Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Pt. 2

Scripture: Matthew 24:42-43, 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
The Bible talks about the second coming of Christ. There are different ideas about when and how this will happen. This talk speaks of the idea of Jesus coming as a thief in the night. Will Jesus come secretly or will everyone know when that day will come. It is all about being ready.
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Woman 1: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts 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 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: [music starts to fade out] Hello, friend. And welcome again to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Gary: Gibbs. And we together we are discussing the subject of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Gary:, last time we studied on Bible Talk, we found out that Jesus surely is coming back. But, when he comes back, it's not going to be a secret event. In fact, everybody's going to know. What did we find out?

Gary: Gibbs: In fact, John, the Scripture says many times that the way he's going to come, everybody's going to see it. Revelation 1, Verse seven says, "Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye will see him." Now, that's quite different than the common view of Jesus' return being a secret event, that one morning all those who are lost wake up and discover all the Christians are gone. Now, the Bible says here "every eye will see him" coming in the clouds.

John: Not only is Jesus going to be seen by everybody, but this will be an event that is audible as well as visible.

Gary:: Yeah. The Bible says in one Thessalonians, Chapter four that "the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout", that's audible, "with the voice of an archangel", that's audible, "and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first". Three times is the emphasis is on the audibility of Jesus return.

John: And something I think that no one going to be able to miss is that all over the world a resurrection is taking place. And people will be coming up out of their graves, just popping up all over the planet. Graveyards everywhere will be in turmoil as the dead in Christ rise when Jesus comes back to take them home.

Gary:: And we all meet there in the sky the Bible says in one Thessalonians 4:17. So you won't be able to miss it. Everybody's going to see it. In fact, John, last time we looked at a text in Matthew 25:31 that tells us that, when Jesus comes in His glory, all the holy angels in Heaven actually come with Him. Now, the Bible tells us that it's an innumerable company of angels in Heaven. Millions upon millions of angels are going to fill the whole sky. Hey, there's no way people are going to miss this.

John: But what about these Bible texts, Gary:, where it talks Christ coming back and says it's going to be like a thief in the night? Is Jesus going to come back and steal in as a thief and snatch the valuables and be gone while everybody's sleeping? Because surely it says there something at least about Christ coming back, and it being like a thief in the night. Can you look at that with us?

Gary:: Yeah. You know, John, I was listening to a preacher on TV one day, and he talked about Jesus return will be like a thief in the night. And he read one text that talked about Jesus being a thief in the night. And then he launched off from that, never turned again in his Bible to explain the surrounding text or to even read the surrounding text.

And he talked about how the thief represents a secret coming. Nobody will see Him come. And when He leaves, all you'll see is the evidence that He's been here. But that all these wicked people will be left alive here.

But, John, if you really go and you look at the text in the Scriptures, I can think of three texts that deal with Jesus coming as a thief in night. You'll find that it doesn't mean that we won't see Jesus coming. It doesn't mean that it's a secret Rapture. It's really talking about the timing of the coming of Christ.

John: Well, walk us through if you would, some of those texts that talk about Christ's return, the timing of it, being like a thief in the night.

Gary:: Yeah, let's do that. Let's go to Matthew 24. This is a chapter that deals a lot with the return of Christ. That's the whole theme of Matthew 24. And we're reading there in Verse 42, "Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come."

John: Now, that's important. He's talking there very clearly about timing, isn't he?

Gary:: The emphasis is the timing. And, John, I just want to hasten to say here that what Jesus said here is so true. No man knows the day or the hour Jesus is going to come. We're not told that. And anybody who purports to know exactly when Jesus is going to come, you can know immediately that they're a false prophet.

John: So you're not going to name a day and a date and a time and tell us when Jesus is coming back?

Gary:: No one can do that.

John: I've seen the books, Gary:. And I've looked at the charts. And I've seen the mathematical calculations. What are they worth?

Gary:: They're not worth the paper they're written on, in fact, John. [laughs] Jesus said you won't know the day or the hour.

Now, reading on here in Verse 43, "But know this that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to be broken up." So He says, look, if there was a man who owns a house and he was told that a thief was coming to his house, then he would have watched for the thief. And he wouldn't have allowed his house to be broken into.

Then the next verse, Jesus makes his point. "Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes." So when Jesus refers to His coming as a thief in the night, He's referring to the fact that we don't know when He's going to come. Because a thief never announces when he's going to come to break into the house.

John: Wouldn't be much of a thief if he sent you an email telling you just when he's going to come and steal the family silver, wouldn't he?

Gary:: No. I heard a story, a true story, John. This guy got a postcard in the mail, said he had won a gift to go to a concert put on by the orchestra in town. And there were free tickets there. So he and his wife were really happy about that, and he got a babysitter for the kids. Took the kids out to Grandma's. They went out to the concert. Well, guess what happened while they were out at the concert?

John: A thief came in the night, is that right?

Gary:: That's right. The thief didn't send them a postcard saying, "I want to break into your house on this evening so why don't you go to the concert?" And that's what Jesus is talking about when he talks about the thief in the night. He says you won't know the day or the hour so be ready! Always be ready.

