Acts 17:10-15 describes Paul’s encounter with the Bereans of Asia Minor. The NIV says they had “noble character.” The NKJV says they were “fair-minded.” Why did Paul commend them so? Because they didn’t take his words at face value just because Paul said them. They searched the Scriptures for themselves to make sure that what Paul taught lined up with God’s Word.
In other words, they didn’t just accept anything they were told. They didn’t just parrot what others said. They wanted to know what God’s Word actually said. That’s a noble and worthy practice. Not following their example is a major reason why there is so much confusion concerning the end-times and Christ’s return.
It’s the same practice we use when we make the Spirit-inspired connections between the prophecies concerning the coming of the Son of Man. It’s the same practice we use when we uncover the biblical definitions of end-time terms.
It is as if the Church has been bound up in barbed wire when it comes to Christ’s return. The Word has been twisted and distorted by the false concept of a future 7-year tribulation. For instance, do we see any of the scriptural terms about the future Antichrist in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, when He gave us the signs of the end of this age and His subsequent coming? No. Yet so many cling to this twisted concept.
Sadly, many in the Church can’t bear such confusion and division because it doesn’t make sense to them. In reality, they have enough sense to recognize that this can’t be God’s will because He is not the author of confusion. All they can do is give up on understanding the times and what Scripture says about Christ’s coming. They want to know, but they don’t know how to watch.
It’s been said that we can see the setup for the Tribulation all around us now. Really? Jesus told us in His teaching on the rapture that the tribulation would be a distinguishing trait of the nearly two thousand years of the existence of the Church! That’s why Jesus warned us that we would be hated by all nations (Matt. 24:9). It’s not a future event. The Church has been living in it all this time!
Jesus told us that the last sign we would see before He comes again is total celestial darkness. The Gospel records confirm that this impossible-to-miss event signals His return at the Day of the Lord. It is the Day we are looking for. We don’t have to wonder when it will come because Jesus also told us it is the last Day of God’s prophetic great Week. The last and 7th Day is the Day of our Redemption. It doesn’t get any clearer than that—unless, of course, you want to twist God’s Word and add or subtract from it.
It’s time to lay to rest our inadequate man-made terms. We need not mourn them, but we do pay our respects. They at least kept the idea of our Lord’s return before the eyes of many generations of believers. But the views fell short. Let’s just bow our heads and say, “May they rest in peace.” It’s time to lay hold of the biblical truth, as did the Bereans.