One of the greatest doctrines of the Christian faith is the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. This refers to the return of Christ to the earth in glory. When Christ first came to this world he was born of a virgin, just as was prophesied and was under the care of human parents. He came 1st as a gift from the father, the creator God for the scripture says, in Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. The purpose of his coming the 1st time was to save the world, to save the sinners. The second coming of Christ is an entirely different event. An event which will occur in two phases. In the first phase of the second coming of Christ, Our Lord Jesus Christ will come for his bride or the Church. In the second phase he will come in power and glory and will establish his kingdom. This is the ultimate blessed hope of the Christians. At a time when people don’t have anything to hope for or any protection when the events that are unfolding too hard to bear, the word of God says in Luke 21:25-28 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
CHRISTIANS ARE CERTAIN OF CHRIST’S RETURN.
Is the coming of Christ only a hope? How can we be certain that he will return to the earth?We are more than certain that Christ will return to the earth for Jesus Christ himself announced his return as recorded in,
- Matt 16:27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”
- Jn 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
- Jn 14:8 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
- Jn 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I”.
- Matt 24:29-31 “Immediately after the distress of those day the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
THE ANGELS CONFIRMED THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST.
- Acts 1:11 Who also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.
THE APOSTLES TOO CONFIRMED ABOUT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
Apostles Paul and Peter taught about the 2nd coming of Christ in their epistles to the believers.
IMPORTANCE OF THE RETURN OF CHRIST.
The return of Jesus Christ is of great significance for if Christ does not come to this world again as He promised the work of his 1st coming will be incomplete. When he 1st came to this world He revealed His kingdom and gave the sinners opportunity for repentance and to come into his kingdom. The work he began at the 1st coming will be completed at his return when he will establish his kingdom on earth.
It is important that Christ returns to this world otherwise the world will continue with its violence and evil ways which is not the purpose for which everything was created. The word of God states that
- Rom 11:36 “Because all is from him, and in him, and all is by him, that to him would be praises and blessings to the eternity of eternities. Amen”
- Jn 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
- Jn 1:10 “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
- Col 1:16 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”
- Jn 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made”
COMPARISON OF RAPTURE AND SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
|EVENT.||For his Saints.||With his saints.|
|The most generally accepted designation for the event.||The Rapture.||The second coming.|
|Other terms that are used.||The “translation” of the saintsorthe first phase of Christ’s return.||The revelation of Jesus Christorthe second phase of Christ’s return.|
|Purpose.||1)Christ will come FOR his Bride, the Church.
2) To deliver the saints from tribulation.
3) Believers, the church will be removed from the earth. Believers have a hope.
|1)Christ will come WITH his Bride, the Church.
2) Christ comes to Judge and wage war against sinners.
3) Unbelievers have no hope.
|Greek verb used.||HARPAZO||No specific Greek verb.
|Greek noun used||Parosia = coming
Epiphaneia = appearing
|Parosia = coming
Apokalupsis = revelation
Epiphaneia = appearing
|Reference in the old testament||No reference to in the old testament. (Refer Enoch and Elijah).||Mentioned in Daniel 2:44-45Dan 7-11-14|
|Christ is portrayed as||The Bride Groom.
(A Marriage Ceremony)
|The King of Kings.
The Lord of Lords.
(Coronation of a King)
|References from scriptures.||1Thes 4:17
|Can the event be predicted?||It is imminent.
Specific time unknown.
|Predictable.2520 days after Antichrist signs the treaty with Israel.Or 1260 days after he breaks the covenant.|
|Timing of the event.||Proceeds Daniel’s seventieth week.||Terminates
Daniel’s Seventieth week
(After great Tribulation).
|Duration of the event.||In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. 1Cor 15:52||Slow enough to be seen.
Mt. 24:27, Rev 1:7
Ps 2:2 Rev 19:19
|What will the world see?||It’s a private manifestation.
Only Believers see him.
|It’s a public manifestation. Believers as well as non-believers see him.|
|Signs associated with the event.|| No sign associated with the
|Many signs are given.
Mt. 24: 27-31
Sign of Son of Man
Mt. 24:29, 30
|When will it occur?||Will occur before the events mentioned in Rev. Chapter four.||Occurs after Revelation Chapter 6-18.|
|Where does Christ come?||Christ will meet the believers in the AIR. Christ’s feet do not touch the earth.||Christ’s feet do touch the earth. His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives. Zec 14:4|
|How does he come?||In the clouds. No mention of horse.1The 4:17||On clouds on a white horse.
Mt 24:30 Rev 19:11
|Who comes with Christ?||No description of saints accompanying Christ at the Rapture.||…they that are with are called and chosen and faithful. Rev 17:14
The armies which are in heaven, that is saints and angels clothed in fine linen, white and clean were following Him on white horse.Rev 19:14
|What are the Judgments associated with the events?||No judgment of unbelievers.
