By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
Many people ask the question, "when is Jesus coming back?" I could easily just say soon or someday and while technically that answers the question it doesn’t effectively answer the question.
When Do Christians Think Jesus is Coming Back?
Since the moment Jesus left, for those who believe, there has been an expectation for his return. I believe every generation since Jesus ascended into heaven has expected him to come back within their generation. This one is no different. While we don’t know for sure when Jesus is coming back there are indicators all around that signal his return could be sooner than you think.
5 Things to Do While Waiting for Jesus to Come Back
Here are five things to do and consider as you wait for and look for Jesus' return:
1. Keep watch for Jesus to come back.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” – Matthew 24:42
The first thing you must do when considering when Jesus is coming back is to keep watch. In other words, this means that you should live in such a way that anticipates and expects his return. In addition to this, it is not enough just to keep watch because that can paralyze you causing you to do nothing. There is something else you must do as you look for his coming. You must get to work.
“So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’” – Luke 19:13
It is our responsibility to do what God has called us to do until he comes or until he calls us home. Though we look for his return, we don’t put our heads in the sand or go into a bunker and wait for him to come back. God is expecting us to continue preaching the gospel and making disciples until he comes. We simply must watch, wait, and work until Jesus comes back, for this is our commission.
2. Stop trying to figure out the future date when Jesus will come.
One thing that seems to happen in every generation is people predicting when Jesus is coming back. Before I offer one word of commentary, listen to Jesus’ own words.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” – Matthew 24:36
“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” – Matthew 24:44
“And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” – Acts 1:7
If the Bible is clear on one thing it is this. No one knows when Jesus is coming back. Let me say that again in case you missed it. No one knows when Jesus is coming back. If anyone attempts to tell you a date, a time, a year, a season when Jesus is going to return, they are either lying to you or making a foolish and fruitless attempt to predict something they have no ability to do. I know those words may seem strong but either God’s Word is true or not. Think of all the people over the years who have predicted a date when Jesus is coming back and they were all wrong. Jesus said no one knows and the last time I checked, no one means no one. My point is stop trying to predict the day or hour and I would also say stop listening to people who try to do this as well. If they are trying to convince you and give you an exact time Jesus is going to return, they are clearly going against what has been established in God’s word. My suggestion is to ignore such people because if they would miss this simple truth in God’s word, what else are they missing?
3. Be aware of the signs that Jesus is coming back.
Though we cannot predict the day or moment when Jesus is coming back what we can do is watch the signs. The entire chapter of Matthew 24 is really built around this question.
“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’” – Matthew 24:3
As they were curious about the signs of his coming, you can and should be too. In this chapter and in other places of Scripture, there are plenty of signs that are laid out that point to the end of this age and to his coming. Based on what we know in Scripture it's possible Jesus could come at any moment but that does not mean he will because remember no one knows. A further look into Matthew 24 will give you insight into some of the signs to look for and as I mentioned there are other passages of Scripture you can study as well. As you continue to study when Jesus is coming back, don’t fall into the trap of studying these signs to be predictive, meaning you try to put a date on it. Let these signs make you more watchful because you know Jesus is coming back and it could happen at any moment.
4. Watch for a departure from the truth.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
One of the signs we should focus on as we look for the return of Jesus is the departure from the truth and sound doctrine. In Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2, Jesus and Paul mention a falling away or rebellion. One of the precursors for this falling away from the faith is men and women who no longer want to endure sound doctrine. We are living in a day and age where now more than ever we need to be diligent in searching the scriptures and see if what is being preached and taught lines up with the word of God. We have a two-fold problem. We have preachers and teachers that don’t want to preach and teach the truth and we have congregants that are content with not receiving the truth. This is a deadly combination. Yet we know when we begin to see this more and more it is a sign that Jesus is coming back soon.
5. Don’t forget the scoffers and mockers.
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’” – 2 Peter 3:3-4
The last thing I want to draw your attention to as you think about when Jesus is coming back is to watch the scoffers and the mockers. As I mentioned earlier every generation has been declaring and looking for Jesus to return. Obviously, that hasn’t happened yet. Since Jesus has not returned and we keep declaring it quite naturally this will create scoffers, those who doubt and ultimately mock this truth. When this happens, you should remember that God’s word said it would. It is not cause for anger or alarm because we know it will happen. Don’t get too preoccupied with it and just keep on working until he comes.
Here is What We Know: Jesus is Coming Back
Here is what we don’t know…when Jesus is coming back. Because we don’t know days or hours and all we have are signs we have a responsibility. That responsibility is to always be ready and be doing what he desires when he does return. I don’t know what God has called you to do but I implore and encourage you to do that because he will come on a day and hour when you least expect it. On that note, I leave you with this verse.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” – Matthew 24:45-46
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.