47 Question 3

When the Lord Jesus spoke of His return in the scriptures, He was speaking of His second coming to the earth.  While there is a particular time that the Lord will return, He has not shared that information with us.  Matthew 25:13 says, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”  It is very clear that no one knows when the Lord will return to the earth to set up Him millennial kingdom.  Let’s read the words of the Lord concerning His return in  Mark 13:28-33, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”  Some have seen this parable as a type of the rebirth of the nation of Israel and teach that we can tell the time of the Lord’s return based on the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948.  However, this portion ends with the words, “ye know not when the time is.”  We just don’t know when the Lord will return to the earth.

Of course, before the Lord returns to set up His earthly kingdom, the rapture of the church will take place, followed by seven years of tribulation.  If we can’t know the date of the Lord coming to the earth, we certainly can’t know when the rapture will occur.  We can see that His return is getting closer.  He has told us that His coming will be soon as we read in Hebrews 10:37 which says, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”  We also get a sense of the nearness of the rapture by reading Romans 13:11 which says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”  We can most assuredly say that the Lord’s coming is nearer than it was yesterday.

In the early church, the believers lived in anticipation of the coming of the Lord.  We read in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”  These dear saints lived each day in anticipation of the Lord’s coming.  They waited for Him, even as we should be waiting for the Lord.  We don’t really wait for someone unless we believe they are coming soon.

Can we know the date of the Lord’s return?  No, we can’t.  However, we should live our lives as if the Lord could return today.  Actually, He could return today.  There is nothing that needs to be accomplished before the Lord returns.  There is no prophecy that needs to be fulfilled.  There is no incident that must take place before the Lord returns.  If we live in anticipation of the coming of the Lord and rapture of the church, it has a purifying effect on our lives.  We want to be doing His will and serving Him faithfully when He returns.

For the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a longing within us.  We desire the Lord’s return.  We long to be with Him.  As we read in the last book in the Bible, in Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  Three times in that chapter, in verses 7, 12, and 20, the Lord Jesus says, “I come quickly.”

Dear ones, the Lord is coming.  We don’t know when, but we do know it will be soon.  Are you ready?  Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior?  If not, won’t you put your faith in the Lord Jesus?  How terrible it would be to spend eternity in Hell.  Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…”    Hebrews 10:31 tells us that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  To face God without Christ as your savior; to face God still in your sins will be terrible and fearful.  But, if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read in Acts 16:31, on the authority of God’s Word, you will be saved.