Will Jesus return in our generation? I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Why? At least these two verses are why:
Matt. 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Mark 13:10 “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”
The Joshua Project (http://www.faimission.org/isaacandishmael) reports roughly just over 40% of the world’s people have not even heard the gospel. That is, say, 2.4 BILLION people that need to hear the Gospel before Christ returns.
So, He will not break His word; if he says the Gospel must be preached to all the nations, He means it.
Having said that, on top of these two verses there remains quite a large body of related prophecy from Genesis to Revelation that remains unfulfilled, and that is the focus of this “Scripture only” study.
So then, come with me as we take an uninterpreted look at what the Spirit says, comparing Scripture with Scripture, letting Him interpret His words with His words.
Let me ask you to please set aside all learned doctrine and preconceived notions about the end times, the rapture, Israel, the Beast, etc. Just let the Bible speak to you in its own language: the language of comparing Scripture with Scripture.
Gen. 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Gen. 22:18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Rom. 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Matt. 3:8-9 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.”
Gal. 3:7-9 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
Gal. 6:15-16 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Matt. 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Num. 14:20-21 So the LORD said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.”
Hab. 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
II Cor. 4:3-6 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Ex. 33:18 Then Moses said, “Please, I pray You, show me Your glory!”
II Cor. 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Ps. 72:17-19 May His name endure forever; may His name increase as long as the sun shines; and let men bless themselves by him; let all nations call Him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.
Dan. 2:44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”
Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
Matt. 12:28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Heb. 12:28-29 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Matt. 13:31-32 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”
Ezek. 17:22-24 Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and set it out; I will pluck from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will perform it.”
Matt. 13:33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”
Ps. 22:27-28 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’S and He rules over the nations.
Ps. 86:9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.
Ps. 102:15 So the nations will fear the name of the LORD and all the kings of the earth Your glory.
Ps. 145:9-13 The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, and Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Dan. 7:13-14 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”
Ps. 115:16 The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.
Deut. 7:22-25 “The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed. He will deliver their kings into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.”
Dan. 7:18 “But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.”
Rev. 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Is. 2:2 “Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.”
Heb. 12:18-24 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Is. 60:1-3 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Is. 62:2 “The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will designate.”
Is. 60:11-12 “Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined.”
Ps. 118:19-20 Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous will enter through it.
Is. 60:18 “Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.”
Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
Is. 65:17-25 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed. They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, and their descendants with them. It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.
II Cor. 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Is. 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.
Rev. 21:1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
So then, I believe prior to Christ’s coming the whole earth will be filled largely with believing people who worship the Father in the Spirit and in the Truth (and not at Jerusalem as the Jews say, John 4:20-24). I believe people will leave their false gods and false religions behind like a child does his toys in the yard, embracing the nail-scarred arms of Jesus’ love and heart-rule willingly and happily, and not with any violence or compulsion. I believe the result of this worldwide, Church-centric, Jesus-glorifying, Spirit-powered worship movement will result in vast reformations: of governments, law, industry, the arts, etc. Mind you, I believe those reforms are only and always the result of TRUE, UNBRIDLED, JESUS-CENTERED, HOLY GHOST, “POWER-DEMONSTRATING” WORSHIP, glorious worship performed by vast throngs in stadiums and other venues all over the world. Societal reformations are not the AIM, they are merely the FRUIT of good, regular, powerful, miraculous worship in the Presence of God as it spreads in practice throughout the lives of individuals, families, and churches, and then up the chain to local, regional, and national governments. It can happen and it will happen because GOD SAYS SO.
Further, I believe the Kingdom has already come in all its prophesied fullness and we are now charged to bring that Kingdom to earth. I don’t think we need to wait for anything. I believe we have been given EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3).
I will describe how this all works out in time in the next installment. Hint: the secret is WORK, both His and ours.