Jesus Is Coming . . . in Three Days!

. . . in Three Days!

Ever since the gawking gang of guys from Galilee stood gazing up into heaven there has been a dilemma. They sincerely believed that Jesus would come back in their lifetime. Yet even He had preached, "Occupy till I come."

Down through the ages Christians have struggled with the hope versus the reality. Adventists, by our very name, have been forced to confront this dilemma and sometimes in less than appropriate ways. We have gone through our eras of "imminent return" construction, assuming that Jesus was coming so soon we really shouldn't construct buildings to last too long and then sadly years later rebuilding for reality.

We have a special friend who sold his burial plot believing Jesus would indeed come before he would ever need to use it. He is now 98 years old.

All of this impacts how we live. There are people who say, "If I knew Jesus was coming in just three days, I would live just the way I am living right now." Well, praise the Lord. We should all live like Jesus is coming this week. In reality, any of us could face the judgment, even today.

The facts are that when the people living right before the Great Disappointment of 1844 truly were convinced He was coming on Oct. 22, they lived differently. They studied, they prayed, they united, they shared, they sacrificed. That belief became the one and only compelling force that galvanized the 50,000 U.S. Advent believers from many denominations to be ready for His coming.

Charles Fitch was William Miller's associate in the preaching of the Midnight Cry. He became so completely "driven" to prepare others for the second coming that he literally burned out. After a cold river baptism, he contracted pneumonia and on Oct. 14, 1844, he died. His family was confident they would see him again soon, real soon. As the Millerite periodical of the day, Midnight Cry, reported, “Mrs. Fitch is... smiling and happy.”

Imagine his wife telling the children, “We will see Daddy again when Jesus comes next week. In three days we will be with Daddy.” Imagine the anticipation and subsequent devastating disappointment when the reality of Oct. 23 hit the Fitch family.

Our 3-year-old granddaughter has two time frames. It is either something is going to happen now or if not now then in three days. “Can we go to Sabbath School today?” “No, not yet.” “OK, then in three days.” “Can I go to Ashley's to play?” “No, not today.” “OK, then in three days." "Are Nana and Papa coming today?” “No, not today.” “OK, then in three days.” Kyrie has a simple, childlike peace with that. It could happen now or it could happen later, but it will happen. Pretty profound for a 3-year-old.

Most of us grew up learning the motto: “The Gospel to all the world in this generation.” Well, this generation will be coming to an end, as has each preceding generation, if Jesus doesn't come soon.

So what do we do about this dilemma? Just go on like the last 2,000 years? Definitely not. I want Jesus to come soon, not just sometime in my generation or later. I want Him to come now. It's time. I desperately want Jesus to put an end to suffering and death, genocide and war, child exploitation and spousal abuse, famine and starvation, AIDS and Alzheimer’s, and yes, cancer.

Scripture reminds us, “All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay” Romans 8:21, NLT).

A friend of mine recently e-mailed me, “We are no longer living in the last days. We are living in the last of the last days!” I believe that. You see some non-quantifiable, abstract future event is no longer good enough for me.

Even so come Lord Jesus... In fact, in three literal days would be just about perfect!

November 01, 2006 / Editorial