The apostles and early Christians considered Christ’s return “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13, NKJV), and they expected all the prophecies and promises of Scripture to be fulfilled at the Second Advent. Seventh-day Adventists still hold firmly to this conviction. In fact, our name, “Adventist”, states it unequivocally. All who love Christ look forward with anticipation to the day they will be able to share face-to-face fellowship with Him. Until that day, the promise of the second coming of Christ exerts a unifying influence on us as God’s people.
What do the following passages teach about the manner of Christ’s return? How does this differ from some of the popular notions of Christ’s return? Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:26-27; Rev. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19:11-16.
The Bible repeatedly assures us that Jesus will come again to claim His redeemed people. When this event will happen should not be a matter of speculation, because Jesus Himself stated, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36, NKJV). Not only do we not know when Christ is coming back, we have been told that we do not know.
At the end of His ministry, Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) in order to illustrate the experience of the church as it awaits His second coming. The two groups of virgins represent two types of believers who profess to be waiting for Jesus. Superficially, these two groups appear to be alike; but when the delay of Jesus’ coming occurs, the real difference between them becomes obvious. One group, in spite of the delay, had kept its hope alive and had made the adequate spiritual preparation. By this parable Jesus wished to teach His disciples that the Christian experience is not to be based on emotional excitement or enthusiasm but on a continuous reliance on the grace of God and perseverance in faith even when there is no tangible evidence of the fulfillment of God’s promises. Jesus invites us still today to “watch” and be ready at any time for His coming.
|Though our very name “Seventh-day Adventist” testifies to how crucial the Second Coming is to us, how can we on a personal level keep the reality of the Second Coming before us? How can we, as the years go by, not make the mistake that Jesus warned about in the parable of the ten virgins?|