The Rapture The Return of Christ And The Doctrine Of Immanency
Is Christ’s Return Imminent?
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THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND: Panton de to telos eggiken : (Eccl 7:2; Jer 5:31; Eze 7:2,3,6; Mt 24:13,14; Ro 13:12; 1Co 7:29; 1Co 15:24; Phil 4:5; Heb 10:25; Jas 5:8,9; 2Pet 3:9, 10, 11; 1Jn 2:18,19)
Christ could come at any moment. I believe that with all my heart—not because of what I read in the newspapers, but because of what I read in Scripture.
From the very earliest days of the church, the apostles and first-generation Christians nurtured an earnest expectation and fervent hope that Christ might suddenly return at any time to gather His church to heaven. James, writing what was probably the earliest of the New Testament epistles, expressly told his readers that the Lord’s return was imminent:
Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge isstanding at the door! (James 5:7–9, emphasis added).1
Dwight Pentecost writes that…
The doctrine of imminency is taught in Scripture in such passages as John 14:2-3; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 4:16-17; 5:5-9; Titus 2:13; James 5:8-9; Revelation 3:10; 22:17-22…the early church held to the doctrine of imminency. [Pentecost, Things to Come, 168.]
A W Pink explains imminency this way writing that…
When we say that the Redeemer’s Return is an imminent event, we do not mean it will occur immediately, but that He may come back in our own lifetime, that He may come back this year; yet, we cannot say that He will do so.
Imminence is ]”The quality or condition of being about to occur.”
In Scripture, the coming of Jesus Christ is portrayed as an imminent event. This means that Jesus can come at any moment: there is no event which must transpire before He comes.
Imminency makes it impossible to know when He might come so the believer must remain constantly on the lookout in case the Lord were to return and find him unprepared (Mt. 24:43; Luke 12:37-39; 1Th 4:15-17; Rev. 3:3).
Many passages which teach the imminency of events utilize phrases such as “soon,” “quickly,” and “is near.” These events are described from the perspective of God Who “declares the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10). From His perspective, these events are certain but their timing is unspecified. They are “imminent“…
Just as “quickly” is used in Revelation to teach imminence, so also is “near” or “at hand” (engus) used to mean imminency and thus its usage does not support a first-century fulfillment
this A. T. Pierson stated, imminent
IImminence is the combination of two conditions, viz,: certainty and uncertainty. By an imminent event we mean one which is certain to occur at some time, uncertain at what time.
Since we never know exactly when an imminent event will occur, three things are true.
First, we cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before the imminent event happens; therefore, we should always be prepared for it to happen at any moment.
Second, we cannot legitimately set a date for its happening. As soon as we set a date for an imminent event, we destroy the concept of imminency because we thereby say that a certain amount of time must transpire before that event can happen. A specific date for an event is contrary to the concept that the event could happen at any moment.
Third, we cannot legitimately say that an imminent event will happen soon. The term “soon” implies that an event must take place “within a short time (after a particular point of time specified or implied).” By contrast, an imminent event may take place within a short time, but it does not have to do so in order to be imminent. Thus, “imminent” is not equal to “soon.”