Sometimes we feel impatient for the second coming of Jesus Christ, thinking that He is taking His time. For many years I have preached with all my heart and with such a passion that Jesus Christ is going to come very, very soon. Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I say some things regarding Jesus’ coming, because even my children tell me that is the same as what I said 10 or 15 years ago. I have believed and expected it and yearned for it with all my heart.
I think of Noah who preached for 120 years of a coming flood. He built a big boat in a dry land that had never experienced rain. What a faith he had when it seemed so irrational. How would you understand why God would ask him to build a huge boat with one door on one side? Noah believed God and as he was building the boat for 120 years, he warned the world. His faith, his yearning expectation and fervent hope, believing God’s promise, kept him going.
Do you really want Jesus to come? If so, what is your bottom-line reason? Jesus said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. … Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44). Jesus told His followers that His return could be imminent, even in their own generation. He spoke to them as if He were going to come back very soon.
In Revelation 22:20, Jesus said, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly,” to which John the Revelator added, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” God wants His people in every generation to believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon, so they will see the urgency in being ready to meet Him.
Every day some people die, which means for them that day, that very day, is the day of Jesus’ second coming, for at the resurrection they will have no knowledge of how long they have slept in their dusty graves. Every day probation closes for some people. They may be alive, eating, drinking, thinking, working, and walking, but they do not realize their probation has been closed against their destiny. It is important to be aware that life as we know it is temporary and that Jesus is coming soon.
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Certainly, the apostle Paul thought that Jesus Christ was going to come in his own time.
Today, we say exactly the same thing: Jesus Christ is going to come in our time. We believe and say that those who are dead in Jesus Christ will be resurrected and reunited with us and we will all be caught up in the air and see Jesus Christ together. Paul said, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
God knows that we need to believe that Jesus Christ is going to come in our own generation to help us to watch and be sober. God knows the way our minds work, the way we feel, the way we think, the way we anticipate, the way we analyze and understand.
Peter also said, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). Peter was consumed by the expectation of the soon coming of Jesus Christ and gave his life for the salvation of other souls. When we lose this fervent hope of the soon coming of Jesus Christ, our enthusiasm in evangelism will die away. Adventist people in this world should be the most zealous people in evangelism. I am yearning to see Jesus in the air. That is my hope, my desire, my happiness, and my joy. Everything of my life depends on it. Everything about me hangs on that truth—the second coming of Christ and my hope that I may see His face in my own time.
But Jesus and His disciples said these things 2000 years ago. What about the end time prophet? “The crisis is fast approaching. The rapidly swelling figures show that the time for God’s visitation has about come. … but they [those who walk in the light] are not to sit in quiet, unconcerned expectancy of the ruin, comforting themselves with the belief that God will shelter His people in the day of visitation. Far from it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209. Ellen White wrote as if Jesus Christ was coming very soon in her own time. She encouraged people to be prepared for the visitation of the Lord.
If you have ever lost this kind of urgency in your heart, then maybe there is something wrong with your spiritual experience. I’m not talking about fanatical experiences or feelings; I’m talking about the deep down, bottom of your heart yearning and hope. Every morning when you get up you may say, Lord, “When are You going to come? I can’t wait until I see You in the air.” That’s the kind of yearning in your heart I’m talking about.
“The coming of Christ is nearer than when we first believed. The great controversy is nearing its end. The judgments of God are in the land. …
“But there are many, many in our churches who know little of the real meaning of the truth for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which says so plainly that the end is near.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 252. This was written more than 100 years ago. The believers had such a fervent hope and yearning heart.
“We are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The hours of probation are fast passing. We have no time—not a moment—to lose. Let us not be found sleeping on guard. … Let the message of Christ’s soon return sound forth in earnest words of warning. Let us persuade men and women everywhere to repent and flee from the wrath to come. Let us arouse them to immediate preparation, for we little know what is before us.” Ibid. This too was written more than 100 years ago.
Why were the disciples urging on the people so long ago regarding the closeness of the second coming? I believe they said that for two reasons. They had believed that Jesus Christ was going to come soon. They were so longing to see Him that in every small sign they saw, they thought maybe that’s the last sign that Jesus Christ was going to come. They had a tendency to interpret every single sign, believing it to be the last sign for the second coming of Christ because they deeply desired to see Him soon.
