Should we expect things to get a lot worse before Jesus returns? Here are a few thoughts about His second coming.
“THE TIME IS NEAR.” This phrase from Revelation 1:3 speaks of the return of Jesus Christ. It was written around 95 AD. I don’t know about you, but when I think of something being near, 2000 years later is not what I had in mind!
Perhaps there is a better way to understand this.
The word “time” in this verse is a unique Greek word. It is NOT the word “chronos” (from which we get chronograph) meaning calendar time. It is instead the word “kairos” which refers to an “APPOINTED” time. A kairos moment is a preordained event established by God for the accomplishing of His purposes.
Furthermore, the word “near” has different meanings. It can mean near time-wise or near location-wise. For example, when Jesus, using the same word, said, “The times have been fulfilled – the kingdom of God is NEAR” (Mark 1:15) He did not mean near in time – but rather “at hand” in terms of PLACE – namely, that the kingdom of God was present IN Jesus and entered into by faith in Jesus.
I believe the best way to understand the return of Jesus as being “near” is to understand that God’s appointed event is WAITING AND READY NOW.
The time is “near” in the sense that His coming lies ready AT HAND, poised now in the spiritual realms to appear. In other words, from God’s point of view, everything is ready NOW for the return of Jesus.
We should not be looking for things on earth to get “really, really bad” first. Instead, we should be prepared for an UNEXPECTED return.
Here is some Scripture worth thinking about.
“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)
When does a thief in the night come? At an UNEXPECTED time. Notice too that the Apostle Paul says His return will unexpectedly come IN THE MIDST OF “peace and security,” not when things get really, really bad.
Furthermore, from the lips of our Lord Jesus Himself:
“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:37-39).
Notice Jesus says that people will be “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” In other words, the return of Jesus will come at a time when things LOOK NORMAL.
But doesn’t an “increase of wickedness” come about before the end?
Yes, Jesus said that as well.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13).
Here is how the Apostle Paul described this “increase of wickedness.”
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (1 Timothy 3:1-4).
Can anyone honestly say the behavior the Apostle described does not match people today?
If from God’s point of view, everything is now ready and “at hand,” what is holding God back? The answer is His kindness and patience.
Read these words of the Apostle Peter:
“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’ …
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” (2 Peter 3:3-10)
Notice what holds God back: He does not want “anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” And yet God’s patience will eventually come to an end.
Notice also in that same train of thought the Apostle insists, “but the day of the Lord will come like a thief.” In other words, again, the return of Jesus will come at an UNEXPECTED time.
Are you ready for Jesus to return?
Jesus is looking forward to His return. Not so He can “catch you” doing something wrong (how hard would that be anyway?). Jesus is coming to embrace you to Himself – if you will have it.
NOW is the time for you to entrust yourself to Jesus and to begin to rely upon and follow Him.