In a recent post I began to share three important things concerning the return of the King. In that post I discussed the fact that King Jesus will return. In this post I will share two other important things we need to take note of.
We Don’t Know When
As surely as the Scriptures proclaim the return of the King, they also clearly proclaim the fact that no one knows when He will return. King Jesus was very clearly on this matter.
36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
37 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 24:36 – 39
Because of this uncertainty, life will continue on as it always has. In fact, Jesus says He will return when He is least expected.
“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Luke 12:40
The apostle Paul echoes the words of the Master when he writes to the Thessalonians,
1 Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labour pains begin. And there will be no escape. 1st Thessalonians 5:1 – 3
So Why Do They Try?
So why do people try to figure out when the King will return when Scripture clearly states no one will know the time? I’m not entirely sure, but I do have a couple of thoughts on the matter.
On the positive side, I think some try and figure out the time so they will know how much time they still have to evangelize. Armed with this knowledge they can impress on others the urgency of the hour and motivate them to get out into the harvest fields.
On the negative side, there may be some who want to know how long they can play around before getting serious about their relationship with the Lord. If they knew when He would return they could get right with Him in time so they wouldn’t get caught in their sin. I don’t know if that is a prevalent idea, but I’m sure it’s out there.
In the long run, all these end-time prognosticators end up doing is creating a lot of confusion for everyone, besides making the people of God look really stupid. Almost everyone remembers the mess Harold Camping made when he predicted the Lord would return on May 21st, 2011 (go here to read my open letter to him). May the Lord save us from more of the same!
The final thing we need to take note of concerning the return of the King is that we need to be ready. Regardless of when He comes, we do not want Him to find us unprepared. To that end, we are exhorted to be doing the following as we anticipate His second coming.
32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
34 “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” Mark 13:32 – 37
8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. 1st Thessalonians 1:8 – 10
34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34 – 36
3 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 1st John 3:1 – 3
If we will occupy ourselves with these things, there will be no need for us to be embarrassed when the King returns.
Face the Facts
Dear ones, we need to face the facts concerning the return of our King.
Fact: Jesus will return!
Fact: We do not know when He will return.
Fact: We need to be ready for His return.
With these facts in mind, let us be sure the King returns to find us living in the Reign.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.