It's no fairytale - one day, you can be free from all the hurt, hunger, aloneness, crime, and chaos infecting the world today. Doesn't that sound wonderful? But it's not going to be some charismatic earthly leader who's going to deliver you... no, He's much more superior than that! Jesus is coming soon, but there is a lot of popular misconceptions regarding just how He's coming. So take a few minutes to understand what the Bible really says about the second coming so you won't be left behind!
Jesus taught that He will return to earth the second time.
1. Will Jesus return to this earth the second time? Can we be positive?
"Christ ... shall ... appear the second time." Hebrews 9:28. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." John 14:3.
Answer: Yes! In Matthew 26:64, Jesus testified under oath that He would come back to this earth again. Since the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35), this is proof positive. Believe it just as it reads. It is Christ's own personal guarantee.
Jesus said He will return to earth in the clouds.
2. In what manner will Jesus return the second time?
"While they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 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." Acts 1:9-11.
Answer: The Scriptures promise that Jesus will return to this earth in the same manner that He left at His ascension--in a visible, literal, bodily, personal manner. Matthew 24:30 says, "They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." He will come in the clouds literally, as a personal being with a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:36-43, 50, 51), and His coming will be visible. Scripture is clear on these facts.
Every person living on earth will see Jesus when He returns the second time.
3. Will the second coming of Christ be visible to all men or only to a select group?
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him." Revelation 1:7. "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." Matthew 24:27.
Answer: Every man, woman, and child living in the world when Jesus returns will see Him at His second coming. The staggering threefold (Luke 9:26) brightness of His coming will stretch from horizon to horizon, and the atmosphere will be charged with brilliant glory like lightning. No one will be able to hide. Every living soul will be forced to face Christ. Christ left no loophole for doubt or misunderstanding.
Note: The secret rapture so commonly believed and taught today is not in the Bible. It is a human invention. Nor is the second coming a spiritual coming into the heart at conversion. It does not take place at a man's death, nor is it figurative, to be manifested by better world conditions. These theories are all of human origin. The second coming will be a literal, worldwide, visible, personal appearance of Christ in the clouds to bring this world to an end and to reward or punish all men and women.
All the angels of heaven will be with Jesus at His second coming.
4. Who will come with Jesus at His second coming, and why?
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." Matthew 25:31.
Answer: All the angels of heaven will come with Jesus at His second coming. As the cloud nears the earth, Jesus will send His angels, and they will quickly gather together all of the righteous people in preparation for the trip back to heaven (Matthew 24:31).
Jesus will take His people to heaven and restore to them everything Adam and Eve lost.
5. What is the purpose of Jesus' second coming to this earth?
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12. "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:3. "And he shall send Jesus Christ ... Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things." Acts 3:20, 21.
Answer: Jesus is coming back to this earth to reward His people as He promised and to take them to the beautiful home He has prepared for them. He will restore to His people all of the joys and glories of Eden that Adam and Eve lost by sinning. His second coming will bring an end to this present age of evil.
Little babies taken from their parents by death will be returned to them at Jesus' second coming.
6. What will happen to the righteous people when Jesus comes the second time?
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven ... and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. "We shall all be changed, ... and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. For ... this mortal must put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. "We look for ... the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." Philippians 3:20, 21.
Answer: The righteous dead will be raised from their graves, given perfect, immortal bodies like that of Christ, and caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord. Then the righteous living will also be given bodies like Christ and will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And Jesus will take the righteous to heaven with Him. Note that Jesus does not touch the earth at His second coming. The saints meet Him "in the air." So God's people will ignore any report that Christ is in Baltimore, New Orleans, Los Angeles, etc. False christs will appear and do miracles on the earth (Matthew 24:23-27), but Jesus will remain in the clouds above the earth at His second coming.
The wicked will be slain at Jesus' second coming.
7. What will happen to the wicked people when Jesus comes again?
"With the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." Isaiah 11:4. "And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth." Jeremiah 25:33.
Answer: The wicked will be slain by Jesus.
Today's earthquakes are minor in comparison with the massive earthquake at Jesus' coming.
