“Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming” – Really?

Why do so many of these otherwise inspiring songs, begin or end with lyrics like, “Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming”, or other similar, “Jesus is coming soon” type lyrics? Though these kinds of emotionally charged words of imminent anticipation are guaranteed to tug a crowd’s heartstrings and send them into a frenzy, the question is, how long will it be before we begin to seriously scrutinize the underlying eschatological system that constantly produces these failed expectations?

Few seem to wonder why, if Jesus has been imminently coming for 2,000 years, that He still hasn’t returned. Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, and right now the sickness of failed expectations is causing too many Christians to question the veracity of the Bible. 

Let me be clear that I truly appreciate groups like Warr Acres and their commitment to Jesus. What frustrates me is that these uplifting songs are tainted with what I believe is poor eschatology. I’ve been hearing “The King is coming” since the early 70s. Matter of fact, James wrote, The coming of the Lord is at hand…the judge is standing at the door”, almost 2,000 years ago. (James 5:8-9)

Seriously, I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but what do you believe Jesus waiting for? Perhaps, according to some, the complete disintegration of our culture? The decline of the Gospel’s influence? If He’s supposedly waiting for a low point, why didn’t He return before the 16th-century reformation? Or why didn’t he return before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock just prior to Christianity’s explosion into the new world? Or why not just after the Civil War when brother killed brother to the tune of 750,000? Or after 100 million died due to WW1 and the Spanish flu pandemic?
The fact is that the world isn’t getting worse in spite of the constant insistence by many Christians who have been misled to believe that the worse things become the closer we are to the return of Christ. I’m sorry, but this is just plain bad eschatology. 
Where is the overcoming nature of the Gospel which is found in the Epistles of John? 
What’s interesting is that, in the midst of our eschatological schizophrenia, we sing songs with the following overcoming type lyrics:

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
What can stand against?

Yes, indeed, who can stand against? The reality is that many of us don’t believe a word of it because we believe that the Antichrist-led one-world government is coming, natural disasters are about to increase and world chaos will soon overcome us.  

Until we undergo a rather expansive and systematic eschatological makeover and begin to believe that no one can ever stop the advance of the Gospel, our society will continue to decline and we will continue to blindly sing “Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming”. The power of the Gospel is being compromised and this is having a rather chilling effect. 

Perhaps those who say they take the Bible literally will one day take the following verse literally instead of trying to rewrite it to fit their eschatological conclusions. In the meantime, how many more hundreds or even thousands of years before the Church figures out how long a generation is?

(Matthew 24:34Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
For an alternative view that maintains the integrity of God’s Word, consider the following podcast in which the events surrounding the close of the Canon near the end of the age are kept in context. Historical Review (AD 64-66) 
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5 Responses to “Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming” – Really?

  1. countryewe says:

    Chuck, those are great question you pose concerning the calamities that have taken place. And how many believe it is going to get worse! Boy, many are missing the beauty of all that has been given to us from both the physical and spiritual in this world (New Covenant). Christ has overcome the World. Many Christians for sure are mislead. To Sad!

  2. Chuck Coty says:

    Very true, Sandra. Though we have no way of knowing if the U.S. moral landscape will continue to decline, one thing's certain, if we continue to believe that things must worsen because we misunderstand Bible prophecy, things will undoubtedly worsen. This "Why polish brass on a sinking ship?" mentality, is wreaking havoc on our resolve to be the salt shakers and light bearers we were called to be. And I wouldn't care so much about righting the prophetic ship, were it not for the damage it's doing to the proliferation of the Gospel. People think that the worse things get the closer Jesus is to returning. Yes, that's truly sad.

  3. Unknown says:

    I am deeply saddened by your commitment to redefining songs as prophecies and hermeneutics.

    Confronted with one acting in Christ's name but who did not have the correct authority, Jesus said leave it alone. Your condemnation puts yourself in the position of making judgments in direct opposition to His teaching.

    In Galatians, Paul identifies false teachers as those who (1) distract Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel, (2) hinder the Christians from obeying the truth of the gospel, (3) replace the call of God with their own deceptive persuasiveness (4) try to gain control over the whole church (5) cause discouragement (6) spread false reports about spiritual leaders and (6) emphasize sensational rituals. As far as I tell, the "examples" you pose don't fit. In fact, your judgment might actually discourage people from worshiping through song. The worship God wants is love, not rituals; mercy, not sacrifice.

    Would you have the same criticisms of Psalms? Go through them one by one and see if they fit into your theological concept of a song. If holding them to the same standard as you do modern songs illuminates things you object to, I suggest your standard is wrong.

    I'm sure you have reached your understanding in confidence, I just hope that your confidence is in God and not yourself. One of my favorites, Psalms 131 tells me that if I learn my understanding is inadequate, I will be better off.

  4. Chuck Coty says:

    Unknown, I am deeply saddened by the fact that for whatever reason you did not use your name but instead hid behind the veil of anonymity. I value input of all kinds, never shrinking back from a challenge, so I will respond.

    However, gauging your verbal thrashing of my post, it seems as though you either did not understand the intent of my comments or you lack the communication skills necessary to make clear your displeasure. Your reply, though it may have made you feel better, was void of Biblical authority and was a gross misuse of Galatians.

    Perhaps you are unaware that many songs are apocalyptically motivated, thereby the words easily slip past our theological filters. The author clearly believed that the King was about to come and unfortunately the majority of Christians have been preaching this mantra for the past 150 years.

    If you think these types of lyrics are not problematic, perhaps you need to look around. The Church has so seriously and resoundingly ignored Jesus' clear prophetic words that it has caused the precipitation of our culture's decline. Christians have withdrawn from the battle assuming that the earth is about to melt with fervent heat, not realizing that the Gospel is not about failure but about the revolution of the entire world under the reign of King Jesus.

    Jesus said He was coming soon almost 2,000 years ago. He said that He would come within a generation while some of His followers were still alive and before His disciples finished going through the cities of Israel. (Matthew 24:34; 10:23; 16:27-28; Revelation 1:1,3; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 21)

    If you would like to challenge Jesus, do so at your own peril. Sadly, you've used words of condemnation and degradation fit for those who despise the name of Christ. I love my Lord and Savior and your pharisaical comments can't take that away. Your association with these verses from Galatians may be well-intentioned (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt) but they are are incredibly misguided.

    As I said in my article, this group clearly loves the Lord. My only wish is that they would accurately portray Jesus' eschatological words.

    I wish you the best on your journey.

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