Question:

I know the Bible says no one knows when Jesus' second return will be. However, that those who are called are watching out for it, so therefore, it won’t be such a surprise to them. Is that correct?

Why does it seem to me and others that things in the world are happening in such a way that makes it seem Christ return can’t be too far off? I know that according to verses like Matthew 24:36, I Thessalonians 5:2-3 and Matthew 24:42, in reality Christ could come any hour, day, week, years, or decade from now. Therefore, none of us can say with certainty how near or far the second coming is, regardless of what goes on in the world around us.

But one question I’ve never heard anyone ask or answer is this: Is it possible that the world could do something that would result in an event heavy enough to ‘trigger’ the second coming? I understand that still doesn’t mean that anyone can predict when the second coming will happen. But I’m wondering, and maybe I shouldn’t wonder about this, if the Lord will base the second coming on a world event that He feels is bad enough to cause Him to just say ‘That’s it!’ and come from His throne and judge the whole world for it.

Probably not, right?


Answer:

If there were some event that triggers the second coming, then that event would become the sign that predicts the end. Yet, Jesus very clearly states there would be no signs. "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:42-44). The point of watching is not in regards to looking for signs of the Lord's coming, but always being prepared so that if He does come in the next hour you won't regret it because you were slacking off. See: "The Second Coming of the Lord: The Gospel Accounts : A Chronological Harmony" for more details.

The closest hint that I can think of regarding the second coming is in a familiar verse: "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" (II Peter 3:9). The reason this world continues is because God wants to save as many as He can. I've long suspected that when it comes to the point that leaving the world to continue longer won't bring any more souls to Christ, that the Father will call an end to this world. Thus, the reason even the Son of God doesn't know when the end will be (Matthew 24:36) is that it isn't knowable until the Father decides.