Vatican Announces They are Weary of Waiting For Yashua's (Jesus) Return
A spokesperson for the Vatican officially announced that the coming of the Lord may not happen. They stated from the looks of it, Yashua, the only begotten Son of God will not return per John 14:1-3. Cardinal Giorgio Salvadore told WWN reporters that Jesus may have been drinking (perhaps from the last Supper with his disciples) when he uttered the statements of his return. He rationalized that people make promises they can't keep when they're drunk!
"Cardinal Giorgio Salvadore told WWN that this years 1,981st anniversary is to be the Vatican’s last in regards to waiting for the Lord to return to Earth." See Jesus Is Not Coming Back By The Looks of It Admits Vatican.
I find it difficult to imagine how such words could be uttered about Christ, but if true, it represents the difficulty people have with understanding the coming of the Lord.
Let's focus for a moment on the Lord's promise in Jn. 14:1-3. Jesus promised to go away and to return. The problem with most who read the Bible is that they never establish the full context of a statement. Yes, Yashua promised to return. God cannot lie, Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18.
Reading further, we find the "time" context for text. Jesus spoke additional words of his return in John 16:16-19, saying he would return in "a little while". This corresponds with Hebrews 10:37, and other imminent statements in the New Testament. The promised coming of the Lord must align with this "little while" concept.
When we consider Jesus' statements in the Synoptic gospels, we understand his promise that he would return within his generation, Matt. 16:28, 34:34. The problem is that many people have their vision for Christ's return fixated on the future, when it should be turned in the direction of the first century.
The Bible is written "for us" but it was not written "to us". We commit gross errors in interpretation by reading ourselves into texts that were originally addressed to people in a historical setting and time. We treat no other literature in this manner. We don't read Shakespeare and the world of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Brutus as though they were speaking directly to us. We keep the historical setting and context so that we understand the message from their perspective. We must do the same with Scripture.
When Jesus told his apostles he would return in "a little while", that statement must be understood from the perspective of those who first heard it. They lived almost 2000 years ago. Does it seem reasonable they would interpret or understand "a little while" to mean the year 2014? If we heard a promise made by someone living today that an event would occur in a little while, would we immediately make the leap in our thinking from our current time to the year 4014? Why, of course not? It is not reasonable. For the same reason, the disciples did not understand Jesus words in such manner neither did he intend them as such.
Before Some of You Die
That Yashua meant a little while from their perspective is taken from words he uttered earlier.
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with all his holy angels and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matt. 16:27-28)
An event which would occur in their lifetime would qualify as "a little while." It would happen before all who stood in Jesus' presence died. He emphatically stated his coming would occur before the generation then living passed, (Matt. 24:30-34). Are they yet alive today?
Though some, realizing the difficulty of such a position say yes to keep from calling the Lord a liar, it is not possible nor a sufficient answer. They certainly have no proof. Others, say Jesus lied, was mistaken or "drunk". How does that fare for the skeptics or the inspiration of Scripture? Why not simply believe that he came when and as he said he would? Surely, it means our "concept" of his coming needs adjustment, but it does not mean he did not appear.
Jesus Came As His Father Had Come In the Old Testament
The text says he would come in the glory of His Father. How did God come in the past? There are several examples of God coming in the Old Testament. None of them involved a literal coming to the earth. Consider Isaiah 19:1. "The burden against Egypt. Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the hear of Egypt will melt in its midst."
According to the Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Old Testament), the word presence is from "prosopou" meaning face. Yet, there was no literal coming of God sitting on a literal cloud. They did not "see" his literal face. God is Spirit. No reputable commentator would even claim God rode a literal cloud. This is how God came in the O.T. to judge nations. That is the meaning of Matt. 24:30, which speaks of the Lord coming on the clouds in judgment upon ancient Jerusalem. It would happen in the first century generation, just as God came and judged Egypt in the 8th century B.C. Western readers are not as familiar with Jewish apocalyptic literature and so they read the Bible from a Western mindset which causes much confusion and error.
Jesus' first coming was a coming in humility as man. His second coming was a coming in the Divine Presence as the glory of God who is Spirit. For a more thorough study see "Like Father, Like Son, On Clouds of Glory, by Don K. Preston, on Amazon.com or from the author's website.
The Vatican's Conclusion Is Correct
Yes, people should stop "waiting" on a future return of Christ. His presence arrived almost two thousand years ago when he came in judgment upon the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. These were the days of vengeance upon Jerusalem for persecuting and murdering the Son of God, the apostles and saints. Matt. 23:34-37; Luke 21:20-22, 32.
It is also important not to conclude that a fulfilled return of Christ puts God out of business. It does not. It confirms his word in the same way a fulfilled promise confirms the one who made and delivered on that promise. It is the failure to keep a promise that destroys trust and faith. God kept his. Now, if we can only look in the right direction, we will see it with the "eyes of our understanding" (Eph. 1:18).