I’m sure that, over the years, many people have wondered about the state of the world. Over the centuries since Jesus came to earth, there have been so many natural disasters, world wars, terrorism attacks, deathly diseases, acts of genocide, etc which must have made people at the time wonder what life is about and if it’s about to end. People of the Christian faith believe that Jesus will come down to earth again but next time as a king.
I also heard many people say that, during the recent Covid pandemic which affected all parts of the world, this could have been the moment Jesus had chosen to return. On top of this, I understand that both the Old and New Testaments prophesied God’s return. In all the biblical, theological and related studies you have made over the years, is there any indication when Christ will return and what signs we should look for?
Rev Graham responds: Thank you, Carol, for your question about the second coming of Jesus. It is one that has been asked generally and specifically ever since Jesus returned to heaven over 2000 years ago.
I live near EventCity, Trafford, a centre that organizes various exhibitions throughout the year. The level of preparation for each event will be very precise and details of the date and time of its commencement will be secured and widely advertised. However, if people did not know the exact date and time when it was to take place, then they would soon give up on any plans to attend the event!
In Matthew 25 we read about ten virgins who were making plans to meet the bridegroom and had lamps with them. Five were wise and had a reserve of oil that would last for a good length of time and five were foolish and had no extra oil. The bridegroom was a long time coming but eventually arrived late and the virgins without oil, who hadn’t prepared properly for the visit, were excluded from the wedding feast.
The well-known phrase ‘coming soon’ implies that what is anticipated is on its way but the exact timing of it is not known. Those living and ministering with Jesus continually asked the question about when the kingdom of heaven would be established. In Acts 1 Luke records the Ascension of Jesus and very clearly points out to his disciples that ‘it is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.’ As Jesus ascended into heaven, the two angels present informed the disciples that ‘this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’
In scripture we read of hundreds of references in the Old Testament about the expectation and establishment of God’s kingdom and reign on earth as exampled in the visions of Daniel. In the New Testament there are about one in twenty-five references to Jesus about his earthly and future reign on earth that will usher in God’s absolute rule over all his creation and further references can be found in: 1 Thessalonians 5, 2 Peter 3, Hebrews 1: and in the book of Revelation.
Consider for a moment what it would be like if we all knew exactly what the future had in store for us. How do you think it would affect our daily living? In one way I think it would fill us with hope and excitement to embrace all the good things that await us. On the other hand it may fill us with a terrible sense of fear and dread knowing what trials and sadnesses were in store for each one of us. In the light of such thinking, it beholds people of faith to live each day in a readiness to meet our maker and be prepared for the glorious return of Christ that the entire world will know about and will have to submit to.
In Matthew 24 and Luke 21 Jesus entered into a dialogue with his disciples about the sign of his coming again and the end of the age. Jesus outlined that the destruction of the great temple in Jerusalem, which would have seemed impossible in their day, would take place. He also made it clear that many deceivers would speak on his behalf as the promised Messiah.
In world history there will be many wars and rumours of wars alongside famines and earthquakes that are like the beginning of birth pains. Christians will experience persecution and many will turn away from their faith. A sure sign of Jesus’s imminent return will be when the gospel of Christ’s kingdom is shared and heard by all the nations of the world.
Jesus spoke about the fig tree and how, when its leaves sprout forth, then soon you will know that its fruit will be ready to be picked and that is true concerning the return of Christ. Nobody is certain when that day or hour is to take place, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son; it is only the Father who knows when it will take place. It will be like in the days of Noah when people had been told about the forthcoming flood but chose not believe it until the day when the rain started.
In drawing our very brief thoughts to a close about the second coming of Christ, I think we will all agree, Carol, that the conception, life and ministry of Jesus on earth has always been a puzzle to many and, when we think about his return, then it is more of a mystery as to when and how it will take place. ‘Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again‘ sums up the complete mission of Jesus.
- In life there always will be troubles and difficulties.
- It is only the Father who knows the exact date and time of Jesus’s return.
- The apostles and church leaders have taught that Christ’s return is ‘coming soon.’
- There is always the temptation to try and interpret the signs of the times.
- It is important to live in the light of Jesus’s return and be relaxed and enjoy the present day while keeping watch and praying in readiness for that ‘coming’ day.
- In Revelation 22 Eden is restored and we say together that great Maranatha prayer: O Lord Come – Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Listen to this very uplifting worship song by Bob Fitts ‘Blessed be the Lord God Almighty’ that can inspire us to be ready and waiting for the Lord’s return. Photo – Shayla – Pexels.com
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