Perhaps no event in history has been more anticipated than the return of Jesus Christ. Every generation of Christians, including First Century believers, has believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime. Although ideas regarding the timing of Christ’s second coming vary among believers, every true Christian knows that Jesus will be coming back just as He promised He would. From the earliest centuries, Christians have understood the plain biblical promise of Christ’s return to point to a literal, physical, and near-future return of Jesus.
In verses 32-35 of Matthew 24, Jesus illustrates the signs of the end of the age using a fig tree. Like the budding of the fig tree portends the arrival of summer, the events of Matthew 24 point to the nearness or imminence of Christ’s return. Christ’s soon coming does not mean that He will return some time within the next few months or years, but it is to be understood in the sense that He could return at any time in any generation. We can say that every generation ought to rightly live in light of the nearness of Christ’s coming. We must not live as if there is anything that need yet be fulfilled for Christ to come. Although, “no one knows the day or the hour,” (v. 36), we are adjured nevertheless, to remain sober, vigilant, and ready for the Master’s return at any moment.