Another passage which describes the conditions which are to prevail on earth at the time of our Lord's Return is found in 2 Thess.1:7-9 -- "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His might angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe." Observe that here we are expressly told that our Lord comes back again to take vengeance on "them that know not God and that obey not the Gospel." It is utterly impossible to make this statement harmonize with the concept of Christ returning to a world which had previously been won to Him by the Gospel.
Again, in 2 Pet.3:3, 4 we read, "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of." Observe that the apostle is describing conditions that are to obtain in "the last days," i.e., the last days of this present dispensation. Here again we learn then, that instead of this Age closing with the universal acceptation of the Gospel, instead of the last days witnessing a world reconciled to God, instead of the Christian era closing with earth-wide prayer for the Coming of the King, we are told that, "there shall come in the last days scoffers," a class of people who have no concern for God's glory but who walk after their own lusts; and further, we are told that these "scoffers" shall mock at those who are looking for the appearing of our Saviour and that the "ignorance" of these scoffers is due to a wilful and deliberate rejection of God's revealed truth.
Putting together the above pictures we learn that in the days which precede Christ's Second Advent the earth will be filled with proud idolaters, with those that know not God and obey not the Gospel, and with those who mock and scoff at the prospect of a speedily returning Redeemer. Further; we learn that the actual return of Christ is introduced not by Gospel successes but by Divine judgments. Thus we say that the condition of the world when our Lord comes back to it proves that His Second Advent occurs not at the close of an era of Millennial blessedness, but at the end of a dispensation wherein God has dealt with infinite long-sufferance with a race of rebels, and that at His coming He takes "vengeance" on His enemies ere setting up His Messianic Kingdom.