Now that all of the hopes of Jesus’ return on September 20-22, 2017 have not come to pass, many will wonder why He has not returned. Peter addressed this question as one that many people would ask in the last days.
...knowing this first: that 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
When there are constant claims that the Lord will return year after year and He has not come, people begin to grow tired of hearing about the return of Jesus. After this year there will be some who will no longer believe that Jesus will come again. Their disappointment will become too much to handle and they will stop looking for Jesus. People who scoffed at the idea of Jesus’ return before claims were made this year, will be emboldened to criticize those who believe in Jesus—even more.
Knowing that these things will happen, why does the Lord seem to delay His return as He promised? Peter said that in the last days people would ask this very question: “where is the promise of His coming?”
It is clear that Jesus promised He would come again. He said that He was returning to heaven to prepare a place for us and then He would come again and take us to be with Him.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 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 14:1-3
Peter tells us why Jesus has not returned as many have expected:
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
If Jesus had come for His church on September 21st or 22nd, there would have been millions who were taken to heaven to live with the Lord in beauty and peace, forever. There would also be many millions more who would be lost and endure a time of Tribulation the world has never imagined. The Book of Revelation describes nearly two-thirds of the people of earth, dying in twenty-one judgments during those seven years. God is not willing that anyone would perish but that we would all come to repentance and call upon Jesus.
Jesus wants to take those who love Him to heaven. He also wants to save those who have yet to believed upon Him. The reason that the return of Jesus has not taken place is because of God’s love. He also cares about those who would be lost if Jesus were to come now. Peter said that the Lord is not really slack in His promise to return, He is being patient and kind. Remember that God so love the whole world that He gave His only Son. Most of the world still has not received Jesus. He has waited for 2,000 years because He wants to save many more.
When you feel sad, disappointed, angry, or ready to give up waiting for Jesus, remember that the salvation of God is not just about you. There are millions of other people who need more time so they can also be saved. This is why Jesus has not returned yet.
It is not that Jesus doesn’t want to come for us. It is not that He has forgotten His promise. It is not that He doesn’t care that we are disappointed. It is simply that He also cares for those who are still lost. Perhaps we who wait for the return of Jesus should remember the people who are not yet saved when we feel disappointed. If Jesus waits another year, how many more will be believe? I think that it is worth the wait to be patient for the return of the Lord. If you think about this you will see that its true.
Jesus said He would come again and He will—after He has allowed as much time as possible for the lost to be saved. It is for this reason that I have always remained excited about the return of Jesus for 42 years. I have also understood that each year the Lord has not come, millions more have joined our family. I am happy to wait for my Lord while He is so patiently waiting for people to believe.