Why Hasn’t Jesus Returned?
April 8, 2020 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

Did you grow up in church singing, “Lift up the trumpets and loud let them ring, Jesus is coming again”?

Did you grow up with the expectation that Jesus was actually returning soon?

As you look around the world and see the conflict, disasters, crime, exploitation, population growth, climate threats, diseases, do you wonder, “What is God waiting for? Why hasn’t Christ returned?”

All the way back in the first century, Christians were wondering why Christ had not come back. The apostle Peter told them:

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 NIV84).

God has waited because He wants everyone who can be saved to be saved – and that requires that people know about Him and come to a repentance. This means the gospel must go to the world; as Jesus said,

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14NIV84)

But it’s been two thousand years! Surely the whole world has heard the gospel by now – right? Or has it?

Has the gospel of the kingdom of love gone to the world? Or has Christianity been tricked into taking to the world a lie, a fraud, a false gospel, one that traps the world into a system that promotes a distorted view of God? And if this is so, then is God waiting for the truth about Him to go to the world?

The apostle Paul warned us this would happen:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:1–5 NIV84).

As sad as it is, the Bible is true again: Christianity, as practiced today, is no different than the world – child abuse rates, spouse abuse rates, pornography use, and addictions are no different in Christian homes than non-Christian homes. Why? Because a false gospel that has no power to transform lives has taken over Christianity and prevents people from experiencing the healing that God has for them!

Thus, Jesus waits. He waits for the true gospel to go to the world and prepare people to meet Him – only then will He come.

God told His friend Daniel thousands of years ago that this would happen. God revealed to His prophet exactly how this false gospel would take root in Christianity – a corrupting power would seek to change God’s law (Daniel 7:25). Paul expanded on Daniel’s prophecy, giving more insight into this evil infection:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:1–4 NIV84).

Paul tells us here that before Christ returns, the evil one will counterattack the gospel of Jesus. He does this by setting himself up as God in God’s temple. But what temple? Did Satan ride into heaven and knock Jesus off His throne? Of course not. Paul is speaking of the Spirit temple, the hearts and minds of believers. In other words, the Bible is telling us that Satan will get people to believe that a being with his attributes is God! Satan doesn’t get the church to reject the idea of God or the belief in God; instead, he tricks the church into believing that God is like Satan in character and methods.

How could Satan make this happen? How could he get people to reject the truth about Jesus and enthrone the evil one into their hearts and minds as the one to be worshiped – all the while singing songs of praise to Jesus?

Daniel tells us it is by seeking to change God’s law, and Paul reveals how he does it by the name he gives this power: “The man of lawlessness.”

Satan displaces Jesus in our hearts and sets himself up as the one being worshiped when we accept the lie that God’s law functions like human law. It is when we conceive of God’s law to be like the laws humans make that Satan enthrones himself in our hearts and minds. Thus, we reject the law of God and promote a lawless view, even while claiming to believe in the Ten Commandments.

God is the Creator of all reality – space, time, energy, matter, and life. God’s laws are the protocols He established, built into reality, that govern the operation of all things: the law of gravity, laws of physics, laws of health, and the moral laws – the law of love, law of liberty, law of worship, etc. Life is built to exist only in harmony with God’s laws, for they are the protocols for life and health. Deviation from God’s laws brings pain, suffering, destruction, and death (see my blog for more on God’s Design Laws).

As the Bible teaches:

  • The wages of sin is death (Roman 6:23)
  • Sin when full-grown brings forth death (James 1:15)
  • Those who sow to the carnal nature from that nature reap destruction (Galatians 6:8)

God’s laws are design laws. Life only operates in harmony with them.

Human beings cannot create reality. We cannot build space, time, energy, matter, or life. Our laws are not the laws upon which reality exists. Instead, we make up rules and then enforce those rules by threats of punishment.

Christianity has embraced the system of the world in that it teaches that God’s law is imposed, imperial, a system of rules that functions like human law and requires the ruling magistrate to use its power to punish rule-breakers. This idea is “lawless” – it is a denial of reality. It dethrones God from His seat as Creator and enthrones a deity that is a rule-maker – functionally no different than any other created being – thus, it enthrones Satan in the minds and hearts of all who accept the lie that God’s law is like human law.

The lie of imposed laws results in a cascade of other lies – all of which distort God’s character and obstruct His plan to heal and save His people. Some of these subsequent lies are:

  • We are in legal trouble with God
  • We are under God’s death penalty
  • God must use His power to kill the disobedient
  • Jesus came to be killed by God to pay our legal penalty
  • Jesus pleads to God in heaven, offering the Father the blood of a human sacrifice to get God not to kill us
  • We need to be protected from the anger and wrath of God
  • Jesus hides us or our record from God because if God saw it, He would kill us
  • Jesus hides us or our record by covering us in a robe of His righteousness – or by using His blood to erase the records of our sins from the legal accounting books in heaven
  • We must do certain rituals (baptism, Eucharist, communion, confession) in order to get the legal application of Jesus’ blood payment made to the court of heaven
  • It is right and just for God to use power to torture and/or kill people who disobey

The lie that God’s law functions like human law has displaced Christ in the minds of millions of people and enthroned a deity that functions like the evil one. And they are sharing this lie about God wherever they go.

God told His friend John that at this time in human history, a message was to be proclaimed that presents the eternal gospel:

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:6, 7 NIV84).

And what is the good news that has always been true – true in eternity past and true in eternity future? That God is not like Satan has portrayed Him to be! He is not a dictator who makes up laws that function like our laws. He is not the source of pain, suffering, and death. He is not the one from whom we need to be protected. And so, the end-time message calls us to make a judgment about God, just like Elijah called the people of his day to make a judgment about God:

How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him (1 Kings 18:21 NIV84).

It is time to choose to worship “him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” It is time to reject the dictator views of God, to reject the lie that God’s law functions like human law, and to embrace the eternal good news that God is our Creator, Savior, and Restorer! It is by embracing the truth about God that we are set free (John 8:32) – free from fear, free from guilt, free from shame. It is the truth about God that wins us to trust, and in trust we open the heart and experience the Spirit healing us, writing in our hearts God’s living law of love.

This is the healing plan I will renew with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord: I will recreate and cleanse them, and restore my law of love in their minds, and write my principles of benevolence on their hearts. I will be the God they love, admire and adore, and they will be a people who reveal my true character (Hebrews 8:10 The Remedy).

I invite you to worship our Creator – to reject the lie that God’s law functions like human law – and to open your heart to the Spirit of the Lord, asking God to restore in you His perfect law of love so that you can bring glory to Him by revealing His character in your life!

Only when God’s people reject the lies of Satan – instead embrace His design law and proclaim the eternal gospel about God’s character and methods of love – will Jesus come again.

 


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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, international speaker, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DLFAPA), Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DFAPA), and Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association (FSPA). He is President and Founder of Come and Reason Ministries and has served as President of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.