As a child I was often scared I had missed the rapture. I would call my grandmother just to see if she answered the phone. If she didn’t answer I would call my pastor. If he didn’t answer I would call my mom at work. That was, apparently, my order of likelihood of going to Heaven.
I had a simple faith and a simple theology. At any moment Jesus was coming back to get His people and you were either going or you weren’t. I’ve found that as we age, and our understanding and theology develops, it becomes easier to justify our own behavior, rationalize world events, and to push to the back of our mind the imminence of His return. As a result, much of my adult life walking with the Lord has been the pursuit of returning to a childlike faith.
I still believe Jesus is coming back!
I believe in the physical, imminent return of Jesus Christ. We are often hesitant to talk about it because so many have sensationalized and made a mockery out of His second coming. Many have also made predictions about His return that turned out to be embarrassingly wrong. Jesus warned us against this type of conjecture (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). The apostle Paul also warned that Christ’s return wasn’t a topic for speculation, but for preparation (Romans 13:11–12).
I may not know when He is coming again but I know that He is coming again. Ignorance of its proximity does nothing to diminish its certainty. Jesus is coming again! In fact, a mocking tone surrounding belief in His coming is prophesied to precede His return.
“Know this first, that there shall come scoffers in the last days who walk after their own lusts, and say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were since the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4, MEV)
There’s a lot of things I don’t know about His return, the day or the hour, but that doesn’t diminish the reality of the things I do know. Jesus is coming again.
“But, beloved, do not be ignorant of this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness. But He is patient with us, because He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat. The earth also and the works that are in it will be burned up. Seeing then that all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, while you are waiting for and desiring the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will be consumed by intense heat? But, according to His promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:8-13, MEV)
Jesus is coming back, and not only coming back, but coming back suddenly. “But concerning that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray. For you do not know when the time will come…Watch therefore—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-33, 35-37, MEV)
Jesus is coming back, He’s coming back suddenly, and He’s coming back suddenly for those who are looking for Him.
“As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28, MEV)
Those who are welcomed into the New Jerusalem with Jesus Christ will not be surprised or shocked about His return. Scripture says it will be granted to those who have watched and are looking for Him. Those who “eagerly wait” for His return! Many prophecy teachers in recent years have made an endeavor to identify the Anti-Christ. Scripture says the one we should be looking for Jesus Christ!
Jesus is coming back for those who are looking for Him. However, He didn’t leave His plan a mystery for us. He told us many ways we could identify the season of His return.
“There will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men fainting from fear and expectation of what is coming on the inhabited earth. For the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:25-28, MEV)
Jesus is coming again. While no man knows the day or the hour, Jesus did want us to recognize the season. So, He gave us signs to look for. Not like road signs with exact markings but rather indicators of readiness, like in harvest season.
“Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts become burdened by excessiveness and drunkenness and anxieties of life, and that Day comes on you unexpectedly. For as a snare it will come on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Therefore watch always and pray that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36, MEV)
Jesus is coming again! He gave us signs in the stars and in the Earth in order to increase our anticipation of His return as well as to decrease our preoccupation with the things of this world. He wanted us to have every preparatory advantage for His return. He wants us to recognize the season in order to increase our anticipation of His return. We are vulnerable to distraction and burden by the cares and diversions of life. Jesus wanted us to be able to fight that distraction by giving us signs to increase our readiness for His return!
Is September 23rd, 2017 going to be the fulfillment of the Revelation 12 prophecy? I’m not sure. Maybe. Are blood moons, wars, national and racial conflict, an eclipse, hurricanes, and earthquakes definite signs of His coming? Jesus said they would be (Matt. 24:3-14). Are the ones we’re experiencing right now the ones of which He was speaking? I don’t know.
What I do know is that they increase my awareness and anticipation of His return. They cause you and I to look up once again and consider the heavens. They motivate me to call as many people as I’m able to become fully committed disciples of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is coming again.