The Doctrine of Imminent Return Exposed


by Michael Trofern

The pre-tribulation Rapture theory includes the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ, that says the Rapture and return of Christ could happen at any moment and that it could have happened at any time since Christ returned to heaven. Just because we do not know when the end will come does not mean it is imminent. There are in fact many verses of Scripture that prove that Jesus will stay away a long time; some have already been given. Here is another one from Matthew 24. Jesus said:

“6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes …” (Mat. 24:6-7)

These verses describe many years of history, “Nation will rise against nation.” But we are clearly told that the end of the age is still in the future. This statement alone destroys the imminent Rapture/return theory, because it shows that there is a specific end to the Gospel Age, and that it is in the distant future from the time of Christ.

In Matthew 25, in the parable of the ten virgins, it says, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept” (v.5). That word, “tarried” means “delayed.” This is another passage that says he will not come right away, but will be some time before he arrives. We have already seen the passage about the servant who beat the other servants:

But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants . . . (Matthew 24:48-49) (NIV)

Clearly, Jesus told us he would stay away a long time. The KJV says, “My Lord delayeth his comming…” So even the KJV says Christ will delay his return. When will people start believing what the Bible says???!!!

Even Paul taught against the imminent Rapture theory. Yes, Paul spoke out in Scripture against the belief in an imminent return of Christ.

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (KJV)

About half the translations say the same as the KJV, that the Day of the Lord “is at hand,” which means about to happen right away. Others translate it as, “is come” or “is present.” According the Robert’s Word Pictures, the passage should read, “is imminent.” Robert’s Word Pictures says,

As that the day of the Lord is now present . . . Perfect active indicative of [Greek word], old verb, to place in, but intransitive in this tense to stand in or at or near. So “is imminent” (Lightfoot). . . . Certainly it flatly denies that by conversation or by letter he had stated that the second coming was immediately at hand. . . . It is enough to give one pause to note Paul’s indignation over this use of his name by one of the over-zealous advocates of the view that Christ was coming at once. . . . Moreover, Paul’s words should make us hesitate to affirm that Paul definitely proclaimed the early return of Jesus. He hoped for it undoubtedly, but he did not specifically proclaim it as so many today assert and accuse him of misleading the early Christians with a false presentation.

There you have it, not only did Christ speak against his imminent return in the parables, but Paul speaks against it also; which both Roberts and Lightfoot agree.



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