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When will the Lord Jesus Christ Return?
subject has been more abused in evangelical Christianity than the issue of Christ's return. Frequently world affairs have been looked to for signs of the end, in expectation of guidance as to when Christ will return, to the frequent public humiliation of the Church of Jesus.
  Yet, the Lord gave us clear guidance in His word...  
The Bible
tells us that at Christ's Ascension God the Father said to our Lord –
  "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet" Psalm 110:1.
statement of God establishes a primary precondition for Jesus' return to this earth.
The New Testament reaffirms this precondition, in saying that after Jesus had become the sacrifice for our sin –
  "He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from-that-time-onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet". Hebrews 10:12-13.
— Sadly, some Christian leaders/teachers dodge this issue by asserting that this will be done in the act of Christ's return,
and they thereby wipe away the spiritual significance of this important statement in Holy Scripture —
          But how will God make Christ's enemies to be "a footstool for His feet" for His Return?
  Well, the same root-Scripture in this context answers this question –  
  "Your people will offer themselves willingly in the day of Your power" Psalm 110:3.
It is through Christ's own people, who are today His physical presence on this earth – His 'body', that God will subdue Christ's enemies to Him in the day of His power.
          So, when will this "day of Your power" begin?  
It has already begun!   Matthew 26:64.
(Note: the "and coming..." is the concluding climax of this revelation of Christ's power).
When on trial just before His crucifixion, Jesus answered the Jewish high priest by saying to him –
"From now [απ αρτι, ap arti, from-now-on] you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power
and coming on the clouds of Heaven."
Jesus had previously referred prophetically to this giving of His authority to His people as –  
"I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you"
Luke 10:19
This is the enabling authority that was bestowed for every Christian believer at Pentecost in 30 AD.
This is the effective three-fold future ministry of His people which Jesus had described in His Upper Room teaching on the night of His betrayal.
Jesus had
described this whole future ministry of His Church to this world in just three words:
1. sin
      2. righteousness      
3. judgment.
In presenting
this teaching, Christ attributed this ministry of His church to the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit is the source of any true spiritual ministry that the church has in this world; and ministry without the Spirit of God is certainly not Christian ministry.
  "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no longer;
concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you."
John 16:7-14.
         So – Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict this world through Christ's Church, by convicting of –
“SIN because they do not believe in Me...
That is, as stated in Jn.15:22 & 24, this world has 'sin', and is sinful in God's sight, not by its moral impurity (which is common to all) but by their rejection of God's mercy revealed in Christ! They have not believed in the revelation of God's grace – Jesus!
This living message to the world about God's mercy is by the Spirit through Christ's church.
“RIGHTEOUSNESSbecause I go to the Father...
Christ is our Representative before the Father so that we might be His representatives before the world. By this therefore, we walk within His righteousness by this same Spirit, as His light to this world.
JUDGMENTbecause the ruler of this world has been judged...
  The battle with evil has already been decided. Christ is victor!
The Holy Spirit only expresses this authority over the works of Satan through Christ's Church, such as when Paul struck Elymas blind (Acts 13:8-12), cast out demons, etc.  (John.16:7-12)
three words are not Christ's summary of the Holy Spirit's ministry in general, as has so often been taught, nor do these three words describe the Spirit's ministry to individual believers!  The Lord is very specific that these three words describe the Holy Spirit's ministry –
Not by a ministry independent of the believers, for this world neither knows the Holy Spirit nor can it receive the Spirit. It is the mission of the Spirit THROUGH Christ's own disciples, the Church; that is, the disciples, who were at this stage still yet to receive the Holy Spirit.
other words, in this statement the Lord Jesus summarized the WHOLE future history of the Christian Church's ministry; summarized it as God sees Christ's Church (not as any historian would describe Church history).
This then is Christ's ministry in it's continuation through the believers simply because the Spirit is given to them. 
This ministry is defined under these three terms as Christ Himself explained and gave content to the three words (and not as preachers often speculate with these words).
It is for THIS reason that Jesus said –  
  "it is to YOUR ADVANTAGE that I go away"  
– for otherwise the Spirit would not come to them in that relationship which He the Spirit had had with/to Jesus, for the continuance in history of this unique ministry of the Lord Jesus (Jn.16:7).
OK. But, if Christ's "people" really are the channel of Christ's authority in this world to subdue His "enemies", how will this affect the time of Christ's Return?
The apostle Paul expressed a holy principle of God on this issue when he wrote –  
"We are ready to punish ALL disobedience WHEN YOUR OBEDIENCE IS COMPLETE"
2 Corinthians 10:6.
other words, Christ's Return in judgment will not happen before the completed obedience of Christ's people. And this "obedience" very specially includes Christ's command to spread His good news. Therefore Jesus said –
"THIS Gospel shall be preached to ALL the world to EVERY nation and THEN the End will come"
Matthew 24:14.
The completion of this holy task sets the time of Christ's Return!  
Yes, "then" and only "then" will our blessed Lord return! So – the 'when?' is therefore the 'then!'
  The Apostle Paul affirmed the vital need for a spiritually mature Church in order to complete this task when he wrote that the Spirit-gifted leadership of the Christian Church must continue –  
  "UNTIL  –  WE  –  ALL  attain
to the unity of the Faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"
Ephesians 4:13.
spiritually mature people of God will not be intimidated, and will confront the kingdom of Antichrist in Christian victory. Jesus taught His apocalyptic minded disciples this principle in His model prayer –
  "Thy Kingdom COME, Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven" Matthew 6:10.
The second clause of this sentence simply practically applies the first. This is more than a pious wish! It means that His Kingdom will NOT come without God's will being done on earth by God's people!
– it is not we who are kept waiting by Christ, it is He who awaits our obedience!
Accordingly, the Apostle Peter specifically describes Christian obedience as –
"HASTENING THE COMING of the Day of God"
2 Peter 3:12.
Christ's ascension to the right hand of the Father, (referred to Psalm 110:1 quoted above) established a position for EVERY Christian in God's relationship to us. So in principle, as far as God is concerned (and that means in EVERY effective prayer before the Throne), we were –
  "seated in Christ in the heavenlies, that, in the coming ages [of human history], He might SHOW FORTH the immeasurable riches of His grace toward US in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 2:6,7.
Satanic activity (including its climax in Antichrist's world rule) is always accountable before the Throne of the Most High, in whom all authority resides. Satan's only role before the Throne is as the 'Accuser of the Brethren'. For this reason Jesus instructed that the critical need for Christian workers MUST be dealt with before the Throne in prayer –
"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them ...Then He said to His disciples 'The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; PRAY therefore the LORD of the harvest to send out labourers into HIS harvest'."
Matthew 9:36-38;
Luke 10:1,2.
The Sign of the End  
How will we know when this has all been done and the "full number of the Gentiles has come in"? (Rom.11:25). How will we know?
described this sign as the action of Satan. He used Israel's experience of Antiochus Epiphanes defiling the temple sanctuary in Jerusalem (prophesied by Daniel) as the pointer to this final end-time sacrilege –
  "So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken about by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)" Matthew 24:15.
did Matthew mean that the reader should understand in Christ's reference? Simply Israel's historical experience with Antiochus IV! Jesus had just prophesied a little earlier the total destruction of Israel's temple (Mat.24:2), and here He describes its yet future defilement as being the sign of the end, which triggers the time of tribulation of 3½ years and visible coming of His Kingdom.
Two days before this, Jesus had publicly mourned Jerusalem's unbelief and declared that He would not come to them again, until –
"Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will not see Me from now until you say,
'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!' "
Matthew 23:38-39.
would require radical spiritual change in Israel as a nation – a national yearning for the true messiah. What shock could bring this about that had not worked nationally during Christ's own ministry among them?
When Satan has finally failed in his effort to prevent Christ's people coming to spiritual maturity and completing their mission, because he can no longer do anything effective against them he turns in anger to the root of Christianity, its Jewish roots, to claim status for his deception at its heart – the Jerusalem temple sanctuary.
Apostle Paul also made reference to the same sign. Concerning the future rapture of all believers at Christ's coming, he writes –
"Let no one deceive you in any way.
For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.
He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship,
and as a result he takes his seat in God's temple, displaying himself as God."
2 Thess.2:3-4.
“you are NOT in darkness, brethren, for that Day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of Light, children of the Day.
...So then let us NOT sleep”
1 Thess.5:4,5

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