"Why hasn’t the Lord come yet?"
Many believers are anxious for Jesus' return and, in the natural, some feel God is postponing His return despite knowing that the scriptures, such as 2 Peter 3, teach that God is not slow, but is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, said Jeff Kinley and Todd Hampson of the "Prophecy Pros Podcast."
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Kinley and Hampson emphasized that Jesus hasn't yet returned because the Lord is giving "humanity a chance to repent before He returns."
“God’s patience is so much more vast and immense than my patience is because I would be very precious about the way that I dole out my patience and my justice if I were in charge. It’s a good thing that I’m not in charge,” Kinley said, “I would have probably wiped out the planet time and time again.”
“And I know a lot of believers are thinking, ‘God just come on. Make this thing right.’ But in thinking about that, I think about the heart of God. I mean, aren’t you glad that God waited on you, on me, before He decided to descend back. He waited for us to repent. … And of course, He was involved in that process as well,” Kinley added.
Hampson noted that he, and all other believers, can infer that God has the days set when the rapture will happen because “He is sovereign” and because of the scripture Matthew 24:36, which he summarized as saying, “It is not for you to predict the times or the dates that the Father set by His own authority.”
“It’s not like God keeps kicking the can down the road and is not sure when it’s going to happen. He knows when it’s going to happen. But from our perspective, it seems like God is delaying,” Hampson said. “And we learn from this passage here in 2 Peter 3:9, that [the wait for the rapture] is because of God’s mercy, grace, forgiveness and His amazing patience.”
Recounting a moment from his past when he was waiting for a plane to take off that was delayed, Kinley said that it can be hard to wait for anything at times.
“All of sudden, they came on the speaker and said, ‘We’re going to have to return to the gate due to a mechanical issue.’ There’s that sense of just ‘ugh,’ that let down, and you’re saying, ‘I was all ready to go, and all of a sudden you’re telling me I have to wait a little bit longer,’” he recalled. “I think we’re feeling that right now, concerning the rapture. Many Christians are saying, ‘Hey, I’m ready … my bags are packed. I am ready to get out of here. But for some reason, God is postponing that arrival date for our coming Groom for our wedding date.”
Hampson said he's glad the rapture didn't happen when he was age 13 or younger, because at that time, he didn't know about the part of theology concerning death, judgment and the final destiny of the soul and humankind — eschatology.
“I was born in the '70s, but I was just a kid,” Hampson recalled. “I believe God is waiting. He wants to get the maximum [number] of people in. And of course, we can’t even try to figure that [number] out. He’s sovereign. Only He knows. But I believe when the rapture happens, everybody who would have accepted the Lord prior to the undeniable rapture will have done so.”
Many people are feeling tension while waiting for Jesus' return because they're witnessing an increase of evil in the world, Hampson noted. And all the discussions about Jesus' second coming led Hampson to think about the story of Noah in the Bible.
The violence on Earth during the time of Noah led Jesus to send a flood, destroying all of humanity, which Hampson said led him to think about “how much corruption exists in the world today.”
“I look back on the days of Noah, and how bad did it have to get before God just said: ‘You know, that’s it, I am sorry that I made mankind. I’m going to obliterate the human race from the planet. … and save eight people.’
"And we got the flood,” Hampson continued. “All those things that were happening in the days of Noah, we're experiencing right now. But that’s why we believers are asking the question, ‘God, you did it back then, why are you waiting right now?’”
While emphasizing the importance of not trying to guess the exact date and time of Jesus' second coming, Kinley said that in the same way believers have no idea when Jesus will return, Satan also has no clue about God’s whole plan. Kinley said if Satan cannot outwit God in the midst of His plan, humans cannot outsmart God either.
“I think God [is] the Great Storyteller in this narrative [and] He doesn’t show all His cards to Satan. So it keeps Satan guessing at all times,” Kinley explained. “Satan will throw out things that are like rockets that don’t hit their target. They’ll go up in the air and sorta [land] somewhere else. Because God is really the one who is orchestrating this stage setting of pre-tribulation kinda world. So I think [God] does hide it from the rulers of this age, but also from Satan as well.”
Christians who believe in the rapture might be bullied for doing so, and this has already happened to many believers, Hampson said.
“That’s what they're doing. People are making fun of the rapture. … Expect them to do that. … And I read that in the past, there had been people who planned rapture parties for post-raptures to celebrate the fact that the Christians will be gone,” Hampson added. “The world as a whole really doesn’t like us being here. [Christians] stand against everything they want to do. As 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2 says, ‘We are restraining evil on this planet.’ So the evil is pretty big right now.”
“But God will have a say. God will have the last word on that,” he declared.
“In 2 Peter the Bible says, in ‘the last days, mockers will come with their mocking,’ Kinley chimed in, agreeing.
Christians should try not to let frustration overcome their minds while waiting for Jesus' return, Kinley stressed.
“Everything is going according to schedule. And if God doesn’t come back today, you know why He didn’t. Because He wanted you to be the person He created you to be today, to be obedient to Him today, to get everything out of this day that He has given to you. All the blessings and the joys, the challenges and the overcoming the temptation, and the experience of His fellowship in your life today,” Kinley continued.
“[God] doesn’t want you to miss out on that during this time. And there may be someone that God brings along your path today or tomorrow or next week. And you say, here is a person that if I were gone, I wouldn’t have had the chance to reach out to and to show the love of Christ to. I pray that this was an encouragement to you guys.”
Even though these are tough times and even though Christians are having to persevere, they should not give up, Hampson added, because they will be face-to-face with the Lord one day.
“Times are dark, [but] when it's all said and done, and we are standing before Christ, and when we are working in the Millennial Kingdom and eternal state, no struggle that we are going through right now will even come close to comparing to the wonderful results of us going through what we’re going through right now,” Hampson said.
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