Could Jesus Christ come tonight? Is it possible that you could walk out on your back porch before bedtime and see a great light in the sky as Jesus and all the holy angels are returning to Earth in great power and glory? Well, no. No, Christ won’t come tonight. Now, I don’t mean that he couldn’t come if he decided he would come, but if we’re supposed to believe the Bible then there are some things that are supposed to take place before Christ returns. What’s the point in Jesus giving his disciples all those signs of his impending return if he’s just going to brush them aside and come anyway.
There are times that I’ve suspected that some preachers are afraid that we sinners will not repent unless we think the end is at hand. If we think Christ wouldn’t come back for at least another year, then we’ll plan on getting our act together and repenting in about 11 months. So it is tempting, as a preacher, to say,
You might not have that 11 months! And, of course, you may not.
I certainly believe that the return of Christ may be imminent—but not tonight. And the reason I think this is a prophecy in Malachi, chapter 5:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.