The New Testament teaches that we can hasten the return of Christ. 2 Peter 3:12 urges us to “speed its coming.” There are various ways in which we can do this. One is evangelism.
Jesus teaches that the gospel must be preached before “the end will come.” “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
We also hasten the return of Christ by repentance and godly living.
Repentance and obedience
Peter teaches that repentance will facilitate the return of Christ. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus” (Acts 3:19-20).
We read in 2 Peter 3:11-12 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly livesas you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” As we obey the Lord and manifest his kingdom we bring the return of Christ closer.
This teaching fits in with what the Jewish Rabbis have traditionally said: “If Israel would perfectly keep the Torah [Law] for one day, the Messiah would come.” “It is the sins of the people which prevent the coming of the Messiah. If Jews would genuinely repent for one day, the Messiah would come.”
We also hasten the return of Christ by praying for it.
Jesus himself urged us, whenever we pray to say “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). Similarly, Paul uses the word Maranatha, which means “Come, Lord!” in 1 Cor 16:2.
Similarly, the next to last verse in the Bible states: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev 22:20).
It is clear therefore that we are to hasten the return of Christ by witnessing and evangelism, so that the gospel goes to the whole world; by repentance and obedience which manifest the Kingdom and by praying for the Lord’s return to usher in the fullness of his Kingdom.
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction