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Recently, we have been looking at the days of yet-to-come-already-here lawlessness. In this article we will look at a related issue—the most important issue—Jesus’ return. Our first stop will be to proclaim the truth that Jesus will return soon. (Some will scoff at this proclamation. Thank you for that. You just fulfilled prophecy: “They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:4)).1 Perhaps other readers will expect me to back up my claim concerning Jesus’ return with some kind of prediction. No, I’m just repeating Jesus’ own words. He said He would return soon three times in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible. In fact, He said it in the next to the last verse in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible (Revelation 22:20). From Jesus’ eternal point of view, “soon,” is over two thousand years. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

The universal truth for Christians throughout the centuries has been that since we don’t know how “soon” “soon” is, we should consider His return imminent. Jesus taught us this. “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42–44). This is a reiteration of His admonition at the end of the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were not ready for the bridegroom’s coming. “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

However, Jesus is also coming quickly. The Bible translators have most often interpreted the Greek word “tachys” as “soon” in the 22nd chapter of Revelation, although in all the other passages in the New Testament, this same Greek word is translated “quickly.” I do not know the reason for this differentiation. But Paul wrote, “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1–2). And Peter wrapped it all up nicely. “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:8–10).

I don’t think it’s a stretch to maintain that there is little difference between coming “like a thief in the night” and coming “quickly.” In other words, the event will be over before we will have had opportunity to respond.

Concerning His coming quickly, I would like to add two testimonies of experiences of people that I know. The first is from a Christian brother and friend, now deceased, who once told me that as he was walking down a rural road near his hometown, he had the strong, strange sense that all he was beholding on this walk would one day change, be momentously different, in ways he could not fathom, from what he now saw—in an instant.

The other witness is my wife, who is not given over to Pentecostal extremism in any way whatsoever. This event occurred around thirty years ago when we were pastoring a small church in eastern Washington State. She dreamt she was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes. There is a nice view of fields and mountains from that window. Suddenly, she saw the mountains split in two and coming through that opening was Jesus. Jesus was returning. Everything changed in that one moment. He was here, and everything was about to change forever. Who you were at moment was, well, who you were. No time or opportunity to change anything. This was it.

Those who know me and read this blog know that I do not promote visions or revelations that people claim are from the Lord unless there is biblical evidence for them. I believe the God-given experiences that these two faithful saints meet that standard.

Jesus is coming soon. And quickly. Christians, we need to be ready. He will return at an hour we do not expect.

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

I echo Brother John’s response to Jesus at the end of the Book of Revelation when He proclaimed He was coming soon: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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