THE SECOND RETURN OF CHRIST TO EARTH
We believe that Christ Jesus is coming back to earth a second time; that this imminent event shall unfold in two separate phases, (1) the Rapture, pre-tribulational, which shall be the time that the dead bodies of believers are raised, and the living believers changed and both caught up to meet the Lord, I Thess. 4:13-18, and (2) the Revelation, pre-millennial, and post-tribulational, which is the personal, audible, visible, and bodily revelation of Christ to all men on earth as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jude 14-15; Rev. 19:11-16; that between these two phases shall be the time for the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb for believers which shall transpire somewhere in Heaven, but that on earth shall come the period known as the Great Tribulation which culminates in the battle of Armageddon, II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:7-9; 19:17-21; that this 'day of the Lord' shall bring victory over the enemies of God and His Christ, and will usher in the millennium in which Christ shall take up the throne of His father David, and rule and reign from His Kingdom, with His saints, for one thousand years of righteous government and peace on earth. Rev. 20:4-6
The second coming of Christ is unequivocal and undeniable; next to His miraculous first coming, it will be the most spectacular coming ever know to this world. It will CHANGE EVERYTHING. It will be the REAL hope and change politicians promise, but fail to deliver. Jesus told us of this and the apostles entrenched this expectation in the hearts of all believers then and now by the holy Scriptures. The fact of Christ's coming and its immanency is our motivation for godliness and faithfulness. It has been the crescendo expectation of Christians ever since the promise of His coming was first communicated and understood by us. It has cheered us up, strengthened us in our faith, and encouraged us in our darkest hours of crisis in Christian service and caused us to persevere.
We cannot allow fanatics, deniers, critics, nor the questions and arguments over the details of Jesus’ 2nd Advent keep us from believing in it and giving diligent study to it.
A most spectacular and singular event of all human history is on the biblical horizon. It is real, it is unprecedented, it is incomparable, it is unique to all the chronicles of great happenings. It is denied, it is mocked, it is hated, it is divisive, it is ignored, and it is ridiculed by the unbelieving and the liberal theologians.
I say this, if we believe that Jesus Christ is real, that He came to earth from heaven 21 centuries ago, that he died for our sins and rose again, that he ascended to heaven as Scriptures tells us, then …WE MUST BELIEVE THAT HE WILL RETURN AS HE SAID, John 14:3 “…I WILL COME AGAIN.”
Anyone in the Christian religion who denies the literal, bodily return of Jesus to this world, in both the rapture and then the revelation, has never been born again, is yet in his sins and will perish in the fires of torment in hell.
I. THE FACT OF CHRIST'S 2ND RETURN WAS EVEN
FORETOLD BY THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS.
Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” ( Isa. 11:1-11, refer to both His first and His second advent to the earth.)
1.JESUS HIMSELF PROMISED TO COME BACK. John 14:2,3. “I will come again….”
2. IT WAS DECLARED BY ANGELS, Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why
stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
3. IT WAS TAUGHT BY THE APOSTLES. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith… might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:..… v 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”
(Matthew. Matt. 24:37, 42, 44. Mark. Mark 13:26. Luke. Luke 21:27. John. I John 3:1-3. James. Jas. 5:7. Peter. Paul. 1 Thess. 4:15-17. The Writer to the Hebrews. 9:28. and Jude. Jude 14.)
II. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S 2ND RETURN.
First, what the 2nd coming is NOT:
1.Not the notion that upon a believer’s death Jesus comes back to carry his soul to heaven.
Jesus taught that his angels do that ( Lk 16.22).
2.Some say that Christ will not literally return bodily to earth, but that He has been
gradually coming through the spread of the gospel. Liberals say that Jesus did not intend that His words about resurrection and his coming back should be understood literally. Everyone knows, you can’t come back from the dead! Such a idea denies that the Bible was inspired by God and Holy men wrote it under divine inspiration.
3. Others say His promise to return was fulfilled in the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. That was in not the 2nd coming because Jesus himself specified that He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them that day.
4. Some believe the farfetched idea that the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, was his second coming.
IT IS FOR CERTAIN THAT the RETURN of Christ will be:
1. BODILY but not visible to the world. This is the Rapture: Acts 1:11. His ascension was bodily, and the angel promised that His return would be in the same manner. Other passages that show that Christ's coming is to be bodily are: Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
This is a reference to the Revelation: 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
Rapture reference: Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; ( Zech. 14:4,5; Matt. 25:31; John 14:3; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 9:28; Rev. 19: 11-21.)
2..THE REVELATION PART WILL BE VISIBLE.
Matthew 24:27-31 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
All the passages which imply the visibility of His coming shows that His coming (in the second phase) will be strikingly visible to the whole world.
