“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:22-30
In previous parts of our study about God’s Judgment we saw how God the Father has given all judgmental authority to Jesus Christ – Who is the Son of God, Son of Man, and Son of David.
If you have not read the first six parts of this study, we invite you to do that now for the Scriptural background to Christ as Judge.
Questions About Future Judgment
The timing and location of those future judgments are often questions among people who discuss such things. We know Jesus Christ will judge the nations, Israel and His Church at a future time, but when will He do that and where?
We began answering the question about when in the last study. Let’s continue.
After walking the disciples through specifics about what would precede His coming, Jesus told them three primary parables. Let’s look at each of the parables in all of the Gospel references to see what we can learn about Christ’s return.
The Faithful and Unfaithful Servants
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:45-51
“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’ Then Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:35-48
The Wise and Foolish Virgins
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. ‘And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. ‘Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ ‘Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Matthew 5:1-13
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. ‘So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ ‘Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ ‘But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:14-30
“Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: ‘A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ ‘And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’ ‘Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ ‘And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’” Luke 19:11-27
What do we learn from these parables about when Jesus will return?
- Jesus will come on a day when many will not be looking for him. Some will think Jesus has delayed His coming at the very time He returns.
- Jesus’ coming will be unannounced and quick.
- Jesus will bring His reward for those who are ready. For those who are not ready or did not invest their lives in the service of the Lord, they will suffer great loss.
- Jesus will shut the door of entrance to those who are not ready when He comes. They will not be able to enter at a later time. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth among those who are not ready when Jesus returns.
You may be thinking that these parables don’t answer the basic question of when Jesus will come again — the exact year, month and day. There is a reason for that. Jesus will reward those who are always ready for Him to return. If Christians knew the exact day and time of the Lord’s return, they wouldn’t have to be ready until they saw the announced day and time approaching.
However, that’s not to say we have no way of knowing when His return is close. Jesus gave His disciples many things to look for as signs that His return was near.
- Many will coming in Jesus’ name, saying “I am the Christ” and will deceive many
- You will hear wars and rumors of wars – “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
- Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom
- There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places – “All these are the beginning of sorrows”
- Followers of Jesus will be delivered up to tribulation and killed – “you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”
- Many people will be offended and will betray and hate one another
- Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many
- Lawlessness will abound and the love of many will grow cold
- The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations – “then the end will come.”
- People will see the ‘abomination of desolation’ the prophet Daniel spoke of “standing in the holy place”
- False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, “if possible, even the elect”
But that still doesn’t give us a specific year, day and hour when Jesus will return. Is there any way we can even get close to an educated guess? I do believe there’s a way we can make an educated guess of when the time of Christ’s return is very close. More on that as we continue our study.
We will explore the question of when Jesus will return in light of the Messianic Millennial Reign — in the next part of our special series “God’s Judgment: How It Works.”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.