has come on the scene of death, okay? And there's something separating all those who are mourning with the one who has died, the loved one who has died. Death has set in now. Even four days has passed. As the sister, Martha, said in a while. She will say that in a while. "By this time," she says. "He stinketh because he's been dead four days already". Okay? But there was a huge stone, a "lithos" standing in the way. In these last days, I believe that God wants that stone rolled away. This is exactly what Jesus said. Jesus said: "Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him who was dead said to Him: Lord, by this time, there is a stench for he has been dead four days. Jesus said to her: Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God"? Hallelujah!
Friend, as long as the stone is in front of you, as long as the stone is not rolled away from the church, the church cannot see the glory of God. In fact, we read just now in 2 Corinthians 3: "If the ministry of condemnation had some glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory". Think about it! It's all about a glory that is fading away, of the law, and the glory of the new covenant of righteousness which ever increases from glory to glory, And that's how that chapter ends. "We are transformed into His image from glory to glory". But you cannot see the glory of God until the law has been rolled away from your life. As long as you are living conscious of the law, as long you are living condemned by the law, as long you are preaching and sharing with people about the law. As long as you are putting the stone with grace, friend, it is a mixture. Putting new wine (grace) into the old wine skin (the law), alright, you will lose both.
The first thing Jesus says: "Before you see the miracle and before you see the glory of God in your life, in your family, in your children's lives. Amen. In all your relationships. Before you see the glory of God in your life, you got to roll away the stone". Notice here He did not roll away the stone Himself. He tells them the ministry is given to us. "Roll away the stone". Amen.
Now the stone was necessary in its time when the dead was put inside, the place of death, the tomb. You have to roll over the stone there to keep corruption inside. But it gives a false image on the outside because outside, you don't see the death so you know what? The law is given to men who are dying. They are dead and they are dying! Every day, they are dying and they have no strength to keep the law because they are dying. Amen. Ever since the first Adam sinned, death came in. But praise be to God. "If by one man's offense, death reigned by one. Much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life by Jesus Christ". Hallelujah! Amen. The first thing He says before we see the glory of God, before we see the resurrection, before we see the dead come to life, before we see our loved ones again, no more in corruption, no more in decay, no more having that stench, we see them glorious, beautiful, alive, radiant, healthy again. Before we see all that, we got to roll away the stone.