One common objection to Christianity is the claim made by non-Christians that since Christians believe Jesus is coming back soon, and that He hasn’t yet, that He won’t come at all. Today, many people equate “coming soon” to going through the drive-thru line at their fast-food restaurant of choice. So, when they come to the question, “Is Jesus coming back soon?” they think immediately. When Jesus spoke of His return, He spoke in terms of “soon” not meaning immediately, but that He would come back in the Father’s timing. In Revelation 22:20, Jesus says, “Surely I am coming soon.” The Apostle John then adds the words, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

The Meaning of “Soon” and the Return of Christ

The Greek word “soon” (Revelation 22:20) is tachu, which is translated as “soon, quickly, or without unnecessary delay”. Within the New Testament, tachu is used most often in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7; 12; 20). What is meant by “soon” is that the sovereign events of history have been set in motion that will usher in Christ’s second arrival without any unnecessary delay. This is why all of history is moving according to the timetable of God, who is in control of all of history.

It’s not only the Lord Jesus who spoke of His own soon return. Speaking of the return of Christ, Peter says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Lord Jesus’ return is soon in that the plan of God is advancing and is only delayed so the elect may be saved (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:5).

The Return of the Lord Jesus is Imminent

The Lord Jesus’ return is not only soon, but it is also imminent, meaning it could happen at any moment. The Apostles even thought that the Lord Jesus’ return might happen in their lifetime and spoke of the Lord Jesus’ return as the last days (1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Peter 1:20; Hebrews 1:2) urging the people of God to be ready and watchful. Jesus intends Christians to believe in His imminent return because He spoke of being “ready” (Luke 12:40; 21:34-36; Mark 13:33).

Jesus also mentions in Matthew 24:36 that no one can know the day or hour of His return, so Christians should live in the expectancy, understanding that He is going to return at any moment. Jesus wants every generation to live in the awareness that His return will be sudden, and at that time all people will have to give an account for how Jesus will find them in that moment. So, the answer to the question, “Is Jesus returning soon?” is a resounding “YES”, and He will return without unnecessary delay.

Acts 1:7 confirms this concept when the author wrote, “He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”” This was Jesus’ response after the disciples asked Him if He was going to restore Israel. The point here is simply this: no one knows when He will return, but He will return at the appointed time.

Matthew 24:36-44 contains a general principle (meant for all audiences across the centuries) that is critical for understanding this subject. The timing of the Lord Jesus’ return is not for anyone to know, and Scripture nowhere encourages the people of God to attempt to determine the date. Instead, Christians are to “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). Christians are to “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44). The principle of Matthew 24:36-44 is that no one can know the date or time of the Lord Jesus’ return.

Throughout this article, I’ve repeatedly stressed the biblical principle of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:36-44 because many throughout Church history have attempted to prophesy the exact date and claimed to know precisely when He is returning. While many dates have been proposed, all of them have been proven wrong. Those teachers who predicted the Lord Jesus’ return most often have questionable, if not heretical, doctrinal positions on many vital Christian doctrines. Based on Matthew 24:36 and Acts 1:7, Scripture warrants us to believe that it is not God’s desire for Christians to calculate the exact day or hour of the return of the Lord, and anyone who undertakes such a task is misguided at best. What is vital is that the people of God live in light of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8).

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is mentioned in the Old Testament 1,500 times and at least once in every twenty-five verses in the New Testament. Amos 3:7 highlights this fact when it says, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” The point Amos makes here is vital because it helps Christians understand that the return of Christ brings about the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, which is God’s absolute rule over all of His creation. To accomplish this, Jesus ushers in two different judgments, two different resurrections, and two different eternities.

Revelation 19:11-16 highlights how the Lord will be ready for war and the nations will be gathered to fight against Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:2 tells us this is for the battle of Armageddon and that it will be the Day when He returns (Revelation 19:4). Further, this will be the day Revelation 19:6-7 speaks about in which the enemies of God will be all defeated, along with the Antichrist and the false prophet (Revelation 19:20). Jesus will then set up the Kingdom of God on Earth (Zechariah 14:9).

In establishing His Kingdom, Jesus will judge those who are alive at the time of His Second Coming. The judgment we are speaking of here is known as the “judgment of the sheep and the goats” or the “judgment of the nations” (Matthew 25:31-46). Those who survive this judgment because of faith in the Lord Jesus will enjoy a thousand years of peace-filled reign. Those who are guilty of not believing in the Lord Jesus will be thrown into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41). Satan is then bound and forbidden to do anything (Revelation 20:1-3).

There will also be a resurrection of all Christians (Revelation 20:4-6). Resurrected Christians will join the whole of God’s people who are alive at the time of Christ’s Second Coming and those He brings with Him to Heaven, and they will live with Him during the thousand-year earthly reign of Christ.

Satan will be released at the end of that millennium, and one final battle will occur, which will be won immediately by the Lord Jesus (Revelation 20:7-9). The result of this battle will be Satan’s absolute demise and banishment forever into the lake of fire. Next will be the second resurrection and another judgment. Non-Christians at this time will be resurrected and judged at what is known as the Great White Throne Judgment and, based on their works, will be also consigned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

Two Different Eternities

The reality of the Lord Jesus’ return means there are two eternal destinies, one with Him and one without Him (Malachi 4:1-2). At the return of the Lord Jesus, evil is defeated, the earth is restored, and the Lord wins the final battle. Whether you recognize it or not, your response to Jesus’ return demonstrates whether you believe in the first coming of the Lord Jesus. The Christian’s blessed hope is not only to go to heaven, but that they will be with the Lord Jesus forever in Heaven. Dear Reader, your answer to the question, “Is Jesus coming back soon?” is vital because it speaks to your idea of the first coming of the Lord Jesus, and about His finished and sufficient work.

A Personal Appeal to Non-Christians and Christians

I plead with you today to be reconciled to God because we are not promised tomorrow. And the Lord knows not only the number of every hair upon your head, as well as your thoughts, but also knows the length of all your days. Repent and trust in Christ alone, for He is mighty to save through His grace. Dear Christian, do not shrink back in fear, but stand fast on the Lord Jesus and declare the His glory to those perishing in darkness.

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