Jesus is returning. Sooner than you think.

IMMEDIACY ɪ'mi.di.ə.si noun. Bringing one into direct, instant involvement with something. (Usually including a sense of urgency or excitement.)
2. Christian doctrine that Christ Jesus may return at any time.
[Immediacist ɪ'mi.di.ə.sɪst adjective.]

I don’t know when Jesus will return.

Neither do you. Neither does anyone. Neither did Jesus, Mk 13.32 although some Christians are mighty sure he found out once he ascended to heaven. And occasionally some nutjob will claim the Father told them when it’s gonna happen, and use the occasion to whip gullible Christians into a frenzy; maybe get ’em to join their death cult or something.

All of them have been, and will be, lying. Because Jesus said that info is none of our business.

Acts 1.6-7 KJV
6 When they therefore were come together, [the students] asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

We don’t need to know when. We only need to know it’s gonna happen. Jesus is coming back.

It’s part of orthodox Christianity, y’know. Like the Apostles Creed has it, “He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.” Any Christian who thinks Jesus isn’t coming back to us from heaven is heretic. Doesn’t mean they’re going to hell; just means they’ve gone horribly wrong.

And a big part of knowing Jesus is coming back, is knowing he can return at any time. We’re even instructed to watch for it. If we’re not, he’ll return when we don’t expect him. Which is why he intentionally warned us to expect him. Stay awake and watch for it. Mk 13.37 Don’t let him take you by surprise!

Luke 12.35-48 KJV
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? 42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. 45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Much of the reason Jesus hasn’t yet returned, is because he’s giving the world many, many chances to repent before he returns. 2Pe 3.9 So take advantage of this time!Get right with God. Because once Jesus does return, time’s up. 2Pe 3.10

What about the End Times events which’re meant to come first?

In the first century, the Thessalonians heard a rumor Jesus had returned already… but they missed him.

The purpose of the letter 2 Thessalonians was to correct this error, among others. Jesus hasn’t returned yet! The apostles wrote ’em that a few things had to first happen before Jesus returns. And a number of “prophecy scholars” insist lots of things have to first happen before Jesus returns—including the stuff in 2 Thessalonians the stuff in Revelation, a great number of things in Daniel and the gospels and even Psalms. They’ve got a backlog of prophecies, ’cause the fellas they got their idea from were cessationists who believed God can’t fulfill prophecies just now; we gotta wait till the great tribulation.

So which prophecies are they thinking of? Well there’s the “lawless one” whom they call Antichrist (not an antichrist but the Antichrist, with a capital A) whom Jesus defeats when he returns. 2Th 2.8 These “scholars” figure he’s the same person as the Beast of Revelation 13. In any event there’s gotta be an Antichrist for Jesus to conquer, and they can’t identify any Antichrist just yet. But Jesus can’t return till we got one. No Antichrist, no Christ.

Thing is, read 2 Thessalonians again, particularly 2.9. The “lawless one” whom the apostles described actually isn’t the Beast. It’s Satan.

2 Thessalonians 2.6-12 KJV
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

For the most part the Darbyists among the “prophecy scholars” agree… ’cause they believe the Beast literally is the devil, incarnate. Even though in Revelation the dragon (i.e. Satan Rv 12.9) and Beast are two different beings. Rv 13.2 See, many Darbyists like to imagine Antichrist is Bizarro Jesus: He’s a fake Christ who pretends to be Christ and tries to fake-fulfill all the prophecies of Messiah. Including Messiah’s death and resurrection: In the middle of their seven years’ tribulation, about three years six months in, the Beast dies (like Jesus), then rises three days later (like Jesus). That’s how they spin the “mortal wound that’d been cured” Rv 13.3 —the Beast died, then rose. Bizarro.

Of course since the Beast is a lawbreaker, this has gotta be a fake resurrection, so Darbyists imagine Satan will pull it off by full-on possessing the Beast’s body, and working it like a meat puppet. They even include this scenario in the Left Behind novels.

Of course none of this whatsoever is in the bible. Doesn’t matter to Darbyists though. They claim special insight. They know what’s gonna happen. They’re “prophecy scholars,” remember?

Regardless of which entity is responsible for all the tribulational chaos, Darbyists insist the Beast (whether an evil man or Satan incarnate) has to show up and muck around so Jesus can destroy him. And Jesus can’t return till then.

But anyone who knows their history and bible is fully aware the devil has shown up to muck around. Rv 12.7-8 It’s been doing so for centuries. It already has been playing God, getting people to follow it, exalting itself. Like the apostles said, that secret’s already been at work. 2Th 2.7 2 Thessalonians isn’t about a future event anymore. Satan got started millennia ago.

And this is true of nearly all the prophecies of Revelation, Daniel, the gospels, and any passage legitimately about the End. If you know anything about prophecy, you’ll know it’s rare for any prophecy to be about the distant future… because you can’t test a prophecy to confirm it when it’s never gonna come to pass in your lifetime. Hence prophecies are usually about the near future; often within the year, but yes, it might be a decade or so before things happen as foretold. But it will happen so that you see it for yourself, same as Simeon getting to see Messiah.

