‘“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:42-44).”’
Some Christians are obsessed with forthcoming events that have been prophesied to take place at the end of the age. Christ has told us to be vigilant and to be prepared for His second coming [see verses above], but He has also given us other commands to be obeyed. We are to be loving (John 13:34), compassionate (1 Peter 3:8) and Christlike, but our great mission is to *proclaim the gospel, i.e., to tell people of all nations to repent and to believe in Jesus (cf. Mark 1:15). We are to make disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, 20). This is the great commission given by Christ to His church. He gives this command to every single member of His church, to every believer and lover of Him.
In obeying the command to be watchful (Matthew 24:42), some Christians have become so occupied with searching for signs of Christ’s second coming that they have very little time or concern for the great commission of making disciples. They have no time for carrying their cross (Matthew 10:38; Luke 14:27), serving one another (Galatians 5:13) and for dispensing Christ’s love. For them Christ’s return has become an obsession.
There’s a huge pitfall in expending too much time and energy on the subject. To begin with, there are **four main millennial scenarios, and two of them differ on the timing of Christ’s second coming for His saints (Matthew 25:31). They all agree on the timing of the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) which will take place after the millennium. They are all in accord concerning the certainty of a millennium (Revelation 20:1-7), and two camps place the period of the tribulation (Daniel 9:26; 12:1, 29; Matthew 24:21) immediately before the millennium. Some believe the millennium is literally a span of a thousand years in real time; while others understand it to be a figure of speech symbolic of a long period of time, and yet others believe we are already living in the millennium which according to them started at the time of Christ’s ascension.
Others have different notions regarding the timing of the tribulation, and indeed, some believe that it took place when Herod’s ***temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 (cf. Mark 13:1-3).
Christians have argued about the sequencing of end time events ever since the New Testament (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5) was written, which indicates that the matter is never going to be resolved by men. Indeed, Jesus Himself said, ‘“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:36-39).”’
We cannot change times and events that have been predestined (Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:5, 11) by God from before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), but we can be grateful and thankful, praising the Father for His grace and mercy (Exodus 34:6), because He has set us in time and space to be His children (John 1:12). Through the loving obedience of His Son (cf. Matthew 26:42) who gave His life for us He has made us partakers of His kingdom (25:34). Whatever sequence of events will ultimately take place, we [believers] know that we are secure in Jesus (Hebrews 13:5). Not one of us will be lost (John 6:39), and we shall all praise Him, adore Him and worship Him for evermore in the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1).
Meanwhile let us be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2; 16:13), true to His Word, and obedient children in Him (1 Peter 1:14).
Jesus said, ‘“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates of the city (Revelation 22: 12-14).”’
‘He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen (vv. 20, 21).’
*Proclamation of the Gospel
**The Resurrection [See ‘Timing of the Resurrection’]
***The Temples of God