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Skeptics claim that God’s plans have been delayed or altered because Christ had not yet returned to earth. Some Christians may be tempted to believe that God failed to fulfill His promises. However, people don’t realize that God is almighty and unchangeable. His designs will all be fulfilled at the right time. There are several reasons why the Lord has delayed His second coming:
God’s mercy for the lost
God’s unwillingness to have His children be lost has been the main cause for His long delay. Peter confirmed this truth saying, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Yet, he added that it is the Christian’s duty to hasten the coming of Jesus (verse 12). God, doesn’t wish for the death of sinner. In contrast, He has done all that which is in His power to save mankind from eternal death (John 3:16). Sadly, some will still reject His free offer of salvation and thus be lost (2 Peter 3:7).
God’s promises are conditional
The Scriptures confirm that the promises and the curses of the Lord are conditional on man’s choices and obedience. “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 also ch. 28).
The promise of salvation is still valid, but always and only to those who have faith (Romans 1:16). Sadly, it is the believers’ own worldliness and lack of faith that have made it not possible for the Lord to fulfill His promise of a soon coming. The same sins that hindered the Israelites in the Old Testament from entering the land of Canaan have also hindered the New Testament believers from entering the heavenly promised land. In neither case were the promises of God failing. It is the unbelief, the lack of holiness, and love of the world among God’s children that have caused them to linger in this sinful world till now.
Unbelief in the church
Other than the skeptics, there is another group that says, “My Lord delays his coming” (Matthew 24:48). These Christians don’t deny the reality of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:4). For they profess to be believers and do share the truth of His coming (Matthew 24:45). However, they lack conviction. Their lives and actions testify that they don’t really believe that the Lord is coming soon. They are distracted by the affairs of this life. They resemble the seeds in the parable of the sower that fell among the thorns. Concerning these, Jesus taught, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22).
The need for certain future events to be fulfilled first
The apostle Paul under inspiration wrote to the Corinthians, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short” (1 Corinthians 7:29). In his letter to the Romans he wrote, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Romans 13:12). Also, John the Revelator proclaimed, “The time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3) and “Behold, I come quickly” (Revelation 22:6, 7). However, both Paul and John also clearly predicted that certain events must become apparent before Jesus’ coming (2 Thessalonians 2:1–5; Revelation 1:3). Therefore, the Lord is waiting to orchestrate these events to take place before He comes.
The second coming will follow evangelizing the world
The good news is that the Second Advent of Christ will not tarry after the gospel has been taken to all the world (Matthew 24:14). Then, God will bring about the events that will bring the end more rapid than men expect. Yet, the definite time of His coming is not known (Matthew 24:36). Therefore, it is the duty of the people of God to have their lamps trimmed and burning, and be ready like the wise bride-maids that welcomed the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).
In His service,