THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST
Our topic is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and if I were to choose a subtitle, it would be the The event that ends the world. But I can tell you now the end of the world will not come from flying saucers or asteroids or nuclear war, I remember leading up to the year 2000, there was all sorts of scare mongering about the Y2K bug, and then there was the prophecies of the 16th century mystic Nostrodamas, but none of these things eventuated, because these were the fatuous devisings of men, and not based on the Word of God the Bible.
The prophecies we studied last week, reminded us that this is no ordinary book, that it is the Inspired Word of God, and it helps us to understand the sentiments of the Bible writers when they would make incredibly bold claims such as is found in 2Timothy 3:16,17
All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
Here the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy says that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, in other words from Genesis to Revelation the Bible is God’s inspired word, not just the New Testament, not just the Old Testament but the entire Bible and it is profitable for doctrine, reproof, instruction in righteousness etc. Notice how the Apostle Peter speaks of the Bible 2 Peter 1:20, 21
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke [as they were] moved by the Holy Spirit.”
The Apostle Peter says that no prophecy of Scripture is of a private interpretation in other words, it has not been fabricated by man, but instead it came from holy men of God, that is men committed to God, committed to living noble and blameless lives who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
I hope you remember from last week as we studied Daniel Chapter 2, we discovered that in the time of the divided Kingdom of Europe represented by those feet of iron and clay , that a rock not made of human hands, in other words it was of Divine Origin would collide into the base of the image, destroying the earthling kingdoms but would mark the beginning of God’s rule and the eventually destruction of sin. As we compare Scripture with scripture we discover that the rock represents the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, how do we know it is going to happen? Because of the preponderance of fulfilled Bible prophecies found in the Old and New Testaments, this establishes the case for the Second Coming of Christ someday being a reality.
However there is a lot of confusion among Christians today on just how Jesus will return, how is His Coming manifested and that is what we are going to study now. Did you read recently that the European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.
In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
The point that I want to make from that example is this, that if you start allowing compromise to come and the watering down of the truth you end up in confusion, and in Christian circles today there is a great deal of confusion regarding the manner of Christ’s return, oh all Christian denominations believe that Jesus is coming back, but many of them try an put their own little spin on it, which in the end becomes a far cry from what the Bible actually says.
Did you know that there are over 1500 references to the Second Coming in the Bible? One in twenty five verses in the New Testament speaks about the Second Coming, whole chapters are devoted to the subject, 1500 times God keeps reminding us that it is going to happen. Obviously this is one of the most important subjects within the Bible and God wants us to know how its going to happen, and what we need to do to be ready. In the book of John, Jesus left His followers with a promise the New Testament Writers fondly referred to as the blessed Hope, when He said in John 14:1-3
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; 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.
I will come again this is the promise that Christians have clung to for 2 millennia, this is the blessed hope of Christianity that Jesus will make good his word. This is the promise of promises that Jesus would come back to this world again. All of the New Testament Writers believed in and preached on the visible, literal Second Coming of Christ. Notice an incident that occurred at the time of Christ’s ascension this is 40 days after the crucifixion and is found in the book of Acts
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:9-11 NKJV
Here are two men in white apparel, lets pause for a moment as we compare scripture with scripture we know that these two men in white are angels, and they say to the disciples “just as Jesus ascended to heaven that is how He will return” in other words it will be something that will be seen, it will be visible. All of the New Testament Writers believed in and preached on the visible, literal Second Coming of Christ. Furthermore some of the most powerful words in Scripture about the Second Coming are recorded by the Apostle Paul and note how he describes the Second Coming 1 Thess. 4:16,17
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord
1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NKJV
The Apostle Paul inspired by God describes the Second Coming of Christ in terms that could never be construed as secretive. Paul says that when the Lord descends from heaven the righteous who are dead will be resurrected, and those that are faithful who are alive will be gathered up in the air with them to meet the Lord in air. What we learn from this passage is that Jesus feet do not touch the earth at His Second Coming the righteous are gathered up to meet Him in the air. Further to that, there will be noise, there will angels, there is the sound of a trumpet the shout of the archangel. There will be lots of activity and noise, and no one will say on that day is that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? In fact if we turn to Revelation 1:7
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
In this passage John sets down the motto and the text of his whole book of Revelation, which is his confidence in the triumphant return of Christ. But notice the words “every eye will see Him”, there will be nothing secretive about the Second Coming of Christ, as we have already seen. But did you know Jesus actually preached against the idea that His return would be a secret event! Let’s go to the book of Matthew 24:23 on page 960
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.24 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 “See, I have told you beforehand.26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:21-27 NKJV)
Jesus said if anyone says to you that He is returning in secret or Jesus Christ has returned, and He is in a secret place or out in the desert what does the end of verse 26 say, “Don’t believe it” If someone says to you that Christ’s coming will be in secret Jesus said don’t believe them, Why Lord? because just as the lightning flashes from the East to West so also will My coming be, Jesus said.. He was here once and the world has never forgotten it, but He promised He was coming back and when He does it will be no secret, every eye will see Him, and it is this event which marks the end of this world as we know it. Matthew 24:29-31
(Mat 24:29 KJV) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
(Mat 24:30 KJV) 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.
