WE BELIEVE in the premillennial, imminent and personal return of our Lord Jesus Christ to gather his people unto himself. Having this glorious hope and earnest expectation, we purify ourselves, even as He is pure, so that we may be ready to meet him when He comes – John 14:1-3; James 5:7,8; Titus 2:13; 1 Thess 4:15-17; 2 Thess, 2:1; 1 John 2:28; 3:2,3.
The second coming of Christ is one of the constantly repeated messages in the New Testament. It is mentioned over 300 times. Fifty times in the New Testament believers are admonished to watch and be ready for His coming. Its importance is not overstated when in Titus 2:13 Paul refers to it as THE BLESSED HOPE.
THE PERSONAL RETURN OF CHRIST.
We believe in the literal, personal and physical return of
Jesus Christ to earth.
Acts 1:11 "This same Jesus who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
Jn 14:3, "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."
THE TIME OF HIS COMING.
We are not permitted to set exact dates because God has not revealed to man the "day or hour".
Matt 24"36, "But of that day or hour no one knows, no not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only".
III. THE EVENTS OF HIS COMING The gathering of the church to be with Jesus, the resurrection of those who died in Christ, and the coming of Christ occur simultaneously. We also call this event the rapture.
1 Cor 15:51-53, "Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall all be changed. 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. For thus corruptible must put on incorruption, and thus mortal must put on immortality.”
1 Thess 4:16-17, "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. 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."
Mark 13:26-27, "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and then He will send His angels and gather together His elect from the four winds; from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven."
Rev 1:7, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him."
From these scriptures we conclude that the following events occur at the rapture, (the gathering of the church):
1. Jesus returns to the earth but only as far as the clouds.
2. The dead in Christ rise from the dead to meet the Lord in the clouds.
3. Those who are alive in Christ will be changed and rise up to the clouds to meet Christ with those who have just risen from the dead.
4. We then will never again be separated from Christ.
THE SECOND COMING HAPPENS BEFORE THE MILLENIUM
(Note: The millennium is a thousand-year period of Christ's rule over the earth. It is covered in the next study.)
We have to note again that the resurrection of those who died in Christ happens at His return. 1 Cor 15:51-53, 1 Thess 4:16-17.
The scriptures then tell us that those who take part in this resurrection also take part in the Millennium. Therefore we conclude that the second coming takes place before the Millennium.
Rev 20:6, "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such, the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
THE SECOND COMING IS A MOTIVATING FORCE FOR THE BELIEVER.
a. To keep our hearts blameless, 1 Thess 3:13.
b. To live soberly, righteously and godly, Titus 2:12-13.
c. To assemble ourselves together in order to exhort one another, Heb 10:25.
d. To faithful Christian service which will be rewarded by a crown of glory, 1 Pet 5:4.
e. To witness and see souls saved, 1 Thess 2:19.
f. To comfort those who have lost a saved loved one. 1 Thess 4:13-18.
What a blessed hope we have. Our Saviour is coming back. In the twinkling of an eye, we will leave this earth and meet with our beloved Jesus, to be with Him throughout eternity.
To the Christian, the second coming is what keeps us motivated and on fire for evangelism, knowing that it's only up to the time of His coming that we can do anything for the evangelisation of the world.
We don't live our lives merely hanging on, hoping we can make it until Jesus returns. We live our lives as Ambassadors for Christ, knowing that we are commissioned to do a wonderful work for Jesus. He is not returning for a weak, beaten up, irrelevant church. He is returning for a victorious, spotless, overcoming church.
Teaching Copyright (C) 1999 John Iuliano (M.A. Min). All rights reserved. Published here with permission.