"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Romans 13:11).
The apostle Paul wrote these words over 1,900 years ago, and yet Christ still has not returned. The early Christians were looking for Christ's return in their own day, and so have many believers in every generation since, yet we still wait.
This attitude of age-long watchful expectancy is both Scriptural and salutary, for Jesus said: "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13). In fact it is impossible to correctly predict the date of His coming for He clearly said: "In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).
In his first epistle, Paul reminded the believers how they had "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for His Son from heaven" (I Thessalonians 1:9-10). Years later he exhorted Timothy to "love His appearing" (II Timothy 4:8). He had written Titus that each Christian should be "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). To the Corinthians he said: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" when Christ returns (I Corinthians 15:51), indicating he thought it possible that he himself might witness Christ's return. "We which are alive and remain shall be caught up . . . to meet the Lord in the air," he had also said (I Thessalonians 4:17).
There are many other such references, so it is clear that the early Christians were indeed watching for Christ, as He had commanded. We must not set dates, and we must "Occupy till [He] comes" (Luke 19:13), but we also must continue to watch, "For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:37). HMM