When is Jesus coming back?

In Acts 1:6, the disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He responded, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority" (v. 7). Jesus said we would not know the time or even the season of His return. In another place, Jesus taught, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows" (Matthew 24:36).

Even so, many have attempted to predict the time of Jesus' return or particular period of time during which He will return. A recent example was the prediction by Harold Camping that Jesus would return on May 21, 2011. He based his conclusion on the date of the biblical Flood as 4990 BC, added 7,000 years (based on 2 Peter 3:8), and determined this date. When it did not take place, his prediction quickly became mocked in news headlines.

Instead of predicting the time of Jesus' return, we find the Bible teaches we are to live our lives as though any day could be the day. Second Peter 3:10-12 teaches, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!"

Peter tells us we are to live holy and godly lives. This includes our love for God and love for others (Matthew 22:37-40). In addition, it should cause us to share Christ with others so they can be with Him in heaven as well (Matthew 28:18-20).

Peter also tells us we should forward to Christ's return. Why? As believers, we will be with Him for eternity. There will be a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21—22) where God's people will dwell with Him forever. In Revelation 21:5 the Lord promises, "Behold, I am making all things new." In the new heavens and new earth there will no longer be any curse of sin. Revelation 22:3 notes, "No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him." Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

No one knows the day or season when Jesus will return, but we know His return is imminent (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). When we live godly lives, share Him with others, and look forward to our eternity with the Lord, we can live with joy without worrying about the exact time of Christ's coming.

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