3. The Revelation part will be AS A THIEF. 1 Thess 5:2-5 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”
This passage describes the second phase of His coming as it will be to the wicked, but specifies that it is not to be such to the righteous.
4. The Revelation part will BE INDESCRIBABLE GLORY AND SPENDOR. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Revelation 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Matt 24:29, 30; Mark 8:38; Titus 2:13; Rev. 19: 11-16.)
5. IT WILL BE TWOFOLD. The coming of Christ will consist of two phases. The First Phase will be in the air. 1 Thess. 4:15-17. There is no hint here that He will come on the earth at that time. It will be a coming for His people. John 14:3. As a bridegroom. Matt. 25:1-10.
The Second Phase will be down to the earth. With His people, as a destroyer, as a judge, as a king to conquer and to reign. (Zech. 14:5; Jude 14; Rev. 19:14. Zech. 14:9; Zech. 14:4; Matt. 25:31. Rev. 19:11, 16; 20:1-5. 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2:8, Matt. 21:31-46)
III. THE TIME OF CHRIST'S 2ND RETURN.
We do not know the date of His coming. The business of date setting is the work of false prophets and teachers.
1. The time of Christ's coming is represented in the Scripture as unknown to all except the Father.
Mark 13:32; Matt. 25:13. Now the Son, in heaven equal once again with the Father, may know the hour; but in His flesh, He said he did not know it, Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”
2. The time is uncertain to Men. (Matt. 25:13 “neither the day nor the hour”). No signs have been given that are explicit enough for any man to be assured that He will come at any particular time.
3. It is immanent. By the coming of Christ being immanent we mean that it "may occur at any moment." Saved people are to be ever watching and looking for
it (Matt. 25:13; Titus 2:13). It is represented in the Scripture as being the next colossal historical event which will impact all civilizations for either good or bad.
4. It will be When it is not Expected. Luke 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (also Matt. 24:44,50.)
5. It will be A Time of Spiritual Coldness, Sensuality, and Wickedness. Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 17:26-30; Matt. 24:12; 11 Tim. 3:1-5.) It will not be a converted world that welcomes Christ when He comes. He will not find righteousness ruling. He will be as unwelcomed then as he was the first time when they crucified the Lord of Glory. Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Christian coldness)
IV. THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S 2ND RETURN will be twofold because it will have to do with two classes as it affects the righteous and the wicked. As the coming of Christ affects THE RIGHTEOUS, it is for the purpose of:
1.Raising the Dead. Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the
dead in Christ shall rise first:”
This resurrection will include a total resurrection of all the righteous dead who died in the true saving faith. (See 1 Cor. 15:23; Rev. 20:5,6)
2. The Translation of the Living. Rapture, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:51, 52;). This will include all believers on earth at the appearance of Christ in the air. There is NO partial rapture where the unfaithful ones are not taken up and must go through the tribulation.
We believe the glorified bodies of the saints will be like the ascension body of our Lord (Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2). Jesus evidently ascended in a visible body, and the angels said He would come back as He went. And when He comes back we are going to be like Him. The glorified body then will be a body visible to physical eyes, just as Christ was visible after His resurrection. But that body will be without sin and corruption.
3. The Rapture of All Believers out, up to glory. The translated living and the resurrected dead will all be caught up to meet Christ in the air.
4. The Judgment of Believer's Works. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:8).
The believer's sins have been judged already in Christ. (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1, 33). No mention of our sins will be made in this judgment. They are no longer charged to us (Rom. 4:8), and are remembered no more (Heb. 8:12).
The idea that believers will be required to confess why we committed certain sinful acts would dishonor the death of Christ who died for our sins, forgave them and buried them out of sight in the deepest sea and parted them from us as far as the East is from the West.
We shall give an account to God but without one accusation or word of rebuke from Christ. I see nothing punitive in the judgment for the Christian. 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (margin “worthless”).” This means we shall receive reward for our faithfulness and suffer loss for our unfaithfulness. Grace and penalty are mutually exclusive.
5. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb.(Matt. 25:1-10; Rev. 19:7-9.) This will take place in heaven after the rapture, during the tribulation on earth.
The 2nd coming of Christ in His Revelation affects THE WICKED lost people in the
slaying of the Antichrist and his armies of living people so that Christ can set up his millennial kingdom reign upon earth. This “Revelation” of Christ to the world closes the 7 year tribulation period, which will add a spectacular finish to those years of chaos. The raising of the lost dead occurs at the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ on earth after Satan is loosed for a little season. Revelation 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished...”
Then the raising the lost dead and casting them into the lake Of fire. Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” ( Rev. 20:12-15). The unbelievers will have indestructible resurrected bodies, but capable of suffering pain and anguish in hell forever, Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...” Just like the man in Lk 16.24 who lift up his eyes being in torments discovered, “I am tormented in this flame.”
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