It is now 2020. I’m 58 years old. I was raised in the church and have heard all my life that Jesus is coming back soon. When is “soon”? Prophets, preachers, televangelists have been proclaiming a glorious day of the return of Christ for well over two thousand years now, but nothing has changed, everyday the same. The world spins, the days pass, life as we know it continues on as it has from the beginning of time. What gives?
This line of questioning is nothing new. Naysayers even in the days of the early church offered up the same sentiments as many today. Peter addressed this in his second letter, Chapter 3. It reads:
“In the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, they’ll mock “So what’s happened to the promise of his coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything’s going on just as it has from the very first day of creation. Nothing’s changed” (Message)
Two thousand plus years later and we are still asking pretty much the same question. Where is He? Has He forgotten about us? Is it real? From the book of Daniel to Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 to John’s visions in Revelation, we are told to watch for certain signs of the end of days. Many of these signs have taken place or are taking place. Earthquakes in diverse locations, never-ending wars, famines, false teachers, false doctrines, families turning on each other, a complete decay of our moral compass, the elimination of all things God oriented-it’s all around us every day and has been for decades. As believers, it can become an easy trap to ask the same questions, even if you don’t dare verbalize them, is Jesus really coming back and if so, how close are we?
I want to be very careful in how I state this so as not to be confused; as followers of Christ our blessed hope is eternal life with Him upon his eventual return to take us to that place being prepared for us. However, our daily lives should not be lived entirely for the sake of that return, as in living to survive. We are promised a life of abundance while we are waiting. There is much benefit in awakening every day just to enjoy what we have been blessed with and to be ready and willing to be an encouragement and extension of our hope to others, while we are here on this big planet. We are given His peace, His joy, His strength, so that our lives can be lived to the fullest while we await a day that may or may not come in our earthly lifetime. And while it is sometimes easy to look at all the strife in the world or even in our own lives and hope that Jesus returns soon to take us all away, it is not the way we are compelled to live.
Peter continues on in his letter with words of encouragement:
“With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with His promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining Himself on account of you, holding back the end because He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change”.
In his final words in the letter Peter exhorts us to be found “living at your best in purity and peace”. Scoffers will continue to scoff, the intellects will continue to ridicule the faithful for believing in fairy tales. That’s ok, we were told it would be this way. Scripture tells us that in the end, all will be forced to acknowledge the reality of Christ. In Matthew 24 we are told that when the Son of man appears in the skies, and the whole world will see him at once, unbelievers will mourn and lament at the realization that it wasn’t a hoax after all. His coming will usher in an acute knowledge of His deity, even to those who had not previously believed. It will be the first hell. I can’t imagine the horror of suddenly knowing I was wrong and it’s too late.
We may have another hundred blood moons or whatever other various signs some look to as true indications of the timing before this eminent return takes place. But whether we are here to witness it from earth’s perspective, or are with Christ when He comes back because we left this life earlier, we will see that day as it happens. It’s real, it’s promised and it will be glorious when it finally occurs. Be watchful but live today.