Bema Seat Judgement of saints in Heaven.1Cor 3:11-15, 2Cor 5:10. 2 Ti 4:1, 2 Ti 4:8
|Judgment of Antichrist.Re 19:17-20 Judgment of Sheep & Goats on earth Mt 25:31-46|
|What attitude is reflected?||Comfort for the believers.
|Mourning for all the tribes of the earth.Rev 1:7 Mt 24:30|
|What happens to the physical body of believers?||Believers resurrected and put on immortality.1Cor 15:51-55||Believers surviving tribulation enter millennium in Natural bodies.Mt 25:23|
|Physical/visible changes on earth.||No specific changes.||Mt. of Olives splits in the middle.Zech 14:4|
THE TIME THE MANNER AND SIGNS OF CHRIST’S RETURN.
Even though scripture after scripture pinpoints to Christ’s 2nd coming to this earth and the event itself is of great significance, we do not know the exact time of our Lord’s return to the earth. When the apostles asked the Lords Jesus Christ as to when these things be? And what shall be the sign of Christ’s coming and of the end of the world. Our Lord Jesus Christ replied saying “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my father only. Matthew 24:36-42 and 25:13 The time for his return is not even known by the “Son of Man” himself. Only the Creator God, Abba father knows the time. The Christians are advised to be ready for the 2nd coming of Christ. According to James 5:7-9 “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.“It is for our own good that the time of Christ’s return is concealed. If the time has been revealed people would not prepare themselves but wait for the last moment to receive him. We would deceive ourselves if we wait for the last moment to receive him. For Christ said, “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” (See Mathew 25- parable of the ten virgins)
Even though we may not know the day and the hour, but we are to discern the times we are living in. One thing we are certain of is that Christ will return to this earth.
THE RETURN OF CHRIST.
At the end of the great tribulation, (at the end of the 70th week of Daniel.) Matt 24:22 states that God himself will ‘cut short” the number of days of the great tribulation that will come on the earth, for the sake of the elect. To be precise, the second coming of Christ will take place immediately after the great tribulation, when the number of days in the latter half of the tribulation period cut short, and prior to the to the great and awesome day of the Lord.
We must be so grateful that the Lord Jesus Christ did not keep us in the dark. Everything the believer needs to know concerning these times has revealed to us. Even though we are not told of a specific date and hour, Christ told us on many occasions to discern the times and the seasons that we are living in.
In the Olivett discourse, Matt 24:2-26, the sign of the end of age precedes the sign of Jesus Christ’s coming. The sign of Jesus Christ’s coming will be an event that all will see. It will be one of public display. Not hidden or secret. For Matt 24:27 states, “For as the lightning came out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so, shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” In Matthew 24:29 Jesus Christ begins describing the sign of his coming; “Immediately after the tribulation of those days….” and quotes the same sign given by prophets Isaiah and Joel in Is 13:10 and in Joel 2:30-31 respectively. Which is“…. shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and the terrible day of the Lord.
“See also Joel 3:15, Amos 5:2, Amos 8:9, Zaphania 1:15, Matt 24:21, Acts 2:20, Rev 6:12-13 Rev 8:12) So there is agreement in the scripture as to what the sign will be. In addition to this sign Jesus Christ also remarks that, Matthew 24:27-41)
- “For wherever the carcass is, there will the vultures be gathered together.”
- Coming of Christ will definitely be after the tribulation. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days.”
- “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
- 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.
- “Learn from the story of the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and it sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the door. “I can guarantee this truth: This generation will not disappear until all these things take place. The earth and the heavens will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
- “When the Son of Man comes again, it will be exactly like the days of Noah. In the days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and getting married until the day that Noah went into the ship. They were not aware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes again.
- “At that time two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. Two women will be working at a mill. One will be taken, and the other one will be left.
PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S RETURN.
- Christ will return to this earth to establish his kingdom.
Matthew 25:3” When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.”
- He will judge the nations.
Matthew 25:32“The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 “He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left.”
1 Cor 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”
2 Ti 4:1”I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.”
Heb 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Jude 1:15 “To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
(See also 2Pet 2:9, 2 Pet 3:7 1Jn 4:17)
- Saints (Believers) will be rewarded.
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.”
- To save Israel as a nation.
Acts 1“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.”
(See also Amos 9:11-12, Zach 14:3-4)
- To deliver and bless creation.
Rom 8:19-22 “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.”
- To bring about a state of peace.
Micah 4:3-4 “And he shall judge among many peoples and correct strong nations even afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they train for war anymore.”
Isiah 2:4 “And he shall judge between the nations and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
- To be glorified in his saints, and to reveal himself with his own.
2Thess 1:10 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.”
Zach 14:5” You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”
(See also 1Thess 3:13, Col 3:4)
- To judge the beast, the antichrist, the false prophet and the armies of the earth.
Rev 19:19-21 19” Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. 20And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.”
2 Thess 2:8 “Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.”
- To bind satan.
Rev 20:1-2 “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years.”
WHAT SHOULD BE THE RESPONSE OF THE BELIEVER?
What should be the response of the believer as to what has been revealed through the scripture? Just as traffic signs on a road, the scripture after scripture require us to prepare for these times. Prov 4:5 states “Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth.” And Prov 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Jesus Christ’s first warning of the Olivett discourse is Mt 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you.” In Mark 13:23 he tells us “So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” To pharisees and Sadducees he said in Mt 16:2-3 “ He expect t “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” He expects the believer to observe, discern and understand the times they are living in and prepare for his return.