Wednesday: “Where Is the Promise of His Coming?”

From the earliest days of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventists believed that Christ’s coming was soon, “nearer than we first believed.” As it stands, we’re still here, much longer than many among us anticipated. How are we to understand this “delay”?1

First of all, we’re not the only ones whose expectations about when the Lord would act have not been fulfilled as people have thought.

Eve, for instance, thought God’s promises for a Deliverer (Gen. 3:15) would be fulfilled in her first-born son. Read Genesis 4:1. An accurate translation of this text should have the word from in italics, because it is not in the original language but has been added by a translator. Eve’s statement can be more literally translated: “I have gotten a man—the Lord.” She was wrong; the child born was Cain, not the Redeemer. The Lord’s coming wasn’t until thousands of years later.

“The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 31.

Read Hebrews 11. What’s the main point of this chapter, and how does it fit into the whole question of “delay”? See especially vss. 13, 39, 40 

All through the Bible, we have examples of people waiting in earnest expectation. Look at how long Abraham waited for the promised son; look at how long Israel waited in Egypt for deliverance. Time and again in the Psalms, we read the question, “How long” Lord, until deliverance comes? And, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised about the “delay” in Christ’s return, not when Peter wrote, almost two thousand years ago, the following words: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:3, 4).

Have you thought the Lord would have been back by now? Do you sometimes find yourself discouraged by the “delay,” or even doubting the Second Advent because we’re still here? Dwell on all the evidence you have for belief in Christ’s return, realizing, too, that, as a finite being, your understanding of time is radically different from that of God.

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Wednesday: “Where Is the Promise of His Coming?” — 6 Comments

  1. I felt this "delay" before last Sabbath, and this lesson made my sin bright, so I could make my thoughts right with God asap. It was a blessing to go over this lesson and catch myself like that. God is so gentle, loving and understanding. How could anyone not want to get to experience Him and His ways? May the only True God keep blessing you all @-)--)----

  2. As a Christian - we should live as Jesus will return tomorrow and at the same time in 100 years time.
    This way we will not be forsaking our responsibilities in this world, such as work, family and so on. At the same time we will not belong to this world and it's desires. You may think this is easier said than done, but in Christ all things are possible.

  3. The "delay" is just a test of our faith all of the believers that went on before held true to their faith, they died believing that their faith would be sight...and they will be rewarded for keeping the faith...God is faithful to His word. Our faith will be made sight if we hold to His word. Be blessed and encouraged knowing that He who is to come will come and will not tarry.

  4. Salute everyone, I think the word delay means for us time and time means whatout what we doing we have the time to make it right to tell others the time is coming.

  5. The one thing that we seem to have so little of is patience. Traditionally the Chinese people thought in terms of the completion of a project without a time element. If something needed to take several generations to complete what they deemed necessary so be it and they started to lay the foundations for the project.

    What we need to see is that the universe is involved in a controversy over governments and an understanding of the character of God. The Lord is going to work things out so that every possible question is going to be answered to the extent that, "He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time" (Nahum 1:9 NKJV). The solution to the sin problem is to last through all eternity. To do such a thing takes time - a lot of it. So we need to be patient and let God work things out in His way and in His time.

  6. After thinking about the delay last night I remember many years ago someone telling me that God is coming back when the number of His subjects are made up. At that time I thought that was awfully cold, as though God used a computer to pick some random number and when the number of people on earth that accept Him reaches that number His is coming back no matter what. But scripture says that God doesn’t think that way.

    The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9 NKJV).

    At the first advent Jesus came when the time was right (Gal 4:4) and I believe He will come back again when everyone has made up their mind as to what side they are on. Our job is to be sure we are among His loyal subjects. When we are in that camp then we will love as He loves and do as He does.


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