The last Words of Jesus Christ in the Bible are found in the next to last verse in the Scriptures: “Surely I come quickly. Amen” (Revelation 22:20). Many believe that since Jesus has not returned over the last 2,000 years of Church history, then we might as well stop talking about it. But this is not an option that is given in the Word of God! Over and over, the New Testament Scriptures encourage us to look for the coming of the Lord from heaven at any moment. A careful look at the signs that are given in the Bible surrounding the coming of the Lord along with an awareness of the news these days tells us that things are shaping up for Jesus to return and for the unfolding of the final days of this age on earth.
Yet there are so many preachers these days that are so in love with their own success that they seem to be unconcerned with the Lord’s return. And this is not just true of preachers, but of Christians in general today. Because the prophetic truths about the rapture of the Church and the Great Tribulation period which is to come about in the future are not being expounded from the pulpits in America, people are left with the impression that things will simply never change. In 2 Peter 3:4 we read the clear prophecy that as the earth approaches the End Times, there will be a growing attitude of apathy concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Worldliness and unbelief, which will be cultivated by immoral lifestyles as well as covetous practices, will cause this apathetic attitude to grow worse. Peter writes: (they will ask) “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4).
Well, even preachers and teachers of the Bible reason that the New Testament writers thought that Jesus would return in their life time, and He did not. But this is a false premise which ends with a deceptive conclusion. The Apostle Paul and Peter and the other early believers expected the Lord to return at any time, and not simply “in their lifetime.” They believed and taught that believers should always be ready for Jesus to return. The Apostle John, who lived until about 100 A.D., was so convinced of His return that he wrote in his first letter (written about 90 A.D.) that we are to continue to “abide in Him,” that is, in Jesus Christ. He said in this context (1 John 2:28) that our continuation in our abiding walk in Christ will be greatly encouraged by our awaiting His return. John wrote: “Abide in Him, that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” When John wrote these words an entire generation of Christians had already passed on to glory, and the Lord had not yet returned. Undaunted, John still watched for Jesus’ any moment return and encouraged believers to do the same.
And as far as it being over 2,000 years since the Lord ascended to heaven with the promise to return, (Acts 1:11) remember the amazing words of Peter in this regard: “The Lord is not slack, concerning His promise (of His return), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering (patient) toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). So, God intends to fill up heaven as much as possible and for as long as possible. Yet, what is a “long time” to our way of thinking, is only a short time to God! Peter states: “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). Therefore, in all reality, from God’s perspective, (which is the only one that really counts!) it has only been two days since the Lord was on the earth and died and rose again! We are now in the beginning of the third day!
With this in mind, I want you to consider these remarkable words spoken by the prophet Hosea at about 780 B.C.: “Come, and let us return unto the Lord, for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. AFTER TWO DAYS WILL HE REVIVE US; IN THE THIRD DAY HE WILL RAISE US UP, AND WE SHALL LIVE IN HIS SIGHT. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).
I believe that we are right on the brink of the Lord’s return based upon the signs of the times that Jesus gives that surround us today! But even beyond the signs is the Lord’s simple promise: “I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself (at the rapture [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18]); that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Still, even if the signs and the Lord’s promise combined were not enough for preachers to expound the truths of the Second Coming to their congregations, and for us believers to witness theses truths to others, then we still have the Lord’s clear command to believe it and to watch for His wonderful return: “Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42). “Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).