Forerunners Proclaiming the Coming of Jesus

In my opinion, we are in the early days of the generation in which Jesus will return. I believe that there are people alive today who will see the return of Jesus. It may be the 20-year-olds or it could be the 2-year-olds who see His return. I do not know. No one can know this with certainty. However, I do know that the Lord will raise up forerunners in the generation in which He returns. What is a forerunner? Forerunners proclaim the coming of the Lord and the events directly related to it. When we look at the first-century forerunners, it gives us insight into the life and role of forerunners in the end times. John the Baptist and the apostles were first-century forerunners; they went into various cities before Jesus in order to proclaim His coming.

[Jesus] . . . sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.
—Luke 9:52

The angel Gabriel alluded to Isaiah 40 when he described John the Baptist as a forerunner who would prepare people to receive Jesus at His first coming (Lk. 1:11-19).

It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
—Luke 1:17, NAS

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
—Isaiah 40:3

John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord (Jn. 1:23). These passages give us insight into the forerunner ministry as that of preparing people by announcing the coming of Christ. John was a prophet who also ministered as an evangelist, calling multitudes to come to Jesus. In other words, he announced the coming of Jesus while winning souls to the kingdom and making disciples by teaching them to pray, fast, and live righteously (Mt. 9:14; Lk. 3:3-18; 11:1).

Isaiah 62 describes forerunners in the generation in which the Lord returns: they will prepare people by building up the highway of the Lord and by lifting a banner message to the ends of the earth that God’s salvation is surely coming. Forerunners proclaim the second coming of Jesus and give insight into the reward that He will bring with Him (Rev. 22:12).

Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples! Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.’”
—Isaiah 62:10-11

Just as the first-century forerunners proclaimed the first coming of Jesus ahead of time, so also the end-time forerunners will proclaim the second coming of Jesus ahead of time. I believe that even now, God is beginning to prepare forerunners from many different streams in the Body of Christ worldwide. These forerunners will function in many different ways and with different ministry callings. They include those called as evangelists, pastors, teachers, prophets, media missionaries, artists, singers, musicians, actors, writers or those called to the marketplace. Many will focus on making disciples by leading small groups in their church, university or work place. Moms and dads are some of the most effective forerunners as they teach their children about the coming of Jesus and its implication. The forerunner ministry is not reserved for some elite group of people—it is a calling available to any believer who is willing to announce the coming of Jesus and the events related to it.

Forerunners Proclaim Both Comings of the Lord

Forerunners emphasize Jesus’ second coming at the same time as proclaiming the benefits of His first coming as they win the lost, heal the sick, help the poor, and walk in love and holiness. To understand the fullness of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we must consider the two time frames that are related to His first and second comings. The first time frame started years before the cross and extends through church history. The second time frame starts three and a half years before His second coming and extends through the millennial kingdom. The second time frame is referred to as the Day of the Lord.

Jesus’ earthly ministry in these two time frames is joined together in God’s plan to accomplish the fullness of His purposes. There is a dynamic continuity between these two. We must not see them as separate realities but as the same glory of Jesus being manifest in two periods of time.

What was fully accomplished at Jesus’ first coming will be fully manifest in all the nations in the events related to His second coming. At His first coming, He paid the price for our sin and sickness, defeated Satan, and released the power of the Spirit in and through His people so that they might live in victory over sin and make a dynamic impact on the nations in this age. At His second coming, He takes it all a step further by openly manifesting the fullness of His victory in every sphere of life. Imagine the power that He will exert when He raises every believer from the dead, casts Satan into prison, fully transforms every area of society in every nation, and removes the curse of sin from creation by restoring all things, including the animals, atmosphere, and agriculture. All of these activities are aspects of Jesus’ earthly ministry as described in various end-time scriptures.

Some people only focus on the benefits of Jesus’ first coming as it relates to His salvation and power being manifest over the last 2,000 years of church history. Others focus on the benefits of Jesus’ first coming as it relates to the events of His second coming. These two periods are joined together in God’s greater purposes. What God has joined together, let no man separate. We must proclaim the whole counsel of God, which includes His saving power being manifest on earth in both time frames (Acts 5:20; 20:20, 27).

