“Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4, NASB)
The New Testament teaches that the same Christ who came in weakness as an infant will return in power and great glory. His first coming was secretive. But the second time, “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7, NASB).
But nearly two thousand years have passed, and still, no Second Coming. And since our Savior Himself said that no one can know when it will occur, it could be another ten thousand years before the prophecy is finally fulfilled.
So why do we continue to teach, write, sing, and make movies about it? To many, the idea of Christ coming in the clouds, in full view of every living human being, seems hard to believe and remote from practical daily life. Why should we risk embarrassing ourselves and alienating our listeners by emphasizing such an incredible idea, one that even believers admit might not happen for generations, centuries, or even millennia?
- Jesus taught His return as centrally important. He spoke about it clearly, emphatically, and at length. Realize that He knew life both in heaven and on earth. He had seen both time and eternity. If He considered His return important, it’s important!
- The New Testament writers unanimously teach it. The Spirit of Christ spoke about His return through each and every one of them. They considered it essential to believe that Christ will come to finish all that He has started and to consummate our salvation. For all the New Testament writers, the truth of Christ’s return fueled faith, hope, perseverance, and holy living.
- The stakes are high. When Christ returns, He will judge every individual. Depending on our relationship with Him, we will go to eternal life or eternal death, to joyful union with Him or complete and final separation from Him (Matthew 25:31-46).
- When He comes, we must be ready. Since no one can know when He will return (Matthew 24:36), His return will seem sudden and unexpected (Matthew 24:37-44). He will come as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). The only sure way to be prepared is to stay prepared (Luke 12:35-48).
- Christ’s first coming had been foretold for centuries, and He did come, at God’s right time. His second coming, long foretold, is just as certain. It will occur when the time is right. The reality of Christmas proclaims the reality of His return.
- Peter reminds us that with our eternal God, “one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8, NASB). His sense of time is far different than ours. But be assured that He is not lax about His promises but “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9). God’s “delays” are His patient love.
Consider the beautiful things Christ has done in you already, and eagerly anticipate His completing each one. Look forward to that wonderful day. Wait patiently for it, knowing that it will happen in the fullness of time. Keep first things first. Stay focused on Him. Stay faithful.
In a world completely obsessed with the shallow and temporary, it is vital that the people of Jesus Christ continue to proclaim the ultimate things: Jesus’ return, the judgment, and the world to come. Whether He returns today or in a thousand years is not the point. The certainty of His return shapes the entire reality in which we live.
Listen and sing:
Hymn: Second Coming Hymn
Printed Music & Lyrics