Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus took his disciples to the Mount of Olives, where he was lifted up into the clouds out of their sight. While they were gazing up in bewilderment, two men in white apparel (angels) told them,
Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!
These angels weren’t saying anything new. They were merely confirming Jesus’ clear promise that he would return someday in power, glory and judgment.
It has been nearly 2,000 years since Jesus left earth, and many wonder why he has taken so long to return. In his book, Why I Am Not a Christian, atheist Bertrand Russell accused Jesus of breaking his promise to return.
Russell argues that Jesus couldn’t have been “all wise” if he broke such an important promise. He certainly couldn’t have been God as he claimed so frequently (See http://y-jesus.com/more/jcg-jesus-claim-god). So is it possible that Russell is right about Jesus breaking his promise?
The Apostle Peter predicted scoffers like Russell would point to Jesus’ delay as a broken promise. He writes,
First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire. This will be their argument: ‘Jesus promised to come back, did he? Then where is he? Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly the same since the world was first created!’
Perhaps Russell and other scoffers should have looked closer at Peter’s words, as well as what Jesus said about the timing of his return, and the events that would precede it. Jesus did say that, although no man would know the exact timing of his return, certain clues would tell us that it is drawing near.
Additionally, the Old Testament prophets and Jesus’ apostles also provide insight about what the world scene will look like just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Let’s look briefly at a few of these clues to the general timing of Jesus’ return.