3 December 2023: When will Jesus return? (part 5)

Bethel Baptist Church
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3 December 2023



“The tree in the garden was growing and spreading its branches. The gardener had to cut off certain branches and trim the tree to make it more fruitful. So it is with us His children. The Lord has to prune us so we can grow more and more in His likeness with ever increasing glory.”



Songwriters: Chris Rice. For non-commercial use only.


When will Jesus Return?

As we read Scripture we start to get the impression that before Jesus returns, a great tribulation will occur,

For then there will be great tribulation, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again …  ‘If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened … ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days ‘“the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  ‘Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory’.

Matt. 24:21-30

Open Doors have been compiling a ‘World Watch List’ since 1993 ranking the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution e.g., in 2023,

  1. North Korea, again
  2. Somalia
  3. Yemen
  4. Eritrea
  5. Libya
  6. Nigeria
  7. Pakistan
  8. Iran
  9. Afghanistan
  10. Sudan
  11. India

These were all listed as being countries with “Extreme” Persecution levels against Christians. The remaining countries No.’s 12-50 were listed as having “Very High” Levels of Persecution against Christians. Again who can know through the centuries when records were not kept, how many Christians have suffered even died for their faith? Wayne Grudem concludes on this subject:

“… though we may think that Jesus’ words indicate the likelihood of a yet greater persecution coming in the future, it is difficult to be certain of this. Is seems appropriate to conclude that it is unlikely but possible that the predication of a great tribulation has already been fulfilled.”

Wayne Grudem

Quote of the week

“One of the shocking untold stories of our time, is that more Christians have died this century, simply for being Christians, than in any century since Christ was born.”

A. M. Rosenthal, New York Times Executive Editor, 1977-1986

Verse of the week

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and ill-treated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

Hebrews 11:35-38

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, we pray for all Your people who right now are undergoing terrible persecution for their stand for You. Strengthen them by Your Spirit in Jesus Christ, Amen.