As Jesus spent His final moments with the apostles in the upper room before His arrest, trial and crucifixion, He encouraged them with these words: “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you (by going to the Cross). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3).
Then 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection, He gathered His disciples together and “commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me’ (the coming of the Holy Spirit…Jn. 14:26; 16:7)…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing (angels) stood beside them; and they also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven'” (Acts 1: 4,8-11).
The Apostle Paul wrote of this return of Christ in the clouds to receive believers to Himself. We read in his letter to the believers at Thessalonica: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thes. 4:16-18).
In God’s final revelation to mankind, recorded by the apostle John while in exile on the Isle of Patmos, He said three times “I am coming quickly (meaning, ‘promptly,’ or ‘suddenly’) (Rev. 22:7,12,20)” to which John responded, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
The assured hope of the church, the body of believers, is the return of Jesus Christ, first in the clouds to gather us to Himself (see II Thes. 2:1), and then after seven years of tribulation upon earth to judge the nations for their treatment of Israel, and to bring Israel to repentance, to return with Him to the earth where He will set up His millennial kingdom prior to the eternal state.
Just as there was a divine plan for sending Christ to earth via a virgin birth at just the right time (Gal. 4:4), so there is a divine schedule for His return, a time known only to God. Many individuals and even some religious organizations like the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) have predicted Jesus’ return at a certain date, but Jesus said, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming…for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Mt. 24:42,44; 25:13). There were many prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah to earth, even where He would be born and that it would be a virgin birth, but much time elapsed before the actual event. In fact there were 400 years of silence from heaven between the last OT prophet, Malachi , and the message of the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary (Lk. 1:26-33). “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son…” (Gal. 4:4). I’m sure many were wondering if the Messiah was ever coming or if they had misunderstood Scripture or if God had forgotten them or changed His mind. But, God always keeps His promises. In I Kgs. 8:56, we read Solomon’s blessing to the assembly of Israel, saying: “Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant” (I Kgs. 8:56). The same is true for what God has promised through any of those He chose to record Scripture. God cannot lie nor deceive and is able in His omnipotence to carry out all His has promised–but in His time.
Well, it has been about 2,000 years now since Jesus ascended back to heaven and promised to return, and just as the apostle Peter predicted, there would be those who would doubt that He is coming back. Peter wrote: “Know this first of all, that in the last days, mockers will come with their mocking… saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation…But, the day of the Lord will come like a thief…” (II Pet. 3:3-10). On April 18, 2014, Cardinal Giorgio Salvadore, speaking on behalf of the Vatican, said that “This year’s 1,981st anniversary is to be the Vatican’s last in regards to waiting for the Lord to return to earth. We just feel Jesus is not coming back by the looks of it. It’s been ages…He’s probably flat out doing other really good things for people somewhere else.” Salvadore went on to defend Jesus’ broken promise (Jn. 14:1-3) claiming, “He was probably drinking wine at the time when He made the comments. Having the ability to turn water into wine has its ups and downs. We all make promises we can’t keep when we’re drunk. Jesus was not different.” (As told to Weekly World News–WWN).
Wow, is that not exactly what Peter prophesied would take place in the period just before Jesus returned! Folks, we must be very close. And yes, Jesus is coming again! He can’t not come, or He would be either a liar or incapable of fulfilling His promises. In either case, He wouldn’t be God. But, we, as the apostle Paul can be “fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform” (Ro. 4:21). Jesus will return. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20). Are you ready?