Sometimes, after a big event that awakens our interest in prophecy, people are very excited about the return of Jesus to take believers out of this world. It happened in the ‘50’s after Israel had become a nation against all odds, and in direct fulfillment of the predictions of Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37.
It happened again in the ‘70’s when Calvary Chapel led the way in the “Jesus People” movement from the hippie culture to mature Christianity. We remember the bumper stickers of that era that said “In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned!”
Once again, interest was high from the beginning of the new millennium until a few months after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, as time goes on, and Jesus has not yet returned, many people lose interest in prophecy. They often ask one another, “Why hasn’t Jesus come yet?”
The Apostle Peter addressed this same question in the First Century. Christians from every age have had this “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), and some have become skeptical. He wrote:
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
-2 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
Peter reminded his readers about a similar situation thousands of years earlier, in the days of Noah.
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:5-7
Noah had spent about 100 years building the Ark, and all that time he was a “preacher of righteousness” calling his generation to repentance (2 Peter 2:5). But the longer the project took, the more disinterested the people became.
Peter then explained that we can never know God’s timing, but we can be sure He will keep his promise as He always has! After all, the Lord is showing His goodness to wait until the very last person who would believe has had that opportunity.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9
Personally, I am just as excited about the Rapture as I was when I first learned about it as a teenager. We can’t know the date He will return, but one thing is certain: It is a lot closer now than it was when we first believed!