MEN HAVE been speculating on the return of Jesus Christ for millennia. There were those in Paul's day who thought the return of Christ was imminent. The apostle to the Gentiles had to warn the Church in his day not to be deceived by unfounded and unreliable information concerning the return of the Messiah. "And now, brothers, about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and his gathering of us to himself: I beg you, do not suddenly lose your heads or alarm yourselves, whether at some oracular utterance, or pronouncement, or some letter purporting to come from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way whatever..." (II Thes. 2:1-3, The New English Bible).
Christ WILL Return
But there is no doubt that the Messiah will return to this earth to set up the everlasting Kingdom of God! The Bible is filled with prophecies describing the second coming of Jesus Christ. The question is not whether He will return, but WHEN ! Human speculation on this has come to nothing. The truth must be revealed. Those sections of God's Word, the Bible, which reveal future events are known as prophecies. Only those who have been given special wisdom and insight by God are able to comprehend the meaning of prophecies and rightly use them. "...None of the wicked [those not living in God's right way of life) shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12:10). Peter, referring to the Church, said, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.. ," (II Peter 1:19). It is through this "sure word of prophecy" that we can understand the truth about the return of Jesus Christ. And the Bible reveals that Jesus Christ will return to set up His world-ruling kingdom in your lifetime and mine! (That is, barring any unforeseen termination of your life or mine!) Christ's return will occur in this generation! Did you notice we did not say "maybe," "perhaps," or "it might occur"? It will happen in your generation! It is entirely possible that YOU, as an individual, will five to witness this greatest event in contemporary history! But you say, "How can you be so sure? Aren't you sticking your neck out too far this time?" Not at all! The answer is simple. Jesus Christ personally stated, "Verily I say unto YOU, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34).
But how can we know Jesus is talking about OUR GENERATION TODAY? How can we be sure He wasn't talking about the generation of His day? Let's understand. Matthew 24 records what is commonly called the "Olivet Prophecy." It is so named because it was on the Mount of Olives that the disciples of Christ came to Him and asked about the prophecies concerning His second coming and of the end of the world (age - verse 3). The whole prophecy is about the age in which we live — this generation. In answering the question about the end of the world, Jesus foretold a series of events that would occur just before His return. He told about false prophets in this end time (verse 5). He talked about war and rumors of war, about world war (verse 6). He foretold famines, pestilences and earthquakes in different places (verse 7). Then Christ explained that this Gospel of the Kingdom would be "preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END come" (verse 14). He foretold great tribulation and heavenly signs just before His return. Then to make it abundantly clear what He was talking about, Jesus gave a parable 'of the fig tree. He said, "... When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors" (verses 32-33 Christ showed that when these great earth-shaking events began to happen the end of the age was at hand. Today, these events are beginning to happen. No thinking person today doubts we are in the end of the age. We're in the time when God must intervene, or there will be no flesh saved alive. Jesus was talking about our day today. He said people would know when He is about to intervene in world affairs by world conditions. There is no question about it — Jesus Christ was talking about THIS GENERATION. And He said, "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation [during which you see "these things" occur] shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled" (Luke 21:31-32). We have the SURE word of prophecy and it says all these things must come to pass first, and they haven't come to pass yet. On the other hand, that same sure word of prophecy says THIS GENERATION will not pass, till all these things are fulfilled! When will Jesus Christ return? NOT TONIGHT! On the other hand, He will come in THIS GENERATION — your lifetime and mine! Will you be ready?