(Mat 24:31 KJV) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
This is how the Bible says the world will end there will be a great tribulation we are going to talk about that in a future presentation. Following the tribulation there will signs and wonders in the heavens and then Jesus will return with His angels, to gather the righteous into His kingdom. Let’s turn to the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:51-53
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Let’s not forget that Paul is dealing with things which defy language and baffle expression, he talks about men and women of this world being changed in preparation for the next world. In this world we are mortal subject to death, but the righteous will be immortal in the world to come not subject to death. In this world we are corruptible, we have fallen human natures, we are drawn to sin, and our bodies break down with age. However at the Second Coming Paul says that in a moment in the twinkling of an eye we shall be changed from corruptible to incorruptible, no longer being drawn to sin, no longer having the sorts of bodies that break down with age, we are changed to live in the life to come. Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 16:27
(Mat 16:27 KJV) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
You see the Scripture is clear there will be nothing secretive about the Second Coming of Christ when He comes with His angels, there will be no second chance, every eye will see Him as it says in Revelation 1:7, Christ will come in power and great glory as it says Matthew 25:3, the armies of heaven will follow Him according to Revelation 19:11-16. The righteous are gathered up to meet the Lord in the air as it says in 1 Thess. 4:16,17, the wicked are destroyed by fire as it Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 in fact lets read it,
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;.
Again nothing secret about the Second Coming of Christ here, because it says when He does return not only are the righteous transformed and rewarded with immortality, but at the same time with the wicked the lost are punished with everlasting destruction. Now this passage did not say everlasting punishing, the word was destruction meaning the punishment will be destruction which simply means the cessation of life. Jesus said in John 3:16 for God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The word perish means extinction of life, so in our accepting or rejection of Jesus the result is either life or death it is as simple as that. In Romans 6:23 the bible says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of eternal life. The punishment of the wicked is not everlasting torment in hellfire as many teach, but destruction non life, they perish, its death. Turn now to Revelation 19:11-16
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
You see at the Second Coming of Christ all of Heaven is emptied, finally the great rescue mission to earth is to be accomplished, and the host of heaven want to be there they want to accompany their commander, who they love. The last prayer and last promise made by Jesus Christ recorded in the Bible is found in the book of revelation but what is the subject He talks about? Lets turn to it in Revelation 22:20.
“He which testifieth these things saith Surely I come quickly .”
The very last message that Jesus gave to the world recorded in the Bible was to tell mankind that He was coming back. Isn’t it true that when we have something important to say and don’t want someone to forget it, that we mention it a number of times but it is generally at the end of the conversation that it is stressed? And this is exactly what Jesus has done, throughout the New Testament the message is loud and clear that Jesus is coming back and every eye will see Him, and then the last message that Jesus gives the beloved disciple John and recorded in Revelation is that He is coming back.
It reminds me of the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. He was a famous explorer who in 1914 led an expedition that was to cross the Antarctic from McMurdo sound to the Weddel Sea. However his ship was hemmed in by iced about 1000 klms from the South Pole. For the next ten months his ship “The Endurance” drifted amidst the ice, carried by the current and prevailing wind until it was finally crushed in pack ice. The members of his expedition then drifted on ice flows for another 5 months and finally escaped by boat to Elephant Island. Then Shackleton and 5 of his team went to find help and they rowed and sailed in small boat 1300 klms to South Georgia Island. By the time he organised a rescue mission and returned, to his dismay he found that the sea had frozen over and his men cut off, so he had to abandon the rescue.
He led two more relief expeditions each ending in failure, until finally in his last effort, he found a narrow channel through the ice. Guiding his small ship through the ice and finally reaching the island, he found his men still alive, but strangely they were packed up and prepared to leave. After the initial excitement Shackleton asked how was it that they were ready to leave when he arrived and they told him that every day one of their group would say, “Get your things ready, boys , the boss may come today.” What a story what an epic of heroism, bravery and hope. They were waiting for Shackleton with an eager expectation and were prepared to meet Him.
But let me tell you a greater story than this is shortly to played out. A grand rescue mission in which Christ will come back for those who have been trapped in this world of suffering, heartache and pain. The world is unraveling, but Jesus Christ is our hope. The Bible and Historians tell us that Jesus walked on this earth, but Bible prophecy says He is coming back a second time, and at that time his feet will not touch the ground and those that have chosen to follow Him, who value His sacrifice and desire to please God He changes so they may live with Him forever. That is the promise of scripture that promise is for you, if you are willing to accept it!
Seventh-day Adventist Church Melbourne
Level 12, 474 Flinders Street (Access via Highlander lane), Melbourne CBD.
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