The Foretold Time of Awakening and You.
What did Jesus directly say would happen after his death? Jesus described the collective congregation of people aware of his return as being like either 10 maidens or 10 virgins depending on the reference that you use. He said that while they were waiting for him to return, they would all go to sleep. Matthew 25:5 says they all became drowsy and went to sleep. Significantly Jesus said that they would all become drowsy and therefore would all go to sleep so that no group was exempt from this. How did this happen? And what have we seen in the modern era? How does the internet help to fulfill Bible prophecy? And what further things that we can all see confirm that Christ will soon return?
Question one. What was the message that the congregation preached in the decades following Jesus’ death, while Christians were still awake spiritually and those who had known Christ were still alive?
The first-century Christians spoke a very simple message. That Christ is mankind’s saviour, that Christ had died, had been resurrected, and that he would return in kingdom power to make all things right on the earth in due time. In Acts 2:32 Peter said,” this Christ God resurrected and of this fact, we are all witnesses.” 1 Corinthians 11:26 records “you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord until he arrives.” Acts 10:42-43, “he ordered us to give a thorough witness that this is the one, [Jesus] ordained by God to be judge of all. To him, all the prophets bear witness that everyone putting faith in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Question two. What was happening in the congregations that cause drowsiness?
Jesus foretold that while the message would be preached in all the nations, there would be issues that would arise. These, in turn, would result in a sleep like condition falling on people of faith. This is discussed in the opening verses of Matthew 25, Jesus also likened the congregation as a whole to a field of wheat that was over sown with weeds that would appear to be similar to the wheat until just before his return. This is exactly what happened.
There are many references in the scriptures to issues that began to happen very early in the congregations. Debates over words, divisive sects, different standards, the input of philosophy and interfaith ideas. By the end of the first century, there were very few Christians who taught and believed only what Jesus himself had taught. [References, Acts 20:30, “men will speak twisted things and draw away disciples to follow them.” Jude 4, ” men have slipped in among you who use God’s undeserved kindness as an excuse for wilful sin.” Revelation 2:15, “you have those who are of the sect of Nicolaus in your midst.” 2 Peter 2:1, “there will be false teachers and these ones will quietly bring in destructive sects among you.”
Question three. So who had the true faith through the centuries?
In Matthew 25:5 Jesus said that all became drowsy and went to sleep. He also explained that like a wheat field over sown with weeds that looked similar to the wheat, it would not be possible to determine who had real faith until his return. [See Matthew 13 24-30] Further backing up his illustration of the 10 maiden sleeping, he said in Matthew 13:25 that while men were sleeping, the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and left. So it was as those who heard firsthand Jesus’ message began to die out. And after this, men sought to take control of the various congregations around the world, and a number of different faiths developed with a number of different ideas. The original message of Christ’s death, his resurrection, and his future return began to disappear completely.
Question four. Was the first-century message really a simple one?
In Ephesians 4 the apostle Paul explains that there is one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. It was a simple faith without the complications that came in as interfaith introduced different ideas. It was a simple faith that Christ had died, was resurrected and would return, in God’s due time to put matters right as far as all mankind, both living and dead. It was on the basis of this simple faith that Paul stressed the need to allow God’s spirit to work on a Christian’s personality and to strive to become better people. Followers of Christ were to focus on becoming honest, kindly, compassionate and forgiving people. [References, Ephesians 4:20-32, Acts 5:42 “declaring the message about the Christ.”]
Question five. What caused people to start looking at the Bible again in the 19th century?
As more and more archeological discoveries were made and as printing work got underway, so various Bible translations in languages that were easy to read began to be produced. The translation and printing of the Bible and articles about the Bible resulted in an increased focus on the message contained in the Bible. Thus it was, that many people began to look into the Bible and read for themselves the various accounts and prophecies of Christ. This caused a huge influx of people into Christian faiths that were somewhat different from traditional Christian faiths that had developed down through the centuries.
Question six. What prophecy did these ones unwittingly fulfil?
Christ had prophesied that around the time of his return and in the lead up to this, there would be wars, earthquakes, famines, and so forth, and then he warned his followers not to be concerned by these for these would not indicate anything special. He said the end is not yet. He then said that people would rise up and point here and there as if they knew the truth about the Christ. Always suggesting that Christ was hidden, invisible and they themselves were the only source of knowledge about the Christ. Many new religious groups fulfilled this prophecy, usually unwittingly fulfilling Jesus prophecy, by claiming that they and they alone were the only source of true knowledge about the Christ. [References Matthew 24:23-27 “Then if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. Look! I have forewarned YOU. Therefore, if people say to YOU, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the coming of the Son of man will be.]
Question seven. How does the Bible describe Christ’s return?
The Bible describes Christ’s return as something that is highly visible, seen by all like a lightning strike. Indeed, it describes everyone taking note to Christ’s return. Thus, it does not require a religious organisation to say, look here or there when Christ returns, everyone will see it. [Reference Matt 24:27]
Question eight. Why is Christ’s return to occur over 2000 years after his birth?
God’s original purpose for mankind was for man to have children and fill the earth and subdue it and exercise dominion over the animals and the earth as a whole. Man was given the opportunity to do this with the help of God. An angel, who made himself an enemy of God, chose to interfere in this commission and suggest to the human family that they could do all of this without God’s intervention and also that they would live forever. To this point, no human had died and it is possible that this angel concluded that mankind would automatically live forever and be able to fulfil this commission to fill the earth and subdue it and exercise dominion over the earth independent from God without consequences. Though God warned of the consequences man still wanted independence from God. God allowed man to make this decision.
