Summary: At the second coming: 1. Christ will return with great power. 2. Christ will return with great glory. 3. Christ will return with great people.
Ray Bakke tells a story which happened during World War II: “I knew an old Glasgow professor named MacDonald who, along with a Scottish chaplain, had bailed out of an airplane behind German lines. They were put in a prison camp. A high wire fence separated the Americans from the British, and the Germans made it next to impossible for the two sides to communicate. MacDonald was put in the American barracks and the chaplain was housed with the Brits. Every day the two men would meet at the fence and exchange a greeting. Unknown to the guards, the Americans had a little homemade radio and were able to get news from the outside, something more precious than food in a prison camp. Everyday, MacDonald would take a headline or two to the fence and share it with the chaplain in the ancient Gaelic language, indecipherable to the Germans. One day, news came over the little radio that the German High Command had surrendered and the war was over. MacDonald took the news to his friend, then stood and watched him disappear into the British barracks. A moment later, a roar of celebration came from the barracks. Life in that camp was transformed. Men walked around singing and shouting, waving at the guards, even laughing at the dogs. When the German guards finally heard the news three nights later, they fled into the dark, leaving the gates unlocked. The next morning, Brits and Americans walked out as free men. Yet they had truly been set free three days earlier by the news that the war was over.”
The great thing about having a Bible is that we not only know some of the struggles the world will face, we have been told the outcome of the final battle. We know that we are on the winning side, and that good will triumph over evil, truth will win out over the lie, love will conquer hate and Jesus Christ will reign. There is cheering in our camp even though the guards and dogs may still be seen, for we know that they will soon be gone and the gates to the prison will be opened. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writing his fiancé from a German prison observed: “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened ‘from the outside,’ is not a bad picture of Advent.” We cannot open the door, but there will be One who will come and open it for us. That will be the greatest freedom we have ever known.
Here in the 19th chapter of the book of Revelation we are told of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Far from being something we should dread, it is one of the greatest events the world will experience, and which Christians should anticipate with eagerness. The Bible calls it the “blessed hope” when it says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). The second coming is our great hope.
Jesus Christ will come as a great warrior to put an end to the kingdom of evil and the fallen world as we presently know it. The return of Christ is not bad news, it is the best news a world racked by evil has ever been told.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about the end of the world, the final battle and the second coming of Christ. The first thing we need to know about the second coming is: Christ will come with great power. What an amazing picture John paints for us. All the armies of the world gather to fight against Christ and his army. It is a horrifying scene from the perspective of earth. All of the forces of evil gather in one place to make war against God and his kingdom. John gives us this symbolic imagery, “Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. . . . Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:13-16).
But as we read the account, expecting to find a description of a horrific battle, we find none. There is no description because there is no battle. It is not even a contest. In fact, the victory is announced before the armies of evil arrive, and the birds of the air are called to come together for a great feast. They will satiate themselves on the flesh of kings and mighty men. Listen again to how the Bible describes the final confrontation between the armies of the antichrist and the army of God: “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh” (Revelation 19:19-21). There is no real battle. The Lord simply picks up the antichrist and his false prophet and drops them into the lake of fire. The rest are destroyed by the sword coming out of Christ’s mouth, that is, he simply speaks the Word and they are gone. End of battle. End of story.