It is a common question put to the church, “When will we know that the second coming is upon us?” This question comes in two forms; those who want the exact time and date of the second coming, and those who want to know what signs will indicate the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As to the exact time and date, ” the master of the servant will come on a day when the servant is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware,(1)” Knowing the exact time and date of the second coming, provides ease and comfort to sin and delays our need for repentance to the last week, day or hour. Yet, who is to say that we will live to see that day?
Not even the angels know when the second coming will be, because we should not be robbed of the importance of our daily preparedness – the essential component of Christian unity with God. The Lord shall come “like a thief in the night.(2)” In His wisdom, God the Son did not give us an exact time and date so that we may always be ready for His return, for the first coming was to save, but the second coming is to judge our individual worthiness. And so the message that the Lord wishes us to retain is “Be prepared.” Repentance, confession and forgiveness of others “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” is an essential daily preparation for the second coming. Having a date stamped on the calendar allows us to delay this essential daily necessity.
The second coming is also individualized. For the second coming is when the Lord comes to me, to you, and not just to the world. Being prepared for this individual second coming is daily, for your time may be at this moment – yet my time may be already passed or tomorrow, or even many days yet to come. “Be Prepared.” For no time warning will be given.
Now as to those who wonder what signs will there be that indicate the second coming is drawing nearer; this is covered in great detail by St. Paul, “that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.(3)”
1. “The falling away,” is the apostasy, when the multitude leaves the faith and goes away from the faith in a massive wave. A great departure from the faith into a massive movement of non-biblical based make-believe worship. Please note, these signs we speak of are to alarm us, nor to define an exact timeframe. But simply to remind us to “Be Prepared.”- both individually as well as collectively.
2. The formation of the nation of Israel. Jacob was renamed Israel by God, which means “struggled with God and men and prevailed.(4) ” The church is the new Israel for we struggle with God to be more with Him and we struggle with men to be less of them and we will prevail through Jesus’s blood and we will prevail over the world through our struggle with God, through God and in God.
3. “The man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above all that is God.” This is the antichrist, the false Christ. When the true Christ comes, every eye will see him, you do need not come to him. The antichrist will use the internet, TV and technology to be known and seen by everyone. But God the Son does not need technology to be seen by all. Satan can and will perform miracles except one, he cannot raise the dead because he himself is dead, he has no life, therefore he cannot raise the dead. He will mimic Christ, and thus “exalts himself above all that is called God.”
In chapter 5 of the first epistle of Thessalonians, St. Paul provides us with guidance on how to prepare ourselves for the second coming. “Pray without ceasing.(5)” If we can not praise God unceasingly then how can we handle being in the presence of God eternally? In this chapter you will find the step by step way to prepare yourself for the second coming. We need to measure ourselves? If Jesus asked us, “Come with me now.” What would we say? “Please God not right now, can I have a little time?” Would it really matter whether now or tomorrow? Are we so bound to our daily habits, that draw us away from God, from the praise of God, from the discussion of worthiness before God, that we cannot imagine praying to God unceasingly? If so, then what would a little extra time matter? We need to break away from our daily habits We need to measure ourselves and ask what are our days are filled with? End your day with contemplation of that day. Ask yourself what do you want to rid yourself of? What do you want to carry with you for eternity? Being in the perpetual status of repentance is the very best way to “Be Prepared.”
Glory be to God, Amen.
1. Luke 12:46
2. 1Thessalonians 5:2
3. 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4
4. Genesis 32:28
5. 1 Thessalonians 5: 17