Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Pt. 1

Scripture: John 14:1-3, Acts 1:9-10, Luke 21:27
A major theme in the Bible is the second coming of Christ. Should we look forward to it? When will Christ return? What will happen when Jesus returns to this earth? Will it happen once? Will it happen secretly? What does the Bible teach?
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Woman 1: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our host Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry as they now open the bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next fifteen minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John: Hello friends and welcome to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw, with me is Gary Gibbs. We're so glad that you've joined us today.

Gary, when it comes to the bible the New Testament is special. How would you characterize the bible in as much as what's the major theme of the bible? The major theme of the New Testament?

Gary: Well John, I think you could see a couple of themes actually in the New Testament.

One, definitely the theme is salvation through Jesus Christ. We typically think of salvation just in one of its phases. That's when Jesus died on the cross but salvation actually has a couple of phases. Not only did Jesus die for us to pay for the penalty of our sins but one day he's coming back to actually redeem us and take us off of this sinful planet, never to be tempted again.

John: Well, let's talk about that. Let's talk about the return of Jesus Christ because as you know, this is a subject that is big all over Christianity and beyond Christianity, books have been published, movies have been made and people have talked all about the return of Jesus.

Why don't we take some time to study and find out what the bible says about the return of Jesus Christ? It must be a big subject. Even Job talked about it way back in the Book of Job. What do we read about it in the bible? New Testament, what does it say about Christ coming back?

Gary: John when you come to the New Testament, one out of every twenty-five versus relates to the second coming. The disciples were interested in the second coming. They talked about it over and over again. They even asked Jesus about it.

I think one of my favorite versus regarding the second coming comes from John chapter 14 verse:1-3. Jesus told the disciples: "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God? Believe also in me. In my father's house are many mansions and if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself. That where I am, there you may be also."

John: Even in the book of Titus, Paul wrote to wrote to this church leader Titus and he said to him that the return of Jesus was "the blessed hope." In fact, I want to read that verse in Titus 2. Verse 13 says: "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior Jesus Christ."

Why did it mean so much to them then? And why should this mean so much to us today?

Gary: It's like what Jesus told the disciples. He told them: "Don't let your heart be troubled." That's why the writer of Titus, Paul, called it "the blessed hope."

Christians down through the ages have gone through much turmoil and trial. Every single one of the apostles died a martyr except one, the apostle John. And so, they look forward to the return of Jesus as a blessed hope.

You think about your loved ones who are suffering. Recently, my sister died of cancer. As I watched her there on her deathbed dying, I was cheered by the thought of the blessed hope. That one day Jesus is coming. One day we'll be reunited. One day she will not be suffering anymore.

That second coming has always brought hope and comfort to God's people down through the centuries.

John: That means every time we witness a tragedy, every time we see one of those terribly sad news reports, every time there is a funeral or another baby who dies we can look forward with hope towards the blessed hope that Jesus is coming back soon.

Gary: Even though Christians agree that Jesus' coming is the blessed hope, there's really not a whole lot of unity on how Jesus is going to return. Everybody has their own idea about that.

John: Now today a very popular belief is that when Jesus comes back, he's going to do so secretly. He may even come back twice. He will come back the first time for the saved or saints and then he'll come back a period of time later to get the rest. The people who in the intervening time, have made a decision for Jesus Christ. So, he's going to come secretly.

Gary: It's called the secret rapture. That's a commonly held belief.

Then there are those who believe that Jesus coming is just a spiritual coming. He comes into your heart. They really don't believe that Jesus is going to come back literally for his people at any given time.

I'm not surprised, John, by all of these different views because Jesus warned us in Matthew 24. He said: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many."

Jesus was asked about his return, he said: "Beware. Don't be deceived."

John: Now, you mentioned a couple things. I'll pick up on one of them. You said there's an idea that says in the second coming he is coming spiritually. Is that true or where does the bible say otherwise? Where does the bible make clear that when Jesus comes back he does so very literally?

Gary: Well, I think about Acts chapter 1. When Jesus went up into heaven after his resurrection and as he was ascending into heaven the disciples stood there looking up, watching him being lifted up into the clouds with the angels.

An angel came to the disciples right then and said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which you see going up into heaven, shall so come in like manner."

So, Jesus is actually going to come back physically and literally just like he once lived here literally and went up into heaven.

John: So it's really going to be him. He himself will really come back. Now the angel said: "He will come back in like manner as you have seen him go."

I remember being at the airport one time and watching a couple on the observation deck. They tracked the progress of an aircraft all the way up the runway and watched it longingly. I figured somebody they loved was on that plane.

And then as it took off, they squinted and peered into the sky until that plane became a dot and just vanished all together. Presumably that same couple might be at the airport again one day, welcoming those people back. They would come back the same way they went.

The angles said: "This same Jesus will come back the same way He went up." That's out of step with what a lot of people are teaching today about Jesus coming back, well secretly. If He's coming back the same way they say Him go, surely He will come back in a way that they will witness.

