What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? (2 Peter 3:11)
The Christian media is becoming increasingly obsessed with anticipating the second coming of Christ. Harold Camping, who for 50 years has answered listeners’ Bible questions on his well-known radio program, speaks with confidence of Jesus’ return on May 21, 2011, based on his calculations using Bible facts. Thousands of billboards announcing Judgment Day dot the American landscape in anticipation of that day.
However, it is worth noting that Mr. Camping has made this sort of prediction before. According to him, Jesus was supposed to have returned on September 6, 1994, and thousands of his listeners were greatly disappointed when that date came and went without the tumult one would expect from the sudden disappearance of all true Christians. Certainly many will profit from the opportunity presented by this latest prediction, but who really believes that Jesus will return? And if they do believe, how are they living their lives in anticipation of His return?
Will Durant, in his history of world civilization, writes,
… few were the Christians who took seriously the notion that the world would end in the year 1000. At the beginning of the tenth century a Church council had announced that the final century of history had begun; at its close a small minority of men so believed, and prepared themselves for the Last Judgment. The great majority went on their wonted ways, working, playing, sinning, praying ...
And so it is today. To most people, the possibility of the Son of God actually returning as the Bible says He will seems unreal, too fantastic to take seriously, let alone act upon.
There is good reason for people to feel that way. It is because they are totally unconnected to the vital events that will bring about the Messiah’s return. Oh, some believe that He will return when Christian missionaries succeed in getting the Bible translated into every language and delivered into the hands of people of every nation and tribe and tongue. Others believe that He will return at a fixed date in history that one can calculate by gathering all the right numbers from the Bible and human history. Still others see human society crumbling and crashing down all around them and fear that the world can’t go on much longer, so Jesus must be coming back soon. But very few people on the earth today realize that He is waiting for certain things to happen...
He is waiting for His Bride to be ready:
That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:27)
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
He is waiting for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet:
But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. (Hebrews 10:12-13)
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)
He is waiting for the restoration of all things:
Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must hold until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts 3:19-21)
None of these things has happened, nor are any of them likely to be fulfilled any time soon. In fact, oddly enough, we who write this paper do not know of any Christian teacher or group that even recognizes the significance of these verses. Do they seem significant to you?