“Men of Galilee,” they said. “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”—Acts 1:11
Have you ever really thought about the truth contained in this verse or in many others like it? If the idea of Christ’s return has become overly familiar to you, read that verse again and let it sink in as if you had never heard it before. Scripture tells us Jesus is literally coming back to earth one day. Are you aware of how frequently the writers of the New Testament wrote about the promised return of Christ? Of the 27 books in the New Testament, 23 mention his return. Jesus often spoke about it himself. In the 66 books of the Bible, you’ll find that one out of every 30 verses refers to the return of Christ or the topic of the end times. So it’s fair to say this is a major biblical theme from cover to cover.
Down through the centuries, Jesus’ followers have fully believed, taught, and expected that he would return. During the past 2,000 years of church history, core Christian beliefs have been codified into simple statements of faith called creeds. These concise statements affirm that the return of Christ has always been a key focus of the Christian faith. This truth has brought encouragement to generations of Christians who have looked to a promised future where all things will be made right. We are reminded of this promise every time we take communion and “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). We also pray for the arrival of the end-times in the Lord’s prayer whenever we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
However, in recent decades, the topic of Christ’s return has, for various reasons, taken a bad rap. What comes to mind when you read these words? Revelation. Apocalypse. Armageddon. End-times. The Last days. Judgment. If images of a bullhorn-wielding sidewalk preacher donned in a sandwich board comes to mind, you are not alone.
Unfortunately the topic of Christ’s return has been hijacked by caricatured notions of what the Bible actually teaches. It’s not a doom-and-gloom scare tactic. His return is a foundational truth of the Christian faith, but in our day, we tend to treat the topic like a crazy uncle the family never talks about.
In conversations with fellow believers, I find that most of them truly believe the Lord is going to return at some point, but they see this as a distant event with no real relevance for us today. Many are confused about the last days or they completely ignore the topic. This is understandable for many reasons, but I hope to demonstrate that studying eschatology and Bible prophecy is a thousand times more relevant and practical than many Christians realize. Revelation 1:3 boldly states, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” So the final book of the Bible, which many believers in our day tend to avoid, informs us that there are specific blessings for those who read it!
Some of the confusion and apathy about end-times events is caused by the fact there are multiple views, interpretive disagreements, and case after case of failed date predictions about when Christ would return—a practice that violates scripture. Matthew 24:36 says, “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” That’s about as clear as Jesus could get, yet it seems there is an endless parade of people picking dates for Christ’s return. This does unnecessary harm to the Christian faith. One of my goals is to address this confusion and to demonstrate that not only can Revelation and other prophetic texts be understood, but that by studying them your faith will grow and your relationship with Jesus will deepen. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more posts that will shed light on this all-important topic!
If you want an easy-to-understand visual guide to finally get a grip on Bible prophecy and the events surrounding the Lord’s return, check out my book, The Non-Prophet’s Guide™ to the End Times. Also a great gift idea! For more info visit your favorite online book store or go to TheNonProphetsGuide.com