Monday, September 5, 2011


As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk
Release Date: Jul 28, 2011
Column Number: FM 1130

“They” say never to discuss religion or politics; and I kinda agree that one out of two ain’t bad.

Then “they” say (never have figured out who “they” are) in religion, never discuss prophecy and creation (and several other miscellaneous things about which people get all bent out of shape).

So, I guess I’ll start this discussion with a warning: if exposure to thinking about Jesus’ Second Coming offends you, turn the page right now, do not pass “go” and do not collect 200 dollars; put the paper down, turn the blogpage off and walk away!

Because I want to discuss something really important with you! Why? Because you asked! I am indebted to Renald Showers for many of the seed thoughts used herein.

The English word "imminent" means "hanging over one's head, ready to befall or over¬take one; close at hand in its incidence". Thus, an imminent event is one that is always hanging overhead, is always close at hand in the sense that it could happen at any moment. If something else has to happen before an event can happen, that event is not imminent.

One never knows exactly when an “imminent” event will happen. Because of this, three things are true.

First, you cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before an imminent event occurs. Thus, one should always be prepared for it to happen at any moment.

Second, it is not legitimate to set a date for the occurrence of an imminent event. “Date setting” insinuates that the event cannot take place until that date; and therefore destroys the concept of “imminency”.

Third, it is not legitimate to say that, because an event is “imminent”, it will happen soon. The Bible indicates that the second coming of Christ was imminent when the New Testament was written. However, it is quite obvious that Christ's return would not be a soon-coming event as far as those people were concerned.

The concept of the imminent return of Christ is as follows: His Second Coming is always “hanging overhead”, is “constantly ready to befall or overtake us”, and is “always close at hand” in the sense that it could happen at any moment. Other things MIGHT happen before Christ's return, but nothing else biblically MUST happen before it takes place. If something else MUST hap¬pen first, then, by definition, Christ's second coming cannot be “imminent”.

Because we do not know exactly when Christ will return, three things are true:

First, we cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before His Return; therefore, we should always be ready for Him to come at any moment.

Second, we cannot legitimately set a date for Christ's return.

Third, we cannot necessarily say that just because Christ's second coming is imminent it WILL happen soon. It MIGHT happen soon, but it does not HAVE TO be soon.

A significant contrast exists in the Bible. It teaches an “imminent” return of Christ, but it also teaches a return of Christ that is not imminent - a return that cannot take place until after the "great tribulation" (Matt. 24:21, 29-30). This contrast prompts the conclusion that the Bible teaches two future comings of Christ - the “imminent” one to rapture the Church and the non-imminent one to rule the world after the Great Tribulation.

The Biblical concept of the imminent return of Christ carries a strong implication con¬cerning the time of Christ's coming to rapture the Church. (Ed Hindson and Paul Benware have written excellent articles about this). Any view other than the “Pre-tribulational Rapture” view conflicts with the biblical concept of the imminent return of Christ (I told you to turn away if you couldn’t handle this).

The “Pre-tribulational Rapture” view teaches that Christ will come to rapture the Church before Daniel's “seventieth week” begins, that nothing else must happen before that com¬ing, and that Christ's coming could take place at any moment. Christ's imminent coming should motivate believers to live their lives as if the Rapture could happen on any given day (1 John 2:28; 3:2-3).

[1 John 2:28] - "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming".

[1 John 3:2-3] - "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is; and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure".

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. This column appears each Thursday in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk Newspaper.-- 30 –