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There are some passages from the Scripture that might lead us to believe that we could change the date on which Jesus will return to join His Church.
I am well aware that there are various theories that advocate different scenarios on the fact that Jesus would return to meet with His Church, before or after the great tribulation. Others believe that there will be no rapture. This quick teaching is not here to judge this or that theory or to know which one is right, but simply to help us to live our time on earth the proper way in relation to this time when Jesus will be fully united with His Church.
We often hear Christians who think that they will be able to shorten the waiting time for Jesus to be reunited with His Church. Most of them think of Christ's return to earth, and try in various ways to ensure that their lives on earth can be shortened by Christ's return with His Church. Several passages can, if not properly studied, lead us to lean into these kinds of thoughts, which the Bible does not teach.
Peter talks about this in one of his letters. One might indeed think that Peter says in a passage that we have the power to make Jesus return earlier in time.
But if this was true, then Jesus would not have told the apostles that God had set the time for the return of His return (Acts 1:7). If God sets a time then no one can change it, especially not a human with his behaviour.
If then we could make Jesus come back earlier, then we could easily think that this should be written in the dozens of other passages that talk about Jesus' return. But that is not the case. There is no other passage that speaks of hastening His coming.
It is interesting to see, however, that some English versions like the King James have punctuated this same passage with a question mark, and not with an exclamation mark as in many French and some English versions. We know that the original text has no punctuation.
If we consider that this sentence is a question, its meaning changes radically.
Here is the passage we can find in Peter's second letter.
2 Peter 3:11-12 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
If we take the original word translated as "to speed its coming" it is the original word "SPEUDO".
This word does suggest a notion of accelerating, but also of seriously, or sincerely, desiring.
This second definition is much more appropriate to the rest of the context of this passage of Peter.
Indeed, in the verses above, Peter speaks of the end of time, the earth and the heavens that will be destroyed. Nowhere Peter talks about changing the situation by moving earlier the dates that God has set in advance. He even says in verse 9 of the same chapter that God is patient in not yet destroying the earth and the heavens so that the maximum can go through the new birth.
We are therefore not in a context of Christ's return, but of the end times.
It would also be senseless to say on the one hand that God is using patience by allowing humans more time, and on the other hand to tell Christians that they can, through their sanctifying actions, make the end times happen sooner than expected.
There is therefore no question of making Jesus return earlier through our actions, because in this case this sentence would be meaningless. How could Peter say to wait and hasten at the same time?
Waiting does not give a notion of action, but hastening yes, so there would be nonsense.
This is why, if we consider that Peter meant that we must wait by seriously and sincerely desiring Jesus' return to His Church, this sentence then takes on its full meaning.
It is therefore a myth to believe that we can with our actions or words make Jesus return sooner than God Himself planned.
There are also other passages that are misinterpreted and lead Christians into misunderstanding.
Far too many pastors and teachers sometimes do not bother to check thoroughly what they read at first sight, or hear from others. This leads to some Christians thinking and believing theories that the Bible does not teach.
For instance, there is this passage from Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come....
If we consider that this sentence is pronounced on the one hand by the Church and by the Holy Spirit, we could ask ourselves why the Holy Spirit tells Jesus to come back? But also why this passage mentions that those who hear the good news must also tell Jesus to come back?
On the other hand, and if we look again at the context, this word of Jesus Himself is located at the very end of the Revelation and of the description of the end times, like a conclusion to the story. In the context of this verse, Jesus' return has already taken place because many other events have taken place as a result of it.
A quick check of the original word translated as "Come" shows us that it is the word "ERCHEMAI".
It is used in the Greek only in the present and in the past tenses, it is an exclamation. This word gives the notion of a person who arrives, and who enters masterfully. ERCHEMAI is also used to describe a person who enters in front of an audience and who has a place of great influence. This word does not mean "come" in a sense of the verb to come.
The Spirit and the Church therefore say in this passage "Come" in the sense of "Enter into Your greatness, be welcome in the end of the fulfilled times".
This passage therefore concerns the reunification of the Church with Jesus in its finality, where the Church reverently greets Him... At this point, the end times are over and Jesus enters before His entire Church.
It is therefore not correct to think that we can change or hasten by our actions or thoughts, the times that God has set in advance. Times are managed by God; the Son, when He was on earth, did not have the vision of it, for God alone is sovereign in this area.
Our task is to spread the Gospel as much as possible all around us. We will not be able to do this effectively, only within the perspective of a transformation of our person in His image. It is only on that point, and only here, that we must focus our motivation.
Bye for now.