Preparing for the Second Coming
We all have insurance. And if we knew a flood was coming we would probably buy additional flood insurance. The Bible tells us that a catastrophic event is coming to the earth at any moment. Are we prepared? Have we made sure the members our family are ready to survive the coming devastation?
As Christians we are called to take the return of our savior extremely seriously. For when He arrives, this world will be over. Ended. No more bank accounts. No more IRA’s. No more 401k’s. No more health, car, house insurance. All we will have to save us from the coming destruction is being in a right relationship with God in Christ, period.
Christ’s return will end human history as we know it. His coming will inaugurate a new age. Therefore it behooves us to have a familiarity with what the Bible has to say about our Lord’s return. It is no exaggeration to say that the knowledge of Christ is the only true life insurance policy we have. This article will take a brief look at what the church has to say about Jesus’ return.
This article will look at our greatest (although not sole) source of church doctrine – the bible; and in the accompanying inserts give some examples of how our liturgy speaks of the second coming.
The Bible tells us that Jesus’ coming will be an unmistakable event. We will not come to know of His arrival from the news or people saying “ I heard Jesus came and he’s walking on the earth again”. No, his coming will be a grand event for all to see. When he comes this age – this time period we are living in will come to an end and a new age will be instituted.
(1 Th 4:16-17) For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; (17) then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.
When He comes there will be great affliction, trouble and suffering upon the earth. But we are not to be led astray to thinking he has arrived before he actually has. Indeed his coming will be obvious and apparent.
(Mat 24:21-27) Jesus said … there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (22) And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (23) Then if any one says to you, 'Lo, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. (24) For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (25) Lo, I have told you beforehand. (26) So, if they say to you, 'Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say, 'Lo, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. (27) For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
The Bible also tells us that the Lord’s return will be at an unexpected time. Therefore when we hear of people saying they know when Christ will return we can be confident that they are misrepresenting the Bible. For the day of His arrival has not, and will not be made known to humanity prior to its occurrence.
(Mat 24:36-39) "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. (37) As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, (39) and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
Some question whether or not Jesus will come again because the Bible does not expressly use the term ‘second coming’. Yet even a cursory review of scripture indicates clearly that Jesus will return one day. The Bible refers to the time of Jesus’ second coming using a variety of terms: i.e., the ‘last day’, the ‘day of judgment’, or ‘the day of the Lord’.
Jesus’ Second Coming is Referred to as ‘the Last Day’
(John 11:23-26 ) Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." (24) Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (25) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (26) and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
(John 6:38-44 ) Jesus said… For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; (39) and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. (40) For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."(41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." (42) They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" (43) Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. (44) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 6:54 ) Jesus said… he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 12:48 ) Jesus said… He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.
Bear in mind that the ‘last day’ Jesus refers to is not the day when he rose from the dead. For as indicated previously in this article, the day of our Lord’s return is unknown. Yet the day of His resurrection was made known – proclaimed by Jesus in advance.
(Mat 12:39-40) But he (Jesus) answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (40) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
(Mat 27:61-63) Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre. (62) Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate (63) and said, "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise again.'
(Mark 8:31 ) And he (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Jesus’ Second Coming is Referred to as ‘the Day of Judgment
(Mat 12:36) I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter;
(2 Pet 2:9 ) then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
(1 John 4:17 ) In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world.
Jesus’ Second Coming is Referred to as ‘the Day of the Lord
After Jesus’ ascension back to heaven we read the following in the epistles:
(1 Cor 5:5 ) you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(2 Cor 1:14 ) as you have understood in part, that you can be proud of us as we can be of you, on the day of the Lord Jesus.
(1 Th 5:2) For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
We are also expressly told not to be deceived into believing that the Day of the Lord (The Second Coming of Christ), has already come. St. Paul writes…
(2 Th 2:1-3) Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, (2) not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition …
The Bible tells us something of what will happen at the time of Jesus’ return. The fullest prophecy of Jesus’ return is found in the last book of the Bible – Revelation. Yet elsewhere the Bible also speaks of what will happen at the time of Jesus’ return. We are told at the time of his return some will be raised from death to eternal life in heaven, while others will be raised and judged, and enter hell instead.
(Dan 12:2 ) And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
(John 5:28-29 ) Jesus said… Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice (29) and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
Of course for the believers Jesus’ coming will be the greatest of events, as we have His promise that He will return to take us to heaven.
(John 14:2-3 ) In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (3) And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
(Heb 9:28 ) … Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us live in holiness as we eagerly await the return of our Messiah. Let us live our lives in a state of perpetual grace. Let us not be like those who live unholy and look for a sign of the Messiah’s return so they might ‘straighten up their lives’ at the last second in order to be saved. For the Lord refers to those people as adulterous and unholy. But let us instead live soberly, looking forward to our Lord’s imminent return with a sense of preparedness and joyful anticipation.