But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7
G. Campbell Morgan, that great expositor of Bible prophecy and the Word of God, wrote, “I never lay my head on the pillow without thinking that perhaps before I awake, the final morning may have dawned. I never begin my work without thinking that He may interrupt it to begin His own. And every night before we go to sleep, we ought to say, ‘He may come tonight.’ Every day when we get out our tools and go to work, ‘This may be the last day’s work I'll do.’”
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is imminent—it could occur at any time. Peter would not have told the early Christians (v. 7) to watch, had the coming of Jesus Christ not been something that could occur at any moment. From the very founding of the Church, Christians have been told to look for and long for the coming our Lord.
But is there anything we can do to hasten it? Could Jesus’ return happen more quickly because of anything we might do? Listen to Peter again: Therefore…what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 2 Peter 3:11-12. (emphasis mine)
Is it possible? Can we hasten His return? For the answer to that, I studied what Greek scholar Dr. Marvin R. Vincent and others said about this passage. He and a number of Greek scholars agree that these words of Peter state that by our actions the Church can hasten the Day of the Lord:
I'm inclined to adopt the transitive meaning [the transitive meaning of this verb] “hastening on,” that is, “causing the day of the Lord to come more quickly by helping to fulfill those conditions without which it cannot come…
We are causing the day to come more quickly today when we fulfill the conditions without which the day of the Lord will not come.
Dr. Vincent goes on to explain,
…that day being no date inexorably fixed, but one the arrival of which it is free to the church to hasten on by faith and prayer. See Matt 24:14: The gospel shall be preached in the whole world, “and then shall the end come.” Compare the words of Peter in Acts 3:19, “Repent and be converted…that so there may come seasons of refreshing.”
That makes a lot of sense. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ isn’t a time chiseled in stone that can never, ever be changed. Peter says we’re to be looking for—and hastening—the coming of the day of God. Through our prayers we can cause Jesus Christ to come more quickly than He would have come.
“Thy Kingdom Come”
We have been taught that God’s Kingdom is going to come. But how did Jesus teach us to pray in Matthew 6:10? “Thy Kingdom come.” We’re told to pray for the coming Kingdom.
We know that one day there will be peace in Jerusalem. But there will never be peace in Jerusalem until Jesus, the Prince of Peace, rules upon the throne of David. There won't be peace in the world until there is peace in Jerusalem. When is that going to be? When He comes.
So what does the Bible tell us to do? Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” And when you’re praying for the peace of Jerusalem, you’re really praying for the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And so Peter says, “Watch and pray.”
Do you remember what the aged apostle John prayed on the Isle of Patmos? God gave him a revelation of all the glories and wonders that would take place when Jesus Christ comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. Then John closes Revelation with these words, the last prayer in the Bible: “Even so, come Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).
Are you praying that prayer? You ought to be.
We’re to be learning of His coming; we are to be sober minded.
We are to be looking for His coming; we’re to watch.
We’re to be longing for His coming.
We’re to be praying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And “Let there be peace in Jerusalem, that there might be peace on earth. Even so come Lord Jesus.”
I long for the Lord Jesus Christ to come. I was talking about the work of the ministry with another pastor, and I said, “Bob, just think about it. Jesus Christ is really coming, and we’re going to see Him.” Then my eyes filled with tears and so did his.
You see, we got happy thinking about the fact that this is not some fairy tale. Friend, I'm talking to you about reality. As surely as God made little green apples, at any moment, Jesus Christ is going to come.
If we as the children of God love Him, we long for Him to come. I have Him in my heart—but I long to see Him. To walk with Him and talk with Him, “whom, having not seen, we love” (1 Peter 1:8). Peter continues in that verse to say, “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
One day we’re going to see Him—not as He was, but as He is, in all of His majesty, all of His power, all of His glory.
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