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A Recent Article
therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is
coming–in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or
in the morning– lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.”
means “impending” or “about to occur.” We say when the storm
clouds grow dark, that the rain is imminent. This word is often
confused with two other words that sound similar but have entirely
different meanings: immanence
In Christianity, imminence
is a fancy term that refers to the fact that the Lord can return soon,
or at any time. As we will show in this article series, the idea of
the soon return of the Lord was central to the thinking and living of
all those in the New Testament, and it should still be the attitude of
the true believer today. The imminence of the Lord’s return was not
only part of the doctrine taught by Jesus and the apostles, as
contained in the New Testament, but it was a real part of their lives.
They genuinely expected the Lord’s return at any moment.
But the longer the Lord delays His coming, the
more some of us tend to feel that He is not going to come soon. Peter
predicted: “knowing this first:
that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their
own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since
the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the
beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Sadly, this kind of
worldly thinking has infected Christians also. But just think about
it: Statistically, the longer He delays, the closer we are to His
return. So here we are, 2,000 years closer than Peter was. Paul
confirms this when he says “And
do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of
sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
Does that mean that the apostles were mistaken
and that the Lord’s return is only close to us, but it was not close
for them? Not at all. For example, It has been 20 years since the last
big earthquake here in Los Angeles
[ii]. For 20 years we have heard
“the next big one is imminent – it could happen at any moment – be
prepared.” That was true 20 years ago, and it is even truer today. We
do not know when the next big earthquake will happen, just that it
will happen. But it is
literally around the corner at any moment.
Because believers have not known when God has
planned the Rapture of the church (Matthew 24:36), His return was
imminent then and is still imminent now. Just like the next big
earthquake, He could come for His saints even before I complete this
Jesus’ Teaching on Imminence
“But of that day and
hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of
Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah
entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them
all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men
will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women
will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
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 24:36-44)
your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be
like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the
wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him
immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he
comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird
himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.
And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch,
and find them so, blessed are those servants. 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.” (Luke 12:35-40)
The plain meaning of Jesus’ message is clear –
you don’t need some fancy seminary degree, nor do you need to learn
Greek or Hebrew to understand what He says: He is coming at a time you
do not expect, therefore be ready at all times. Any attempt to
interpret these texts to mean anything except what they clearly say
and mean is a deception.
The simple truth is that if something is
unexpected, then there are no warning signs, nor a schedule, which
predicts exactly when it will occur. Some have tried to set an exact
date, which has caused much trouble for Christians over the centuries.
But, by its very definition, “unexpected” requires surprise with no
forewarning. Therefore, those who believe that Jesus cannot return for
His church today because certain events need to be fulfilled first are
in blatant contradiction to the clear words of Jesus. It is really
In Luke 12:42-48 Jesus tells a parable that
teaches that there will be Christian leaders who, because He delays
His coming, will begin to abuse their fellow Christians and begin to
live immorally. That is exactly what is happening today. Many
Christian leaders have lost sight of His imminent return and have
begun to live as though He is never coming back. In the process they
also remove the idea of imminence from their theology. This seems to
be done in order to salve their, and their disciples’, consciences.
Jesus warned that when He returns He will judge such men.
The book of Revelation closes with the words of
the Lord Jesus: “Surely I am
coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation
22:20). His words are truth, and the lies of man cannot, and will not,
change the facts: He is coming soon, without delay and without
warning. Therefore we must be prepared. Are you ready?
To be continued…
refers to God’s presence in the universe and
eminence refers to
something being important (sometimes a title as in “your
[ii] The Northridge
Earthquake in 1994 claimed 60 lives in, and around, Los
Angeles and destroyed much property.