Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Pt. 4

Scripture: John 17:6, Revelation 3:10, Acts 14:22
The Bible talks about Jesus' coming as the blessed hope. Will everyone know when Christ comes? What about the seven years of tribulation? Are we going to be taken out of this time of tribulation?
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Announcer: 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: Hello, and welcome again to Bible Talk. This is John Bradshaw. With me is Garry Gibbs. We're talking about the Bible and what the Bible has to say to us where we are, where we live today.

Gary, lately we've been talking about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Bible calls that the blessed hope. Surely there's no subject that we could talk about more hopeful than the subject of Christ's return.

Gary Gibbs: John, one out of 25 verses in the New Testament talks about Jesus' second coming. That hope of the return of Christ has sustained Christians down through the ages. As they have been persecuted, fed to the lions, burned at the stake they've always looked forward to a better life when Jesus will come.

John: Now, our last few visits here on Bible Talk you've made some things very clear. When Jesus comes back, it is not going to be a secret. Every eye will see him. It's got to be something people hear. When he comes back, the Bible talks about his coming being as a thief in the night. But this is dealing with His timing. The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.

So surely Jesus is not going to come secretly and get in and out without people knowing that he has been.

Gary: Not at all. Second Peter three tells us in verse 10 that though he comes as a thief in the night, the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with a fervent heat. So, when he comes, everybody knows it. They're seeing it. They're hearing it. They're experiencing it.

John: I grew up in New Zealand. New Zealand is part of the British Commonwealth. There was a special day when Queen Elizabeth came to our town. In fact she was staying in this resort town for a number of days. You know, the days leading up to the Queen arriving you couldn't help but know she was coming to town. Secret Service agents were combing the place. Bomb sniffing dogs were all over town. When she arrived, a massive crowd was at the airport to greet her. A motorcade of black limousines drove her through town. I mean when Queen Elizabeth came to town, you knew she was there.

Jesus imminently, infinitely more important than an earthly queen-the King of kings and the Lord of lords-it doesn't seem to make any sense at all that he would come secretly without anybody knowing that he's been.

Gary: No, especially when this is His second time back to planet Earth. His first time was as a babe. Now he's returning. Every eye will see him. The Bible says the whole sky will be filled with all the holy angels coming from heaven.

John: Now, even though this is the blessed hope, even though this is a subject that people ought to look at and look to with hearts filled with joy, for some people, well, there's an absence of joy because you hear about this thing called the seven years of tribulation.

So, there are those who believe that Jesus is going to come back, first secretly, then again sometime after that. The intervening time will be this awful, terrible, rotten time. I'll share with you a verse that's often used. It's Revelation 3:10.

Gary: John, as you're turning to that, I think it's this teaching of the Bible about the last day tribulation that has inspired more people to look forward to the rapture as a secret event than any other thing. Because when pastors and preachers talk about the tribulation, they talk about the Antichrist and the mark of the beast. They depict it as such a horrible, awful time that it would be almost impossible to be faithful to God during that time.

So, they scare people into thinking well, I don't want to be there during that time, and I don't have to be. If I give my heart to the Lord today, God will take me out in the secret rapture. So, they use it as a motivating factor to save people.

John: People hearing this and understand it long for there to be an early exit. They're desperate for there to be a secret rapture.

Gary: Yeah. Unfortunately though, it sells the power of God short as though God doesn't have power to sustain people through the tribulation. But you were going to read a text to us that is often used to support the idea that we won't have to go through the tribulation.

John: Yeah, here it is. Tell us what to make of this. Revelation 3:10: Jesus says, "Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."

Isn't or should I say, is Jesus here saying that I'll get you out early and prevent you from going through this terrible tribulation time?

Gary: No, that's not what it says at all. It says I will keep thee from the hour of temptation. It doesn't say he's going to take us out of the hour of temptation. So it doesn't ...

John: Well, how do you know it doesn't mean that?

Gary: Well, look over at John, Chapter 17. Jesus is speaking here. He uses the same phrase "they have kept my word." Because they've kept my word, I'll keep you from the hour of temptation. Verse six of John 17: "I have manifested thy name unto the men (Jesus is praying to his Father. This is often called the Lord's Prayer.) which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word." Same thing you read over in Revelation 3:10.

John: Sure, that's correct.

Gary: Then you come down to verse 15. Still Jesus is praying. He says, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." So, here is an example where Jesus is saying because you've kept my word, I'm going to keep you from the hour of temptation. But it doesn't necessitate taking them out of the world.

John: But everywhere you turn and whoever you listen to today it seems that people are saying there's this wretched awful tribulation time, and if you're faithful to Jesus, you'll be out of there. Now, there are other places in the Bible that make it clear that, that is not true. Or is there biblical evidence to sustain this terrible tribulation time and people being taken out of it?

Gary: Well, there will definitely be a tribulation, a time of trouble such as the world has never seen before and ever since. So, that will happen. That's mentioned in Daniel 12. It's mentioned in Matthew 24.