8. How will Christ's second coming affect the earth itself?
"And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." "And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." Revelation 16:18, 20. "I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord." Jeremiah 4:26. "The Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste." "The land shall be utterly emptied." Isaiah 24:1, 3.
Answer: The earth will be seized by a great earthquake at the coming of the Lord. This earthquake will be of such a devastating nature that it will leave the world in a state of total destruction.
Millions of Christians died during the Dark Ages. Many were burned at the stake.
9. Does the Bible give specific information regarding the nearness of Christ's second coming?
Answer: Yes, it does! And Jesus Himself said, "When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." Matthew 24:33. The Lord placed signs all along the way from His ascension to His second coming. They are listed below. Study them carefully.
A. The Destruction of Jerusalem
Prophecy: "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." "Let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains." Matthew 24:2, 16.
Fulfillment: Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman warrior Titus.
B. A Great Persecution, or Tribulation
Prophecy: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world." Matthew 24:21.
Fulfillment: This prophecy points primarily to the long period of tribulation that took place during the Dark Ages and was instigated by the apostate church. It lasted more than 1,000 years. Over 50 million Christians were slain for their faith in this terrible tribulation period. One writer says the apostate church "has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind." W.E.H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, (Reprint New York: Braziller, 1955) Vol. 2, pp. 40-45.
C. The Sun Turned into Darkness
Prophecy: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened." Matthew 24:29.
Fulfillment: This was fulfilled by a day of supernatural darkness on May 19, 1780. It was not an eclipse. Timothy Dwight says, "The 19th of May, 1780, was a remarkable dark day. Candles were lighted in many houses the birds were silent and disappeared, and the fowls retired to roost. ... A very general opinion prevailed, that the day of judgment was at hand." Quoted in Connecticut Historical Collections, compiled by John Warner Barber (2nd ed. New Haven: Durrie & Peck and J.W. Barber, 1836) p. 403.
D. The Moon Turned into Blood
Prophecy: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come." Joel 2:31.
Fulfillment: The moon became as red as blood on the night of the "dark day," May 19, 1780. Milo Bostick in Stone's History of Massachusetts says, "The moon which was at its full, had the appearance of blood."
E. The Stars Fall from HeavenProphecy: "And the stars shall fall from heaven." Matthew 24:29.Fulfillment:
The great star shower took place on November 13, 1833.
The great star shower took place on the night of November 13, 1833. It was so bright that a newspaper could be read on the street. One writer says, "For nearly four hours the sky was literally ablaze."* Men thought the end of the world had come. Look into this. It is most fascinating, and a sign of Christ's coming.
*Peter A. Millman, "The Falling of the Stars," The Telescope, 7 (May-June, 1940) 57.F. Jesus Comes in the CloudsProphecy: "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." Matthew 24:30.Fulfillment:
This is the next great event. Are you ready?
Strife between capital and labor is a sign of Jesus' second coming.
10. How may we know when we have reached the very last days of earth's history? Does the Bible clearly describe the world and its people in the last generation?
Answer: Yes, indeed it does. Look at the following specific signs of the last days. You will be amazed. And these are just a few of many, many positive signs that show we are in the closing days of earth's history.
A. Capital-labor troubles
"The hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord." "Be ... patient ... for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." James 5:4, 8.
Trouble between capital and labor is predicted for the last days. For fulfillment, consult your newspaper.
B. Wars and commotions
"But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass." Luke 21:9.
Wars and the ravages of civil distress are affecting thousands worldwide. Only Jesus' soon coming will bring an end to the pain and destruction of war.
C. Unrest, fear, and upheaval
"And there shall be ... upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity ... Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." Luke 21:25, 26.
This sounds strangely like an editorial from a current newspaper a perfect picture of the world today and there is a reason: We are the people of the very last days of earth's history. The tense atmosphere present in the world today should not surprise us. Christ foretold it. It should convince us that His coming is near.
D. Increase of knowledge
"Even to the time of the end ... knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4.