We’ve had 20 centuries between the New Testament’s writing, and today. We’ve had a lot of time for those prophecies to be fulfilled. Hence nearly all of them have been. They’re achieved; they’re out of the way. Nothing more needs to happen before Jesus returns. He can do so at any time—and in so doing, fulfill the rest of the bible’s prophecies of the End.

Hence our word immediacy: Jesus can return immediately, if the Father so chooses. Nothing’s in his way. Nothing’s stopping him… except his own desire to wait till everybody who might be saved, is.

“My master tarries.”

The biggest problem with the idea of a seven-year tribulation has always been how it gets in the way of immediacy. If Jesus can’t return till the Beast shows up to wreck the world in all the too-specific ways of the average End Times Timeline… it means Jesus isn’t returning any day now. Can’t. Not for another three and a half to seven years.

Three and a half to seven years, in which people can put off repentance and salvation. ’Cause we supposedly got time before Jesus comes back. Time enough to get drunk and beat the servants.

Because of this seven-year delay, Darbyists invented the idea of a separate pretrib rapture of all the Christians—despite no evidence in the scriptures for any such thing. They simply figured it was the only way to preach immediacy and a seven-year tribulation. Now they got both. But the problematic side effect is now date fixing. If Christians get raptured seven years before the second coming, it means everybody in the world now knows the day and hour of Jesus’s return—even though he told us nobody gets to know that.

Plus, for everybody left behind: Still no immediacy. They know Jesus won’t come back at any time. They got seven whole years to sin themselves sticky.

Nope, doesn’t fit the rest of the bible. The Old Testament prophets frequently talked about “the LORD’s Day.” By which they didn’t mean Sunday; they meant the day the LORD decides time’s up and he’s gonna judge the world. No, not just the nation of Israel, the world. It’s Judgment Day.

Obadiah 1.15 KJV
For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

Obadiah wasn’t prophesying to Israel. This message was for Israel’s neighbor Edom. Who were also Hebrews—and were assimilated into Judea centuries later, so they’re Jews now. But at the time they weren’t part of Israel; they were another nation. Didn’t matter. ’Cause the LORD’s Day isn’t just for Israel.

Really, the way the prophets phrased it, the LORD’s Day was more for pagan nations than for God’s people. God had chosen to intervene in history to put a stop to all their evil.

Nope, there’s nothing in there about how God was gonna swoop in and rapture Israel away, leaving the wicked behind to do horrible evil things to one another. It’d be nice, but that’s wish fulfillment. Not scripture.

Isaiah 13.9-13 KJV
9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. 11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

The apostles considered Jesus’s return to be the very same thing as the LORD’s Day. 1Co 5.5, 1Th 5.2, 2Pe 3.10 Just as the Old Testament prophets proclaimed time and again, this event didn’t only affect Israel. Nor, in the New Testament understanding, just us Christians. It affects everyone. The entire planet.

So immediacy isn’t just the idea Jesus will return for us Christians, to rapture us before tribulation comes. That’d be contrary to every warning Jesus gave us that tribulation will come, people will persecute us, and suffering is part of life. That’d be contrary to the experience of every Christian who died for Jesus by the hands of pagans, Muslims, and even fellow Christians of different sects. That’d be contrary to every middle eastern Christian who’s currently suffering because they’re Christian in a land which has grown entirely intolerant of anyone who doesn’t believe as those in power. And for that matter every Asian Christian, every African Christian, every European Christian. (What about Christians in the Americas? With few exceptions, our inconveniences don’t deserve to be called martyrdom.)

Yes, Jesus warned us Christians he’s coming quickly:

Revelation 2.16 KJV
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
 
Revelation 3.11 KJV
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
 
Revelation 22.12 KWL
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
 
Revelation 22.20 KWL
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

These aren’t merely warnings for us Christians. They’re for the world. Part of the reason Jesus hasn’t returned yet, is because he’s giving the world a chance to repent before he returns. 2Pe 3.9 Take advantage of that time: Get right with God. Because when he does return, time’s up. 2Pe 3.10

Humanity doesn’t get seven years to shape up, to repent and become “tribulation saints,” to dodge the Beast till Jesus finally returns as predicted by the seven-year timeline. When Jesus returns, he’s leading an army of every heavenly angel, and two billion Christians are gonna get immediately transformed into mighty eternal beings and join this army. That’s the future facing everyone who isn’t prepared for Jesus’s return. They’ll either surrender to his Lordship, or suffer his consequences. He’s merciful, but still: Times’s up.

This can happen at any time.

And even if Jesus doesn’t return for the whole world, it can still happen to each and every one of us at any time. You don’t know when you’re gonna die.

I don’t know when I’m gonna die either. My family history contains a lot of alcoholics and premature deaths, so I can’t say anything with certainty. I may live into my 100s; I’d hope my mind is still intact by then, although that’s not guaranteed either. But accidents happen. I could be killed by an inattentive driver tomorrow. I could choke on something tonight. A meteor might fall on me. I dunno. And at that time, at my death, Jesus is coming for me. I’m ready.

Are you? Hope so.