Summary: Part 4 of 4 in a series covering the things of first importance as presented by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 15
INTRODUCTION: The Second Coming of Christ is the hope of all believers that God is going to be faithful in fulfilling the promises of the prophecies found in His word. At His first coming Jesus came as a baby in the manger of Bethlehem. In His birth, life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection, many of the O.T. prophecies concerning the coming Savior of the world were fulfilled. However there are prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled, those of which will be fulfilled at Christ’s return. In His first coming He came as a “Suffering Servant,” in His second coming He comes as a “Conquering King.” At His first coming He arrived in the most humble and ordinary of circumstances. In His second coming He will come in magnificent splendor with the armies of heaven at His side. (Revelation 19:11-15)
BACKGROUND: So the question is this, where do you stand, what is your perspective on the return of Christ. Are you “postmill,” “premill,” “amill,” “pretrib,” “midtrib,” “posttrib,” or just plain “confused?” I think that if we’re going to be honest many of us find ourselves in that last category. When it comes to harmonizing the scriptures that talk about the return of Christ there are 4 primary schools of thought as to how these events will play out. So is one of these perspectives right and the other three wrong, NO! All these perspectives are simply man’s attempt to understand the things of God, all have strengths and all have weaknesses. The good news in all of this is the fact that how and when of Jesus’ return isn’t a salvation issue, it’s going to happen and we are free to agree or to disagree about the details!
THE FACT AND MANNER OF HIS COMING
• We begin with what for the Christian is somewhat of a “captain-obvious” moment… Jesus is coming back!
• More than 20 times in His teaching Jesus stated emphatically that He would return!
• We also have the testimony of the inspired me who penned the New Testament. 300 times in 260 chapters the second coming is mentioned
• Consider the words of the “men in white” to the disciples at Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:11)
• Jesus is coming back and everyone will see it! It’s another miracle!
• These words are ones of comfort and encouragement to the disciples, knowledge to them and to us that the present separation between them and Jesus won’t last long…
• That fact being known is one thing, our perception of time is another (2nd Peter 3:8)
• Not only will everyone see Jesus’ return, it will happen without warning (Matthew 24:27)
• Lighting is a strange thing, have you ever been caught off guard by lightning? I know I have and it scared the living daylights out of me!
THE TIME OF HIS COMING
• Before we did any further into this study let’s get one fact out in front for all to see… we do not know and cannot know when Jesus is coming back… end of story!
• In spite of the fact that Scripture clearly states that we won’t know the timing of Jesus’ return people down through the ages have tried to put a date and time on it…
• Isaac Newton said it wouldn’t be before 2060, Shakespeare set the date at 1792
• William Miller, the father of the Adventist movement, set the date at 1843, then 1844, and then he quit setting dates. The most prolific has been Harold Camping his most recent was May 21, 2011
• Mark 13:32 tells us that the Angels don’t know and that even Jesus doesn’t know (since He’s still under submission to the Father) so what makes us think we’re smart enough to figure it out?
• We know that Christ will return when we “least expect it” and in fact there’s a warning here to be heeded (Matthew 24:37-39)
• People were warned for generations that the flood was coming, and yet they disregarded the fact that doom was on the horizon – so to it will be with many when Christ returns
• There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the needs of this world, the problem is often that’s all we focus on – we must heed the warning “BE READY”
THE RELATED EVENTS
• Since the return of Jesus is a “future” event from the perspective of the biblical writers, and has yet to occur even in our day, what scripture says about it must be taken as “predicate prophecy”
• Prophecy can be “messy,” it’s not always easy to understand, but there are some concrete principles to remember when we look at it…
• (1) The Old Testament was written for the sake of the Church – The Jews were made stewards of God’s word, preserving and protecting it so that the people of the New Covenant could benefit from it