The Information Age makes this one all too obvious. Even the most skeptical mind must admit that this sign is fulfilled. Knowledge is exploding in all directions. It is said that 80 percent of the world's total knowledge has been brought forth in the last decade and that 90 percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive today.
E. Scoffers and religious skeptics who turn away from Bible truth
"There shall come in the last days scoffers." 2 Peter 3:3. "They will not endure sound doctrine ... And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
It is not difficult to find scoffers today in fulfillment of this prophecy. Even religious leaders are denying the plain Bible teachings of Creation, the Flood, the divinity of Christ, the second coming of Christ, and many other vital Bible truths. Psychiatry and the traditions of pseudo-intellectuals have replaced the Bible in many religious circles. Secular educators teach our youth to scoff at the Bible record of these great truths and substitute evolution and other man-made, false teachings for the plain, simple facts of God's Holy Word. A recent poll discovered that only two percent of American student ministers believe in the literal second coming of Christ.
F. Moral degeneracy; decline of spirituality
"In the last days ... men shall be lovers of their own selves, ... Without natural affection, ... incontinent, ... despisers of those that are good, ... Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
America is in the midst of a tremendous crisis. People from all walks of life are saying so. Suicide is becoming a popular solution to human problems. Divorce rates are climbing wildly, with nearly one marriage in two ending in the divorce court. The current immoral generation, with its obsession with sex and filth, with its increasing church membership but decreasing true spirituality, is plain and positive fulfillment of God's Word. For a real shock, see how many of the last-day sins listed in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 you can find depicted in any issue of your Sunday newspaper. Nothing short of the coming of the Lord will stem the tide of evil that is now engulfing the world.
G. Craze for pleasure
"In the last days ... men shall be ... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." 2 Timothy 3:1-4.
The world has gone crazy for pleasure. Only a small percentage of the citizens of our large cities attend church services regularly, but they jam pleasure resorts by the thousands. America is spending billions each year for pleasure and only "peanuts" (in comparison) for God. Pleasure-mad Americans waste billions of hours in front of the TV set in direct fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:4.
H. Increasing lawlessness, bloody crimes, and violence
"Iniquity shall abound." Matthew 24:12. "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse." 2 Timothy 3:13. "The land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence." Ezekiel 7:23.
It is all too obvious that this sign is fulfilled. Crime and lawlessness are increasing with shocking rapidity. Most people in large cities do not answer their doorbells after dark. The wisest statesmen of our time are concerned for the survival of civilization because crime sweeps forward seemingly beyond control.
I. Destructive earthquakes, storms, and famines
"And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences." Luke 21:11.
Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc. are increasing at an unprecedented rate. One-third of the people of the world are hungry, and thousands die daily of starvation. All these things are further proof that we live in earth's last hours.
J. A special message to the world in the very last days
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
The great, solemn, last warning message of Christ's second coming is now being presented in more than 900 languages and dialects. Nearly 95 percent of the world's population has access to this message. Before Jesus' second coming, every person in the world will be warned of His soon return. People will be lost only if they reject the warning message.
K. A turning to spiritism
"In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits." 1 Timothy 4:1. "They are the spirits of devils." Revelation 16:14.
People today, including a vast number of the heads of nations, seek counsel from psychics, channelers, and spiritualists. Spiritism has invaded the churches, as well, with the false teaching of the immortality of the soul. The Bible teaches that the dead are dead.
We are living in the final moments of time.
11. Just how near is the Lord's second coming?
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Matthew 24:32-34.
Answer: The Bible is very specific and plain on this point. The signs have almost all been fulfilled. We cannot know the exact day and hour of Christ's return (Matthew 24:36), but we can be confident that we are the people who will live to see Jesus return. God has promised to finish things very quickly now and cut the work short (Romans 9:28). Christ is coming back to this earth for His people very soon. Are you ready?
What appears to be Jesus in a seance chamber is one of Satan's impersonating demons.
12. Satan is telling many falsehoods regarding the second coming of Christ and, with lying wonders and miracles, will deceive millions. How can I be certain I will not be deceived?
