Hastening the LORD's Return
"Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God"
by Tom Stewart
n the sovereignty of God, the Second
Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ and the Rapture of His Saints will occur at the "appointed time" (Habakkuk
2:3) which the Everlasting God has ordained "before the foundation of the world"
(Ephesians 1:4). Such masterful planning and control of His
return is worthy of the patience of the Saints, for "if
we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Romans 8:25). This "waiting
for the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Corinthians
1:7), in God's exquisite Wisdom, purifies the Saints. "2 Beloved,
now are we the Sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know
that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
3 And every man that
hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure"
(1John 3:2-3). Wise, indeed, is this perfecting of the Saints,
for of this one thing we can be utterly certain, that we will be spending Eternity
in the presence of the "High and Lofty
One that Inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is Holy" (Isaiah
57:15). Time yet remaining before our LORD's Soon Return, will work
together for good for the Saints, to allow us "to
be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).
What does this mean, "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God" (2Peter 3:12)? It means literally, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, referring specifically to that future time when the "heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" (3:12). Hastening means to act swiftly, to hurry, to speed up, or to accelerate. In other words, Christians are to look for and personally hasten the arrival of the day when God will dissolve the heavens with fire and melt the elemental materials of the universe with fervent heat. "Nevertheless we, according to His Promise, look for New Heavens and a New Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness" (3:13). But, before there can be a "New Heaven and a New Earth" (Revelation 21:1), there must be a Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ on Earth, where all the Raptured and Resurrected Saints "shall reign with [Christ] a thousand years" (20:6). All of this means that Christians, within certain limits, are able to do something that hastens or speeds up the arrival of future events. "Thy Kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10).
This concept of hastening the LORD's Return is in keeping with praying for the fulfillment of prophecy, i.e., the LORD requiring His people to petition Him to do what He said He would do. "36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. 37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock" (Ezekiel 36:36-37). Though the outcome is certain, still the Almighty allows our participation in the fulfillment of prophecy through the means of believing prayer. "And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in Heaven, so in Earth" (Luke 11:2). However, hastening the LORD's Return adds another dimension in addition to prayer. "Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13).
Why should we be hastening our LORD's Soon Return?
First, the sooner He returns, the quicker the "LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it" (Isaiah 2:2).
Second, the "Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (11:9), thereby removing the predatory instinct of man and beast, when He returns. "And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the LORD" (11:8-9).
Third, Messiah Jesus "shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people" (2:4), thus, assuring Worldwide Justice.
Fourth, World Peace will finally be realized, i.e., "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (2:4).
Finally, Jesus, the "Desire of All Nations shall come" (Haggai 2:7) and will fill His house "with glory" (2:7).
How can we but labor and pray for the hastening of His Appearing?
"And, Lord, haste the day when
my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll:
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
'Even so'-- it is well with my soul"
(from the fourth stanza of Horatio P. Spafford's hymn,
"It Is Well with My Soul" ---New Window).
What can we do to hasten the LORD's Return? Laboring to evangelize
the entire world, i.e., getting out the Good News to the world, whether they believe
it or not, will hasten the LORD's Return. A. B. Simpson agreed with A. T. Pierson ---New Window about evangelizing the world by 1900, and wrote "The Gospel of the
Kingdom" (1890), making it clear that his purpose in writing
his book was to hasten the Coming of the LORD. "And
this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto
all nations; and then shall the End come" (Matthew
24:14). Notice that leaders of the Modern Missions Movement
of the Church believed that their missionary work would hasten the LORD's Return,
based upon their understanding that The End should come only after the Gospel
of the Kingdom was preached in all the world. Even then, what man honestly will leave
unfinished, angels will eventually complete. "And
I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to
preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue,
and people" (Revelation 14:6). Just
as the Apostle Paul providentially capitalized on Rome's unifying of the Western
World through its government and roads to spread the Gospel, the Saints of modern
times may use the unique means of the World Wide Web to communicate the Gospel to
the world. "But thou, O Daniel, shut up
the Words, and seal the Book, even to the time of The End: many shall run to and
fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (Daniel
Something as simple as archiving a copy of the Scriptures, a Gospel tract, a Scriptural article, an edifying Christian book, or your personal testimony on your homepage at your own website is part of hastening the LORD's Return. "The LORD gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it" (Psalm 68:11). It may not seem necessary to do anything more than link to someone else's copy of a Christian classic on the Internet, but to insure a Redundancy of Availability, i.e., if that one website goes down to which everyone links, then that Christian book will be lost to the World Wide Web, until someone else tediously enters or scans a printed copy into electronic text to be posted online. "He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD" (40:3). The organic unity of the Body of Christ is such that when one part suffers "all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it" (1Corinthians 12:26); therefore, post only a link, if that is all you can do, but attempt to publish as much as you can, in order to draw as much attention to the LORD Jesus Christ and His Gospel Message. Just as Aaron and Hur did not do the actual fighting that Joshua did, or the directing that Moses did, they did the crucial job of Redundant Supporting to win the battle.
"9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. 10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun" (Exodus 17:9-12).
Remember, obedience to the Great Commission, which fulfills the conditions of hastening the LORD's Return of Matthew 24:14 (as stated above), involves teaching the Saints (discipling) as well as instructing the Lost of their need of the Saviour (soul winning). "19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto The End of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20). Of course, all means of wisely spreading the Gospel-- Internet, hard copy, verbal, life example, etc.-- must be coupled with prayer, and based on confidence in the Prayer Hearing God.
"23 And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. 24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, LORD, Thou art God, which hast made Heaven, and Earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: 25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the Earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD, and against His Christ. 27 For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy Counsel determined before to be done. 29 And now, LORD, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy Word, 30 by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of Thy Holy Child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:23-31).
Though an explicit statement of the relationship of any other particular activity to hastening the LORD's Return may not be given, performing "all the Will of God" (Colossians 4:12) will "fill up that which is behind" (1:24) in completing the portrait of Christ in your life. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Your personal growth "in grace, and in the Knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18) is vital to hastening the LORD's Return, because we, as Christians, are individually as much the target and purpose of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Matthew 24:14), as the Lost. Again, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20), means that you and I must be learning and growing. This is the ongoing process of sanctification that must be completed in us before the LORD Jesus Christ will return. "And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ" (1Thessalonians 5:23). Take heart, our sanctification is not only necessary but practically possible through Christ Jesus. For this reason, we refer you to "The Relations of Christ to the Believer" ---New Window, by Charles G. Finney ---New Window, to encourage the Entire Sanctification of the Believer. "But the path of the just is as the Shining Light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18). When, in the Wisdom of God, we have been made ready, then the LORD Jesus will return. "11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: 13 till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the Knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13).
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