Is Jesus Coming … Soon?

When I began seriously walking with the Lord in 1973, there was much talk about Jesus coming back. Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth had been out for a few years by that time, and had created quite a stir among many Bible believing Christians. The signs seemed to be everywhere. Matthew 24 prophecies (generalized signs) were being fulfilled. Israel was back in the land (miraculously) and was an independent state. The nations of Ezekiel 38 and 39 were being identified as current countries with a common agenda: wipe out Israel. At Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Pastor Chuck Smith would sometimes bring newspaper clippings into the pulpit as a commentary on the prophetic passage that we were studying that day. On the back wall of the Calvary Chapel bookstore was the statement, Jesus Is Coming … Soon!

I remember clearly the Yom Kippur war (October, 1973). Egypt and Syria opened a coordinated surprise attack against Israel on Israel’s holiest day of the year. On the Golan Heights, approximately 180 Israeli tanks faced an onslaught of 1,400 Syrian tanks. Along the Suez Canal, 436 Israeli defenders were attacked by 80,000 Egyptians. At least nine Arab states were involved in the attack in one form or another. Somehow, in spite of direct assistance from the Soviet Union, Israel fought back and survived the onslaught, but not without major losses (www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/73_War.html). So much was happening on a global scale that confirmed the prophetic word (Daniel 12:4, 6-10). But obviously it wasn’t God’s time for the rapture and the eventual tribulation period to begin.

Every day I lifted my eyes and looked up (Luke 21:28)—certain that I and millions of others would be snatched up into the clouds to meet the Lord Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). In my mind, the Lord’s coming was imminent. There was no way that I would live to be as old as I am now. Jesus was coming back—soon and very soon we were going to see the King. Yet here it is … almost 40 years later … and we’re still here.

Has my belief in the 2nd coming of Christ left me? Not a chance. Have I altered my eschatology to adjust for the delay? No way. I’m as convinced as ever. Jesus is coming … soon!

What I have learned over the years is that I/we must be patient, and wait for the Lord’s perfect timing. This is not only true of the 2nd coming, but also of all of life. Patience is a requisite virtue. “Wait” is an important command. Difficult to obey, but vital to observe. God possesses unsurpassed wisdom. He knows what He is doing. Always.

The N.T. book of James speaks directly to this issue of the 2nd coming and our need to wait. (I love this passage.)

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. {8} You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:7-8, NKJV)

The following is taken from my devotional on the book of James. I hope its application will be a blessing to you today.

With the anticipation of God’s righteous judgment (James 5:1-6), there is also the hope of Jesus’ return. We want the Lord to set the record straight and end all the pain and oppression of man, but we also know, as Bob Dylan once sang, that “He’ll replace wrong with right when He returns.” We view the Second Coming as our blessed hope (Titus 2:13; John 14:1-3). All will be well when King Jesus shows up!

But we must be patient. Jesus will come in the exact proper time.

How do we prepare for the return of Christ? We watch, we pray, we stay busy with His work, we abide in Him, and we also wait patiently. It’s not always easy to do this, as we so deeply long to see our Savior’s face (Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:1-3).

The farmer is a perfect example for this. He waits patiently and is entirely dependent upon the seed, the land, and water from heaven. He doesn’t waiver in his hope that a rich crop will result. So we are to consider the farmer as we learn to wait for our Lord!

James Application Questions

1. How would you describe the intensity of your hope in Christ’s Second Coming? Rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. If it’s a low number, why is that so in your life?

2. In what ways will waiting patiently for the Lord’s return help us in relating to people, especially difficult people? Perhaps John 3:16-18, Matthew 7:1-2, and 1 Corinthians 4:5 will help you with your response.

3. Find, discover the meaning of, and pray the last prayer of the Bible to conclude today’s devotional.

4 replies
  1. Bill Walden
    Bill Walden says:

    Good word Reverend.
    I can’t say that I would score high on some of your follow up questions, though my theology on Jesus’ return is as firm as it ever has been.

    I know that we are to look for His return, but it seems that i more often simply look for Him on every day life. I need Jesus more than ever, or maybe I just realize it more than ever.

    Thanks for the links to the Israel war stuff. I didn’t know the details on that Yom Kippur attack. Israel’s victory was nothing short of miraculous, I would say.

    Thanks Bill

    Reply

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