When Is Jesus Coming Back? Is it Soon?

Jesus warned his followers, “stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). So is Jesus coming back soon?

Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 23, 2022
When Is Jesus Coming Back? Is it Soon?

When you reach the Bible’s end in Revelation, Jesus makes a final declaration: “Yes, I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20). Based on this statement, if you asked a believer whether Jesus is coming back soon, they would most likely say “yes,” because they believe what Jesus said. I would agree with them.

 The difficulty in believing Jesus is coming back soon is that 2,000 years have passed since he said he was coming soon, and we are still waiting. If that is soon, it doesn’t feel like it. This forces us to come to grips with the word “soon.” We tend to think of “soon” with immediacy. Clearly, “soon” to Jesus is different from “soon” to us. The fact that Jesus is coming soon does not mean he is coming tomorrow…. but he could. Jesus coming soon could mean he will return within the next few days, the next few years, the next few decades, or possibly the next few centuries. We must deal with the question of him coming soon and be prepared for those who get tired of hearing it.

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’” (2 Peter 3:3-4)

What Does the Bible Say about When Jesus Is Coming Back?

When the Bible talks about Jesus coming back, it references times and seasons (Acts 1:7). Jesus also gives us signs to look for, indicating his return is near. Matthew 24 contains one of the longest discourses on this subject as Jesus answers the disciple’s question, what will be the signs of your coming and the end of the age? (Matt. 24:3). Among the signs Jesus mentions are false Messiahs, along with wars and rumors of wars. He says that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The word for “nation” in the original Greek is ethnos, where we get the word “ethnicity.” We have seen in our society the proliferation of one ethnic group revolting against another ethnic group. He also mentions famines and earthquakes in various places. There will be a time of persecution and a rise of false prophets who will bring great deception. Because of these things, many will fall away. The love of many will grow cold. In this environment, the gospel message will be preached to the ends of the earth, and then the end will come. The challenge in understanding signs of this nature is there are various times in human history we could connect the signs to, including the times we live in right now. This further underscores the problem Bible scholars have in determining where we are in the prophetic calendar. Also, while Jesus indicates what will happen before he comes, he never says how long these things will happen. When you put it all together, all we are left with is Jesus is coming soon, though we don’t know how long soon is.

Why Did Jesus Say the Kingdom of God Is Near?

“From then on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’” (Matthew 4:17 NLT)

The kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God exists in two realities for believers. First, it is a present reality, for we now experience some of the kingdom’s benefits. For instance, we are clothed in God’s righteousness, have peace with God, and experience joy in the Holy Spirit. According to Romans 14:17, that is the kingdom of God. When Jesus walked the earth, he brought access to this kingdom. He allowed people, then and now, to experience his love, grace, mercy, and power—all reflections of the kingdom. He demonstrated the kingdom’s authority when he walked the earth, and we can still experience that now. However, the kingdom of God is also a future reality. Even though we have a taste of the kingdom, we cannot experience it fully in this life. That will happen when Jesus returns, when he fully establishes his kingdom rule and authority over the earth. Even though he has all authority now, we still experience sin’s effects in our society because even though God’s kingdom is near, it is only near to those who believe. Those who do not believe are not part of God’s kingdom now, nor will they be part of God’s kingdom later.

Can We Know When God Is Coming Back?

When we go back to the word “soon,” we have to recognize countless people have tried to put a number on it. Many have attempted to put a date or time on when Jesus is coming back. None of them have been right, and none of them ever will be. Here is what Jesus declared about the hour of his return.

“But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)

It is simple to understand and doesn’t take any knowledge of Greek or some deep Biblical interpretation. No one means no one. You can ignore anybody who predicts when Jesus is coming back. If they put a date on it, that date is wrong. Don’t give any thought to it, don’t give any credence to it, and please don’t make any decisions around it. Every person who has tried predicting when Jesus is coming has been wrong, and they will continue to be. Regardless of when you think he is coming, this verse sums up the one thing we can say for certain.

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:44)

What Do We do While Waiting for Jesus to Come Back?

I took a longer look at this question in “Since Jesus Is Coming Soon, How Should it Affect the Way We Live?” For now, there are three things you should do while waiting for Jesus to come back. Watch. Pray. Work.

Watch – Watching is being aware that he could return at any moment. This takes us back to soon. We don’t know the day or the hour, but we know the times and the seasons. If you were to ask me, I would say the return of Jesus could happen in my lifetime. While I can’t say that definitively, I watch so as not to be surprised if he does. As you think about watching, I encourage you to read this article which takes a deeper look at what it means to watch.    

Pray – Praying is making sure your heart is ready for when he returns. Are you walking and living right? Are you seeking to live in a manner that is pleasing to God and that recognizes he could come at any moment? When you pray, you align your heart with God’s heart, which positions you to be ready when he comes.

Work – We are not supposed to sit around and do nothing, waiting for Jesus to come. We should do what he has called us to do: make disciples of all nations. I’m sure something called the Great Commission rings a bell. We must work on this until he comes or until we leave this earth. Let’s be faithful to the call and do what Jesus desires. Is there anything better you could be doing than doing his will when he returns? If there is, I haven’t found it yet.  

Is Jesus coming back soon? The answer is a resounding yes. All I request is don’t ask me when because I have no idea. All I can tell you is he is coming soon, and whatever that means to you, his return will be at a day and time you least expect.

Will Jesus Really Return to Earth?

(The following is a transcript of the video above, edited for readability.)

We joyfully confess as Christians that Jesus Christ really, truly will return to earth. It's important for us to recognize that Jesus himself said that He would return to earth. When He Was speaking to his disciples on the Mount of Olives, He told them that He would come in power and in glory. Angels said that Jesus Christ would return. In Acts Chapter 1, when it speaks of Jesus ascending to His Father, then the angels are there and they said, "He will return in the same manner that He has left."

One of the interesting things, as you look at church history is that even though different Christians throughout church history have had different perspectives on the end of time, they agreed on certain basic things about the end of time. And one of those was that Jesus Christ will return to earth. If you look at the church fathers, all these different guys, one of the things you find is that there are at least three things that they affirm about the end of time, about the return of Jesus. It's that Jesus Christ will return physically to the earth. But not only that, that God will raise the righteous and the unrighteous for judgment. And then thirdly, that Jesus Christ will make things right and new in the world. There will be a restoration, we might say.

All those things are important. All those things are confessed by Christians throughout the ages, despite all their differences about the end times. It's even embedded in the Apostles' Creed. You find in the Apostles' Creed that it speaks of that Jesus Christ has ascended to His Father. From there, He will return to judge the living and the dead. And not only will He return to judge the living and the dead, but there will be life eternal or life everlasting. Will Jesus return? Yes. We as Christians say that, not simply grudgingly because we think, "Oh, He's going to return," but joyfully. Jesus Christ truly will return, even so, come Lord Jesus.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Tinnakorn Jorruang

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com

This article is part of our larger End Times Resource Library. Learn more about the rapture, the anti-christ, bible prophecy and the tribulation with articles that explain Biblical truths. You do not need to fear or worry about the future!

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