Question: You keep saying that Jesus is coming soon....There are many people groups that have had no opportunity to hear the gospel. How does that square with your teaching of an imminent return? | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Question: You keep saying that Jesus is coming soon. Yet Revelation says that every tribe, language, and ethnic group will be in heaven. There are many people groups that have had no opportunity to hear the gospel. How does that square with your teaching of an imminent return?

Response: Believers are told repeatedly throughout the New Testament to be ready for Christ to come at any moment: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning...like unto men that wait for their lord...” (Lk 12:35-36); “...in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ...” (Phil:3:20); “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven...even Jesus” (1 Thes:1:9,10); “looking for that blessed hope...the glorious appearing of...our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus:2:13); “...unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time...”(Heb:9:28), etc.

Surely, “loins girded about...lights burning” indicates imminency. If the early church was to wait and look for Christ to come from heaven, there could not have been any prior event that had to occur first. It would be senseless to be in an attitude of waiting and looking for Christ at any moment if He couldn’t come until Antichrist had appeared or until the end of the Great Tribulation.

The Bible ends with the cry from the bride, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev:22:20). To express that desire if Christ couldn’t come until some other event or events had first occurred would be the mockery of demanding payment on a debt not yet due.

There is no question about it: imminency is the teaching of the New Testament. Then what about representatives being in heaven, as you say, from “every tribe, language, and ethnic group” if many groups haven’t even heard the gospel yet? How could the Lord rapture His own until at least one had gotten saved from every people group?

You are limiting God. Did a missionary get the gospel to Enoch, Job, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, David, et al.? Through the witness of creation and His law written in their consciences, God has always been able to bring those with open hearts to Himself out of every tribe at any time in history.

Furthermore, babies who die in innocence go to heaven. Of his baby that had just died, David said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sm 12:23). Therefore, there are already in heaven many from every people group that ever existed, having died as infants in innocence.

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