Not long ago I received an e-mail in response to one of my posts, I think some of you might have some of the same questions that were contained in this email. So I am posting my answer here as a new post. This is how I attempted to answer these questions. I have added some clarification to the original.

Since I didn’t hear back from you ____, regarding my original answer, I went back and reread your email. And I realize that I didn’t touch on the crux of what was bothering you. So I’m going to try again.  Here are things you consider disturbing. You state:

“I struggle with the verses in the scriptures that allude to the fact that Jesus will come back for people alive in those days to see Him. E.g.:

 John 2:28      …..{you need to be}……unashamed before Him at His coming

Heb 10:24      … will see the day approaching

1 Peter 4:7     …..end of all things is near

Rev 22:12      ….I am coming soon

Rev 22:20      ….I am coming soon

 Paul alludes many times that Jesus is coming soon

Somewhere it says ‘those who pierced Him will see Him come’ (surely that means soon!)”

My response to this email follows:

I know that these thoughts may not fully answer your concerns presented here, but I want you to think about this in light of context or all that Peter has said when considering “soon” phrases in his letters.  First, he wrote about his own death 2Peter 1:14; and about “the Day of the Lord” (a specific prophetic day) among other things concerning how we are to then live.

So, Peter says as you point out: in 1 Peter 4:7. The end of all things is near. What did he then mean?  He knew that he personally would die first (1:14 above).  But If you read and consider what he says in 2 Peter 3:3-18 you must conclude that he had no idea when Jesus actually would come.  It would need to be following his (Peter’s) death. But what he says about one day being as 1000 years and 1000 years being 1 day to the Lord, could certainly mean that even 2000 years can still be considered “soon” to the Lord.

Another point to be made is that Jesus said that He was coming soon, but only after He had revealed the conditions which must come first on the earth, which do announce the actual signs or events leading to His coming.

Now let me attempt to address your specific concern:

-Somewhere it says “those who pierced Him will see Him come” (surely that means soon!)

Ok, it’s 2000 years later, so how is “soon” possible? I’m not trying to be cute, but it does not need to mean soon to us as stated before, even though it could sound that way to us.  

Revelation 1:7  BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. (NASB)

Prophetic scripture often contains events that span hundreds or even thousands of years. Every eye seeing Him has to be speaking of a specific time. For example the day of the Lord above in 2nd Peter is 1000 years. And it is prophetic of the actual 1000 year day of Jesus rule here on earth recorded in Rev. 20. It includes at its beginning the resurrection of all the righteous dead, those who are in Christ; and at the 1000 year day’s end another resurrection of all the unrighteous dead who will be judged and cast into the lake of fire. So when He comes every man and tribe will visibly see Him, during His day of the Lord.  Remember scripture says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Will all of that happen on His Day; called the Day of the Lord, which is a 1000 year day? I don’t have all the answers but I have had the same questions that you have and asking those questions is not bad it helps us to search out and consider the answers. 

One further thought and then I’m finished [this applied to my email]. Consider: when Jesus entered paradise Peter states that the gospel was preached to the dead (1Peter 4:6). Then in Ephesians 4, Jesus took with Him paradise, at the time of His ascension, which followed His resurrection, and He led paradise into heaven. Peter implies that this preaching to the dead, while Jesus was in paradise, was heard by spirits in hell back in time as far as the beginning of time (1Peter 3:18). So the fact that men who’s spirits are in hell or in heaven will not matter in that day of His coming, because if God wishes (and according to scripture He must); then all men even from the beginning of time, and even including those who pierced Him, no matter if they are forgiven or not, and already physically dead or not, will see Him come.

As one writer put it: “nothing is too hard for God”. Interestingly He wants us to be engaged in finding truth. In the O.T. It is stated that truth is discovered “hear a little, there a little”, after having said “line upon line, precept upon precept”. So Paul put it this way: “Study to show yourself approved a workman who needeth not be ashamed.” Many think that scripture contradicts, but when studied in this fashion God’s Holy Spirit helps us see its truth similar to putting together a puzzle.

I like to listen to Andy Stanley, and often do. Yesterday was Sunday, and Ellen and I listened to a taped message of his. The gist of his message was: if you have left the church because of Bible contradictions you shouldn’t let the Bible contradictions keep you away from faith in Jesus. His point was the Bible didn’t even exist as the Bible we know until 300 years after Jesus resurrection and that still the church had by this time taken on the Roman gods with this truth and prevailed. Christianity was the Roman belief, and Jesus was her peoples God.

As an aside: some believe that these “soon”statements by Jesus meant that His coming was imminent in that day. Obviously this could not have been, and it would contradict the fact that God knew you before the foundation of or the creation itself of the world.

I personally believe that the seeming contradictions are really not contradictions, but motivators for us to be serious students. I believe that the compiled books of the Bible were inspired by God, and with the Holy Spirits help can be understood. Hope this helps with your study of your own questions. If you have more questions please ask them in the comments section.

Ps. Jesus will possibly come in this generation based simply on the things that are happening in our day.