Forerunners Live in Two Time Frames

Forerunners live both in the now and in the future. They press into the kingdom in the now while also preparing for the unique dynamics that will occur just before Jesus returns. They see the significance of the years leading up to His return, at which time extreme and unique dynamics—both positive and negative—will be occurring. These will include the greatest outpouring of the Spirit and revival in history, one that will surpass the book of Acts. It will also include Satan’s most intense rage against the human race and God’s most severe judgments being poured out against the Antichrist’s empire.

Noah is an example of a forerunner who lived in two time frames, seeking to live in the fullness of God’s purposes in the now while preparing for the fullness of God’s purpose in the future. He poured himself out in preaching to unbelievers while he was preparing an ark for a future storm that would not occur for many decades (Heb. 11:7; 2 Pet. 2:5).

We do not need to choose between now and then. It is our inheritance to walk in the fullness of what God intended for both time frames. End-time forerunners announce the second coming of Jesus while they win the lost, heal the sick, and make disciples.

Forerunners Prepare the Unprepared

Simply defined, the forerunner ministry announces the coming of the Lord and prepares the unprepared to receive the ministry of Jesus in the midst of the unique dynamics of the end times. Not all ministries feel called to emphasize the second coming of Jesus and the events related to it. However, those who do must prepare today by gaining deeper understanding of what the Scripture says about the end times.

How will forerunners practically prepare the unprepared? By informing them that Jesus is returning to the earth as the King of kings and by changing their expectation and interpretation of the unique events related to His coming. They will prepare people to respond rightly to Jesus by giving them understanding of His end-time plans so that they will be able to agree with what He is doing in that hour instead of resisting it.

If people lack understanding of what is happening in the end times, they will be far more vulnerable to yield to fear, offense, confusion, compromise, and deception. Their ignorance of what the Scripture says about the events occurring in that hour will cause them to make wrong decisions. As intense events unfold, many will lose their perspective and objectivity in seeing God’s love and wisdom. People will need to see what is happening from a biblical perspective and understand the events as an expression of God’s love and wisdom. Forerunners will bring this understanding of God’s love to the context of the unique end-time events. Others will just be confused, without knowing what is right or wrong. Unbelievers will have a desperate need to understand what is happening (Mt. 24:37-39). Even some believers will struggle with offense at Jesus for what He is allowing to happen (Mt. 11:6). In contrast, those who do understand what is happening will be far more likely to grow in faith and love. By gaining understanding they will be able to discern the right things and, therefore, to resist the wrong ones. Forerunners proclaim from the Scripture what will happen before it occurs, including the end-time revival, judgment, deception, and persecution.

Forerunners Bring Understanding of the Judgment of God

The purpose of God’s judgments against the Antichrist’s empire is remove all that hinders love; they are expressions of His love. Those who misunderstand God’s judgments will be offended and angry with Him. Forerunners will help people receive Jesus’ love instead of being offended at Him. People must rightly interpret Jesus’ judgments in order to trust His leadership so that they may mature in love for Him. Forerunners will bring right understanding about God’s judgments. It is not enough to make known the fact that God’s judgments are coming against the Antichrist’s empire—we must give the reason for them. We are to give the why behind the what.

At the heart of God’s judgment is Jesus, intervening to deliver the oppressed and to stop oppressors. Think of the implications of a God who would not intervene to stop oppressors. What would you think of a father who would not intervene to prevent a man kidnapping his children? God’s judgments are an expression of His love for His children. Furthermore, in the midst of those very judgments, God offers mercy to the oppressors if they will only repent and receive it. Isaiah proclaimed that when God’s judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9).

Praying against the Judgment of God in this Hour

In this hour, the saints are not to pray for judgment against ungodly nations. They are to cry out for God’s mercy to triumph over judgment in the midst of ungodly nations. We pray for their salvation and deliverance. At this time, we do not pray to release God’s judgment, but to stop it. The message of the Old Testament prophets was that God’s people could stop the judgment of God through intercession. We see this message clearly throughout the entire book of Joel.

The only time when the saints are to pray for the release of judgment against the Antichrist’s empire is in the final three and half years of this age. We must be clear that God’s end-time judgments are focused on the Antichrist’s reprobate empire. Reprobate people are so hardened in their hatred of God that they have no desire to ever repent. As Moses prayed for God to release His judgments against a reprobate Pharaoh in Exodus chapters 7 to 12, so the saints will pray for God to release judgment against the Antichrist’s empire that seeks to oppress and kill the saints.

