But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

2 Peter 3:8-10

“Jesus is coming soon.” A phrase central to the Christian church since the beginning but one that rings hollow in the ears of some listeners. It’s been two millennia. How long is soon? Some have even adopted a position that the judgement day will never come, but we should live like it will anyway. Somehow the end of the world being imminent is just a moral mind game God uses to goad us into good deeds and kind thoughts.

The fact is, even from a purely human, naturalistic perspective humankind will perish eventually. There is no eternity observable to the mortal. Nothing that we can touch, see or imagine is everlasting. So why should it be so preposterous to believe that Jesus’ forthcoming return should be so far off that we will never see it in a hundred lifetimes more?

Peter didn’t merely write this passage for our benefit either. He wasn’t miraculously peering forward in time and penning this letter just to you, specifically, looking at the screen in front of you. He scratched his stylus over some dried sheepskin and handed it off to be read in order to correct a problem in his own day! People were impatient for Jesus return in the lifetime of his own apostles!

Jesus is coming soon, but whether it is soon enough to suit any of us doesn’t factor into the timing.

Ethan Kirl