By Arch Hoercher
When is Jesus Christ coming back to this world? What should really be asked is, “Am I ready for Jesus to come back?” This is a much more important and productive question to ask.
What does the Bible say about when Jesus is coming back? It basically says that “No one knows the day or the hour, not even the angels.” There is no religious leader or self-made prophet who know the day and hour of Christ’s return. There have been many who have tried to predict the time and all those predictions have been in error. The Bible tells us that only the Father knows when He will send Jesus back to collect His church. No one else knows. No one else can predict the time. Don’t go shaving your head and buying white robes and selling all of your possessions because some “holy” man says that Jesus is returning on such and such date and hour. He will be wrong.
So how can we know when Jesus is returning? The short answer is that we will never know until it actually happens. But God has given us signs to know that the time is near. As seen in Luke 21 (and other gospels), there will be a prevalence of deception, wars and revolutions, nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, famines and pestilences in various places, fearful events and great signs from heaven such as extreme weather occurrences, persecution, betrayal, hatred, Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, signs in the sun, moon and stars, men will faint from terror, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. There is nothing in this list that has not occurred. Does that mean that Jesus is going to return tomorrow? Maybe. But it also means that it could be a thousand years from now. Because – NO ONE KNOWS!
What God wants us to know is that the time is eminent and wants us to be ready for Jesus Christ’s return. The protestant reformer Martin Luther once said: “If I knew for sure that Jesus was coming back tomorrow, I would plant a tree today.” What did Martin Luther mean by this statement? Why would he plant a tree if Christ was returning tomorrow? He was simply stating that no amount of speculation or confidence or doubt or belief about when Jesus might return should ever undermine the fulfillment of our basic ethical obligations or lead us to abandon the routine responsibilities set forth for us in Scripture. In other words, no matter when Jesus might return, we should still pursue the Christian life. We should continue to make ourselves in the likeness of Christ no matter when His return. 1 Peter 4:7-8 – “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly.” Peter did not tell us that we should go out perform extraordinary deeds of great power, work wonders that gain the attention of the world and gain for us fame and glory. No – we should be praying for one another, loving one another, hosting one another, and serving one another. When Christ does return, He will be making changes in us and the world!
So what is the most important thing that we should know about Christ’s return? First – He will be returning. Christ said so himself. The apostles all wrote of His return. The Old Testament also speaks of His return. The simple but very important fact to understand is that He will return.
Second – we should be ready for His return. So what needs to be done? To be ready requires salvation. John 5:24: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior?
We also must work out our salvation. Salvation is an ongoing process. It is not just a single event in time. 1 John 2:5 – “if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.” Am I ready? This question requires self-examination. I need to ask myself, is God’s love made complete in me? Matthew 5:14-16 basically states that God’s love will be a light when hope fails and terror grips men’s hearts in fear of what is coming upon the earth. And God’s people will be a light because their hope is in Jesus and does not fail. They will lift up their heads looking for His returning, believing His promises of complete and final salvation unto the redemption of their bodies when He appears.
When is Jesus Christ returning? No one but the Father knows. Don’t listen to any prediction from anyone that they know the specific date and time. The only thing certain is that He will be returning. Signs show that this could be at any time. Tomorrow or in another 100 years.
Are you ready? To be ready you must experience salvation. How can I know if I have salvation? Go to a Bible believing church and ask, “How can I know if I am saved?”.
One thing is for sure. The return of Jesus Christ to this world will be the most momentous thing to have ever happened upon it. When He does return every person who has ever lived and all those who are living will know for certain. Jesus came once as the Lamb of God. No sounding of trumpets nor yelling from heaven. When He returns the second time, He will be returning as the Lion of Judah. The entire earth from every person to every blade of grass or grain of sand will hear him roar.