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When Christians write on the subject of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, trying to prove that he will indeed come again, this might seem entirely pointless, worthless, and a waste of time. It is a doctrine that all orthodox Christians agree will take place. However, there is hardly another article of Christian faith so unemotionally held and definitely not truly taken seriously. Think of it this way, former President Barack Obama continuously talks about climate change, global warming, and the flooding that is going to supposedly take place, and yet, he buys a 12 million dollar home right next to the water that would put his house 100 feet (ca. 30 m) underwater if all of this were true. Do his acts belie that he truly believes in global warming?
Similarly, few Christians really welcome the second coming of Christ as a reality. Few take it up like it is a powerful truth that impacts their lives. Now, these do not deny it, but they do not have an outward display about themselves that it is real. In their thinking, they have distracted their minds with a fantastical, fictional, metaphorical coming of the Savior. In timely preparation for future eventualities, in their grasp and appreciation of the Word of God, in the church, the actual true second coming has nearly become outdated—a dead message.
The church nor the Christian has the second coming embedded in their hearts and minds with its pressing and dominating power. Christians talk about it, banter it around, and on the other extreme end, the apocalyptic Christians have Jesus returning every weekend. However, most do not effectually live as though it is true, any more than the global warming alarmist believe that global warming is true. While the second coming is in our belief system, it is not part of our faith. It is something for some far distant generation to deal with, so we do not contemplate it at all. It is highly recommended herein that we rethink how important this doctrine is to us and where we stand on it. We would rather not be like those that have relegated it far into the future, but we also do not want to be like the apocalyptic Christians.
If we have been going months, years without pondering the second coming, saying to ourselves, “it will not be in my time,” we need to awaken to the words of Jesus Christ,
Keep on the Watch
Matthew 24:42-44 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
24:42. Therefore means, “because the time of my return will be sudden and unpredictable.” This is the central turning point in the discourse. As Noah spent time and energy preparing for the Flood, so people living prior to Christ’s return must spend themselves in being alert and ready for his coming.
The command is, Keep watch (cf. 1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Thess. 5:6; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev 3:2–3; 16:15). The reason for this exhortation to continual diligence was in the preceding teaching (24:36–41), which Jesus summarized in the next clause, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. “Your Lord” is significant, drawing attention to the fact that we do not belong to ourselves. Rather it is our master and creator who will return. He will call us to account.
24:43–44. Verse 43 is a brief parable illustrating the importance of readiness at all times. Jesus emphasized its importance with the introductory But understand this. Each of us is like an owner of the house who is about to be robbed. Not only is he unaware of the time of the robber’s coming, but he does not even know he is a target. If the ignorance persists, it represents the ignorance of a person who fails to heed Jesus’ warning about the future.
Now the head of the house, if he is informed, will be aware of the likelihood of being robbed, just as we know that Jesus is returning and that judgment will accompany his coming. But he does not know the time a robber might come, just as we do not know the time of Christ’s return. So you also must be ready (24:44). Not only is the Son of Man coming at an unknown hour, but even at a time that would seem least likely to us (when you do not expect him). If we are taken by surprise, it is not because God is out to trick us but because of our own apathetic self-deception or negligence.
Christians need to live as though Jesus is returning today and plan as though he is returning in fifty years. This means we are vigilantly awake doing the will of the Father and the Son but can do things like seeking a university degree, getting a seven-year car loan, and paying a 30-year mortgage. Again, be balanced, and do not let the apocalyptic-minded Christians with their screaming from the rooftop that Jesus’ return is nigh cripple you from living. Jesus also said,
Matthew 24:36 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of the heavens, nor the Son, but the Father only.
 א*, B D Θ f13 it MSSaccording to Jerome “nor the Son” Other MSS (א1 L W f1 33 Maj syr cop) omit “nor the Son.”
A blind man facing a cliff taking steps toward it does not know if it is the next step, or 500 hundred more steps, or 500 million more steps, so he must always be prepared. Now, this is not to illustrate that we need to dread the second coming like a cliff, but instead, it is making the point that we do not know the day nor the hour, so we must remain vigilant in living a life where we have a righteous standing before God. And to the Calvinist-minded, it isn’t saying works earn us salvation; it is saying that a true Christian with a righteous standing before God will have works.
Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews write,
1 John 5:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God. This is repeating the same truth in another form. ‘As it is universally true that if we love him who has begotten us, we shall also love his children, or our Christian brethren, so it is true also that if we love his children, it will follow that we love him.’ In other places, the apostle says that we may know that we love God if we love those who bear his image, chap. 3:14. He here says that there is another way of determining what we are. We may have undoubted evidence that we love God, and from that, as the basis of an argument, we may infer that we have true love for his children. Of the fact that we may have evidence that we love God, apart from that, which we derive from our love for his children, there can be no doubt. We may be conscious of it and find pleasure in meditating on his perfections; we may feel sure that we are moved to obey him by true attachment to him, as a child may about a father. But it may be asked, how can it be inferred from this that we truly love his children? Is it not easier to ascertain this of itself than it is to determine whether we love God? Comp. 1 John 4:20. To this, it may be answered, that we may love Christians from many motives: we may love them as personal friends; we may love them because they belong to our church, or sect, or party; we may love them because they are naturally friendly: but the apostle says here, that when we are conscious that an attachment does exist towards Christians, we may ascertain that it is genuine, or that it does not proceed from any improper motive, by the fact that we love God. We shall then love him as his children, whatever other grounds of affection there may be towards them.
And do his commandments. This is the only proper evidence of love for Jesus, for mere profession is no proof of love. Still, that love for him, which leads us to do all his will, love each other, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him through evil report and good report is true attachment. We have evidence that a child loves its parents when that child is willing, without hesitation, gainsaying, or complaining, to do all that the parent requires him to do. So the disciples of Christ must show that they are attached to him supremely by yielding to all his requirements and patiently doing his will in the face of ridicule and opposition. The Father’s will and the Son’s will are the same because, as we are told by Jesus himself, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) This means they both have the same will, purposes, and goals. Notice Jesus’ words about the will of the Father.
Matthew 7:21-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of the heavens, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in the heavens. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’
- “The one who does the will of my Father” – Might want to know what the will of the Father is?
- “Many will say to me” – Many so-called Christians
- “‘Lord, Lord, did we not … do mighty works’” – Did we not have soup kitchens for the poor, did we not cloth the poor, did we not pay to send that teenage girl to an Islamic country to have her head chopped of, while we sat comfortable in the pew?
- “I will declare to them” – Yeah, “depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’”
So, knowing the will, purposes, and goals of the Father and the Son might be very advantageous.
 Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 407.
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