When it comes to eschatology I seldom say anything about it. The reason being that most people have made of their minds about what they think the Scriptures teach about the future and are emotionally attached to their own views about the what the Bible says about that future. The other reason is what is going to happen in God’s time table is going to happen despite what any of us believe so there is no sense in arguing about it.
The Doctrine of imminence is one of them. The doctrine of imminence maintains that Christ’s return is imminent. I do not hold to that particular viewpoint because there is no biblical support for it. Most of the beliefs that Christ’s return is imminent are predicated on the “at the door” passages of Scripture. Consider James 5:9, “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”
Of course, Jesus is the Judge and if He is at the door it is believed He is prepared to step through it at any moment. But that view is reading a lot into that passage. It could mean we might be stepping through that door at any moment, and we need to be imminently prepared to meet our Judge. So I do believe in a doctrine of imminency, and by that I mean at any moment we could be in the presence of Jesus by us going to Him or Him coming to us.
Part of what prompted this article is Ann Graham Lotz, Billy Graham’s daughter, who is an author and an evangelist has written a book “to help fellow Christians prepare for Jesus’ imminent return.”
A common belief about the Messiah in Jesus’ earthly ministry is that He would ascend the throne of David and restore the kingdom of Israel. His own disciples were still believing this when Jesus was telling them to remain in Jerusalem to receive the promise of the Father. They asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6.
Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Jesus’ point was not to worry about what God has planned for the future but go into all the world as He had said and begin to spread the Gospel. The best way to prepare for Jesus’ return to be a witness to the lost and thus fulfill the Great Commission.
I believe the Scriptures have a lot to say about what the future holds, and I do not believe God warned us about what is to come if we are not going to be here for it. That being said I do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church. I know many are wedded to the viewpoint but I am not one of them.
The best time line for what lies ahead can be found in Matthew 24. I’ll close with the words of Christ, “See to it that no one misleads you,” Matthew 24:4.