John: Always be on the lookout. Have your security system on all the time so you'll be able to detect when the thief comes. Be ready because, if you're not, it's going to be like waking up in the morning and finding out the thief has been.

Gary:: That's right. Now, there are other texts, John, that talk about the thief in the night.

John: Yes, let's look at some of those.

Gary:: One Thessalonians, Chapter 5, if you look at this closely, again, you'll see the emphasis is on the timing of the day of the Lord. one Thessalonians 5, Verse 1, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night."

John: So again, it's the day of the Lord that comes as a thief.

Gary:: That's right, and He says, "He's going to come", verse three, "When they say peace and safety then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a women with child, and they shall not escape.

John: Something I find significant here, is that this follows right on from one Thessalonians 4. "The Lord Himself shall be sent from Heaven with a shout, the voice of the Archangel, the trump of God, the dead in Christ will rise" we're caught up with Jesus, we'll be with him always. Then the next verse, "But of the times and seasons..."

In other words, when this is going to take place, I don't have to write to you about that.

Gary:: You know Jesus is not a thief in the night to the righteous. Verse five says, "You are all the children of light, and the children of the day. We are not of the night, nor of the darkness." Verse four says "You're not of the darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."

So God's people are ready, even though they don't know the day or the hour. They see the signs that Jesus' coming is soon, and so they're prepared. They are in a perpetual state of preparedness, watching for Jesus to come.

John: So if you are of the light, and not of the darkness, in other words you shouldn't need to be concerned that this would overtake you, because you would have followed Jesus' advice, and you'd be ready whenever it takes place.

Gary:: Again, John, the emphasis here is on the timing of Jesus' coming. It's not that people will not know that he has come, it's on his timing. This is really clear, John, in two Peter, chapter three. To go over two Peter 3: 10, here's where the Bible really talks to us and makes us so crystal clear. "But the day the Lord will come as a thief in the night..."

John: OK, there it is again.

Gary:: There it is. Now if you stop there you miss the whole point. "...the day the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The earth also, and the works that are there-in shall be burned up" Now does that sound like a secret coming?

John: How can that be secret if things are melting and burning, and there's going to be, a great noise? That's anything but a secret.

Gary:: Over and over again it says the whole heavens will pass away with a great noise. Everything is going to melt down with fervent heat by the brightness of Christ's coming. So, it can't be secret. Not at all. So again, the thief in the night, and if you read the surrounding context, concerns the timing. We don't know when he is going to come.

John: Something I appreciate about this passage is in verse 11 it says, "Seeing that all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversations and Godliness." In other words, knowing that this is going to take place that means that you really want to make sure you're ready to meet Jesus Christ.

Gary:: That is so important. Now let me tell you John, there's someone who doesn't want us to be ready, and you know who that is.

John: I sure do.

Gary:: Satan is doing everything he can to keep us from being ready. You see, I don't think it's any mistake that in Matthew 24, when Jesus was asked about the signs of his coming and of the end of the world, the first thing he told the disciples, he says, "Take heed that no man deceive you."

Jesus knew that there would be deceptive doctrines and deceptive false Christ surrounding the time of his coming. So, this secret Rapture teaching, in some respects, in certain ways that it's taught, actually teaches that there's a second chance, or it teaches that you don't have to worry about last day events. In fact, John, just the other day I was driving down the road, listening to a Christian radio program, and they were talking about last day events and the mark of the beast. It was a call-in program.

And a guy calls in and he says, "You know we don't need to worry about last day events, because when Jesus comes we are going up in the Rapture and we are not going to be here." So he said we don't even have to worry about last day events.

John: Now what does that do for you then, in terms of preparation for Christ, and in terms of understanding these apocalyptic prophecies that speak to us in the last days?

Gary:: Well, his take on it was you don't even have to take time to study it. In fact he was making a point to the radio host, you don't even have to be teaching all these things, because it doesn't matter to believers.

John: But according to the Bible, believers ought to be concerned. Nowhere does it say that Christ is coming back to secretly rapture out the saints sometime before other people go on and are saved. It just isn't there in the Bible, is it?

Gary:: No John. You know, when I first became a Christian, my sister was a Christian at the time, and she told me about this secret rapture. And actually John, this was before I became a Christian, and I rationalized in my mind, "Well if there's a secret rapture, I'll just wait, and when my sister disappears-because she's a believer- I'll recognize that there's some time left here on Earth for me to repent and turn my life around.

It really didn't encourage me to give my life to Christ then, it actually discouraged that because I thought there was a second chance.

John: Do you think you're the only person that had that experience, or is that experience being replicated millions of times around the world?

Gary:: I've met many people who thought exactly as I thought back then.

John: But Jesus said "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour that ye think not, the son of man cometh" The Bible urges us to be ready to meet Jesus all the time. The Bible talks about Christ's coming as the blessed hope.

[background music]

John: Soon and very soon, we are going to see the king. Christian friend, be sure that you know Jesus, and that you're ready to meet him. Thanks for joining us today, we'll talk more about this next time on "Bible Talk".

Man 1: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you, that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed, and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know. To receive this free and informative Bible.

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