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The Second Coming of Christ (Entire Article)

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By Ralph Vincent Reynolds

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  1. The Second Coming of Jesus Is Clearly Promised In God’s Word

 

  • Statement of Scripture

 

 

  1. Job 19:25—”For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”
  2. John 14:3—”. . .I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
  3. Acts 1:11—”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.”
  4. 1 Thessalonians 4:16—”For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…”

 

  • Statement of Truth

 

 

The promise of the Lord’s return to earth is repeated in the Scriptures over and over again, until there can be no possible mistake concerning this glorious promise.

 

  • Exposition of Truth

 

 

The doctrine of the second coming of Christ is one of the most important doctrines of the Bible. The greater number of predictions concerning Christ in the Old Testament are referring to His second coming. It is claimed that the second coming is mentioned in the Bible 6 to 8 times as often as the first coming. Paul refers to it at least 50 times in his Epistles. It is said that it is mentioned 318 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament. In the Bible, whole chapters are devoted to this doctrine.

 

It would not be practical to attempt to list the many Scriptures that bring out the promise of Christ’s second coming. Just a few of these Scriptures will be mentioned here to show the clear testimony of prophecy in this regard from Genesis to Revelation.

 

  1. Jacob’s Prophecy (Genesis 49:10): Both advents of Christ are mentioned here in Jacob’s prophecy. The Second Advent is mentioned in the “gathering of the people” to Him.
  2. Job’s Prophecy (Job 19:25): Job states that the appearance of Christ upon earth is definitely associated with the resurrection.
  3. Zechariah’s Prophecy (Zechariah 14:4): Here we are told that Jesus shall return to the Mount of Olives.
  4. The Promise Of Jesus (John 14:3; Revelation 22:7, 12, 20): Jesus makes a very definite promise of returning and receiving his children unto himself.
  5. The Promise Given By Two Angels (Acts 1:11): What should man need more than a promise brought by two messengers from heaven?
  6. Paul’s Prophecy (1 Thessalonians 4:16): This is only one out of very many Scriptures where the Apostle Paul describes the second coming.
  7. Peter’s Prophecy (2 Peter 3: 3-14): The Apostle Peter warns against scoffers and exhorts that we should be in readiness for the Lord’s coming.
  8. John’s Prophecy (1 John 3:2, 3): The hope of the church is clearly expressed by the Apostle John in this Scripture.
  9. The Prophecy of Revelation (Revelation 3:11): The entire Book of Revelation deals with the events connected with the return of the Lord.

 

  • Application of Truth

 

 

When the Scripture gives such a prominent place to a truth, we should give special attention to it. There should be no doubt in our minds regarding the second coming of Christ, and all preparation should be made for that great event.

 

  1. The Second Coming of Christ Is Literal

 

  • Statement of Scripture

 

 

  1. Acts 1:11—”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.”
  2. 1 Thessalonians 4:16—”For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. . . .”
  3. Revelation 1:7—”Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.”

 

  • Statement of Truth

 

 

The second coming of Jesus is a personal, visible, and literal return. It does not mean death, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the destruction of Jerusalem, or anything other than a literal return of Christ.

 

  • Exposition of Truth

 

 

The truth that the second coming of Jesus is personal, visible, and literal may be seen by the following Scriptures:

 

  1. John 14:3—”I will come again.”
  2. Acts 1:11—”This SAME Jesus. . .in LIKE MANNER.”
  3. 1 Thessalonians 4:16—”For the LORD HIMSELF shall descend.”
  4. Revelation 1:7—”Every eye shall SEE him.”
  5. Revelation 22:7—”Behold, I come quickly.”

 

Many attempts are made to spiritualize the return of Jesus, but all such attempts are easily shown to have no Scriptural foundation. An examination of a few such attempts is given here.

 

  1. The Second Coming Does Not Mean Death

 

  • His FIRST coming did not mean death to the Jews, neither does His SECOND coming mean death to the saints.
  • Death is an enemy and at Christ’s coming we are raised from the dead and shout victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:55).
  • The Christian does not look forward to death but the Coming of Jesus is the church’s hope. We do not long to be unclothed but rather to be clothed upon (2 Corinthians 5:4).
  • The following Scriptures have no meaning if “death” is substituted for “second coming”—John 21:22; Matthew 16:28; Philippians 3:20.

