It seems that, for the most part, we, as Christians, have seriously ignored and minimized the importance of Christ’s return. Eschatology (or the study of the End Times) has become a sort of niche theological topic that most view as irrelevant. I can’t blame them for seeing it that way; the way eschatology is discussed IS largely irrelevant and pointless, but I don’t think this means that the truth of Christ’s return is at all unimportant.
Revelation is the last book in the Christian Scriptures. Beyond the canonical order, which may or may not matter at all, it was among the last New Testament books written. So what is the last thing that Christ wants his followers to know?
He is coming back:
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him [be] glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. – Rev 1:4-7 NKJV
His return is what he tells his closest followers and friends about so they “may have peace” to prepare them for His death and their persecution:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – Jhn 14:1-3 NKJV
and His return is closely tied with the importance of His resurrection, because in His return we will share in that same resurrection:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. – Col 3:1-4 NKJV
So where did we get it wrong? According to the Bible, the return of Christ seems like our hope and strength as we live this life. So why has it been largely kicked aside as merely an “interesting topic” ? It may have a lot to do with the approach many take when they read and teach from the Book of Revelation, and other Biblical prophecy concerning the End. So often these prophecies are ripped apart to try to find timelines and blueprints for how and when it will all go down, but I think that largely misses the point. according to Revelation the point is that Jesus will be returning soon and that is a message that will bless those who hear it (according to Rev 1:3).
So, as we reflect over the next few days on His death and resurrection, maybe we should also consider the glorious hope of His final return:
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! – Rev 22:20 NKJV