After traveling for months over the past 15 years, I really want to go home and have a real vacation in heaven. I want to finish all this evangelism and go home and stay and rest with the Lord. Sometimes, while away from home, I wonder if my wife is going to really expect me to return soon, as she used to. When my children were young, they were always waiting for Dad’s coming. My wife would tell them, ten days and he will be home. They would mark it on the calendar. Seven days later, three days later, two days later, tomorrow! Because of our relationship, they always expected me to come soon. They loved me, I loved them. When they saw me in the airport, Dad! Dad! I’m here! Sometimes when I drive up to our home they burst in laughs, Daddy’s here! They cling to my arms, my legs. They are so happy to see me. Sometimes I wonder if my family members still feel the same way as they used to feel?
How long has it been since you have felt that fervent expectation for Jesus Christ’s coming? What kind of attitude should we have at this time for the second coming of Christ? The apostles Peter, John, James, and Paul were all anxiously longing to see Jesus in their lifetime, because they loved Him and wanted to be with Him. How much do you love Jesus? How much would you sacrifice for Him? Do you tell Jesus that you want to see Him? The apostles loved to read and recite again the words of Jesus, “I come quickly.” Those words sounded like a beautiful melody to their ears because they loved Jesus and longed to see His face. They expected to be delivered from the abuse and sufferings of this world.
Are you separated from your family? Are you being persecuted? Are you being misunderstood or wrongly accused? Are you being treated unfairly by your brothers and sisters? Does the world abuse you? Does the world treat you unfairly? Are you suffering for the sake of the truth and righteousness? Are you lonely and feel solitude? Do you want to be delivered from the suffering of this world?
The consequences of sin have been allowed to be played out for 6000 years in human history. It is when we are suffering that we long for Jesus’ second coming. When we are sick, we long for our heavenly home. When we are lonely, we want to see Jesus Christ in the sky. Throughout the inspired writings we see that these servants of God were expecting to be delivered from the suffering and pain of this world and wrote as if Jesus Christ was coming in their own time.
One Christmas, three young people from our China branch went to jail on Christmas Day. These young people, whether they are traveling for evangelism or visiting their families or hometown, always have some tracts or magazines in their backpack to share. Once, as they were passing by a large Catholic Church, they were compelled to go and distribute some of the tracts. Standing before the entrance of the church, they began to distribute a tract about the man of sin and nine points to identify the beast power as the papacy. As these young people were giving out the tracts to the Catholics coming out after the Christmas mass, they were suddenly surrounded. One of the priests who got hold of a tract became very angry; his face turned pale. They woke to the reality that something had gone wrong. The priest called the police, who locked the young men in jail. The accusation against these young people was that they were promoting hatred between the Christians.
Sooner or later, this same accusation will be brought against all those who share the truth of the three angels’ messages. These young people went to jail for two weeks. Later, they shared their experience with me. They said they had had a good time in the cell. In the prison they were allowed only one hour each day out in the sunshine. The prison cells were crowded, with a small bucket as a toilet in the corner. It was very difficult to live in that kind of condition for two weeks and yet they said it was like heaven in their hearts. They yearned to see each other during that one hour every day and couldn’t wait for that time of reunion.
When they got together for that one hour, they shared the Scriptures they had memorized and said they now understood the importance of the memorization of the Scriptures. They recited Scriptures and just held each other’s hands with tears in their eyes. They prayed and sang and studied the Scriptures together in that short period every day. They said that they really began to understand the sweet fellowship between believers. There was no time for hatred or factions or bad words or bitterness. Nothing like that is possible in that kind of situation. They said that they had been given a taste of heaven, the taste of sweet fellowship of the true remnant church. Friends, if we are really yearning for that kind of experience between God’s people, we want Jesus to come soon.
Ellen White wrote, “It is the duty of the people of God to have their lamps trimmed and burning, to be as men that wait for the Bridegroom, when He shall return from the wedding. You have not a moment to lose in neglect of the great salvation that has been provided for you. The time of the probation of souls is coming to an end. From day to day the destiny of men is being sealed, and even from this congregation we know not how soon many shall close their eyes in death and be habited for the tomb.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 189, 190.
