The Bible says that disciples should eagerly wait for Christ’s return. Yet it brings anxiety to some. Why is that?
And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)
The Bible instructs believers to be always on the watch for Christ’s second coming.
We do not know when this event is going to take place.
Sometimes this creates anxiety for believers. I remember anxiously pleading with God as a youth to let me experience certain life benchmarks before Christ’s return.
The older I get, the more I find myself able to eagerly wait for Christ’s return. Some of that could be due to age, but more than likely can be attributed to getting closer to God.
If the idea of Christ’s second coming instills fear in us, for our own sakes we need to examine why.
The Fear That Comes From a Shaky Foundation
First, it could be the natural consequences of not fully devoting ourselves to abiding with Christ.
When we lack the disciplines of prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers, our spiritual foundation becomes weak.
If our prayer lives are poor or nonexistent, the lack of intimacy with God will open the door to fear.
Without deep study of God’s word, we cannot hope to fully understand what our future holds, nor appreciate the glorious promises that await us once this life is over.
Avoiding the fellowship of other believers means less time being encouraged and energized, and more time spent in this world, with its temptations, distractions, and trials.
If we aren’t doing these three things, one result is less confidence in the future.
Being fearful of the future could reflect an even deeper problem. Are you concerned that your understanding or approach to faith in Jesus Christ is missing something? If so, it never hurts to go back and review the basics of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The second possibility is that we are allowing the end-time teachers of today to put fear into us. This will usually take one of two paths.
The Fear of Thinking We Know the Date
Predictions of the future, or claims of unlocking hidden knowledge will always pique our curiosity.
Many have attempted to divine a date for when these end time events will take place.
One thing we do know; when someone says they know the date when Jesus Christ is coming back, we can immediately be assured they are a false teacher and we should ignore them (Matthew 7:15-16).
That may sound harsh; if we have enjoyed their other teachings we may think it’s ok to let them off the hook.
So why should we tune out someone who predicts a date, even if they later apologize?
The Bible teaches it is impossible for any human to know what day it will be. Not even Christ knows, only the Father (Matthew 24:36).
Therefore, someone who predicts a specific date for Christ’s return is claiming more knowledge than Christ. We should distance ourselves from such recklessness.
The Fear of Thinking We Know the Answers
Some end-time teachers point to a current technology, social movement, or ideology as the definite fulfillment of a specific prophecy. The usual implication is that the beginning of the end-time timeline is upon us.
The problem with attempting to use the present to predict what will be the instruments at play in end-time events is that things are continually changing.
The result is that you can condition believers to look for prophetic bogeymen behind every new event. Feeding into this kind of paranoia is unbiblical.
I am old enough to remember when bar codes were supposedly ushering in the mark of the Beast. The Gulf War in the 90’s was supposed to start of the Tribulation. Napoleon, Hitler, and other leaders from history were sworn to be the Antichrist in their time.
With the speed our current world moves, it is possible that the technological, organizational, or governmental alignments that fulfill prophecy won’t even come together until the Tribulation is underway.
When looking for sound biblical prophecy teachers, find those who start with the Bible rather than “ripped from the headlines” signs.
From Fear to Eagerly Waiting for Christ’s Return
Having said all that, there is much to indicate we are close to seeing the prophecies of the end fulfilled. We can take the whole of prophecy and see certain events unfolding now that indicate we are drawing near.
Jesus offers us the lesson of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32-33). Christ’s disciples are taught to watch for the signs His return is near. Watch, not speculate.
The study of Bible prophecy is worthwhile; we are told there is a special blessing for those who read the Book of Revelation and heed its message (Revelation 1:3). There are many sobering images there, but there is also the great hope of the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1-22:5).
As we gain a better understanding of events from a biblical perspective, and stay connected to God and fellow believers, we can begin to eagerly wait for Christ’s return.
More verses about the return of Jesus Christ:
Zechariah 14; Matthew 24; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8