To rapture or not to rapture? Premillennial, postmillennial or amillennial? While the spectrum of Christian eschatology is wide and varying depending upon one’s beliefs and traditions, one truth ought to unite all believers in spite of their eschatological timeline. What is that truth? That the Lord Jesus Christ will return and that He will return soon.
Christians know this to be true because the Lord declared it to be so in His Word:
And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Rev. 22:7
The return of Jesus Christ is the Christian’s blessed hope. It is an event that the believer ought to anticipate with great joy and eagerness. The reality of the imminence of the Lord’s Second Coming ought to compel the Christian to live a life of holiness that is worthy of the gospel that saved him—a life that glorifies God.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11–14
And while no man may know the day or the hour of Christ’s appearing (Mark 13:32), the Christian nevertheless may rest in Christ’s promise that He will return for His own.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2–3
How sad it can be, then, to hear some professing Christians declare that they do not wish for Christ to return soon. Whether they respond with the tired mantra that one ought not “be too heavenly minded to be any earthly good,” or whether they fear that they may miss the marriage of their children, the birth of their grandchildren, or whether they dread the judgment of their loved ones, it is a sorrowful thing to find a Christian who does not light up with joy at the prospect of seeing his Savior face to face.
Baylor University professor Greg Garrett is one who feels that Christians ought to stop talking about Christ’s return. While the Harold Campings of the world no doubt would best serve mankind by remaining silent and refraining from date-setting, the true Christian must insist upon warning others that Christ is coming soon. Garrett appears to disagree, writing in a post entitled, “Jesus Is Not Coming Soon,”
But mostly I want us all to stop talking about Heaven and Hell, about who’s going to be in either one, about the Rapture of the Saints, about whether Jesus will return with a sword or on a unicorn. . . .
If we believe Jesus is going to make a special trip to strap jetpacks on us, we aren’t forced to care about our brothers and sisters (the heathen who are staying behind to be destroyed anyway), about the creation we’ve been given, about any of the tasks God assigns us through the prophets and through Jesus himself. . . .
Until Jesus comes again in glory, whatever that means, whenever that happens, we are supposed to be about our Father’s business.
Yes, let Christians be about their Father’s business, but let them be busy with these matters precisely because Jesus Christ is coming soon.
What is that business about which the Christian should be concerned? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that the chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Is there any greater way to glorify God on this earth than to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ (Luke 24:47)? No deed of man can bring more glory to God than to declare Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). When one remembers that Christ is coming again soon, and returning this time in judgment, then that business, that message, becomes even more urgent.
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Rev. 22:12–13
Whether ‘soon’ means that Christ will appear next week, next year or next century ultimately is immaterial. Man cannot be promised that tomorrow will arrive, and so today is the day of salvation. When the unregenerate are confronted with their own sin and unworthiness before a holy God, when they are made to realize that one day they must stand before His throne and face judgment, then they are prepared to understand why it is they need a Savior. It might just be that the truth of the Lord’s impending return will cause the sinner to bow the knee in repentance and faith now so that he might enjoy God forever.
Jesus is coming soon, and the Christian ought not be ashamed to declare it. Let this truth motivate believers to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ without hesitation before all men. Jesus did not hesitate to declare it throughout His earthly ministry, and He further proclaimed it three times in the final chapter of His Word. Why, then, would the Christian seek to bury such a promise?