The Bible is full of instruction about how end-time believers should live and prepare for Christ’s return. Because it isn’t all found in one place, we must search it out.
First, we should be prepared as though Jesus was coming today, because none of us know when it might be the last day of our lives. “…Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10–11. We can do this every day by asking Jesus to cover us with His righteousness and fill us with His Holy Spirit.
John describes God’s children as those who have the assurance of salvation today, while still accepting their need to grow in character as their days are prolonged: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth Himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2–3.
The apostle Peter described the present lifestyles of all those who believe in the second coming of Jesus, even if He was not to come in their lifetime: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 2 Peter 3:10–14.
Second, we should be prepared to wait. The first Christians longed for Jesus to come in their lifetime. But as we study the Bible, including Jesus’ own words, we find that the “day of the Lord” will be delayed and Christians will need endurance as we wait for Christ’s promise, “I will come again.” John 14:3.
Jesus compared this waiting time to the experience of servants whose master had left them in charge of his home and property while he was away on a long journey: “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” Mark 13:35–36.
Jesus also gave a list of signs that signaled the nearness of His return and then warned, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Luke 21:34–35.
Finally, the apostle James reminds us to “be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7–8.