Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with promises of the Second Coming. There are 1,845 references to it in the Old Testament. Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Coming—that’s one in every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this event. For every prophecy on the 1st Advent of Christ, there are eight on Christ’s 2nd Advent. We can only conclude that it must be a significant event in God’s plan. It took on added significance this last week when Harold Camping publically announced the end of the world. For months, followers of the 89-year-old Camping, who previously wrongly predicted the rapture would occur in September 1994, has been warning that the rapture would occur on May 21, 2011 and that the subsequent destruction of the universe will take place in October. Supporters would hold placards on busy streets in major cities that read: “Judgment Day May 21, 2011.” Most of us just smile at these false prophets, but sadly, they do real damage.
Unfortunately, predictions like this are confusing and misleading a lot of people. There is the danger that some of his followers If these were Old Testament days, he’d be stoned to death as a false prophet.
When is that event going to take place? There is only one thing you and I can be absolutely sure about when it comes to our Lord’s return to this Earth in power and glory. Every morning we wake up brings us one day closer to that blessed event.
The Christians of the 1st century had as many questions about the Second Coming of our Lord as Christians of the 21st century. At the Church of Thessalonica, some of the Christians were worried about those believers who had already died. Would they have a part in the Second Coming and the resurrection? The Apostle Paul devotes most of the final paragraphs of his first letter to the Thessalonian Christians to the subject of the Second Coming. His thoughts on the matter give us hope and teach us how we are to live in light of our Lord’s return.
The important question of the hour is not When is Jesus coming back? The question is, What do we do and how do we live while we are waiting? In the 1987 NCAA Regional Finals, LSU was leading Indiana by eight points with only a few minutes left in the game. As is often the case with a team in the lead, LSU began playing a different ball game. They became more conservative and less aggressive in their play.
The television announcer pointed out that the LSU players were beginning to watch the clock rather than wholeheartedly play the game. As a result of this shift in focus, Indiana closed the gap, won the game by one point, and eventually when on to become NCAA champions.
While Jesus called us to be aware of "the signs of the times," he clearly called us to expend our energies in faithful, active service. As we await Jesus' promised return, we are not so much to watch the clock as to be diligent servants during the time we have available.