Two things became immediately obvious. Firstly, that man was going to struggle to fulfil this assignment without God’s help and secondly that God had been sustaining man’s life in other ways than through food because after this men began to die. God allowed a specific time period for man to fill the earth and see the results of the choice.
At a future point, Christ was to return as God’s spokesman to judge the results. He will return to judge what has actually happened as far as the earth is concerned. Thus Christ’s return is at a given point that was already fixed way back in Eden when Adam and Eve chose to take mankind on a course that was independent from God. [Gen 1:28 Further, God blessed them, and God instructed them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and exercise dominion over it, and have authority over the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”]
Question nine. Is Christ’s return imminent?
Yes. As the Bible foretold, man is ruining the earth. In Revelation 11 the Bible records that God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” Thus, we have reached the point where the earth is inhabited to a large extent around the globe and there is significant damage to the earth as a result of man’s inability to exercise proper dominion over animals and over the earth as a whole. In addition, Christ foretold that the good news of the kingdom concerning his return kingdom power, would be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the end came. There was never a mechanism to do this until the advent of the internet. Now the internet is posting the news of Christs return.
Now that the internet is allowing for information to be spread throughout the earth, we have reached a time when the good news of the kingdom can be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations. [Note that the Prophecy was simply that the message would be preached rather than taught – so in essence it was to be advertised in all the earth.]
So we are living in the time when the earth is being ruined, when the preaching work can be taken to the entire inhabited earth, and when many other Bible prophecies are being fulfilled. Christ’s return is most definitely imminent as God will not allow a man to completely ruin the earth before Christ’s return. [Revelation 11:18, ‘the bring to ruin those ruining the earth.’ Mark 13:10 ‘also this good news must be preached in all the inhabited earth first.’ Matt 24:14 ‘this good news of the Kingdom must be preached in all the inhabited earth and then the end will come.’]
Question 10. What is the initial reaction to Christ’s return, but what follows?
The Bible book of Revelation describes the initial reaction to Christ’s return as being fearful. While there will be those who are familiar with the Christian faith who will raise themselves erect and be confident at that time, many among the nations will react with great fear. This, of course, is because the Christian message has been hidden and there have been many things over the years that have contributed to a spirit of nationalism and independence. However, while the Bible describes the initial reaction to Christ’s return in this manner, it also indicates that following this, there will be a great crowd out of all nations who will respond with faith.
The Bible book of Revelation describes in a very positive way what happens following this. It would appear that many will be delighted to actually know the truth about the Christ, finally, and to accept Christ’s return and his kingdom oversight. The demon angels who have interfered in man’s history referred to elsewhere on this website will be destroyed at that time. [Revelation 6:15-17 shows the initial fearful reaction followed by Revelation 7:9-17 which shows a great crowd blessed as they respond favourably to the Kingdom.]
Question 11. What does Christ want his followers to do?
As already mentioned in the Bible book of Ephesians, Paul explained that Christ’s followers need to focus on developing a Christ-like personality and strive to become better people. Followers of Christ were to focus on being honest, kindly, compassionate and forgiving people. In fact, in terms of conduct, those who follow Christ should really be very much like Christ. They should be focused on family and they should be focused on being up building, and supportive members of the community. Christians were remarkably honest people in the first century, people who had a genuine level of commitment to being morally upright. This is something that Christ-followers can do now to indicate that they’ve truly got the sense of the Christian message. [Ephesians 4:22-32 outlines the way we should change our personalities.]
Question 12. What name should Christ’s followers use today?
The Bible reveals in Acts 11:26 that the name Christian was provided by divine providence. Given that the first-century disciples gave evidence of God’s spirit, gave evidence of inspiration, and gave evidence of the ability to perform miracles and even had direct contact with the resurrected Christ, on occasion, it is obvious that Christ would have directed a different name had he wanted this to be used. The fact is that the Bible says that followers of Christ are called Christians by divine providence. Thus, followers of Christ should be called Christians. [Acts 11:26 is the one reference to the name Christian being by divine providence.]
Question 13. What else can we do to imitate Christ and be like the first-century disciples?
The best way to be like Christ is to imitate him and to learn about him, we should study the gospel accounts. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John reveal much about the way the Christ did things. He had a remarkable personality. He was approachable. He was friendly. He was kindly. We can imitate Christ’s personality and we can pray for God’s spirit to help us to have the same attitude to life as Christ. [See Matthew, Mark, Luke John. These Gospel accounts provide amazing insight into what makes a person a real Christian.]
Question 14. How can you assist others to wake up to the truth?
When a person wakes up to the truth, they may immediately want to try to wake other people, however, using Jesus analogy, when you shock somebody into wakefulness, it can have a very negative effect.
How would you feel if someone, for example, burst a balloon next to your head when you were asleep? You would not react favourably. It is the same with people who are committed to spiritual truth in any particular religious organisation. If they are honest hearted, they will already have noticed that some things do not seem right. Do not argue with people. Show them the scriptures and let them search for references online. Honest hearted people will wake up to the truth. Using apostate material or questionable material to try to get someone to wake up to the truth about religion simply does not work. Simply show the scriptures and raise questions and allow them to do the thinking themselves. As Jesus foretold, the 10 maidens went to sleep, but on Christ’s return the 10 maidens wake up.
There are two possible reactions to this time period. Some will try to bury their heads in the sand so to speak and avoid the truth. Others will accept the realities. In time though all will face the truth of Christs return. How much better to be in the honest group!
[2Tim 2:23-26 Further, reject foolish and half-educated arguments and debates, knowing that they produce fights. For a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, showing restraint when wronged, educating with mildness those not agreeable to truth. Perhaps God may show them the way to accurate knowledge of truth, and they may come to their senses.]