Companion post: The Great Expectation of the New Testament – What?
This post was previously titled “The Coming of Christ and the End of the Age.” It could have been titled “Verses Pointing to the Timing of the Second Coming.”
This post focuses on the “when” of that great event which we see the New Testament anticipating. The companion post mentioned above as a “related post” focuses on the “what” of that event. Because it’s practically impossible to speak of the “when” without also saying something about the “what,” this post is a subset of that one.
In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples asked Him:
“What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
I have written a book on this subject: Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? The Biblical Case for the Second Coming as Accomplished Fact
In the wake of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven, there was a great expectation among the disciples. They anticipate it with a variety of terms: “the coming of the Lord,” “the coming day of the Lord,” “the coming of the kingdom of God,” and more. This great event would mark the end of all that had preceded it – thus terms like “last days,” “end of the ages,” and so on. The anticipation of this cataclysm is apparent from one end of the New Testament to the other.
The purpose of this post is to list some of the New Testment verses that speak of the timing of this great expection. When you review them, you’ll see that apostles clearly taught the earliest Christians to believe that this great event would occur in their generation.
(An asterisk at the beginning of the citation indicates that the verse does not mention the timing of the second coming but is included because it establishes a basis for calling it a second coming.)
Matthew 3:2 – “…the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – NASB marginal note on “is at hand” reads “Lit. has come near”)
Matthew 10:22, 23 – “…it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved…you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”
Matthew 16:27, 28 “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
Matthew 23:34-36 – “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Matthew 24:33-34 – “…when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door…this generation will not pass away until all these things take place…
Mark 9:1 (same as Matthew 16:28 above)
Mark 13:30 (same as Matthew 24:34 above)
Luke 9:27 (same as Matthew 16:28 above)
Luke 21:32 (same as Matthew 24:34 above)
*John 14:3, 18
John 21:22, 23
Romans 13:11-13 – “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.”
Romans 16:20 – “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…”
1 Corinthians 7:25-31
1 Corinthians 10:11
Philippians 4:5 – “…The Lord is near.” – The NASB has a marginal note on “near” that reads “Or at hand.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2 – “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.” See 2 Timothy 2:18 for another occasion of premature announcement.
2 Timothy 2:18 – “who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place…” – Obviously, it had not taken place at the time that Paul was writing this letter. For another premature notice, see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 above.
James 5:1-9 – “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you…Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure…you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter…Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.”
1 Peter 4:5 – “but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
1 Peter 4:7 – “The end of all things is near…”
1 Peter 4:7 – “But the end of all things is at hand…”
1 Peter 4:17, 18 – “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? ‘AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?'”
1 John 2:18 – “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”