The Timing of Christ’s Coming Again
The Lord Jesus Christ will soon return from heaven to earth for His second advent. He promised this event, to His disciples in His Olivet Discourse (Mt 24; Mk 13; Lk 21). Jesus said, “but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Mt 24:36).”
Christians in every generation have spoken of His soon coming, but the emphasis here is on the fact that the next event on Christ’s travel agenda is his glorious appearing on the clouds of heaven. At times people in the church have lost hope and fell into unbelief. The scoffer has asked, “Where is the promise of His coming (2 Pet 3:4)?”
Others in the church have proven themselves to be false prophets, by growing impatient and predicting the date of Christ’s return. This is preceded by atrocious Bible interpretation. Many have been deceived by false date predictions. Some have lost jobs, family relations, possessions, wealth, and even their lives to a murderous false Christ or false prophet.
The decree of precursory signs, prophesied by Jesus (Mt 24:1–28), has been seen in every generation. Things will continue as they always have, and yet, there will be an element of surprise, as in the days of Noah (Mt 24:37–41). The day is drawing nigh.
These signs were not relegated to the localized destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, as the post-millennialists teach. These signs are not relegated to some obscure future time of tribulation for the Jews, as taught by premillennial Dispensationalists.
The day and hour is fixed by God the Father in His eternal counsel (Trinity), which is decreed in His eternal will. We have much to know about the “what” of the day of the Lord Jesus Christ, but according to Jesus, the “when” belongs to God the Father, alone. The secret things, like this day and hour, belong to God (Dt 29:29).
There is nothing in the course of God’s providence for His creation that can alter the time of Christ’s second coming. We, of course, are permitted to eagerly anticipate His victorious arrival with each visible sign. Each event should prompt our prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus (Rev 22:20)!”
Christians must not fall for the whipped-up frenzy of false prophets, who accentuate everything as a precursory sign. Today, this is especially evident with the intrigue of events in the Middle East. The task of every believer is not to become an end times fool. Rather, each of us must prepare appropriately.
Proper preparation is being diligent in the work assigned to us. We must first make our calling and election sure. We must examine ourselves to be confident of the Spirit’s indwelling. Is the Holy Spirit employing the means of grace in your walk as a Christian? Do you attend the gatherings of the saints? Do you attend to the Scriptures on a daily basis? Are you in daily constant prayer to God? Have you been baptized? Are you a regular participant at the Lord’s Supper?
These means of grace keep us in a state of expectation. Otherwise, it is easy to drift away from our first love, our magnificent obsession, and the hope within us. It is foolish for us to be caught up in the cares of the world, which cause us fear, vain pursuits, futile anxiety, etc. We avoid idleness and idolatry when we eagerly seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mt 6:33).
Exercising spiritual gifts (Gal 5:22–23), under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and performing the good works God has prepared beforehand to be accomplished by each believer (Eph 2:10), serves as our proper preparation. These, coupled with our daily meditations in God’s Word, and with unceasing prayer, help us to be dressed in readiness (Lk 12:35; 1 Thess 5:17–18).
It is reasonable that God has kept the “when” of the Son of God’s coming to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5), a secret, in order to help Christians prepare. The tension of knowing He is coming, with the not knowing when, must have its good effect. When we hear of these events, the Spirit stirs our hope, our anticipation, and our desire to be wise in preparation. What joy will fill us on the day of His coming at the trumpet sound and the shout of the heavenly herald. Behold, the King of glory comes (Ps 24; Acts 1:11; Rev 19:11–21)!
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 22, 2022