The last article of this series was about the truth of TPM’s Orders of Resurrection. This article is about another subject which is popular among pre-tribulation preachers and therefore is also heard from TPM pulpits. It is called IMMINENCE Teaching. In this teaching, the TPM pastors teach their believers that Jesus could return anytime. Let us examine this teaching of TPM in light of scriptures.
Let us see what does the word Imminent mean.
By the very definition, it does not require any event to precede it. It could happen as we speak. I hope you understood the meaning.
The Portions of scripture which is used to derive the doctrine of Imminence is shown below.
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Matt 24:36
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. Rev 22:12
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Luke 12:40
As usual, when you take a verse and remove it from the context, we can prove any doctrine. Needless to say, many people think this is true without examining it for themselves.
If we read the complete chapter, we can see that Jesus is explaining the sequence of events that will happen before his coming. This sequence is culminating in Rapture preceded by cosmic signs which are a landmark event for our EARTH. Following the vivid description, Jesus is telling about the efficacy of his words and confirms that his words will stand even when Heaven and Earth will pass away. That particular day when the Heaven and Earth Pass away is towards the end of the DAY OF THE LORD and that Day is not known by anyone apart from the Father.
However, for argument sake let us assume that he is speaking about his second coming itself. Even so, given the context especially after the words in vs 29-30. he is saying that he cannot say the Day or the Hour when that event will happen. It’s basically a question of the Day or the Hour. It by no means says that he will come before these events he prophecised in Matt 24:4-31 happening. By interpreting it in the pre-trib imminent way, they are portraying a mentally deranged Jesus whose prophecies will not be fulfilled. And if Jesus’s prophecies do not fulfil, he is a false prophet. Do you think your Messiah is a False Prophet? This is because the word IMMINENT can overrule all of Christ’s Prophecies regarding end times he just spoke from Matt 24:4-31.
This is a relative statement and does not mean it will be imminent, As we see this is a statement put after long prophecies regarding end times. Therefore, it is logical that the coming of the Lord will happen as soon as all relevant prophecies are fulfilled. It does not mean the coming is imminent.
This verse has to be taken in the context where Jesus is saying us to be always watchful and not to let our guards down. This is very close to 1 Thess 5:1-5 where the ones that are not watching will be caught in a trap. However, the people of Light will not be caught in the trap as they are aware of every event and can trace back for all the signs prophecied in the scriptures. Paul clearly tells that we will know the SEASON (1 Thess 5:1). The only thing we do not know is The Day or The Hour It does not speak about imminence.
Do you now understand the spirit that is working behind the proponents of the Doctrine of Imminence? They are from that of the ANTI-CHRIST who wants to oppose Christ and portray the Light of the World in a Bad Light. These people would rather be happy with Failed Prophecy. They pull out an assumption from thin air saying that the Apostles and early Church fathers expected and imminent coming after the ascension of Jesus. As mentioned, this is THEIR ASSUMPTION and has no scriptural base.
Some Prophecies by Jesus & Apostles that opposes the Doctrine of Imminence
Apart from the prophecies in the Mount of Olives, there are many others which need to be fulfilled before the coming of Christ. Therefore, it is just day-dreaming to say that the early Christians expected an Imminent return of the Lord. Now let us check some of those prophecies which will run contrary to the imminent coming doctrine.
1. Jesus will not come until Peter would have died when he was Old.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
The Apostles expected Peter to die of Old Age and hence Jesus would not return till Peter’s death. Did they expect an imminent coming?
2. The Holy Spirit would come to be the comforter of the Church.
16 And I will pray for the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; John 14:16
To have expected Jesus to come before the coming of the Holy Spirit was to expect Jesus to be a False Prophet too? Did they expect an imminent coming?
3. The Gospel Needs to be Preached throughout the ends of Earth
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
The Apostles had a divine duty to be fulfilled as per Jesus commandment. If they had expected an imminent coming, they would have been like many of today’s Pentecostals. Did they expect an imminent coming?
4. The adding of Gentiles to the Church of God
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:16
The Gospel was first preached to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. This is a task given to the Church to add Gentiles so that both Jews and Gentiles are part of the same body of Christ(Romans 11,Eph 2:14-16). Did they expect an imminent coming?
5. Jesus prophesied Persecution for his followers
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: Matt 23:34.
Did the Apostles expect the imminent coming to avoid persecution as is with the Sleeping churches in the 21st century?
6. Prophecy regarding Paul’s Ministry
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: Acts 9:15
Do you think Paul expected to be raptured without the above prophecy on him being fulfilled?
7. Paul’s Ministry to the Corinthians and Macedonians
9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Acts 18:9-11
10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. Acts 16:10
Was it possible for Paul to expect an imminent return with the Lord giving such a responsibility?
8. Prophecy Regarding the Bruising of the Head of the Serpent.
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Rom 16:20 .
If the Church is already raptured, how could we possibly bruise the head of the Serpent as the Body of Christ? Click here to read an article which explains what is meant by the above verse.
Did the Romans expect an imminent return of Christ?
9. Paul had to reach Jerusalem to be persecuted.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. Acts 20:22-23
Was it possible for Paul to have expected an imminent return of Christ after this prophecy?
10. Paul expected himself to be Martyred and Not Raptured
Paul had clear information about his Martyrdom when he wrote the epistle to the Philippians in A.D 61. However, his Martyrdom happened in A. D 67. Do you think he had been expecting an imminent coming till from A.D 61 till A.D 67? He had mentioned the same in Ephesus and also to Timothy.
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Phil 3:11
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 2 Tim 4:6
25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Acts 20:25
38 Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship. Acts 20:38
11. Paul Expected Wolves to Lead Many Astray
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:29-31
Was Paul Expecting an imminent Return instead of Wolves ruling the People?
12. Paul Prophecied about end times and also TPM Like Ministries.
The above-listed pieces of evidence are enough proof to show that early Christians would not have even considered the prospect of an imminent return. They were more concerned about living a Godly life and preaching the good news of his kingdom. Unfortunately, we see that wolves have entered into the Church and have started turning away many disciples after them(Acts 20:29-31). For sure we are much closer to the coming of the Lord than it was before. We also are live witness to one of the signs of the end times as mentioned by Paul in 1 Tim 4:3. Let us keep watching and be waiting for his coming. We have many more prophecies regarding the second coming of the Lord. These will be discussed in later articles.