Introduction: An old saying of lawyers goes something like this: “My
dog didn’t bite you, my dog doesn’t bite, I don’t own a dog.” Our
lesson this week sounds a little like this old saying. “Jesus’ Second
Coming is delayed because we are not ready. Jesus’ Second Coming is
delayed to allow more to be saved. There is no delay in the Second
Coming.” Let’s jump into the Bible and see if we can get our thoughts
about “the delay” and Jesus’ Second Coming straightened out.
- The Delay: Our Fault?
- Read Hebrews 3:7-11. This text recalls the Exodus of God’s
people from Egypt to Canaan (the Promised Land”). Why did
God’s people suffer both delay and a failure to enter the
Promised Land? (They rebelled against God and He refused
to allow them to enter.)
- Read Hebrews 4:1-2. What is the lesson we should learn
from the Exodus experience? (Not to make the same mistake
of rebelling against God. We need to combine the gospel
message with faith.)
- Our lesson (Wednesday)draws a direct parallel between the
failure of God’s people to enter the Promised Land and our
failure to enter heaven before this. Do you agree that
Jesus’ Second Coming has been delayed because of our
- How about the unfaithfulness of other people?
- How does this concept of our unfaithfulness delaying
the Second Coming fit into the parable of the Ten
Virgins that we studied last week?
- Was the Bridegroom delayed because the virgins
- Was the Bridegroom delayed because of the amount
of oil carried by the virgins?
- Read Hebrews 4:3. Is entering into heaven the “rest”
that parallels entering into the Promised Land? (No.
This is talking about the “rest” of salvation.
Accepting the gospel message in faith results in the
“rest” of salvation.)
- Read Hebrews 4:8-11. What is the “Sabbath-rest?” Is it
different than the “rest” we have been discussing?
- What “Sabbath-rest” do we look forward to which
parallels the “rest” given by Joshua? (Although I
have commonly compared the Exodus from Egypt with the
Christian’s journey to heaven, the Biblical basis for
arguing the delay in Jesus’ Second Coming parallels
the delay in entering the Promised Land is not very
strong. It seems the argument is the strongest when
based on the text we just read. The only “rest”
Joshua gave them was to enter the Promised Land.
Since we can presently be saved, the (v.9) remaining
“Sabbath-rest” for God’s people, would logically
refer to heaven. If it did not refer to heaven, what
“rest” would remain for the righteous? Having said
that, the text still does not suggest that our
entering into the “Sabbath rest” is somehow delayed
by the sins of others.)
- The Delay: For Our Benefit?
- Read 2 Peter 3:3-4. Are these people complaining about the
delay in Jesus’ Second Coming? (No. They argue the delay
means that the Second Coming is not coming.)
- Read 2 Peter 3:8-9. What reason(s) does Peter give for the
delay? (Peter gives two reasons. First, he says God uses a
different clock. Second, he says God is waiting for
everyone to repent.)
- If you were waiting for everyone to repent, how long
would you logically wait? (It would seem about 70
years would be the maximum wait – otherwise, everyone
alive at that time would be dead.)
- Are you glad Jesus’ Second Coming did not occur
before you were born?
- Read 2 Peter 3:15. What do you think this means? How
can patience = salvation?
- Is this saying the same thing as 2 Peter 3:9?
- If so, does this thinking also justify
only a wait of 70 years?
- Let’s leave to one side the idea of God using a different
clock than we do. The other two ideas we discussed are
whether our sins delay Jesus’ Second Coming and whether
Jesus delays His Second Coming so that more can be saved.
Are these two ideas similar? Are they the same?
- If God is waiting to come because of our sins,
doesn’t that assume that the wait makes a difference?
- Did the wait in the Exodus make a difference to those
who were disobedient? (No. None entered the Promised
Land. They all died. Dying in the desert during the
delay was simply a judgment on the wicked. It was not
a delay intended to convert anyone. Therefore, if the
Exodus is a valid parallel, I do not think these two
explanations for the delay are the same.)
- Why do you think Jesus waited so long to come the
first time? (It may have something to do with the
circumstances of the world making easier the
communication of new ideas.)
- Is the ease of modern communications related to the
delay in Jesus’ Second Coming? (Perhaps this
illuminates the idea of delay helping to save more
people. As world communication becomes easier and
more efficient, a greater percentage of the world’s
population can hear the gospel. This fits with
- What Delay?
- Look at 2 Peter 3:8 again so we can take up this “God’s
clock” issue. What do you think this equation about time
means: 1,000 years = 1 day; 1 day = 1,000 years in God’s
- Does it literally mean that for God 1,000 years seems
like a day?
- Does it also mean just the reverse, that for God one
day seems like a 1,000 years?
- If it means both, then is God really late in his
delay? (The only reasonable interpretation is that
God is beyond time. Our lesson points to Einstein’s
theory that time is relative. He also had the theory
that time is curved by mass. If time is curved like
the letter “C”, this opens up the concept of God
moving between time. He can be anywhere at anytime.
For someone like that, there is no time and no
- Read Matthew 24:3,36,42. Who knows the time of the Second
Coming? (Only God the Father.)
- Read Mark 13:32-37. What is the solution to the fact that
only the Father in Heaven knows the time of the Second
Coming? (Be ready at all times.)
- If only God the Father knows the time of the Second
Coming, would we know if there was a delay?
- Can there be a delay when no time for arrival has
- If no time for arrival has been published, can anyone
say with certainty that the arrival time has been
delayed because of our sins or God’s patience?
- After considering the Bible texts, how do you vote:
- Jesus’ Second Coming has been delayed because we are
- Jesus’ Second Coming has been delayed because He is
waiting to save more people.
- Jesus’ Second Coming is not delayed.
(These texts seem to clearly teach that there is no delay
- Read Revelation 14:6-7. Is this message consistent with
the idea of not knowing the time of the Second Coming?
- How can we deliver a message about an “hour” when we
have no clue about the time of the Second Coming?
- Notice verse 6 again. It says this warning about “the
hour” is the “eternal” gospel. Is this a
contradiction? (If you say something will happen
“this hour” this gives urgency to the message.
However, if the “this hour” message is eternally
appropriate, this simply reduces the message to the
earlier texts we read (for example Mark 13:33-36)
about watching and being ready at all times.)
- Friend, if you want to go to heaven with Jesus at His
Second Coming, the only solution to the uncertainty of the
timing is to be ready at all times. Will you commit to
- Next Week: Too Rich to Hope?