For Jesus to Come?
By Ted N.C. Wilson
The Second Coming is the very heartbeat of our hope as Adventists, and has been the hope of God’s people for thousands of years.
More than 2,000 years ago, eleven men stood on Mt. Olivet watching Jesus ascend into the clouds, His hands outstretched in blessing. Suddenly, the disciples were startled by two beings, clothed in white, standing beside them.
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?” they asked. “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10, 11) 1.
God’s Word is filled with promises of His coming. In John 14:1-3, Jesus assures us, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Explaining how He would return, Jesus said, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. . . . they will see the Son coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:27,30).
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 we read: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.” The book of Revelation proclaims: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him . . .” (Rev. 1:7).
Clearly, the Bible teaches that Christ’s second coming “will be literal, personal, visible, audible, and global.” 2
But when? Jesus Himself provides the answer. In the last chapter of Revelation, He tells us three times:
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll” (22:7, NIV).
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done” (22:12, NIV).
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon’” (22:20, NIV).
How soon? It could be today for you or me, since we do not have the promise of life for tomorrow. For those who sleep in death, it is only a moment until they see Jesus coming in the clouds. 3
But it may be soon for the living, as well, and I wholeheartedly believe it will be. The prophecies in Daniel and Revelation are nearly fulfilled. The present condition of the world with its socio-economic-political turmoil, point to Christ’s soon coming. Numerous indicators worldwide herald His coming.
Nevertheless, naysayers sneer, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4, NIV). Sadly, even some Adventists doubt Jesus will come in their lifetime, choosing to focus on earth rather than prepare for heaven. This is not an admonition to be “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good!” But rather, to live a life expecting Christ’s soon return.
Speaking of His return Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows. . .” urging His followers to “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. . . . for you do not know when the master of the house is coming . . . . And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-37).
One aspect of living expectantly is faithfully doing the work the Master has given us. Jesus said, “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).
“The whole world is opening to the gospel,” wrote Ellen White in 1909. “. . . From every quarter of this world of ours, comes the cry of sin-stricken hearts for a knowledge of the God of love. Millions upon millions have never so much as heard of God or of His love revealed in Christ. It is their right to receive this knowledge. They have an equal claim with us in the Saviour’s mercy. And it rests with us who have received the knowledge, with our children to whom we may impart it, to answer their cry.” 4
Today, this plea is even more relevant. It is vital that every Seventh-day Adventist be part of Total Member Involvement—everyone, everywhere, sharing the lifegiving “gospel of the kingdom.”
“His [God’s] kingdom will not come until the good tidings of His grace have been carried to all the earth. Hence, as we give ourselves to God, and win other souls to Him, we hasten the coming of His kingdom.” 5
What a marvelous thought! We can hasten Christ’s coming by doing the work He has called us to do!
Christ’s Character Reproduced
Another way we can be ready for Christ’s return is by allowing Him to reproduce His character in us. God loves and invites us to come to Him just as we are. The Bible assures
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
What a wonderful assurance that God not only forgives but cleanses us now! The letter to Titus further clarifies this powerful promise:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
Expanding on this principle, Ellen White provides further inspired counsel:
“At the very outset of the Christian life every believer should be taught its foundation principles. He should be taught that he is not merely to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice, but that he is to make the life of Christ his life and the character of Christ his character. Let all be taught that they are to bear burdens and to deny natural inclination. Let them learn the blessedness of working for Christ, following Him in self-denial, and enduring hardness as good soldiers. Let them learn to trust His love and to cast on Him their cares. Let them taste the joy of winning souls for Him. In their love and interest for the lost, they will lose sight of self. The pleasures of the world will lose their power to attract and its burdens to dishearten. The plowshare of truth will do its work. . . .It will not merely cut off the tops of the thorns, but will take them out by the roots.” 6
Friends, Jesus is coming soon! Now is the time to fully surrender to Him each day, taking hold of His promises to not only forgive but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and to work through us to win many souls for Him. Are you ready for Jesus to come?
Ted N.C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.
Suggested Pull Quote: “We can hasten Christ’s coming by doing the work He has called us to do!”
- Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.
- “The Second Coming of Christ,” 28 Fundamental Beliefs, Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2015, https://bit.ly/SDAFundamentalBeliefs
- See “Death and Resurrection,” Ibid.
- Ellen G. White, Education, p. 262.
- White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 108.
- White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 57.