John: But as a Christian, can I hope to be out of here when this is taking place?

Gary: No, because the second coming doesn't happen until at the end of that. Let me share with you a couple of texts that indicate this. First, look at Acts 14:22. Notice here it says they were "confirming the souls of the disciples." This was they were traveling through the middle east. They were confirming the new converts, exhorting them to continue in the faith. Here's what they taught them, that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.

So they taught tribulation was something that every Christian is going to face. So why is it if the early Christians were taught you have to go through tribulation before you enter the Kingdom of God and Christians down through the centuries, John, have all faced tribulation? Some of them costing their very life, people burned at the stake, fed to the lions. Why would we think that we in the last days don't have to have to face any tribulation? That we just get to march right into heaven without any trials, without any tribulation?

John: Now this could sound pretty ominous. Am I supposed to be excited now that I'm going to go through some kind of tribulation time?

Gary: That reminds me of a lady I was studying with one time. We were studying the Bible together. We were talking about the secret rapture and she kept pestering me I would have to say. She kept saying, "Pastor, when will the tribulation happen? Will it happen before the secret rapture? Will it happen mid way through? Will the secret rapture happen three and a half years after the tribulation?"

"Or will the secret rapture take place at the end of the seven year tribulation?" And I didn't want to answer that right at that point, but she kept asking me, kept asking me like the Proverb says: like a dripping water.

So finally she said, listen if you tell me when the rapture, I promise you I won't get upset. I said OK. She said, "Will we go through the tribulation or not?"

I said, "We will go through the tribulation before the rapture." And showed her the Bible text for it. Well, she didn't keep her promise. She jumped up out of her seat and started ranting and raving and said, "I'm not going through the tribulation. You might go through the tribulation but I'm out of here."

See, her whole religious experience, John, was based on getting out of here. She was so fearful of the tribulation that she had to believe in the secret rapture.

John: And there are many, many people exactly like that all over Christianity today.

Gary: And I think that sells short the power of God. We don't have to be fearful of tribulation because Jesus is with us. I think about w number of stories in the book of Daniel. Daniel is a prophetic book. Daniel Chapter three contains a story that a lot of our listeners are familiar with, the three young men who are thrown into the burning, fiery furnace because they wouldn't bow down to the image that King Nebuchadnezzar set up.

Now if you study Daniel 3, John, carefully, it parallels with Revelation 13 that talks about the mark of the beast and setting up an image to the beast. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they represent those in the last days who will not bow down and worship the beast.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace but do you remember what happened to them in that furnace?

John: Well I know Nebuchadnezzar looked into that furnace. He said, wait a minute, we threw three in there and now I see four. They got those because Christ was standing with them in the flames. When they brought those three boys out of there they didn't smell smoke on them. Their hair wasn't singed. The only thing burned up was their ropes.

They had truly gone through tribulation but Jesus stood by their side.

Gary: And that is an example of what Jesus will do with His people in the last days. Yeah, they'll go through tribulation just like the reformers died for their faith in the Middle Ages. But Jesus was with them and if we have to suffer pain during that time, God absorbs the pain for us.

And he'll allow us to be faithful but let me tell you, there'll be a lot of people who go through that tribulation who go through the time of the tribulation but they will be kept by the power of God and they will not experience the tribulation, if you understand what I am saying.

They will be secreted away in the mountains and in caves. They'll be in hiding.

John: I know that if you read what the Bible says about the seven last plagues, for instance, they fall on people who receive the mark of the beast. So if you don't receive the mark of the beast you don't receive the seven last plagues.

Gary: Yeah, and it doesn't fall on those who are righteous, those who are following God. There's one other quick point here, John, as we're getting read to end. I think we ought to look at. It's found in two Thessalonians. The common teaching is that after the rapture then the Antichrist comes. Well, the Bible doesn't say that.

Second Thessalonians 2: 1 reads, "We beseech you brethren by the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ by our gathering together unto him that you be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled neither by spirit that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day, the day of Christ is coming."

"Shall not come except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed." So what's it telling us there? It's saying that the second coming of Christ will not come except first the man of sin, the Antichrist, be revealed and the great falling away from the true faith happens.

John: So very clearly then the Bible says that this Antichrist will come first and then this tribulation takes place.

Gary: That's correct.

John: Indicating then that there's not going to be any kind of secret quick getaway for people before the Antichrist comes.

Gary: No and God will take care of His people through that time of tribulation. He's faithful. All we need to do is make him our Lord and Savior. Accept him as our savior. Trust him. And God will be glorified through his people as they trust him.

John: You've given us the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. There's also the example of Daniel who is kept in the lions' den. My friend if you know Jesus, then you can have assurance that just as Jesus kept the three Hebrew worthies, just as he kept Daniel, he'll keep you as well.

God bless you. We look forward to seeing you again next time here at Bible Talk.

Announcer: If you'd like more information on what we have been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide that we would 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.

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