"They are the spirits of devils, working miracles." Revelation 16:14. "And shall shew great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20.
Answer: Satan has invented many false teachings about the second coming and is deceiving millions into believing that Christ has already come or that He will come in some non-biblical manner. But Christ has warned us of Satan's strategy, saying, "Take heed that no man deceive you." Matthew 24:4. He then exposes Satan's plans and falsehoods so we will be forewarned, and He reminds us, "Behold, I have told you before." Matthew 24:25. For example, Jesus stated specifically that He will not appear in the desert or come to the seance chambers (verse 26). There is no reason to be deceived if we learn what God's book teaches about Christ's second coming. The acid test is this: What does the Bible teach about it? People who know what the Bible says about the second coming will not be led astray by Satan. All others will be deceived.
We must not become so busy that we have not time for Christ.
13. How can I be certain to be ready when Jesus comes back?
"Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." John 1:12. "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." Hebrews 8:10. "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57.
Answer: Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door [this door represents the human mind or heart], and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in." Revelation 3:20. Through the Holy Spirit and my conscience, Jesus knocks and asks to come into my heart so that He can change my life. If I unreservedly turn my life over to Him, He will erase all my sins of the past (Romans 3:25) and give me the power to live a godly life (John 1:12). As a free gift, He bestows upon me His own righteous character so I can stand unafraid before a holy God when my life is changed by Jesus. Then doing His will becomes a pleasure. It is so simple that many doubt its reality. But it's true. My part is simply to give my life to Christ and let Him live within me. His part is to work the mighty miracle within me that changes my life and prepares me for His second coming. It is a free gift. I need only to accept it.
14. Of what great danger does Christ solemnly warn?
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matthew 24:44. "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." Luke 21:34. "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:37.
Answer: There is great danger in becoming so busy with the cares of this life or so entranced by the pleasures of sin that the coming of the Lord may slip up on us as the Flood did on the world in Noah's day, and we will be surprised, unprepared, and lost. This will be the experience of millions. How is it with you? Jesus is coming back very, very soon--in our present day. Are you ready? Nothing else matters.
15. I am planning to be ready when Jesus returns.
1. Isn't the great tribulation yet to come?
It is true that a terrible tribulation will cover the earth just before Jesus returns to deliver His people. Daniel describes it as "a time of trouble, such as never was." Daniel 12:1. In context, though, the "great tribulation" of Matthew 24:21 refers to the awful persecution of God's people during the Dark Ages. Millions were slain for their faith at that time.
2. Since the Lord is coming "as a thief in the night," how can anyone know anything about it?
The answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4: "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." Notice, the day of the Lord comes as a thief to the unprepared, but not to those who are called "brethren."
3. When will Christ set up His kingdom upon the earth?
After the great 1,000-year period of Revelation 20. The 1,000-year period begins at the second coming of Christ, when Jesus takes the righteous from this earth to heaven to live and reign with Him "a thousand years." Revelation 20:4. At the close of the 1,000 years "the holy city, new Jerusalem" (Revelation 21:2) comes down from heaven to the earth with all the saints (Zechariah 14:1, 4, 5) and the wicked dead of all ages are raised to life (Revelation 20:5). They surround the holy city to capture it (Revelation 20:9), and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. This fire purifies the earth and burns up all traces of sin and sinners (2 Peter 3:10). Finally the fire goes out (Isaiah 47:14), leaving only ashes (Malachi 4:3). Then God creates a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1) and gives it to the righteous, and "God ... will dwell with them, ... and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." Revelation 21:3. Perfect, holy, happy beings, restored once again to the perfect image of God, will at last be at home in a sinless, spotless world as God originally planned. Only the most foolish person would choose to miss this.
4. Why don't we hear more preaching and teaching today regarding Christ's second coming?
The devil is responsible. He well knows that the second coming is the "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) of the Christian, and that once understood, it changes the lives of men and women and leads them to take a personal, diligent, active part in spreading that good news to others so that Christ's coming may be hastened. This infuriates Satan, so he influences those who have "a form of godliness" (2 Timothy 3:5) but deny "the power thereof" to scoff, saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning." 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Those who deny, ignore, or make light of Christ's second advent (as a literal, soon-coming event) are specifically fulfilling Bible prophecy--and doing the devil a very great service.
