Ready or Not

Jesus is coming soon!

Ted N. C. Wilson
Ready or Not
Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

One of our pivotal beliefs, as Seventh-day Adventists, is that of the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is, indeed, the hope “that burns within our hearts.” And we are not alone. The coming of Christ has been the culmination of hope for all believers down through the ages.

In describing that glorious event, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation’ ” (Isa. 25:9). In Psalm 50:3 we read, “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.”

While on earth, Jesus told His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2, 3). He repeats this promise with urgency in Revelation 22, saying in verse 7: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book”; in verse 12: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work”; and in verse 20: “Surely I am coming quickly.”

How Quick is “Quick”?

And yet, how quick is “quick”? From our human point of view, especially in today’s technological world, anything less than instant is slow.

Adventists have been preaching the second coming of Christ for 180 years—which can seem like an eternity to some. Disheartened, some
Adventists have lost their sense of urgency in the second coming of Christ, which should permeate every aspect of Seventh-day Adventist life.

This should not surprise us, however. We read in 2 Peter 3:3-7: “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.’ ”

Peter points out that these scoffers “willingly forget” that God created the heavens and the earth, and that there was a worldwide flood. He then warns that one day all will be destroyed by fire.

The passage goes on, giving important instruction and encouragement to those who believe:

“Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (verses 8, 9).

“Found in Peace”

The passage urges us, since the earth and all things in it will be destroyed, to consider what kind of people we ought to be “in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God. . . . Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (verses 11-14).

What a calling we have, staying close to the Lord and allowing Him to guide us as we eagerly look forward to His coming.

The book of Hebrews encourages us: “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:35-39).

Friends, God’s Word is speaking to us today. Do not let anyone take away your hope in the soon coming of Jesus Christ. He is coming soon!

Literal, Personal, Visible

Our Seventh-day Adventist fundamental belief 25 states:

“The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is near. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times.”1

Not Promised Tomorrow

Within the past year we, here at the Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, have lost two senior leaders—Maurice Valentine, a General Conference vice president, and Heather-Dawn Small, director of Women’s Ministries for the world church. Both deaths came very quickly; suddenly even.

Friends, time is short—none of us are promised tomorrow, or even the rest of today. We have only this moment, right now. Are you ready for Jesus to come? Whether we live or we rest in the grave, we will see Him soon.

The current deteriorating world conditions should awaken us to the urgent need to be ready and to proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 in anticipation of Christ’s soon return.

God Is Counting on Us

Inspiration tells us, “In these final hours of probation . . . , when the fate of every soul is so soon to be decided forever, the Lord of heaven and earth expects His church to arouse to action as never before. Those who have been made free in Christ through a knowledge of precious truth are regarded by the Lord Jesus as His chosen ones, favored above all other people on the face of the earth; and He is counting on them to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into marvelous light. The blessings which are so liberally bestowed are to be communicated to others. The good news of salvation is to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In the visions of the prophets of old the Lord of glory was represented as bestowing special light upon His church in the days of darkness and unbelief preceding His second coming. As the Sun of Righteousness, He was to arise upon His church, ‘with healing in His wings.’ . . . And from every true disciple was to be diffused an influence for life, courage, helpfulness, and true healing.”2

My dear brothers and sisters, we are living at the end of time. Let’s keep close to the Lord, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill our lives with hope and courage to share the message of Christ’s soon return with the world!

1 “The Second Coming of Christ,” Seventh-day Adventist fundamental belief 25,

2 Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1917), pp. 716, 717.

Ted N. C. Wilson