"I, for one, absolutely believe the Lord’s coming is soon."

In spite of many false alarms it still bears repeating: Jesus emphatically stated nobody knows the day or the hour of his return. Nevertheless, he did give us a number of signs so we could know when it’s coming was near.

Based on virtually every metric of prophecy, I, for one, absolutely believe the Lord’s coming is soon.

Mounting violence? Check. The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters? Check. Plunging morals and cold hearts? Check. Mankind destroying the earth? Check. Not to mention the dramatic rise of Pope Francis’ popularity and power, combined with his repeated calls for a religious unity.

But I still think many people may have some confused concepts regarding what things will look like in the world just before the close of probation. They often picture something like fire and brimstone belching from the earth as entire cities are swallowed and demon possessed mobs rampaging around the planet searching for the saints who are hiding in the hills.

Jesus paints a somewhat different picture of life going on with some semblance of normality.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Lk. 17:26–30, NKJV[1]).

Notice, people will be buying and selling stock, building skyscrapers, planting farms, and planning their marriages, all things that they typically do when they are expecting some prospects for a normal future.

Jesus said, “…the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt. 24:44). For the world, he comes “as a thief” when all are crying “peace, peace”. This means he is not going to wait until the very last days are obvious and the world seems ready to drop off a precipice or collide with a wall, everybody would expect it than. Jesus said it will happen before things reached a total cul-de-sac for humanity. “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:22), indicating if he waits too long humanity will ultimately self-destruct.

Not only are there many external signs, I believe some of the strongest evidence is what can be seen within. Laodicea: We are now four or five generations removed from the founders of the Adventist movement. Historically when this happens, we run a great risk of losing the original vision and first love.

“When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).

Even though many may be lukewarm some are still on fire and the gospel is going forward. Christ made a definitive promise, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Now the gospel is being proclaimed globally through multiple platforms besides the printed page like satellite TV, shortwave radio, and the Internet that cannot be stopped by political barriers.

So why does it sometimes seem the Lord’s coming is delayed? This should not surprise us.

In the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25) Jesus said it would appear the bridegroom was late. At the conclusion of the previous chapter, where Jesus talks about signs of his return, he shares a parable warning us about a servant that says in his heart “My Lord delays his coming” (Matt. 24:48).

When Moses delayed coming down the mountain it was a time of testing for God’s people.

The Lord is waiting as long as He can to redeem as many of his children as possible before the train leaves the station. He is, “… not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9, NKJV)

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry” (Hab. 2:3).

[1] Verses in this article are quoted from the New King James Version, or NKJV. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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