5. But wasn't Jesus speaking of the secret rapture when He said in Luke 17:36, "One shall be taken, and the other left"?
No. There is not the slightest indication that the event is secret. Jesus was describing Noah's flood and the destruction of Sodom. (See Luke 17:26-37.) He told how God spared Noah and Lot and destroyed the wicked. He says specifically that the flood and fire "destroyed them all." Verses 27, 29. Plainly, in each case, a few were taken to safety and the rest were destroyed. Then He added, "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." Verse 30. To illustrate, Jesus continued, "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left." Verse 36. There is nothing secret about it. "Every eye shall see Him." Revelation 1:7. At His second coming, Christ publicly and openly takes the righteous up into the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17) and slays the wicked (Isaiah 11:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). That's why Luke 17:37 speaks of the bodies of the wicked and mentions the eagles (or vultures) gathered around them. (See also Revelation 19:17, 18.) The wicked who are left behind at Christ's coming are left dead.
1. At His second coming (1)
_____ Christ will arrive privately and visit certain cities of the earth.
_____ Christ will appear in the desert.
_____ Christ will remain in the clouds and call the righteous up to meet Him in the air.
2. When Jesus returns to this earth (1)
_____ Only the righteous will see Him.
_____ Every eye will see Him.
_____ People will not know it until it is announced on TV.
3. What will happen to the righteous at Christ's second coming? (2)
_____ Righteous dead will be raised, given immortality, caught up into clouds, and taken to heaven.
_____ Righteous living will be given immortality, caught up into clouds, and taken to heaven.
_____ Righteous will stay here and convert the wicked.
_____ Righteous will be secretly snatched away.
4. On the basis of biblical signs, Christ's coming is most likely to occur (1)
4. On the basis of biblical signs, Christ's coming is most likely to occur (1)
_____ Very, very soon!
_____ Several hundred years from now.
_____ In the mid-21st century.
5. The wicked who are living when Jesus returns will be (1)
_____ Placed in hell, where they burn forever.
_____ Slain at His second coming.
_____ Spared and given another chance.
6. Check the statements below that tell the truth about Christ's second coming: (4)
_____ He will come secretly.
_____ The second coming is the experience of conversion.
_____ He will come in the clouds.
_____ Christ comes for us at the hour of our death.
_____ The wicked will not see Him.
_____ All the angels will be with Him.
_____ He will not actually touch the earth.
_____ It is possible to know the day and hour of His coming.
_____ Millions will be surprised and lost.
7. At Christ's second coming (1)
_____ The whole world will be ready and waiting.
_____ There will be a devastating, worldwide earthquake.
_____ The wicked will be converted.
8. Mark all statements that are true signs of the last days of earth: (7)
_____ The world will get better and better.
_____ Strife between capital and labor.
_____ Fewer earthquakes, storms, etc.
_____ Falling away from Bible truth.
_____ Lower divorce rate.
_____ Craze for pleasure.
_____ Moral degeneracy.
_____ A great drop in the crime rate.
_____ Great famines.
_____ Increase of knowledge.
_____ Unrest and upheaval.
9. Which signs in the heavens are signs of Christ's return? (2)
_____ Haley's comet.
_____ The dark day of 1780.
_____ The falling stars of November 1833.
_____ The moon falling to the earth.
10. How do we know that Jesus is coming back to earth very soon? (1)
_____ The Bible gives signs and perfect descriptions of the last days.
_____ Because so many people believe that Jesus is coming soon.
_____ Some fortune tellers predict it.
11. Millions will be deceived regarding the manner and time of Christ's return because (1)
_____ God does not want all to be saved.
_____ They do not give large enough offerings.
_____ They do not study their Bibles to find the truth of the matter.
12. I can be ready for Christ's return if (1)
_____ Jesus lives within me.
_____ I read the newspaper daily.
_____ I do what my minister suggests.