Is this going to be a visible event or a secretive event?

Gary: Well, I think it has to be visible because when you look at Acts 1:9 where we were studying just a moment ago, it says that "He was taken up into a cloud that received Him out of their sight." So, they're looking at Him and eventually He disappears from their sight. And it says there in verse 10 of Acts one "While they look steadfastly..." So they're looking up, gazing up into Heaven. Everything is focused on their sight, their eyes being fixed on Jesus.

It's in that context the angel says "He will come in like manner as you saw Him going to Heaven." And with that, John, you have think about Revelation chapter 1, verse seven "Behold His coming with clouds and every eye will see Him." Now that doesn't sound too secret, does it?

John: It sounds pretty clear that nobody is going to miss Jesus when He comes back.

Gary: Oh, you won't be able to miss Him. The Bible says that when He comes in Luke 21, verse 27 "You will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

John: Also, I've read in the book of Matthew where it says "As lightning shines out of the east even onto the west, that's how Jesus' coming will be." I remember being in one place in the south in bed at night, my eyes shut, curtains pulled but when the lightning flashed I still saw the lightning. Even though my back was to the window. You can't miss lightning, can you?

Gary: No, you can't. That's Matthew 24, verse 27 "And just like lightning will fill up the sky, when Jesus comes He will fill the sky." You wonder how He'll do that?

John: How's He going to do it?

Gary: How will every eye see Him on around globe? Matthew 25, verse 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him then He will sit on the throne of His glory." Did you catch how many angels come with Him?

John: Didn't it say all?

Gary: It said all the holy angels that come with Him. Now one angel had the power at the tomb of Jesus to cause 100 hardened Roman soldiers to fall down like dead men. Just imagine the sky being filled with millions of angels, bright shining beings! It's going to fill the whole sky like lightning fills the sky.

John: Well, so much for the idea that the return of Jesus is going to be a secret. In fact, let's make sure we're talking about the same event here. You often hear about the Rapture, the secret Rapture but I've never found the word Rapture in my Bible. How do we understand that term?

Gary: Well, the Rapture term simply is referring to the snatching up, the saints being taken up into Heaven. But you will never find in the Scriptures the term the secret Rapture. The Second Coming is never mentioned as being secret.

John: OK. So secret it a catching up, a snatching up, a taking away and we know when Jesus comes back He's going to gather up His people. So that's fair enough.

Gary: Yeah, the Rapture that is, is the snatching up.

John: Sure. But it isn't going to be secret because we've heard not only would it literally be Jesus but it's going to be a visible event that no one's going to be able to miss.

Gary: Yeah, and then, John, beyond visible it's also an audible event. one Thessalonians 4:16...

John: OK, now take your time with this verse because this is a powerful, pertinent verse.

Gary: Look at it, it says "The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout." That's audible, isn't it?

John: Sure!

Gary: "With the voice of an Archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first." So it's very audible, it says even the dead will hear the shout, the voice and the trumpet of God.

John: If the dead are going to hear Him come back this has got to be something that's mighty loud!

Gary: Yeah, so what we've seen now is it's a visible event because the entire sky around the globe will be filled with the angels of God and with Jesus Himself. The Bible says He comes in great power and glory. And then it's an audible event, so loud that even the dead hear Him. That is not secret whatsoever.

John: Are there any other phenomena, physical or otherwise, that will impress themselves upon us at the time of Jesus' Coming?

Gary: Well, yes. It also tells us in the Scriptures that when Jesus comes the saints, all those who've lived for Christ, that they're all going to be raised up to meet the Lord in the air. And you read that in one Thessalonians 4. It says "Then we who are alive and remain, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be with the Lord."

So you can't miss that, John! If all around this world all the believers are going up towards Heaven, the graves are opening and all the believers who had been sleeping in the graves, they rise to Heaven, nobody is going to miss that! It's going to be visible to the entire planet.

John: This sounds like an exciting happening, just the most incredible thing you could imagine! Imagine looking up into the sky and Jesus is coming back and you hear that shout, I can only imagine what that shout is like. And then the dead in Christ rise. This is the time when husbands and wives will be reunited, I guess. That death has torn them asunder. Families will be put back together and friends will be reunited!

Gary: You don't want to miss out on that event. And that's why it's so important for us to understand how He's coming because before Jesus comes Satan himself will try to personate, or impersonate, the coming of Christ. We don't have time to take that up in this topic today, John, but perhaps in a future Bible Talk we can cover how Satan will personate the return of Christ.

John: We can understand then why Jesus said so clearly "Be ye also ready." Matthew chapter 24 and verse 44. Friend, it's going to be a wonderful event. And certainly we've discussed and discovered today just how Jesus is coming back. But the one thing we've got to make sure is that we are ready to meet Jesus. We'll talk about this more next time on Bible Talk.

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