Looking For Jesus

      It has been nearly 2000 years since Jesus promised His disciples, "…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 14:2b,3. But as of yet Jesus has not come again.

     The last recorded words of Jesus are found in Revelation 22:20 "Surely I come quickly"; but He has not come yet. Throughout nineteen centuries the church has joined with John in replying "Even so, come, Lord Jesus"; but that prayer has not yet been answered.

     Countless generations of Christians have longed for Jesus to come and take them home to be with Him ere they breathed their last breath and went down into the grave, but they died with their hope unrealized.

     Questions have been raised in the minds of many regarding the second coming of Jesus to take His church home to be with Him:
          Is He really going to bodily come again?
          Is His coming to be understood spiritually?
          Will His coming be during or after the Tribulation?
          Will His coming result in "the end of the world"?
     Scoffers mock and say that Christians looking for the return of Jesus do so in vain.


     By "imminent" we are to understand that the second coming of Jesus can potentially take place at any time.

Jesus Commanded His Disciples To Watch And Be Ready

     In what has been labeled "The Olivet Discourse" we have the most complete teaching of Jesus about future events. In regard to His second coming Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only…Watch therefore: for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming... Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:36, 42, 44. In Mark's account we have this additional statement, "And what I say to you I say to all, Watch." Mark 13:37.

     As obedient disciples of the Lord Jesus we should establish the following facts in our mind:

  1. No man knows the day and hour of His coming.
  2. All believers are to be constantly watchful for His coming.
  3. All believers are to be continually ready (spiritually prepared) for His coming.

     It is also very helpful to understand the meaning of the word "quickly" in Revelation 22:20. The Greek word Jesus used here in saying "Behold, I come quickly" does not refer to time but the manner of His coming. It carries the idea of suddenly without warning. The apostle Paul pointed this out in 1st  Corinthians 15:52 with the words, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…"and again in 1st  Thessalonians 5:2,3: "…the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them…"

Jesus Intimated  A Long Interval Before He Comes Again.

     "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods."  Matthew 25:14, and then verse 19 "After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh, and settled accounts with them."

     A little reflection on these statements of Jesus in the Olivet discourse reveals that Jesus wanted His disciples watching for Him whether they lived in the first century or the twentieth century. As the Son of God He knew that a watchful anticipation of His return is vital to the spiritual health of each believer. We shall see why shortly.

Those Who Have Set Dates For The 2nd Coming of Jesus Have All Been Wrong

     One of the "church fathers", Hippolytus, said the end of the world would come in 581 AD. He was wrong.
     Perhaps the most revered of the "church fathers" was Augustine. He predicted the world would probably come to an end in 1000 AD. Sir Robert Anderson described some of the results in "The Coming Prince", "All Europe rang with it in the days of Pope Gregory, the Great. And at the end of the tenth century, the apprehension of it amounted to a general panic. It was then frequently preached on, and by breathless crowds listened to; the subject of every man’s thoughts, every ones conversation." Other documents tell of wealthy landowners encouraged to deed their holdings to the church for the pardon of their sins. As 1000 AD approached there was mass hysteria and pandemonium followed by boundless anger against the church when 1000 came and all prophecies of the end of the world failed. Augustine was wrong.
     William Miller preached "…In mighty fire and terror the world will end in 1843." In some northeastern states the rate of those who lost their minds increased 300 % and suicides increased in a similar amount. William Miller was wrong.
     Rev. M. Baxter, an Anglican clergyman, identified Louis Napoleon as the Anti-Christ and predicted the battle of Armageddon for 1868. Rev. Baxter was wrong.    
     The Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted Jesus would return in 1914. They were wrong. They amended their prediction by saying that He came spiritually. They were wrong again for "…this same Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11. The same resurrected, glorified Jesus will return in the same bodily way He ascended.
     Edgar Whisenant wrote a book on "88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1988". All of his 88 reasons were wrong.
     Harold Camping, the founder and owner of Family Radio Network, wrote a book entitled "1994". Among other things he predicted the coming of Christ and the end of the world between September 15th and 27th, 1994. Harold Camping was wrong.
     Reference could be made to many others who set the date of Christ’s second coming. They were all wrong. They were not only wrong in the date they set, but they were wrong to seek to set a date. Jesus prescribed the attitude every believer is to have, "Watch therefore, for you what hour your Lord is coming."   Matthew 24:42.  If Jesus doesn’t come until a certain date there is no need to watch for Him until then.

Looking For Anti-Christ Is As Wrong As Setting Dates

     In relatively recent years there has been wide spread teaching that the church will go through at least a portion of the Tribulation period. These teachers would have us believe that church saints will live under the reign and terror of Anti-Christ. To those who accept this teaching the clear command of Jesus to watch for Him is nullified in their thinking. Very obviously, if the Anti-Christ comes first then there is no need to watch for Jesus until after the Anti-Christ has come. For this and many other reasons those who would teach us to watch for the Anti-Christ to come first are wrong.


      The believer who is watching for Jesus experiences a tremendous impact on several areas of their life.

Watching For Jesus Gives Great Purpose To Life.

     Dwight L. Moody had a limited formal education and yet became one of the most effective evangelists in recorded history. He said, "I have felt like working three times as hard as ever since I came to understand that my Lord is coming again. I look upon the world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat and said to me, ‘Moody, save all you can’". In a world of people without purpose the watchful believer knows that every soul he wins to Christ and every believer he strengthens has glorious eternal consequences.

Watching For Jesus Encourages Living A Godly Life.

     John, the beloved apostle, wrote this exhortation in 1st John 2:28,  "And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He appears, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." John is very clearly saying, "To avoid being ashamed then, abide in Jesus now." Three verses later John makes this statement, "Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed  what we shall be: but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who  has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure." 1st John 3:2,3.  John says that there is one thing that will cause us to purify ourselves like Jesus and that is the watchful attitude that when He appears we shall be like Him.

Watching For Jesus Fortifies Confidence In God’s Word

The watchful Christian will be a student of prophecy. When a believer studies prophecy he/she becomes acquainted with hundreds of prophecies that have already been fulfilled and many that are on track to be fulfilled in the future. This is a great fortifier of their confidence in God’s word. In over fifty years of preaching I have not known one believer who was watching for Jesus who questioned the scriptures as the inspired and authoritative word of God.

Watching For Jesus Brings Comfort.

The apostle Paul wrote the Christians at Thessalonica about their believing family members who had died. He assured them that when Jesus comes their loved ones will be resurrected and then the living will be "caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and thus we shall always be with the Lord." He then added, "Therefore comfort one another with these words." 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18. Paul stated that believers never say an eternal goodbye but only a temporary "so long". The coming of Jesus will bring a glorious reunion from which we will never be separated by death again. For nearly 2000 years God’s children have received unspeakable comfort from this truth. What makes that comfort so real is the fact that Jesus is coming again.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted.

    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.