While our Lord was here upon earth and on the eve of His crucifixion, He promised to send His disciples another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth. He further promised the apostles that, when the Spirit came to them, He would guide them |into all truth.| Therefore, it is to the Divinely inspired writings of these apostles we must turn if we would learn all that God has been pleased to reveal concerning our present inquiry.
As we read the Epistles of the New Testament it is highly important for us to keep in mind the fact that we have in them not the suppositions and speculations of their human writers but reliable and authoritative information communicated by the Holy Spirit Himself, for |All Scripture is given by inspiration of God| (2 Tim.3:16). As we turn to the Epistles we find that each writer made some contribution to our present theme: Peter and Paul, James, John, and Jude all referred to the prospect and certainty of the Return of our Redeemer.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian saints, |I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you. So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ| (1 Cor.1:4-8). To the Philippian saints he wrote, |For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself| (Phil.3:20, 21). To the Colossians he wrote, |When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory| (Col.3:4). To the Thessalonians he wrote, |For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?| (1 Thess.2:19). To the Hebrews he wrote, |So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation| (9:28).
The apostle James wrote, |Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh| (5:7, 8).
The apostle Peter wrote, |Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ| (1 Pet.1:13). |And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away| (1 Pet.5:4).
The apostle John wrote, |Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure| (1 John 3:2, 3). And again, |For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh| (2 John 7, R. V.).
The apostle Jude wrote, |Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life| (vs.21).
Here then is an argument simple but conclusive. Each Epistle writer of the New Testament makes mention of the Redeemer's Return. These men were not hallucinated. They were not giving expression to impracticable ideals which would never be realized. Their writings were Divinely inspired. These holy men were |moved by the Holy Spirit| and recorded truth |not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth| (1 Cor.2:13). The very fact, then, that the Holy Spirit of God has, through the apostles, testified again and again, ratifying the declarations of Old Testament prophecy and affirmations of Christ Himself, necessitates and demands the personal Return of our Lord.