Published on April 17, 2024 by Eugene Ho

Crossway, 2023 | 304 pages

A Book Review from Books At a Glance

by Brady New


The church today sees many publications on the details of the events of the end times. Many attempt to understand the signs of Revelation and other New Testament passages and explain them to detail the signs of the end of the world. John Piper provides something fresh with Come, Lord Jesus. He writes to increase the affections and longings of Christians’ hearts toward the anticipation of the second coming of Jesus. This book is needed today as a refreshing perspective toward eschatology. This one is not focused on the details of the events so much as the state of the believer’s heart toward the second coming. John Piper is well known in the field of Christian literature as he has published more than fifty books. He earned his Doctor of Theology from the University of Munich. He is the founder of and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. 

John Piper writes “to help you love the second coming of Jesus Christ” (11). That is his stated aim of the book, written simply and placed right at the beginning. This book on the end times then uniquely and rightly focuses on encouraging the heart of the believer. Every page and every chapter is an exposition of a New Testament passage. That is a refreshing positive for this work. It is loaded with quoted Scripture passages and quick expositions. Piper lets the Bible do the work and speak for itself. His exposition is accessible and direct to the point.

The book is organized into three parts. Part one is the “reasons to love Christ’s appearing.” Part two focuses on “The time of his appearing.” Part three asks the question, “How then shall we live?” He begins each section with a short prelude to explain his purpose in that given part. This structure is helpful because the spiritual state of the heart is the priority. Before diving into some of the specifics of timing and events, Piper first seeks to encourage the reader to grow in a love and desire for the second coming. 

Piper places the love for Christ’s appearing at the front of the book in order to establish a key distinction: “Our Spirit-awakened love for the second coming is not a Christ-neglecting fascination with an event. It is a Christ-enthralled longing for his presence and glory” (12). Piper seeks to make it clear that an anticipation for the second coming should be a right and biblical attitude that is grounded in a love to see Jesus. And he writes that Christians share this mindset: “Those who love the second coming… prefer the arrival of Christ over all that this present fallen age can give” (14). His point is that Christians should love and desire to see the second coming over all earthly longings because to be with Christ is to be delivered from this present world and to be brought into the fullness of joy. He then explains that a book like this can accomplish this goal through the combination of his presentation of divine revelation and the power of the Spirit to illuminate hearts and minds to understand and believe. Some of the reasons to love the second coming are the state of blamelessness, perfection, deliverance from wrath, and the joy of rewards.

Part two is the only section where Piper explains some of the murkier details connected with the events of the second coming. In this part, he seeks to answer three questions. “Did Jesus teach that he would return within one generation? What does the New Testament mean that Jesus would come soon? Does the New Testament teach that Jesus may come at any moment?” (180) by prioritizing Scripture over theological presuppositions, Piper shows the reader that Jesus “did not teach that he would return within one generation” (191). He explains that Jesus’ second coming is near in three ways: potentially (the apostles taught to not think that his coming is ever delayed or far off), holistically (the time period of the last days is already present), and divinely (“from the divine perspective, the time between Jesus’ first and second coming is very short”) (199). Finally, he teaches that Jesus’ second coming cannot actually happen at any moment because the world has yet to see the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3) who will come in a “discernible” way (245). Throughout this section, Piper avoids making specific interpretations of timeline, and he does not land on a definite answer for every piece of the second coming. Instead, his aim is consistent. He wants his readers to anticipate the second coming with joy and obedience.

In part three, Piper provides practical encouragement for how the Christian should prioritize his life within the reality of the approaching second coming. The Christian should continue his devotion to Jesus, continue to traverse the ordinary callings and responsibilities of life (work and church), hope for Jesus’ coming justice, and pray accordingly. 

Piper’s book is a fresh need in the current range of Christian eschatological literature because his aim is to not decode the signs and symbols but to urge the reader to more joyful obedience to Jesus and a greater expectation of his coming. This book is not the place to find where he stands on end times beliefs. Nowhere in the book does Piper place himself in any one particular camp but instead seeks a joyful expectation of the second coming. The book is very readable and accessible. The pastor should not be afraid to share this book with his congregation and a teacher with his people. Piper moves smoothly through the practical topics of expecting Christ’s coming and the implications of that expectation in our daily lives. The middle section, the time of his appearing, is the most technical part of the book where he does interact with the more famous yet difficult questions concerning the second coming. Even still, Piper is straightforward in his intentions to prioritize and encourage a longing for the second coming over unpacking the meaning of the symbols in the present world. The priority is not academic or complicated. His encouragements are clear, sincere, and pastorally genuine to any believer.


Brady New

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Crossway, 2023 | 304 pages

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