Could Christ be returning any day now?
I was watching a preacher on TV the other day and he was going on and on about how – in his view – Christ could return this very evening, today! Hmm. Could that be? What do you think? More importantly, what does Scripture say?
Well, let’s ask the question: could Christ be returning any day now? Of course the Almighty can or could do what God Most High wants to do, anytime He so chooses. But hasn’t he also given us certain parameters and “highway markers” that precede his return and alert us that his coming is imminent? So maybe the correct question would be better phrased this way: “WOULD Christ be returning any day now?”
A very true answer for many would be this: if you died before his actual return, you would be in what scripture terms “a deep sleep”. Even Yeshua (Jesus) our Savior described dead people as “sleeping”. He said Lazarus was asleep (John 11:11-14). He said Jairus’ daughter was just sleeping, moments before her spirit returned to her and she was resurrected from the dead (Luke 8:52-55). Paul said, “we shall not all sleep…”, meaning we won't all die before the return of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51).
Click on “Continue reading” to the bottom right of this page to find out how for some people Christ’s coming will be immediate, very soon. And how for others it will take longer, and also find out why.
So if any of you reading this died tonight or tomorrow, yes, your very next instant of conscious living will be rising in glory in the resurrection to eternal life at the last trump – and seeing Christ returning in the clouds and glory (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).It will be just like waking up out of a deep sleep and having been unaware of the passing of time – when suddenly a loud noise wakes you up! There will be a loud noise indeed: the shout of the archangel and the trumpet of God. At another time in history there was a trumpet of God announcing the coming of YHVH descending on to Mt. Sinai – and it was ear-splitting loud! You can read all about that time in Exodus 19 and 20.
But if you don’t die in the next months or even in the next couple of years, I personally don’t believe the “prophetic signposts” are there yet for Christ to return“tonight” or “next week” or even “next month”. I say this with profound awe and respect for I do NOT want to be included among the scoffers that Peter and others warned against – those scoffing at the notion of the return of Christ (2 Peter 3:3-4). Yeshua warned of the “evil servant” who taught “the Lord delays his coming” – with dire consequences. And yet even Yeshua himself, in one of his own parables of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25, described the bridegroom’s coming for the bride as “delayed”. Had you noticed that before?
“but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”
I think that certainly implies the Second coming is taking longer than almost everyone had surmised. Including the apostles! Or maybe he means from the Bride’s point of view the coming of the Bridegroom appeared to be delayed, taking longer than their prophecy time charts said it should be taking!
Hebrews 10:37 KJV
“For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
Hebrews 10:37 Holman
“For in yet a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.”
Please be clear: I absolutely believe and teach our Messiah is returning in the lifetime of most of us alive right now. Ah, if only an angel would tell us the exact day and hour –or even just the year – of Christ’s promised return, what wonderful news that would be. But to say he would return tonight or next week is being blind to the events he himself said would happen first, before he ever came back.
Our main task is to “Hold fast to that which you have until I come” – Revelation 2:25. We need to BE ready to meet our Master, whenever that is – sooner or later – we need to BE ready, not plan to GET ready. BE ready. For you or for me, it could be our very next breath if we die before he returns. Or it could be many months and years yet. The faithful servant is the one who continues to work busily in the Master’s service up to the moment of Christ’s return. We are told to be alert, to be watchful—not just of current events – but also to be watching our spiritual condition and our closeness to Abba, our dear Father and to Yeshua our Savior.
Here’s the scripture for all that:
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
44 Therefore you also BE ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
It shouldn’t matter to us as far as our zeal for our Master goes - -whether we were to find out He was returning in a few months or in 15 years. We should be zealously at work for Him regardless of how soon the Coming is, or how long it takes! Why do people spend so much time pouring over their prophecy charts? Use that time instead to pray, to encourage others, to seek our God diligently.
The Thessalonians became so convinced and even obsessed on the imminent return that some of them quit their jobs or were doing strange things. Ever hear of others doing that? Paul then teaches them that everyone should be working, and if someone refused to work, he would not be fed! (2 Thessalonians 3:10-11).
Paul addressed the fact that some were teaching the return was imminent and he says this:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 NIV
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
So Paul clearly reminds them of at least ONE thing that had to first happen: a “man of sin” sets himself up in the Temple of God as if he were God himself. Now big discussions center on what “the temple of God” means. Some think it means the spiritual body of Christ and others believe it means a real physical temple. Many therefore believe there is a coming 3rd temple that will be built prior to the return of Messiah. That’s not happening tonight or tomorrow. And in case you wonder if a new Jewish-built temple can be “the temple of God” – remember that Yeshua (Jesus) called even Herod’s temple -- “My Father’s House” (John 2:16).
One other marker (among many) is that the Bride of Christ must also be ready. She will be ready when he returns (Revelation 19:6-8) as Christ himself will see her as a radiant bride without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-27). HE is the one who is cleansing her and preparing her. Just read Eph 5:25-27 again. It’s all right there. Right now I doubt anyone can say the Bride is unified or ready and “without spot or wrinkle”. We – and he in us – have more work to do, so we are perfectly aligned with Him and his mind.
One more thing: Do you remember that in Matthew 24, the disciples asked Christ when would the temple they were admiring be destroyed, and what would be the sign of his coming? Yeshua then laid out a list of end-time events that had to happen first, and THEN the end would come. This is my point! Go back and look at Matthew 24 with fresh eyes. Until we see all the signs he mentioned happening in growing intensity, and until we see the Man of Sin proclaiming himself to be God in the temple – then Christ won’t yet be coming tonight. Though we know that every day that passes brings us another day closer to that blessed event!
Having said that, don’t misquote me. I do firmly believe our Messiah is coming relatively soon. I just don’t believe we should be saying “he could even come tonight” – unless you die tonight, and for you, your next moment of awareness will be seeing the return of Christ, for “the dead in Christ shall rise first” in the resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
So to list and describe all the markers leading up to the return of Messiah could be a full-length sermon. I just wanted to make these points:
***there are a series of events leading up to the return of Christ before he returns.
***We should BE ready, whenever the Coming happens. Don’t just plan to GET ready; BE ready.
***Be diligently seeking your Savior. LET him cleanse you, removing every spot and wrinkle, preparing you to be his glorious Bride. Be overcoming, be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be putting sin out of our lives. Be accepting His righteousness by faith.
***Be busy at work for him regardless of when he comes and when He sees you busily working you will be greatly rewarded.
Come, Master. Come. And let us always be diligently serving you and going about your work for us.