What Should We Say to People Who Scoff at Christ’s Second Coming?

In Bible/Theology, Blogs by Mike Stallard1 Comment


Shortly before His arrest, Jesus assured His troubled disciples, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2–3). The last promise in the entire Bible echoes this guarantee: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20). The hope of Jesus’ Second Coming is precious to all Bible-believing Christians, as we long to see His face and for all things to be made right.

However, it has been almost 2,000 years since Jesus promised to return. This fact produces a tension in believers who must by faith continue to hold to the words of Christ while they wait and hope that He will return during their lifetimes. Believers also must endure those who scoff at them for believing such a promise. Skeptics reason, He should have come back by now if He’s coming.

The apostle Peter predicted, “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’” (2 Peter 3:3–4). The word scoffer refers to someone who mocks and makes fun of what they consider to be an empty and ridiculous promise. Scoffers ask, “Why does God delay? In a world of so much sorrow and trouble, why does God not come to fix it now?” In this same passage, Peter gave three reasons why it appears that Jesus delays His return. 

1. God has reserved the earth for a specific intervention of God’s judgment.

Mockers will say, “For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (v. 4). This idea is based on a uniformitarian view of history and the natural world. But God reminds us that these mockers forget one major thing: God judged the earth by a cataclysmic, worldwide flood in Noah’s day: “The world that then existed perished, being flooded with water” (v. 6). It is simply not true that things continue as they always have.

There is no delay on God’s part. He has appointed a specific time in the future when the world will be judged by fire.

With this former judgment by water in mind, God pivots to His plan for the earth in the future: “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (v. 7). In a sense, there is no delay on God’s part. He has appointed a specific time in the future when the world will be judged by fire.

When I was a boy, around 7 or 8 years old, one of my family members died. It was my first encounter with death (other than stepping on bugs). My parents explained to me what death meant. They also told me what this passage teaches: One day God destroyed the world in a flood, and one day He will destroy it with fire. My sensitive heart made me bawl like a baby, and I began to pray that my parents, my brother, and I would never die. Judgment is severe. God has reserved the earth for that future moment.

2. God is not bound by time like we are.

Peter reminds us “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (v. 8). Consequently, we cannot charge God with being slack or slow (v. 9). 

We experience all of these things in terms of a linear timeline. For God, all of these things are an instant.

Using the Bible, we can document how long God took to fulfill His promises. It took around three years for the death of Ahab that God promised to come about, approximately 15 years for the death of Jezebel, about 120 years for the Babylonian invasion of Judah predicted by Isaiah, 4,000 years for the First Coming of Messiah promised in Genesis 3:15, more than 560 years for the First Coming (and death) of Messiah prophesied in Daniel 9, more than 700 years for the prediction of Messiah’s death on the cross to be fulfilled from Isaiah 53, almost 40 years for Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Matthew 24, and 1,878 years from AD 70 to 1948 for the restoration of Israel.

God is outside of time. We are not. Thus, we experience all of these things in terms of a linear timeline. For God, all of these things are an instant. From His perspective, He is not delayed at all.

3. God is patient so that many more are saved.

God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v. 9). One reason Jesus has not yet returned is that He is waiting for more people to come to faith in Him. The word repentance implies a change of mind about sin and its solution. People must admit they are sinners and need a solution outside of themselves. As a result, they turn to Christ in faith (the flip side of repentance), trusting His work on the cross and His resurrection as the basis for their salvation. Without that, the alternative is to “perish,” a word signifying the horrible destiny of those who never make peace with God.

I came to faith in Christ on August 18, 1974. If Jesus had come back to Earth on August 17, 1974, where would I be? I thank God that He waited for me. And He may wait for you also. But a day is coming when the wait will be over—when Jesus returns. Are you ready for that day? Have you made peace with God by trusting Jesus as your Savior?

About the Author
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Mike Stallard

Mike is the Vice President of International Ministries for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry.

Comments 1

  1. Thanks Mike for such a clear response to mockers concerning Jesus Christ’s promised return using the Scriptures and also for the compelling challenge to be ready when He does.

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