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
Is He really going to bodily come again?
Is His coming to be understood spiritually?
Will His coming be during or after the
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.
GOD PLANNED FOR THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS TO BE
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
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."
As obedient disciples
of the Lord Jesus we should establish the following facts in our
- No man knows the day and hour of His
- All believers are to be constantly watchful
for His coming.
- 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
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.
Looking For Anti-Christ Is As Wrong As Setting
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
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
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.
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.
THERE ARE PRACTICAL REASONS WHY BELIEVERS SHOULD
BE LOOKING FOR JESUS TO COME AND TAKE THEM HOME.
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
Watching For Jesus Encourages Living A Godly
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
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
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
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.