Christ Will Come Again
Will Christ find Christians faithful when He returns?
That Christ will come again is no reality of the realm of science-fiction. There has been much fanciful theorizing about the Lord’s return down the ages, but it is a biblical fact. It is a prominent subject in the Bible. It’s been said that about every one of 25 verses in the New Testament deals either directly or indirectly with the return of Christ.
So, what does the Bible say about the second coming of Christ? It says that on the night Jesus was betrayed, He affirmed His return before His apostles when He met with them for the last time before His death on the cross. On that occasion, Jesus had with the apostles a lengthy conversation which runs through three chapters in John (14, 15 and 16). He said, in that conversation, “in my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
Jesus said that He would come again. He later directed the apostle Paul to provide details on His return. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul prefaced his writing on the subject saying, “for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord” (v. 1). The phrase “by the word of the Lord” implies that the additional information he was giving on Christ’s return was a revelation from the Lord.
The apostle then proceeded to make his grand announcement. He said, “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (v. 16-17).
There are several important facts to note in this short passage. (1) Christ’s return will not be a vision or anything of that kind; it will be an actual and visible presence of the Lord descending from heaven and signalled with as shout from Him (Revelation 1:7). (2) A host of angels will accompany the Lord (cf. Matthew 25:31, 2 Thessalonians 1:7) and they will have a role to play in this event that day, including the sounding of the call to Christians, making it a glorious historical moment. (3) Those in the tombs who died in the Lord will resurrect; they will be the first among the dead to rise (cp John 5:28, 1 Corinthians 15:52) (4) There will be some people still alive when Christ returns (5) The dead in the Lord, now resurrected, will together with the faithful living Christians meet with the Lord in the air who will take all of them with Him to heaven (6) The Lord will not come down upon the earth. In fact, he will not be able to come to earth and the reason is that the earth will be “burn up” (2 Peter 3:10).
As to the exact time Christ’s arrival will take place, the bible is silent. In fact, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). The efforts men have in almost every generation made to predict and set a time to the second coming of Christ are baseless, worthless and amount to nothing but assertions. The predictions proceed from the craving the false teachers who make them have to prey on people’s innate desire to know about the future.
Make no mistake, Jesus said that no man knows the time of His return. The fact that no man knows this detail does not however make Christ’s second coming uncertain. But, beside the legitimate interest Christians may have, or should have, for the return of Christ a question of greater interest to consider is this, when Christ comes back will He find us faithful (Luke 12:42-44, Revelation 2:10)?