The greatest miracles of Jesus will be released through His Church during the final three and a half years of this age, when He releases signs and wonders against the Antichrist that are similar to those He released through Moses (Mic. 7:15). However, during the three and a half years before Jesus returns, we will pray for the judgments described in the book of Revelation to be released against the Antichrist and his empire, which will be comprised of reprobate peoples and nations. The reprobate in that hour will be far more hostile against Jesus as they oppress the saints. In that day, the prayers of all the saints from throughout history will be released against the Antichrist’s empire (Rev. 8:3-5; Ps. 149:6-9).

Forerunners Prepare Themselves in the Word

Forerunners prepare themselves by going deep in God through studying the Scripture in the context of prayer with fasting, resisting temptation, enduring difficulties, ministering to people, and learning to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. The ministry we do today glorifies Jesus and helps people while at the same time preparing us for the future. The ministry we do today is an essential part of our preparation for future ministry.

Forerunners must grow in their understanding of the Scripture. There are over 150 chapters in the Bible that focus on Jesus’ second coming and the end-time events that are associated with it. In comparison, the four gospels that give us a record of Jesus’ ministry at His first coming total 89 chapters. The gospels give us a record of Jesus’ ministry related to His first coming when He redeemed us from our sins. The 150 chapters on the end times reveal His ministry and the events related to His second coming when He will openly manifest His rule over all the nations. Many of God’s people neglect these 150 chapters without considering that they come from the same Bible, reveal the same Jesus, and manifest the same power of the Spirit as the four gospels. These 150 chapters focus on Jesus’ end-time plan and the demonstration of His signs and wonders in totally removing wickedness from the earth and fully establishing His peace, righteousness, and love in all the nations.

Forerunners will take time to gain understanding of what the Scriptures say about the end times so that they may prophetically declare it to others (Isa. 62:10-12; Jer. 23:20; 30:24; Dan. 11:33-35; 12:9-10; Joel 2:28-29; Mal. 4:5-6; Mt. 17:11; Acts 2:17-21; Rev. 11:3-6; 13:18). Jeremiah prophesied that in the last days God would give His people a supernatural ability to perceive His loving purposes in sending His judgments: “In the latter days you will understand it perfectly” (Jer. 23:20). Jeremiah went on to prophesy that God’s messengers would consider, or search out, the Word of God to gain understanding of God’s heart behind His end-time judgments (Jer. 30:24).

Daniel prophesied that people who having understanding in the end times shall instruct many:

Those of the people who understand shall instruct many . . . Some of those of understanding shall fall [martyrdom], to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.
—Daniel 11:33-35

God is raising up forerunners like John the Baptist who will be a voice with clarity, power, and boldness in the midst of much confusion. They will be a voice of things to come, not merely an echo (Jn. 1:23). Simply knowing a few Bible principles will not be enough; forerunners must grow in their understanding of the Scripture that they might be a clear prophetic voice in that hour.

Partnership with Jesus Now and Then

Some spend time preparing to engage in partnership with Jesus now with no thought of preparing for partnership with Him in the uniqueness of the end-time events. Their rationale is that we do not need to prepare because Jesus will just take care of things Himself at that time. There is a fundamental contradiction in this mindset. Though they correctly see Jesus as desiring partnership with His people today to change the world, they are wrong in thinking that He will not seek the same partnership in the years just before He returns. The good news is that Jesus wants full partnership with us now and then.

Jesus desires deep partnership with His Bride in every stage of His work in this age and the age to come, especially in the world-changing events that will occur just before He returns. He will not suddenly turn a cold shoulder to His Bride in that hour to take everything into His own hands, bypassing His joy in working through His people. As surely as He heals the sick and overcomes the oppressor through the prayers of the saints now, He will do the same then. Jesus longs for deep partnership with His people in every stage of His work in this age and the age to come.

We must be as intentional about preparing to partner with Jesus in the end times as we are in the now. The intensity of life at that time will require special preparation, especially in our understanding.

The End-time Hope for All the Nations

The return of Jesus is called the blessed hope: “The blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). He will come to rule all the nations and His judgments will remove all oppression and rebellion against God from the entire earth. All nations will live in the joy of God’s manifest presence with unprecedented prosperity, righteousness, unity, and goodness. The earth will enjoy an open heaven greater than at any time in history. Even the hostility of certain animals toward humans will be removed (Rom. 8:19-23). The entire earth will be healed as the land, water, and atmosphere are fully cleansed. The conditions of the garden of Eden will eventually fill the entire earth (Isa. 35:1-8; 51:3; Ezek. 34:29; 36:35; 47:6-12).

