“No. Do you?”
“Mom.” Robert took a breath. “It says right here that He’s coming quickly. Those were His own words. He said, ‘I am coming quickly.’ ”
“That’s good enough for me.”
“Mom. Other places in the Bible it says Jesus is coming soon. Some guys at school laughed at me because I told them that. He’s not coming soon, Mom. Already it’s been forever. Thousands of years since He said that. What gives?”
“Does God look at time the same way we do?”
“Sure He does. He created time, didn’t He?”
“Everything God did on earth He did for us. He’ll come when it’s the right time for us.”
Robert thought about that for a minute. “Are you saying it’s not the right time for us yet?”
[Thought Questions for The Promise of His Return March 27, 2012]
1. Leading thought. Does the timing of the Second Coming depend in any way on us? Was Robert’s mother in the above dialog on track when she said that Jesus will come when it’s the right time for us? If so, who is meant by “us”—the church? all Christians? the entire world? Explain your answer. Do you believe that Jesus is coming soon? Still “soon” after two thousand years? Did you approach the lesson for this week with a bit of a shrug as in “Here we go again”? Are you willing to gain a personal blessing today from the study of this lesson about God’s promise to return?
2. Time setting. How many times have you heard the specific time of the end of the world predicted? What about in our own church? Do you think there’s a difference in the degree of anticipation we Adventists have for the Lord’s coming in 2012 compared with what we had fifty years ago? What about those who gathered in 1844 and were bitterly disappointed when Jesus didn’t come as predicted? How great was their anticipation? When God looked down and saw how disappointed His new Adventist friends were, what did He do about it? Why?
3. Linking the beginning to the end. Well, we got off to a good start in the Garden of Eden, and it’s all going to be perfect and wonderful at the end. But you and I, where are we in this continuum? Why didn’t God finish off the whole controversy in the first six hundred years instead of having us waiting six thousand or more years later? How does your study and devotional reading of the books of Revelation and Isaiah help you to see God’s eternal plan? Remember the ladder in Jacob’s dream? Even now, when murder and atrocities and sin of all kinds seem to prevail, does Christ still provide a link from earth to heaven? How have you learned to trust Him?
4. Last day events. Is the Seventh-day Adventist church the only one that believes in the Second Coming of Jesus? What are the key differences between our church’s attitude toward this future event and the attitude of other Christians? Do you think we should be saying more–or less–about the Second Coming these days? If it’s the most exciting event in the entire history of this world, why don’t we say much about it? Or do we? When was the last sermon you heard that inspired you to look forward to the Second Coming? What are some obstacles that keep the message of the Second Coming from being (a) proclaimed and (b) heard? What can we do to conquer those barriers? Or does God want us to be quiet about this future event?
5. Assurance. When was the last time you attended the final services of a Christian you knew would be resurrected with the saved? Have you ever lost a mother? a grandfather? a brother or sister? — who walked in the path of Jesus? What about the death of a relative or friend who made no claim to follow Jesus and lived a life marred by sin? What assurance do you have that gives you peace when someone you love dies? Jesus may not come today or this week or this year, but during that time how many people will die? For each of them, is not death closely linked to the Second Coming and all that is entailed in that? Will Jesus give anyone the gift of eternal life if that person wouldn’t enjoy it?
6. The promise. Did Eve understand the promise of the first advent of Christ? Imagine comforting Eve on her death bed. What would you say to her? Did Abraham have cause to say to the Lord, “Why did you promise me a son? It’s too late now!” If you’d known Abraham a few years before Isaac was born, what advice might you have given him? Would you have joined Sarah in hearty laughter when she received the promise of a son? From a human perspective, did the promise make sense? Do you see evidence in the news every day of Jesus’ soon coming? Is there any danger in interpreting “signs of the end” in the world around us?
7. Quickly. Are God’s people less likely to fade away if they believe God’s promise that He is coming “quickly”? Is a sense that His coming is very soon good for us? How? How can we keep from letting discouragement take over as we go through our lives and Jesus still has not come? Estimate how many years you may live. Isn’t that also an estimate of the maximum number of years that remain–for you–before Jesus comes?
8. Easy to deny. A few tornadoes, battles, epidemics, floods, but we’re still here on earth. Look at the marvelous work people are doing around the world to restore their island countries, their cities, their bridges, and their homes. Yes, but…There are so many signs that the earth is crumbling. Glaciers are melting. Asteroids and space debris are winging a dangerous course through the sky. Are you want to deny the denial that Jesus is coming soon? What gives you confidence in the Second Coming? How do you let fellow church members and friends know of your love for God and your anticipation of the Second Coming?