Question: How can we be sure that Jesus is coming back to the earth? Do we have any proof that He really will? When will it be?
Answer: Our proof of Jesus’ planned return is in the infallible guidebook that God has preserved for us – the scriptures we call the Bible. In the final 2 verses of Revelation, which is at the end of the Bible, Jesus said, “Surely, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20) He promised John almost 2,000 years ago that He was coming soon. Evidently, Jesus has a broader perspective of time than most people do! No matter how long we consider this delay to have been, it’s only a chapter in the text of our eternal existence: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Jesus taught His disciples about what the last days of the earth would be like. He said only God knew the day and hour of Jesus’ return (Mark 13:32) and that people would not be expecting Him (Luke 12:40). Various events would occur before His coming to earth (Matthew 24:6-7, Luke 21:25-28). Jesus said Christians will be persecuted, which will cause many believers to give up on their faith (Matthew 24:9-12). The apostle Peter warned that, because it will take longer than most expect, people will argue that Jesus is never coming back: “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since our ancestors died, all things continue since they have been.’” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
When Jesus departed in Acts 1:9-11 and disappeared into clouds in the sky, angels appeared to His followers and assured them that He would return in the same manner as He had left. The writer of the Bible book of Hebrews said that “Christ…will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
Paul wrote that Jesus would appear in the clouds and, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Until He arrives, Jesus wants us to:
- Remember His promises
- Believe His message
- Spread the truth about Jesus
- Encourage others
- Not lose hope
All that He has said will, indeed, take place. The prophet Habakkuk, in waiting for God to carry out His promises of judgment on the wickedness of Babylon, recorded God’s message to him, words to fortify us today as we wait for the fulfillment of Jesus’ coming for everyone who has trusted in Him and God’s promises from long ago:
“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day.” Habakkuk 2:3
May Jesus arrive soon and see that we are happily expecting Him!