Popular fiction and certain biblical interpretations often link the return of Jesus to unrest in the Middle East — so much so that you can find some people who accuse Christians of intentionally goosing war abroad in order to kickstart Jesus’ Second Coming.
As just one example, this GQ piece on evangelicals from last week implied that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is motivated to international conflict as part of a Rube Goldberg-type scheme to get Jesus to come back earlier. Whatever Pompeo’s actual motives for seeking war with Iran, a new survey shows that very few pastors think Jesus’ second coming can be sped up by pushing various geopolitical events.
In fact, LifeWay found that pastors are far more likely to link evangelism to the Second Coming than any sort of global events. Just 12 percent of pastors say supporting global events they believe are mentioned in Revelation can speed up the return of Jesus. 80 percent disagree, with 61 percent strongly disagreeing.
Pastors are more evenly divided on the question of the Great Commission. About 41 percent believe Jesus’ Second Coming can be sped up through world evangelism, while 54 percent disagree.
“The Great Commission was a task Jesus gave his followers to be doing while he is gone,” wrote Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “Four in 10 pastors believe the pace of sharing the message of what Jesus has done will impact the timing of Christ’s return. Presumably many of those who disagree would assert exclusively divine control over Christ’s return.”