The early church had a strong belief that Jesus was about to appear for a second time which would draw history to a close. Paul makes that clear in his writings and they had the rather enigmatic comment from Jesus to support them in that idea, when He declared to Peter and John that John might still be alive when He returned (John 21 v 22). Throughout the centuries, the Church has believed that Christ's re-appearance was immediate and there have been various attempts to bring His Second Coming forward, by manipulating the circumstances upon which His return is dependent. The founding of Israel in the twentieth century; Oliver Cromwell's invitation in the seventeenth century to Jews to live in England; the 'Great Disappointment' in the nineteenth century are examples of people in power seeking to bring forward the Second Coming. There are various Bible passages-mostly to be found in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation, but also elsewhere, even in the Gospels-which give us 'signs' of the Second Coming drawing near. Some Christians believe that Covid-19 is a portent of the world as it is beginning to draw to an end. This is a huge subject and it is understandable that many believers avidly seek the time when God's Kingdom will be fully on earth as it is in Heaven. If you do want to know more, when I have some time, I will look into it in greater detail. The analogy James uses here of the farmer waiting for his crop to grow is a good one. He has done all the work of preparation, now he waits for the things he can't do anything about-the sun and rain-to do its work. We are called to wait, but to be in a place of preparedness as the five wise bridesmaids in Jesus' parable found in Matthew 25 v 1-13. James emphasises that believers shouldn't grumble about each other-not the first exhortation I would have thought of-but he is aware that those we may grumble against one minute may be the ones we spend eternity with. Cultivate your relationships with fellow believers!
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