Is God's Return Really Imminent?
“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Revelation 22:20 NIV
More than a 150 years ago the hope of Christ return sent shockwaves through earth's population. In fact, the heritage of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is uniquely tied to this phenomena.
Beyond scripture itself, the written works of our pioneers showed that they thoroughly believed Christ would appear in their lifetime. This idea is so much a part of our DNA that even though some now privately question Jesus soon return, every "good" Adventist knows that to voice such doubt is taboo.
How do we process the reality that a movement deeply connected to Christ's return is still earthbound 150 years later? Can we be honest about the challenges this presents? Like our pioneers following the great disappointment, now is a time for us to turn to our Heavenly Father on our knees seeking insight. If we will do this as a people God will re-establish our identity, purpose, and mission. Our marching orders may not have changed but the world around us has and we need fresh insights into God and his word if we are going to be faithful to fill the earth with his glory.
There is no denying that scripture paints Christ's return as imminent. How has the promise of the Lord remained that way for over 2000 years? How should we interpret and respond to the apparent delay of his appearing? If God knows the day and the hour, why has he been content to allow each generation to live in expectation of something he knew they would not see before they tasted death? Is God trying to use the idea of his return like some parents use Santa? Is the pressure kept on for us to avoid getting on the naughty list? These questions and more will be driving us to God's word for answers over the next several days. God has answers, we just need to be brave enough to ask.
Still Seeking His Face,