We will experience great advancements of God’s kingdom on the earth even before Jesus returns but it will increase even more dramatically after His return. There is a dynamic continuity between our labors and victories before He returns and the victories that He will establish after He returns. It will all work together as one seamless plan. The devil will be thrown into prison and all evil laws and leaders will be replaced by those that are righteous and good (Rev. 20:1-6). The earth will not end—Satan and the kingdom of darkness on earth will end. This is the greatest hope imaginable for our future and the generations to come. We are agents of change who confront evil now with the love and power of Jesus. There is no fear in love. The martyrs will overcome as they are victorious in love over Satan and all the ways of the Antichrist (Rev. 12:11; 15:2). We cry “come Lord Jesus,” asking Him to come and fully establish the work the Church has been involved in for 2,000 years in preaching His kingdom (Rev. 11:15).

Jesus Commanded His People to Know the Generation

As I stated at the beginning of this chapter, my opinion is that we are in the early days of the generation in which Jesus will return. While no one can know the day or hour of His return, it is possible to know the generation of Jesus’ return, by observing the biblical signs of the times. My opinions on this generation are based on observation of the biblical signs, not on personal revelation such as prophetic visions. We must insist that our faith be based on what the Bible says, not on personal revelations about the timing of His return.

Jesus commanded one generation of believers to know that His return was near. Of course, it was the generation that would be alive to “see all these things,” or the signs that He prophesied in Matthew 24. They were to know that the end, or His return, was near. Some confuse not being able to know the day and hour (v. 36) with not being able to know the generation (v. 34).

When you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors! . . . This generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place . . . Of that day and hour no one knows.
—Matthew 24:33-36

A generation in Scripture ranges anywhere from 40 to 100 years (Gen. 15:13-16; Num. 32:13; Ps. 90:10; Mt. 1:17; Acts 7:6). Moses spoke of Israel’s captivity in Egypt as lasting 400 years or 4 generations (Gen. 15:13). Thus, a generation could refer to 100 years. The 14 generations from Abraham to David averaged about 70 years each (Mt. 1:17). We are called to know or recognize the generation in which the Lord returns. The point is that when we know it is drawing near, we can only look up and lift up our heads:

There will be signs in the sun, in the moon . . . and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear . . .
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree . . .” —Luke 21:25-26, 28-29

Jesus pointed out that many living in the last generation would not know that they were in the last generation (Mt. 24:37-39). But believers can know the generation just as Noah did. It should not catch the righteous off guard (1 Thes. 5:1-6). Jesus rebuked those of His generation for not seeing the prophetic signs of the times they were living in (Lk. 19:42-44). Paul taught that the Church should know the times and seasons related to Jesus’ second coming (1 Thes. 5:1-6). Jesus and Paul both emphasized that the signs of the times can be known (Mt. 24:32-34; Lk. 21:25-29; 1 Thes. 5:1-6; 2 Thes. 2:1-11).

Jesus connected the timing of His return to specific events and trends. There are sign events and sign trends predicted in Scripture that alert us to the timing of Jesus’ return. As these trends accelerate at the same time on a global level, making headline news, we are to understand that we are in a unique season in history leading to Jesus’ return. The light and darkness will both increase (Isa. 60:2; Mt. 13:30). Today, most of these trends are accelerating. For the first time in history, most of these trends and some of the necessary developments that will lead to the sign events are happening in an alarming measure, at the same time, and on a global basis.

The good news is that there is much biblical information about this because Jesus wants us to be prepared for His end-time purposes.

Sign events include the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948. Israel becoming a nation was a necessary development for the abomination of desolation to occur. Positive trends indicating that we are close to the generation in which the Lord will return include Jesus’ prophecy that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Mt. 24:14). The leading missionary organizations project from statistical data that the gospel will be presented to all 6,000 ethnic people groups among the 238 nations by 2015. Positive trends that serve as signs of the times also include the salvation of Israel, the global prayer and worship movement (Isa. 62:6-7), the people of God walking in their bridal identity (Rev. 22:17; Mt. 25:1–13), the outpouring of the spirit of prophecy (Acts 2:17), unparalleled understanding of end-time prophecy (Jer. 23:20; 30:24; Dan. 11:33; 12:10), and the global youth focus in the kingdom in which fathers turn their hearts to love and serve the younger generation (Mal. 4:5-6), including the fatherless (abortion, orphans, human trafficking).

