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.

  1. The Delay: Our Fault?

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

    3. 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

      1. How about the unfaithfulness of other people?

      2. How does this concept of our unfaithfulness delaying
        the Second Coming fit into the parable of the Ten
        Virgins that we studied last week?

        1. Was the Bridegroom delayed because the virgins

        2. Was the Bridegroom delayed because of the amount
          of oil carried by the virgins?

      3. 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.)

    4. Read Hebrews 4:8-11. What is the “Sabbath-rest?” Is it
      different than the “rest” we have been discussing?

      1. 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.)

  2. The Delay: For Our Benefit?

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

        1. Are you glad Jesus’ Second Coming did not occur
          before you were born?

      2. Read 2 Peter 3:15. What do you think this means? How
        can patience = salvation?

        1. Is this saying the same thing as 2 Peter 3:9?

          1. If so, does this thinking also justify
            only a wait of 70 years?

    3. 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?

      1. If God is waiting to come because of our sins,
        doesn’t that assume that the wait makes a difference?

      2. 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.)

      3. 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.)


      1. 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
        Matthew 24:14.)

  1. What Delay?

    1. 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

      1. Does it literally mean that for God 1,000 years seems
        like a day?

      2. Does it also mean just the reverse, that for God one
        day seems like a 1,000 years?

      3. 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

    2. Read Matthew 24:3,36,42. Who knows the time of the Second
      Coming? (Only God the Father.)

    3. 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.)

    4. If only God the Father knows the time of the Second
      Coming, would we know if there was a delay?

      1. Can there be a delay when no time for arrival has
        been published?

      2. 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?

    5. After considering the Bible texts, how do you vote:

      1. Jesus’ Second Coming has been delayed because we are
        not ready.

      2. Jesus’ Second Coming has been delayed because He is
        waiting to save more people.

      3. Jesus’ Second Coming is not delayed.

(These texts seem to clearly teach that there is no delay
delay, we

    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7. Is this message consistent with
      the idea of not knowing the time of the Second Coming?

      1. How can we deliver a message about an “hour” when we
        have no clue about the time of the Second Coming?

      2. 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.)

    2. 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

  1. Next Week: Too Rich to Hope?