Why has Christ still not returned?
Question: In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, political division, civil unrest, and rampant violence in the world today, I keep reading in Tomorrow’s World about Jesus Christ’s soon-coming Millennial rule on the earth. If God knows that our world is such a mess and that only He can make it better, why would He wait thousands of years and allow so much suffering in the meantime? A truly loving God would prevent all of that, wouldn’t He?
Answer: God is definitely not turning a blind eye to the suffering resulting from mankind’s failings, nor is He at all happy about it. “‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!’” (Ezekiel 33:11).
Most assume that in spite of the horrible condition of our world, God is trying to save it—and its people—right now. But if we believe that God is trying to save humanity now, His actions become hard to understand. More than two thirds of the people alive today do not even claim to be Christian, and most “Christians” do not believe or practice what Jesus Christ taught. We know that there is no name other than Christ’s by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12), but we also know that most human beings are not being saved by that name right now—and many have not even heard it. If God is trying to save the human race now, He is failing miserably.
The truth is that if God were trying to save the entire world now, He would be succeeding! Scripture reveals that, in reality, God is only calling a relative few in our present age—the “firstfruits” of the saved (James 1:18; Revelation 14:4). Most people have lived and died without ever hearing the true Gospel, but they will hear it when God resurrects them to physical life in the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11–12). To learn more about this wonderful, mostly unknown aspect of God’s plan, order a free copy of What Happens When You Die?, or read it online at TomorrowsWorld.org.
What purpose does this plan serve? Why not save everybody at the same time? The truth is that God is creating a family—those He is now calling will be married to Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:9), added to His Family so that they can rule under Him during the Millennium, when the whole world will be under God’s government and learn to live by His ways. You can find out more about God’s government by reading The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? at TomorrowsWorld.org, or by ordering your own free copy.
Jesus Christ knows that if He returned today, some people would still say, “You just didn’t give us enough time! We could have fixed everything without You!” The truth is that humanity as a whole will not seek God until its ways have brought such calamitous suffering that people everywhere finally reach a chilling conclusion: There is no human escape from our self-inflicted extinction.
Eventually, our world will face a time of such terrible war and devastation that unless Jesus Christ were to return, all life on earth would be annihilated. “For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days” (Mark 13:19–20). Until then, God is allowing human beings to prove to themselves that their selfish ways bring only misery, suffering, and destruction.
However, as we’ve said, God is calling a few people right now. Those He is calling will have the amazing opportunity to become “firstfruits,” the first to enter into His Family as glorified Spirit beings, to assist Jesus Christ in ruling the nations. With this in mind, all of us need to “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6–7).