A Basic Understanding Of Christ’s Return
What do you know about Jesus Christ? Who is He? What is He? What has He done? What is He doing? What is He going to do? Have you trusted Him as your only hope of eternal life? Are you sure that you have not believed in vain? If you claim to know Jesus is He the Lord Jesus Christ or is he another Jesus, who can never help you? These questions need to be answered honestly and correctly.
Regardless of what happens to you in this life or what you do with Jesus Christ, you are still going to, one day, stand before Him in your resurrected body and personally give an account for your actions while you were in this life. This is why we need to know everything we can know about Him and what He requires of us.
All that we need to know is readily available to us right here in the Bible. All we have to do is open it and begin studying it. He told us to do just that. John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
The first thing we learn about Him is that He came to this earth to die for our sins so that we could go to Heaven. After He completed His mission He arose from the grave and a few days later ascended back to Heaven. He made salvation very simple requiring only that we turn from our sin and place our trust solely in Him for the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. He also left with us the sure promise that He will one day physically, bodily return to this earth.
As you can see from our text, men scoff at the idea that Jesus Christ will personally return to this earth. They say that God has never intervened in human history, and that He never will. Peter says that they are willingly ignorant of the facts. God has intervened on two occasions. He sent the flood and destroyed all but eight souls from the face of the earth. He sent His Son to die for men’s sins. Since He has done that, and since He says He will intervene again, we had better believe what He says. The reason He has not yet returned is to allow more men and women to be saved (v.9).
The Bible is very clear on Christ’s second coming. Perhaps no other doctrine except salvation stands out as clearly. Every book in the Bible speaks of or makes allusion to Christ’s return. In the New Testament one verse out of twenty assures us of the fact. Those who scoff at His return are very foolish indeed.
Matthew 16:27, “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.” Mark 13:25-26, “And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” Luke 21:25-27, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
John 14:3, “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.” Acts 1:11, “…Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” 1 Corinthians 1:7, “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
1 Thess. 1:10, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thess. 2:19, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” 1 Thess. 3:13, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” 1 Thess. 4:16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 1 Thess. 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thess. 1:10, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” 2 Thess. 2:1, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,” 2 Thess. 2:8, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”
With careful study of the Scripture it is easy to see the order of His return. Here is a basic outline.
1) RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH – All born-again believers in Christ will be taken out of the world suddenly along with the dead in Christ (I Cor. 15:51-58; I Thes. 4:13-18).
2) TRIBULATION PERIOD – This follows the rapture and consists of seven years of God’s judgment being poured out on the inhabitants of the earth (Rev. 6-18).
3) JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST – This also follows the rapture and takes place in Heaven. All the saved will stand before Christ and give an account of their behavior here on earth after their salvation (Rom. 14:10-13; II Cor. 5:9-11).
4) RETURN OF CHRIST TO THE EARTH – Christ will return to the earth visibly, bodily, and with all His saints after the tribulation period (Rev. 19:17-21).
5) THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON – This final campaign will end in the valley of Megiddo when Jesus returns to the earth. He will destroy all of the armies.
6) BINDING OF SATAN – He will be bound for 1,000 years in the bottomless pit and will not be allowed to tempt anyone during that time (Rev. 20:1-3).
7) THE REGATHERING AND PURGING OF ISRAEL – (Ezek. 20:33-44; Mal. 3:2-5)
8) THE RESURRECTION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AND TRIBULATION SAINTS – (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 20:4-6)
9) JUDGMENT OF THE LIVING NATIONS – All those remaining alive on the earth after the battle of Armageddon will be brought before the Lord for judgment (Matt. 25:31-46).
10) THE 1,000 YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST ON EARTH – Jesus Christ Himself will reign as king of all the earth for 1,000 years from His throne in Jerusalem (Rev. 20:4-6).
11) RELEASE OF SATAN AFTER THE 1,000 YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST – Satan will be released for a short season to tempt the nations (Rev. 20:7-10).
12) THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT – This present heaven and earth will be destroyed. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, and all the lost from the beginning of time will stand before God (2 Pet. 3:9-14; Rev. 20:11-15).
13) THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH – God will create a new heaven and a new earth. He will place the New Jerusalem on the new earth (Rev. 21-22).
I. HIS RETURN IS CERTAIN (John 14:3).
It is promised throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament.
II. HIS RETURN IS IMMINENT (Matt. 24:35-36; Acts 1:6-7).
III. HIS RETURN IS PREMILLIENIAL (Rev. 20:1-7).
IV. HIS RETURN IS SUDDEN (I Cor. 15:51-52).
As a thief in the night at the rapture; as King of Kings at the revelation
V. HIS RETURN IS A REMINDER.
To purify ourselves (I John 3:1-3) (I Pet. 3:11-14); and to occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13)
Make no mistake. Jesus will return to this earth personally, physically, and visibly. He will right all wrongs then. In the meantime we are to be about the business of winning souls and making disciples. Are you prepared to meet him? First, you must be born-again. Second, you must be obedient to His will for your life.