 

  1. The Second Coming Does Not Mean the Coming of the Holy Spirit

 

  • Many promises of the Second Coming were after Pentecost (Philippians 3:21; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:51).
  • Christ does not receive us unto Himself, but comes to us at Pentecost.
  • The events of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 did not occur on the Day of Pentecost nor when we received the Holy Ghost.

 

  1. The Second Coming Did Not Refer To the Destruction of Jerusalem

 

  • The events of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 did not take place at that time.
  • The Scriptures, John 21:21-23 and Revelation 22:20, were written after the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

  • Application of Truth

 

 

Since the Second Coming of Christ is literal, visible, and personal, all the other events associated with His return should be accepted as being literal such as the rapture of the church. Let us never be guilty of spiritualizing Scriptures that should be accepted literally.

 

  • Definition of Terms

 

 

  1. Literal: Following the exact meaning of the words.
  2. Spiritualize: To make spiritual by interpreting the words to mean something beside which is stated.
  3. Rapture Of The Church: The catching away of the living saints, without their experiencing death, as was Enoch and Elijah in the Old Testament.

 

III. The Second Coming of Christ Is Pre-Millennial

 

  1. Statement of Scripture

 

  1. Matthew 13:30—”Let both grow together until the harvest…gather the wheat into my barn.”
  2. Matthew 24:29, 30—”Immediately after the tribulation of those days. . .And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man. . .”
  3. 2 Thessalonians 2:8—”And then shall the Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”

 

  1. Statement of Truth

 

The second coming of Jesus will precede the millennium.

 

  1. Exposition of Truth

 

The Bible clearly teaches Pre-Millennialism which is in sharp contrast to two errors which have crept into the church world: Post-Millennialism and A-Millennialism. The first of these two errors, Post-Millennialism, teaches that the church will prosper and grow until the world shall be converted, bringing in the millennium, and then, afterwards, Jesus shall return. The other error teaches that there will be no millennium, and that the second advent of Christ will destroy this world. Both of these errors leave no room for the second coming of Jesus to be the blessed hope of the church. The Scriptures are very plain in their teaching that the second advent of our Lord will be before the millennium, and that the return of our Lord is the blessed and living hope of the church.

 

It should be clearly kept in mind that the Bible states two phases in the second coming of our Lord. Just as there were two phases in His first advent (first, in bodily form to all, then in His resurrection body to His chosen disciples), there will be two phases in His second advent. They will be in reverse order to that of His first advent. In His return He will first come for His saints, and then later, He will come with His saints. Both of these comings are pre-millennial.

 

The first phase is the appearance of Jesus in the air only, to catch His church out of this world. He comes for His saints to return into glory with them. The same Greek word, translated “to meet,” is used in 1 Thess. 4:17 and Acts 28:15. It means a going forth in order to return with. It is this thought that is clearly brought out in the first phase of our Lord’s return. This is known as the rapture of the church, and is the blessed hope of the saints.

 

The second phase is the appearance of Jesus to execute judgment when He returns to reign and to set up His millennial kingdom. The Scriptures that are used in this section to prove Pre-Millennialism have reference to this second phase of the coming of the Lord. Let us remember that the first phase of the Lord’s advent, when He comes for His saints, must precede the second phase when He returns with His saints to reign. Therefore, if the Lord’s return in judgment can be proved to be pre-millennial, then it is a definite fact that His return for the church is also pre-millennial. Here are a few reasons why Pre-Millennialism is right:

 

  1. The millennium is a literal reign of Jesus (Isaiah 32:1; Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 14:16). Therefore Jesus must come before the millennium.
  2. The true church is a persecuted, suffering, cross-bearing people until Jesus comes (John 15:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 3:12). Nowhere does the Scripture teach that the world is going to be converted by the efforts of the church.
  3. The Antichrist, who is pre-millennial, is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
  4. The tribulation is pre-millennial, and Jesus will come to set up His kingdom “immediately after” (Matthew 24:29-31). This refers to the second phase of the Lord’s return when He returns with His saints to reign. This is conclusive proof that the Lord’s coming in the air to catch away His bride is also pre-millennial. It is the writer’s conviction that Jesus will come for His church at the beginning of the tribulation, and return with His church to reign at the end of the tribulation.
  5. Tares and wheat grow together until the end of the age (Matthew 13:24-30). This world will never be entirely converted in this church age.

 

  1. Application of Truth

 

We should not look for the world to become better and better, but rather we should look up for the return of our Lord (Luke 21:28). The world will get worse and worse until this age ends by our Lord’s return.

