32. Is it correct to affirm that the coming of the Lord is imminent?
isn’t, because the word ‘imminent’ means ‘about to happen’ or ‘overhanging.’
Therefore, if one says, ‘the coming of the Lord is imminent,’ he means that
the coming of the Lord may happen in a few days or even in a few hours. For
instance, if we say that the publication of a book is imminent, we mean that
in a very short time that book will be published; if we say that the passage
of a law is imminent, we mean that in a few days or in a few hours that law
will be approved; if we say that the birth of a child is imminent, we mean
that her mother will give birth to her child in a few hours or in a few days.
Therefore, if we say that the coming of the Lord is imminent we are wrong
because the day of Christ will not come unless the falling away comes first,
and the man of sin is revealed. The falling away is happening in a certain
measure, but as the day of the Lord draws near it will increase all the more;
while the man of sin has not yet come. What I say is based on the following
clear words of Paul, who urged the saints of Thessalonica not to believe that
the coming of the Lord was imminent. Listen to his words: “Now we beseech
you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering
together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled,
neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of
Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall
not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be
revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all
that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the
temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I
was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth
that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth
already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the
way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with
the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs
and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them
that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might
be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-10). The Italian Bible Riveduta Version reads
‘quasi che il giorno
Things are clear, very clear, to us: we must beware of all those who want us to believe that the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him are imminent, because that day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed.
I take the opportunity to say also this: almost all pastors who teach that the coming of the Lord is imminent mean that the first phase of the coming of the Lord, which they call ‘the rapture’ or ‘the coming of the Lord for the believers’, is imminent. The second phase of His coming – according to them – is the coming of the Lord with the believers, which will take place seven years (or three and a half years) after the rapture; therefore the second phase of the coming of the Lord will take place after the antichrist has been revealed (so the antichrist will appear after the rapture, and thus when he is revealed the saints will not be on the earth). Therefore, when these pastors say that the coming of the Lord is imminent, they mean that the rapture is imminent, because it might occur even tonight. For very often they say, ‘The Lord may come even tonight!’ It is evident that this subdivision of the Lord’s coming in two phases is wrong because, as we have just seen, when Paul speaks of the coming of Christ and our gathering together to Him, he speaks of “that day” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). So these two events will take place on the same day and not on two different days (that is, the rapture first, and after seven or three and a half years the coming of the Lord with His elect). Therefore, the doctrine which holds that the coming of the Lord is imminent has sprung from this unbiblical subdivision of the coming of the Lord in two phases.
I believe that we must not affirm that the coming of the Lord is imminent, lest we delude ourselves and those who hear us. The apostles never expressed in this way, let us use only biblical expressions when we speak about the coming of the Lord (and not only when we speak about the coming of the Lord).
Furthermore, these pastors make another mistake, for they affirm that after the rapture those believers who will not take part in the imminent rapture (for they are not ready and therefore are rebels), will be given a second chance to be saved, even though the antichrist will be reigning on earth in those days. In the light of this, we really don’t understand why these pastors exhort the saints to prepare themselves to meet the Lord at this imminent coming, if then even those who cast the Word of God behind their backs will have another chance to go with the Lord.
If things were as these pastors say, it would be like saying to the sinners that they must repent and believe in the Lord immediately because if they die in their sins all of a sudden, they will go to hell, and then teaching that even if they don’t repent and they die in their sins, they will have another chance in the afterlife to be saved!!! Judge for yourself what I say.