When Will the Lord Return?

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

The Scriptures do not provide us with a date for the Lord’s return. Nor are we given signs to look for that will signal that His return is approaching. But the New Testament does provide us with a description for when the Lord will return. This lesson will seek to answer that question: When will the Lord return?

The Lord Will Return When the Father Has Determined (Matthew 24:36)

  • Not even Jesus knows the date – Jesus is the spokesman for God today (Hebrews 1:1-2); the Holy Spirit would reveal “the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12); the date of Christ’s return is not included in this
  • Therefore, it is impossible for anyone to have special insight about the date of Christ’s return
  • It will happen when the Father has determined (Acts 17:31) – not when we want it to happen (Revelation 22:20; Philippians 3:20)

The Lord Will Return When Nothing Points to the End (Matthew 24:37-41)

  • Relatively few try to make serious predictions about the date of the Lord’s return – but many believe that there will be certain signs to announce that it is close (cf. Matthew 24:6-13)
  • However, the signs that people claim will precede the second coming were actually signs preceding the destruction of Jerusalem
  • Life will continue as normal prior to the Lord’s return – just as the judgment in Noah’s day; the only warning was/is preaching (2 Peter 2:5; Acts 17:30-31)

The Lord Will Return When You Do Not Expect (Matthew 24:42-44)

  • You do not know” – and you cannot know
  • Jesus used the illustration of a thief (cf. 2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2) – if you knew what night a thief was coming, you would be ready
  • We do not know and cannot know the precise moment – so be ready at all times (Matthew 24:44; 2 Peter 3:11-14)

The Lord Will Return When the Trumpet Sounds (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

  • The sound of the trumpet was to announce the coming of the King
  • We have already noticed that there would be no signs to signal His return was approaching – this is not a warning, but an announcement; Christ is coming with the trumpet
  • This will be “the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52) – no second chances; no rush to correct things at the end

The Lord Will Return When Mockers Ridicule the Idea of His Return (2 Peter 3:3-7)

  • God has, at various times, punished man for disobedience – besides punishment for the disobedient, this also serves as a reminder for others to be faithful (1 Corinthians 10:11-12)
  • Mockers will ridicule Christ’s return – only way this seems credible is if there are no recent instances of judgment
  • God is not actively judging/punishing men or nations today (Amos 3:7) – indicates that there would be a significant amount of time that would pass from the last prophecy (the fall of Rome – Revelation 18:21) and the final judgment (Revelation 20:12)

The Lord Will Return When God’s Patience Has Run Out (2 Peter 3:9-10)

  • One of the characteristics of God is His patience (1 Peter 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:16) – this is why the world remains
  • God is giving us time to repent (2 Peter 3:9) – therefore, we should regard His patience as salvation (2 Peter 3:15)
  • However, at some point His patience will run out – when the Lord returns; at that point, those who are unfaithful will be destroyed (Romans 2:4-6)

The Lord Will Return When the Physical World is Destroyed (2 Peter 3:10)

  • Everything we know here will be gone – do not become attached to these things (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • Jesus is not returning to establish a kingdom on earth – the kingdom is here (Mark 9:1; Colossians 1:13)
  • He is returning to bring the faithful of His kingdom home to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18)


  • Though we do not know the date, we are told about when the Lord is returning
  • We must be ready at all times (2 Peter 3:11-14) – if you are not ready, now is the time (2 Corinthians 6:2)

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