Lewis: How to View the Second Coming

For the second Saturday in a row, I want to share some of C. S. Lewis’s thoughts about the Second Coming of Christ. Last week, his comments made it clear that this is a central doctrine of the faith. Yet he also wants us to be wary of trying to pin a date on it. In his essay “The World’s Last Night,” he offers this caution:

C. S. Lewis 5We must never speak to simple, excitable people about “the Day” without emphasizing again and again the utter impossibility of prediction. We must try to show them that that impossibility is an essential part of the doctrine. If you do not believe our Lord’s words, why do you believe in his return at all? And if you don believe them must you not put away from you, utterly and forever, any hope of dating that return?

His teaching on the subject quite clearly consisted of three propositions. 1) That he will certainly return. 2) That we cannot possibly find out when. 3) And that therefore we must always be ready for him.

That final point leads Lewis to one more piece of good advice:

What is important is not that we should always fear (or hope) about the End but that we should always remember, always take it into account.

An analogy may help here. A man of seventy need not be always feeling (much less talking) about his approaching death: but a wise man of seventy should always take it into account. He would be foolish to embark on schemes which presuppose twenty more years of life: he would be criminally foolish not to make—indeed, not to have made long since—his will.

Now, what death is to each man, the Second Coming is to the whole human race.

Always take into account that Jesus is returning, yet never lose focus on the things He has given us to do while we wait for that Day.