Christ, Our Soon-Coming King
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Nearly two thousand years ago a little group of men, handpicked by Jesus, stood on the Mount of Olives with eyes fixed on the skies. Only a moment ago they had been talking to Jesus – and now He was gone. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9 KJV).
Those disciples stood – transfixed – gazing into the clouds. For forty days since the resurrection, Jesus had been coming and going, showing Himself “alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3 KJV). Would He come back and speak with them again? How long would He be gone this time? And yet … there seemed to be something different about His departure this time … something they could not quite put their finger on. The previous times He had just “vanished from their sight” (Luke 24:31). This was the first time they had actually watched Him go.
One thing was certain. He was coming back again. He had told them so over and over. “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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3 KJV). But how? … and when?
It was then that they noticed the two angels. “Men of Galilee”, they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? THIS SAME JESUS taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11 KJV).
The Scriptures record that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. No further words were needed. The RETURN OF JESUS was a topic they had discussed many, many times with Him personally. In fact, a recent conversation on this very Mount of Olives, recorded by Matthew in chapter 24 of his Gospel, still rang fresh in their ears.
Yes, He was definitely COMING BACK AGAIN!
World events and the Return of Jesus Christ
The Bible is a prophetic book. It speaks of historical events in the lives of people and nations with a certainty and clarity that is unique. Thousands of years before they existed, in many cases, the destinies of individuals and nations were charted with precision and history bears out the accuracy of those predictions. It’s prophecies are being fulfilled right up to the present time and we read about them daily in our newspapers. This is not surprising when one considers the amazing miracle that we call “The Bible”.
The Bible is actually a collection of sixty-six books, written over a period of 1600 years, spanning 60 generations. Many of the approximately 40 authors involved did not know each other or enjoy the privilege of reading one another’s work. They came from all walks of life and wrote at different times, on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe), in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), and about hundreds of different and often controversial subjects.
When these inspired writings were collated and compiled into one Book the signature of the Almighty Eternal God could be clearly seen. There is one underlying theme from Genesis in the Old Testament to the book of Revelation in the New Testament – the coming of the Saviour to pay the price of sin .. and His Return to bring a climax to this world’s history. The “holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15) also tells us that “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:28 NKJV)
Those who have seriously investigated the Bible’s prophetic, scientific and historical accuracy are left in no doubt that the predictions concerning the Return of Jesus Christ to our world will be just as precisely fulfilled. It cannot be otherwise. World events – the prophesied “Signs of the Times” – should make mankind sit up and take note. Everything is going according to the Divine Plan and His Return is on schedule.
Matthew chapter 24, for example, outlines a series of prophetic signs that the “last generation” will experience in increasing measure (v.34). False Messiahs and false prophets (v.5,23,24), political upheaval (v.6,7a), famines, pestilences, earthquakes (v.7b), persecution of true believers (v.10), and appalling moral conditions paralleling those of Noah’s day, including an emphasis on homosexuality (v.37-39), will be the order of the day.
At the same time, the Lord will make sure that the world has every opportunity to hear anointed preaching of the Gospel worldwide (v.14) – possible in our generation in a literal sense for the first time in world history via satellite T.V.
An interesting sign concerns the nation of Israel. Just before the return of Jesus Israel will be constantly in the news as the “Fig Tree” puts forth her leaves (v.32-35). Revelation chapter 13 prophesies the global government, the global religious system and the global economy. These are powerful prophetic signs that tell us the coming of Christ is far closer than we could imagine.
Sadly, however, the comment of Jesus rings true even in our generation. “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the SIGNS OF THE TIMES” (Matt. 16:2-3).
The Bible prophesies the Return of Christ
The Promise of His Coming is an attested Scriptural truth.
It is estimated that there are more than three hundred prophecies in the Bible concerning the first coming of Christ … and about eight times as many concerning His Second Coming. The New Testament mentions it at least 318 times in 210 chapters and there can be no doubt that saints throughout the ages have always “looked for His appearing”. The return of Christ is a sure and certain reality.
This is no new doctrine. Even that Old Testament saint, Enoch – just seven generations from Adam – looked way beyond his time and prophesied concerning the Second Coming of Christ. This godly man, who walked so close to the Lord that he just walked right into His Presence one day (Gen. 5:22), said:”Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude verse 14 KJV).
The inspired Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ will return personally. “This same Jesus” (Acts 1:11) will come again in a literal and visible manner.
Genuine Christians will be the first to meet Him. “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. 1 Th 4:16-18 (NKJV).
We notice that those who love the Lord, and have died before His return, will come back with Him. The atoms that made up their bodies will be called together and they will receive their resurrection bodies at exactly the same time as believers currently living on the earth. Together … we shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This “catching up” of the saints is what is known as “The Rapture of the Church”. This is the first phase of the Second Coming. Those who do not know the Lord will not see Him at this time. Their turn is coming.
The second phase occurs when the Lord – together with all His saints – returns and stands physically on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem .. the very place He left this earth after He came the first time. Zechariah 14:4 tells us about it.”And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, makinga very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.” (NKJV)
It will happen suddenly and unexpectedly as far as the world is concerned. “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” (1 Th 5:1-3 NKJV). Everybody will know about it – from the East to the West. “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:27 NKJV
Revelation 1:7 gives us some more detail. “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.” (NKJV)
The sight of the Glorious Resurrected Christ will shock this world. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30 NKJV). Terrified, those who once scoffed and mocked will call out to the mountains and the rocks: “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev 6:16 KJV).
There is a Day coming when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10,11).
When Christ returns, every knee will bow – willingly or unwillingly. What a joy to bow before Him now and enjoy wonderful fellowship with the Risen Lord while we wait for His Return.
Scoffers in the Last Days
Noah spent 120 years building his ark … and people scoffed right until the moment the floods came and washed them all away
Jesus said it would be just like “the days of Noah” when He returns. People will be concerned with their daily lives and totally unconcerned about the calamity about to befall them. The words of the prophets will, once again, fall on deaf ears.
Nearly two thousand years ago, Peter wrote that this would be so. Those who scoff are merely fulfilling prophecy and, in fact, become a prophetic sign themselves pointing to the soon coming of the Lord (2 Peter 3:3,4).
As far as God is concerned, time is but a fleeting moment. It is like a puff of smoke in the light of Eternity (James 4:14,). God has graciously given men this time in which to repent and turn to Him because of His great love for mankind. Our merciful God is not willing that anyone should perish without hope. It may be possible to live without Christ in this world, but to die without Him is the greatest of all tragedies (2 Peter 3:8,9).
The Certainty of Christ’s Return
The Lord is coming at the appointed time. That is a definite and reliable fact.
The question is — are we ready for His return? While the “signs of the times” are evident for all to see, many will be surprised and shocked at the suddenness of it all.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (2 Peter 3:10-12).
Yes, the Promise of His Coming is sure and those who have an “understanding of the times” (1 Chronicles 12:32) will find a conversation Jesus had with His disciples — recorded in Matthew chapter 24 — most enlightening.
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Rev. 22:20 (NKJV)
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