ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO JESUS SECOND COMING WITH GREAT JOY AND EXPECTATION?

The phrase, “come like a thief,” occurs only 5 times and always refers to the return of Jesus at the arrival of the Day of the Lord. Check them out – 1 Thes. 5:2, 4; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 3:3; Rev. 16:15. The use of this term originated based on the parable Jesus taught: 

“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. “For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect it.”Matt. 24:43-44)

This exhortation and warning follows upon His teaching that when you see the “signs” of the great tribulation, you will know that His coming is right at the door, just like we know that summer is near when we see leaves on the trees. (Luke 21:29).

But He immediately tells us that no one knows the day or hour of His coming. In other words, we can know the “season” of His coming, when He will be “right at the door,” but we cannot know the exact day of His coming. Thus the exhortation for watchfulness so we might be prepared when God brings that arrival of Jesus “in His own timing” (1 Tim. 6:15).

Jesus did not teach imminence here. He taught that the events of the tribulation would precede His coming and that once those events transpire, we should know that He is right at the door and we should “be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming,” (Mat. 24:42).

But our watchfulness should not be out of fear or sorrow, but out of great joy and expectation, knowing that at His arrival He will take us to Himself so that then we shall ever be with the Lord. That is why Paul calls this “the blessed hope” (Lit: the HAPPY confidence, Titus 2:13)).

King is Coming

He will come like a thief, only to those who are unprepared. But for the believer, walking in fellowship with God, they “are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief,” (1 Thes. 5:4). Accordingly, Paul immediately follows that up with an exhortation to all believers including himself, to “not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and balanced,” (2 Thes. 5:6).

The exhortation then is to watchfulness and preparedness, not in view of an “any moment” coming of Jesus, but in view of the DANGER of not being ready when “the signs” come on the scene.

All the words used to encourage our watchfulness communicate the attitude of “expectation” and the strong emotion of longing, in view of His promised arrival, not in view of an “any moment” arrival.

No, Jesus did not teach imminence at Matthew 24. Instead, He taught that specific events had to occur first. Peter knew and understood this. And he even knew that the Lord would not come during his lifetime.

Thus, he exhorts the recipients of his letter, to be diligent to maintain holy conduct and godliness (2 Pet. 3:11) and to be found in Him, in peace, spotless and blameless,” (v.14) so that just like John warns, “we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming,” (1 John 2:28).

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him {be} the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Pet. 3:17-18)

Peter did not teach imminence in chapter three. He taught the need for growth, preparation and watchfulness,

“looking for and promoting the coming of the day of God,”

Imminence is only a valid concept once the SEASON that Jesus taught about arrives. Once that season is here; once the events of the tribulation have begun, it is then and only then, that He can come as a thief at some unknown day and hour. Accordingly, the promises for watchfulness teach that the Lord could come in ANY generation as long as the prerequisite “signs of summer” occur.

Pretribbers fail to separate the arrival of Jesus TO the earth in the clouds of the sky, which IS the second coming, from the descent of Jesus ONTO the earth sometime later after the wrath of God is poured out in the trumpet and bowl judgements, which is NOT the second coming, but an event that occurs DURING the second advent.

And what we are looking for is the GLORIOUS appearing of Jesus, which is the SECOND COMING. The second coming and the rapture are NOT two different “events” – unless one wants to list the various things that happen after Jesus arrives in the clouds of the sky as several different events. But then, one must recognise that the second coming is the ONE ARRIVAL of Jesus, which begins a time period known as His parousia or His presence in this earthly arena, which is also known as The Day of The Lord. And that during that parousia, there are several events that will occur. The first event is the rapture and his return with the Saints to win the battle of Armageddon is an event down the list, and not even the final event, for the separation of the sheep and the goats is the final event prior to the official start of the millennial kingdom.

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