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8. Imminency

Imminence is “The quality or condition of being about to occur.”1 In Scripture, the coming of Jesus Christ is portrayed as an imminent event.2 This means that Jesus can come at any moment: there is no event which must transpire before He comes. Imminency makes it impossible to know when He might come so the believer must remain constantly on the lookout in case the Lord were to return and find him unprepared (Mtt. Mat. 24:43; Luke Luke 12:37-39; 1Th. 1Th. 4:15-17; Rev. Rev. 3:3+). Many passages which teach the imminency of events utilize phrases such as “soon,” “quickly,” and “is near.” These events are described from the perspective of God Who “declares the end from the beginning” (Isa. Isa. 46:10). From His perspective, these events are certain but their timing is unspecified. They are “imminent”:

Just as “quickly” is used in Revelation to teach imminence, so also is “near” or “at hand” (enguʿs) used to mean imminency and thus its usage does not support a first-century fulfillment. Philip E. Hughes rightly says, “The time is near, that is to say, the time of fulfillment is imminent. This interval between the comings of Christ is the time of the last days, and the last of these last days is always impending.” . . . It is better to see enguʿs as a term that teaches the imminency of a period of time that could begin to happen without the warning of signs.3


Notes

1 American Heritage Online Dictionary, Ver. 3.0A, 3rd ed. (Houghton Mifflin, 1993).

2 Mtt. Mat. 24:42-48; Mark Mark 13:33-37; Luke Luke 12:35-40; Rom. Rom. 13:12; 1Cor. 1Cor. 7:29; Php. Php. 3:20-21; Php. 4:5; 1Th. 1Th. 1:10; Tit. Tit. 2:13; Heb. Heb. 9:28; Jas. Jas. 5:8; 1Pe. 1Pe. 4:7; 1Jn. 1Jn. 2:18; Jude Jude 1:21; Rev. Rev. 3:11+; Rev. Rev. 22:7+, Rev. 22:10+, Rev. 22:20+.

3 Thomas Ice, “Preterist ‘Time Texts’,” in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, eds., The End Times Controversy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 106.