We do not know when some of us are going to close our eyes and die, whether we are young or old or little. We do not know of our destiny for tomorrow. So, every day is the day of Jesus Christ’s coming. When we realize that, when we warn the world and preach and evangelize the world, our zeal will be doubled. When we say Jesus Christ is going to come soon, that will be the reality every day in our soul. When we say it, when we give out tracts, when we visit and knock on doors, that realization is going to be real for us every day. Who knows if the man that I meet or the lady I speak to today is being given their final invitation to know the Lord and their probation is about to close? Maybe they will die today or tomorrow.
“We should now consider that our life is swiftly passing away, that we are not safe one moment unless our life is hid with Christ in God. Our duty is not to be looking forward to some special time for some special work to be done for us.” Ibid., 190.
Friends, if you long for Jesus Christ—to see His face, if you are longing and expecting to be delivered from the sufferings of this world, if you feel every day that you do not want to stay in this world any longer, if you have that kind of feeling, you are going to expect Jesus to come soon and then your evangelism will be fervent. Do something about that. Don’t look forward to some special time for a special work to be done. Do it today. The work Jesus has left us to do, to spread the three angels’ messages, is the most important work in the world at this time.
I believe with all my heart that Jesus may come at any time. Sadly, many Adventists have lost their fervent hope for the soon coming of Jesus Christ. “Our duty is … to go forward in our work of warning the world; for we are to be witnesses of Christ to the uttermost parts of the world.” Ibid.
“There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). No previous generations have had the kind of distress of nations seen in just about every country as is evident today. Terrorism is rampant everywhere. Every time we fly, security searches our body, our shoes, and our baggage. People are scared to death of the things that may come soon. They are fearful and in perplexity; men’s hearts are failing them for fear. “The sea and the waves roaring” is talking about disasters, especially natural disasters.
“And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees” (verse 29). The fig tree represents the Jewish nation, the trees the Gentiles, you and I, because it says in verse 24, “They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times [plural] of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This means for many years Jerusalem has been trodden by the Gentiles, Roman armies. Also, God’s church, spiritual Israel, spiritual Jerusalem, would be trodden under foot by spiritual Rome, which is the papacy. The “times,” plural, of the Gentiles were fulfilled. Then, around 1844, God has given the sign of heavenly things that are shaken. At the end, the nations of earth are going to be distressed and in perplexity when the seas and waves are roaring. We are looking at that right now, at this time. There has been no generation in the past when all these nations were so distressed.
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled” (verse 32). At the time of Jesus’ first coming, the apostles saw Jesus Christ in His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. So, in their generation the signs had been fulfilled.
In 1844, when God raised up the true remnant church, true spiritual Israel saw by faith Jesus Christ going before the Ancient of days, which is God the Father, according to Daniel 7. Jesus Christ went into the Most Holy Place where God the Father was sitting on the throne. Many books were open before Him, and Jesus Christ entered into that room, in the clouds, with the many angels.
So that generation actually saw by faith all the stars fall. They saw that heaven was shaken and then they saw Jesus Christ come in glory into the Most Holy Place.
Now in this generation, when the nations are in distress, with perplexity, natural disasters, and economic distress, Jesus Christ is going to appear. We are going to see Him coming in the clouds with the glory of the angels. We are going to see it. This generation shall not pass away till all these prophecies are going to be fulfilled.
This is the time we really need to have a fervent hope for Jesus Christ’s soon return. When we have that kind of urgency in our heart, then our message will be urgent. Then the way we work, the way we evangelize, the way we preach will be different and result in a great harvest of souls ready and waiting for Jesus to come.
Pastor David Kang was the director of Light for Life U.S. Ministry operation out of Commerce, Georgia. His sermons are broadcast weekly on New York and Virginia Korean television stations. Pastor Kang passed away in 2016 waiting for the return of His best friend, Jesus, to reunite him with those with whom he labored and tirelessly worked for while he could. He is sadly missed.