A perspective on the end of time

When Jesus Returns (David Pawson)

169 pages, Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 1995

REVIEW. Are we living in the end times? Christians have maintained that one of the marks of the end is that Jesus will return to earth to take his people to heaven or to set up a new world. David Pawson says he argues what the Bible is saying about the return, in When Jesus Returns.

The subject of the return to earth of Jesus Christ, from heaven after two thousand years, has gained traction in church circles in recent years as the world declines – among those Christians who believe what the Bible says, holding it as the revealed word of God – where many turn to verses that point to Jesus Christ’s return.

Author of When Jesus Return, David Pawson, tells us that the subject of the Second Coming of Christ has been ‘in vogue’ in Bible-believing churches since the early 1800s. There has been a return to the centrality of the return, like it was central in the early church. Numerous authors and teachers have explained and still are explaining the “millennial reign of Christ”.

The details of how Christ comes back are far from unanimous, though. There are several approaches depending on the author and Bible teacher which makes deciding on which way to go a matter of choose for some. Pawson explains the different approaches while cautions on some of the facts and details, preferring a sensible, literal, and straight-forward approach – a “plain-sense approach” – to the Bible passages about Jesus’ return.

Pawson’s conclusion is in keeping with a literal interpretation, most relevantly Revelation chapter 20. It says here that Christ comes back to rule, with the resurrected martyrs and believers, who were killed during the apocalypse. The apocalypse is a predicted time where, to put it plainly, the world turns to custard.

But it gets better, when Christ reigns as head, restoring the earth to peace and prosperity for one thousand years, under Christian rule with the saints (those Christian believers who did not take the mark of Beast or worshipped his statue, and will reign with other faithful). Satan will be bound during this time after which he is thrown into the ‘lake of fire’ forever. Then there is the final judgment by the Lord, where everyone is judged by what they did in their lives, to eternal life or torment. Pawson has always stressed that overcomers take their place in eternal life, these are those who overcome their sins and keep on putting their faith in Christ, and in how they lived their lives.

One may get bogged down with the wordier prose, but I did not get the impression that Pawson is swamping the reader with his own point of view on the subject, but graciously says he could be wrong. His book may be a little outlandish at times (but still not of bounds). I found reading a certain chapter of the book – ‘The Millennium Muddle’ – with my Bible open to Revelation 20 an immense help in following his argument.

When Jesus Returns is not as eye opening as I had hoped, with some disappointing visions of the future that seem narrow in approach, but the book is encouraging for those who wish to put Christ first and fear God when it may be tempting to give up the faith during perilous times, whatever happens.

Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers.


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