 

  1. Definition of Terms

 

  1. Millennium: The literal glorious reign of Christ upon earth for one thousand years.

 

  1. The Second Coming of Christ Is the Hope of the Church

 

  • Statement of Scripture

 

 

  1. Titus 2:13—” Looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
  2. 1 Peter 1:3—”. . .hath begotten us again unto a lively hope. . . .”
  3. 1 John 3:3—”And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

 

  • Statement of Truth

 

 

The church has no greater hope than that of the coming of Jesus. This hope sanctifies and comforts the church and gives her a real anchor in this troubled world.

 

  • Exposition of Truth

 

 

Possibly there is no other message that affects the church as much as the message of Christ’s return. This truth gives the church a real hope which comforts and sanctifies her, and gives her a solid anchor during times of trouble. No child of God longs for death because death is an enemy, but the child of God does look forward to and long for the coming of Jesus with joyful anticipation. At this time there will be a resurrection of the saints who have previously died, and the living saints will be translated to meet their Lord in the clouds of glory. This hope of the church may be described thus:

 

  1. It is a blessed hope (Titus 2:13).
  2. It is a comforting hope (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
  3. It is a lively hope (1 Peter 1:3).
  4. It is a purifying hope (1 John 3:3).
  5. It is an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19).
  6. It maketh not ashamed (Romans 5:5).

 

The Apostle Paul explains the longing of the church to see Jesus, at which time she will be clothed with immortality. This longing is not for death but for the second coming of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:1-4).

 

  • Application of Truth

 

When we realize the nearness of the coming of Jesus, our hearts are thrilled with anticipation and expectation with the thought of seeing the Lord. Not only does the thought fill our hearts with gladness, it keeps us praying and witnessing, and living dedicated holy lives, ready at any moment to rise to meet Him in the clouds.

 

  1. Jesus Will Return for Those Who Are Ready

 

  • Statement of Scripture

 

 

  1. Matthew 24:44—”Therefore be ye also ready. . . .”
  2. Ephesians 5:27—”That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
  3. Hebrews 12:14—”Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

 

  • Statement of Truth

 

 

Jesus will return for a church that is ready for His coming; a definite preparation is necessary to be ready for His return.

 

  • Exposition of Truth

 

 

Since Jesus ascended into heaven He has been preparing a place for His bride. Here on earth He also has been preparing a beautiful bride to enter that prepared place. The truth must be accepted that New Jerusalem is a prepared place for a prepared people. No sin will enter there. Jesus will not catch away a people who are in the process of getting ready. He will return for a people who are ready, who have fully obeyed the New Testament message of salvation, and are living godly lives.

 

The writer feels that it is useless to enter into arguments concerning who will be raptured and who will not. He believes that the Scriptures should be allowed to speak for themselves. For that reason the Scriptures that refer to this extremely important matter are listed here:

 

  1. A Glorious Church without Spot or Wrinkle: Ephesians 5:27—”That he might present it to himself a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”
  2. Those Who Are “In Christ”: 1 Thessalonians 4:16—”The dead in Christ shall rise first.” We must be “in Christ” to be ready for the rapture.
  3. Baptized into His Body: 1 Corinthians 12:13—”For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” The Holy Ghost places us into the body which is His church.
  4. The Holy Spirit Will Quicken Our Bodies: Romans 8:11—”But if the Spirit. . .shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” It is the Holy Ghost who will quicken our bodies at the rapture.
  5. Oil in Our Lamps: Matthew 25:1-13—Parable of the Ten Virgins. This parable teaches the necessity of the Holy Spirit for us to be ready for the coming of the Bridegroom.
  6. The Name of Jesus Is Necessary: Acts 15:14—”. . .to take out of them a people for his name.” Jesus is taking a Gentile bride to bear His name.
  7. Holiness Is Essential: Hebrews 12:14—”Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Only those who are holy may have this blessed hope.
  8. We Must Be Looking for His Return: Hebrews 9:28—”Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Only those who are ready will actually be looking for His return.
  9. We Must Walk with the Lord: Genesis 5:24—”And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Enoch, a type of the church, walked with God.

 

  • Application of Truth

 

 

Jesus exhorted us to always be ready; for we do not know the hour He will return. The Scripturally correct attitude of the heart of the New Testament saint is that: (a) Jesus may come now; (b) I am ready to go now. He walks in all the light he knows, obeys fully, and is always ready.

 

  1. The Second Coming of Jesus Is Imminent

 

  • Statement of Scripture

 

 

  1. Matthew 24:44—”Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
  2. Luke 21:28—”And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
  3. Romans 13:11—”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.”

