Pat explains that though we do not know the exact
day or hour of our Lord's return, the Bible does give
us signs of His second coming. Nobody can say with
any degree of certainty when Jesus is coming again,
because He said clearly that even the angels in heaven
do not know that day (see Mark 13:32).
No man knows that day, and the Son of God, when He
was on the earth, did not know either. This knowledge,
the Lord Jesus said, was strictly reserved for the
Father. We can see certain signs, or clues (see Matthew
24:3, Luke 21:7), that His coming is approaching.
Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars,
revolutions, widespread famine, disease, and earthquakes
in many different places (see Matthew 24:6-7, Luke
21:10-11). There would be an increase of lawlessness
The apostle Paul said, "That day will not come unless
the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is
revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts
himself above all that is called God" (II Thessalonians
2:3-4). Along with the "man of sin" will come what
is called an apostasy, or a falling away. Many of
the believing people will grow cold in their faith
(see Matthew 24:12).
There will be persecution of Christians and a time
of general trouble. I think all these things are happening
with increasing frequency. Another event that had
to happen before Jesus could return was the re-establishment
of the state of Israel. The original Israel disappeared
from the globe hundreds of years ago. In 1948 a new
state of Israel was established.
The regathering of Jews to Israel is a clear sign,
in both the Old and New Testaments, that our age is
just about over. Jesus said, "Jerusalem will be trampled
by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"
(Luke 21:24). On June 6, 1967, the Jews, for the first
time since Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar
in 586 B.C., took over control of the entire city
of Jerusalem, thus signaling the approaching end of
Gentile world power.
Jesus said, however, that the one major thing which
would herald His coming would be the proclamation
of the gospel. He said, "This gospel of the kingdom
will be preached in all the world as a witness to
all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew
These are signs of the times. We are to hold ourselves
always ready for our Lord's return. But nobody knows
the day and hour when that will be.
What Makes the Teachings of Jesus Unique Jesus Christ
is unlike any other religious leader in the history
of the world, past or present. Pat explains the majesty
and authority behind the only One who is the Life,
Truth, and Way. It has been said that if Jesus is
not God, then we should worship the man who thought
Him up, because never did any man speak that way before
The teachings that I have discovered, especially
about the kingdom, have truth that is self-validating.
They resonate with the experience of people throughout
all the ages. When these principles are put into practice,
they lead invariably to peace, harmony, victory, and
love. This does not mean that the teachings of Jesus
will not bring conflict. Because when someone accepts
the teachings of God, there will be conflict with
those who wish to continue in evil.
Jesus' words pulsate with wisdom. For example, His
concept about civil government: "Render therefore
to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God
the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21). The concept
of God as a Spirit: "Those who worship Him must worship
in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). The Sermon on the
Mount: "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you,
do good to those who hate you" (Matthew 5:44). The
greatest commandment: "Love the Lord your God with
all your heart, with all your soul and with all your
mind ... Love your neighbor as yourself. On these
two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets"
Jesus' understanding of the sweep of history was
absolutely superb. There has never been anyone in
history who has even come close to Him. Above all
else, Jesus rose from the dead, appeared to people,
sent His Spirit to people, and has transformed the
lives of millions. Wherever you find the gospel, you
find progress, freedom, liberty, and family loyalty--all
the things that human beings acknowledge as the desires
of their hearts.
It is not coincidental that the nations that have
been characterized as "Christian" have surpassed the
rest of the world for centuries in almost every measure
of achievement. It is true that there have been many
crimes perpetrated upon humanity in the name of Christianity,
but those who did such things did not really know
Christ or His teachings. Christ did not lead people
to persecute and torture Jews and "heretics." Many
so-called "heretics" were actually ones who knew the
Lord, and they were being persecuted by zealots who
did not know Him.
What happens in religion is that one generation finds
Jesus and lives for Him. The next generation learns
His teaching by rote. The third generation does not
really know it at all, but decides to use religion
as a justification for holding on to temporal power.
Such people launched the crusades and conducted the
Inquisition. They were using religion, but they did
not know Jesus. Wherever you find political power
and worldly ambition using Christianity, you will
often find the absence of New Testament truth. Then
there may be sinful excesses done in the name of religion.
Neither Jesus nor His teachings should be blamed
for sinful excesses committed under cover of His name.