Jesus prophesied twelve negative trends that bring distress to the nations and indicate the generation of His return (Mt. 24:4-14; Lk. 21:11, 25). Most of these trends are escalating at a speed that poses a threat to the stability and peace of the nations. Many negative sign trends are recorded in Matthew 24, including deception and false prophets (v. 4-5, 11, 24), ethnic conflict (v. 7), economic warfare (v. 7), famines, pestilences, and earthquakes (v. 8), hatred of believers (v. 9), relational breakdown in society (v. 10), and lawlessness, causing love to grow cold (v. 12). Further negative sign trends are recorded in Luke 21: fearful sights and signs in the sky (v. 11), and disturbances in the sea (v. 25). These trends have always existed in society, but in the end times they will have a distinct intensity that will make global headline news. God has a message to a generation in them; they are prophetic signs that are meant to give believers confidence that the Lord is near. Other trends include the harlot Babylon worldwide religion (Rev. 17:2-6), the falling away from the faith (Mt. 24:9-13; 2 Thes. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-5), persecution against believers and lawlessness abounding (Mt. 24:12; Rev. 14:18), human trafficking (Rev. 18:13; Joel 3:3), pornography, and scoffers and mockers against the emphasis of preparing for the Lord’s return (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

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1 comment

  1. Hi.
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    Welcome to visit my Site.
    Allan Svensson, Sweden

    And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world
    for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
    Matt. 24:14.

    Has this been fulfilled? Both yes and no. By radio, TV,
    books and magazines, E-mails and Websites on the
    Internet, it is possible to reach out above the whole world.
    We can say that God’s gospel has been spread out above
    the whole world. The problem is that those who are
    preaching, and those who are writing in books and
    magazines and Websites on the Internet, they have an
    insufficient knowledge of God’s word. They have not
    learnt the first fundamentals of the gospel of God.

    Those who ought to be teachers, yet need to get teaching.
    Hebr. 5:12. This is the state of most Christians today. They
    are not able to preach or teach about the Assembly of God,
    or about the baptism by the Holy Spirit. They are lacking
    of this knowledge. They believe that the Assembly of God
    is a Pentecostal church. Please, consider what this expression
    “the Assembly of God” in the reality implies. The Assembly
    of God must be the same as the Greek word “ecclesia”, and
    the Body of Christ. 1 Cor. 12:12-31.

    Then it is easy to understand that this has nothing to do
    with the Pentecostal Movement. Pentecostal churches have
    existed about 100 years, but the Assembly of God has existed
    ever since Jesus baptized his first disciples by the Holy Spirit.
    The Holy Spirit gave them the new life in Christ so that they
    became born anew. Then the Assembly of God was born.
    Since then, the Assembly of God has lived here on the earth
    generation after generation.

    The truth of the Assembly of God has never been preached
    in the churches. Therefore, God’s people are totally
    unprepared for Jesus’ coming. It is very urgent that all
    God’s people understand the truth of the Assembly of God.

    Nowhere in the Bible can, we find any hint of that the
    Assembly of God is any church system, or that the church
    buildings are temples of God, neither that the Assembly of
    God is any organized movement. A living body cannot
    become an organization, and an organization cannot become
    a living body. Therefore, the Assembly of God cannot become
    an organization. Nowhere in the Bible can, we read that they
    organized a local assembly.

    In the reality, the word “church” does not occur in the Bible.
    I have five bible translations in Swedish. Nowhere in these
    Bibles we can find the word “church” (kyrka). All churches
    and free churches are religious black buildings, not founded
    on God’s word.

    God is the Love
    But God’s love does not hinder us to study God’s word

    Where is Jesus’ church?
    Where is the church that Jesus built?

    Why did the Pentecostal Revival take an end?

    The truth of the baptism by the Holy Spirit and the new birth

    Jesus cannot come today because God’s people are not ready

    What does hinder the Antichrist to appear?
    What is the Restrainer?