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17 June 2024  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

I hear two contrasting descriptions of the second coming of Jesus. 

The Bible says that Jesus will appear “as a thief in the night”—presumably without warning.

On the other hand, Adventist eschatology predicts horrendous times ahead, in which people are given lots of warning signs to prepare for Jesus’ return.

How can they both be true?

Signed, Confused

Dear Confused:

Jesus said to be always ready for his return. While we wait there will be seasons of suffering and difficulty, but “the end is not yet.” That has been the pattern for 2000 years. 

What Jesus asked us to do with this information was simple: live our lives in such a way that we would be ready at any moment for either Jesus’ return or for our own death—“for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”

But some Christians simply refuse to believe Jesus in this. Making predictions is too tempting. Passages like Matthew 24 (which is about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD) and the puzzling apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation have lured Christians into trying to discover a code, a formula, or a warning event, that would let them pinpoint the time of Jesus’ return. 

Even after the disappointment that birthed our denomination, Adventist evangelists have continued to draw detailed time charts. Every time there is a current event that can be magnified into a crisis, the evangelists tell people to get ready for Jesus to return. (Interestingly, getting ready for Jesus always means sending money to the evangelist!)

Crisis after crisis passes, failed prediction after failed prediction. Yet people never seem to grasp that the preparation for Jesus’ return is still what Jesus said it was originally: live the kind of life so that at any time you are ready to meet your maker.

Aunt Sevvy

Aunt Sevvy has collected her answers into a book! You can get it from Amazon by clicking here.

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at [email protected]. Your real identity will never be revealed. 

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