 

  • Statement of Truth

 

 

No man knows the exact time, but every sign points to the fact that the coming of Jesus is imminent.

 

  • Exposition of Truth

 

 

It is very evident that the sun is setting upon this dispensation and that the Lord is about to return for His waiting bride. Not only students of prophecy, but also students of world events, know that momentous days are ahead, that this world is in a period of transition, and that the present religious, social, and political orders will not continue. In the mind of the unbeliever, there can only be a question mark and an uneasy foreboding; but in the heart of the child of God there is a joyful anticipation. One of the most startling and impressive facts is that there has been more prophecy fulfilled in our generation than in all the nineteen centuries since Christ’s first advent. Surely this should convince everyone that it cannot be long; that time’s clock is striking the hour. A few of the signs of the times may be found in the following abbreviated list:

 

  1. God’s Week in Dealing with Man (2 Peter 3:8): We are drawing to the close of the sixth day in God’s week; the seventh will be Christ’s literal reign upon earth.
  2. The Latter Rain Outpouring (James 5:7): Since the beginning of this twentieth century the Lord has baptized millions with the Holy Ghost, restored the Apostolic truth to the church, and brought the church back to the Apostolic doctrine and experience.
  3. The Laodicean Church And Apostasy (Revelation 3:16; Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4; 2 Peter 2:1, 2; Jude 4).
  4. Increase of Crime, Immorality, and Juvenile Delinquency (Luke 17:26-30; 2 Timothy 3:1-7). Crime has been increasing from four to five times faster than the population. Our land is flooded with filth and pornography, and juvenile delinquency is appalling.
  5. Increase of Restlessness and Increase of Travel (Daniel 12:4).
  6. Increase of Knowledge (Daniel 12:4). Man’s knowledge is increasing at the same ratio as the population explosion. Within the last few years the amount of man’s knowledge has doubled.
  7. The Atomic and Space Age (Revelation 6:12-17). In 1905 Albert Einstein wrote a mathematical equation, E=MC2, which has changed the entire world. Man can now generate as much energy from one cubic inch of uranium as from 250,000 gallons of fuel oil.
  8. Political and Social Troubles (Luke 21:25, 26; James 5:1-6). In 1917 Lenin established Bolshevism with 17 followers. In the same year he took Russia with 40,000 supporters. In one generation Communism has conquered more than one third of the population of the world.
  9. Confederation of the Northern Nations (Ezekiel 38 and 39). Russia and her confederates are pictured in this prophecy.
  10. Consolidation of Western Powers. The Common Market and Western Alliances are in fulfillment of certain portions of Daniel’s prophecy.
  11. One World Church. The Ecumenical movements, both Roman Catholic and the World Council of Churches, are preparing the way for one world church in fulfillment of prophecies in Revelation.
  12. Israel (Luke 21:29-31; Romans 11:25). The Jew is said to be God’s clock. The fact that the nation of Israel was formed in 1948 is sufficient proof of the end times.

 

  • Application of Truth

 

 

The application of this truth to our lives is very plain. There can be no delay in our preparation for His return; being ready to meet the Lord is an urgent business in every individual’s life. Knowing just how imminent the Lord’s return really is, “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” (2 Peter 3:11).

 

  • Definition of Terms

 

 

  1. Dispensation: The divine order of affairs by which God deals with man.
  2. Pornography: Obscene and filthy literature and pictures.
  3. Bolshevism: The political movement which was the beginning of communism.
  4. Ecumenical Movement: The movement to unite all the professing churches throughout the world.

 

Questions

 

  1. Why is the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ important?
  2. Show that the return of Jesus will be literal.
  3. What is meant by the millennium?
  4. Explain the term “Pre-millennialism.”
  5. What is the hope of the church?
  6. For whom is Jesus returning?
  7. How do we know that the second coming of Jesus is imminent?
  8. What is the Ecumenical movement?
  9. Show that there are TWO phases in the Second Advent.
  10. When may the rapture of the church take place?

 

Projects

 

  1. Write a paper of at least 300 words on the following subject: “The Necessary Preparation of the Church for the Coming of Jesus.”
  2. Cut out at least TEN clippings from recent newspapers and magazines to show fulfilled prophecy relating to the end times.

 

This article “The Second Coming of Christ” was excerpted from: Truth Shall Triumph written by Ralph Vincent Reynolds. Copyright 1965. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

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