Ever since Jesus came to earth over 2,000 years ago, there has been a lot of discussion among Christians about His second coming. Much of that discussion involves the first portion of Revelation 22:12, in which Jesus states “Behold, I am coming soon…” And as Christians, we understand that those words are true. Yet for some reason there seems to be a misunderstanding in regards to what soon actually means in the context of Jesus’ return.
What does soon actually mean? Does soon mean tomorrow? Does it mean a month from now? Does it mean a year from now? Or maybe the word soon is not a reference to a specific date or time at all. Consider these words from Jesus… “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) And if no one knows the day, can one know the week, month, year, decade, or century?
The phrase “coming soon” literally means “coming swiftly, quickly or suddenly“. Therefore, Jesus will return in the blink of an eye and promptly. His return is not overdue. He will return in His perfect timing. What seems like a delay to some is only a demonstration of His patience toward those who do not yet know Him… “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.” 2 Peter 3:9
It seems obvious that since Jesus said He was coming back soon over 2,000 years ago, He was not using the word “soon” in the context of a date or time. Yet many Christians still take his words out of context and lead others to believe that He will return in a matter of years from now. As Christians we should be careful with our words when we share with an unbelieving world. When we tell those who already have a lack of understanding of our faith, that Jesus is coming back soon, we should be cautious.
We should provide context for our statements, so that His message is delivered clearly and without confusion. When we tell others that Jesus is coming soon, we should provide further explanation in regards to His “sudden” return. We should stop frantically checking our calendars and worrying about when He will come back. Instead, we should be comforted in knowing that it will happen swiftly when He is ready.
All of this may seem trivial at first, but consider the impact speaking out of context in regards to Jesus’ return could have on non-believers. If we tell non-believers that Jesus is returning soon without any explanation, they could easily interpret that to mean that we believe Jesus will return within the next few years. And if Jesus does not return in a few years, that non-believer could easily question our beliefs, and rightfully so. Would you want to follow a faith that teaches something that doesn’t happen according to what you have been told?
Believe and be ready
There are five important truths that we can know and share about Jesus’ return…
- Jesus will return (Hebrews 9:28)
- There is hope in His return (Titus 2:3)
- Be ready for it (Matthew 24:44)
- It will happen suddenly (Matthew 24:27)
- We do not know when it will happen (Matthew 24:42)
Let’s end the speculation of when Christ will return and begin focusing on being obedient to Him. We should focus our attention on doing the good work that He has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). There is so much that He can accomplish through us if we focus on the work He has for us, instead of spending our lives trying to predict the timing of His return so that we can get credit for being correct in regards to “Biblical Prophecy”. And let us always remember, that He will return in His perfect timing.