Are You Ready for This?
As the signs of Christ’s return intensify, we can take comfort in the truth of God’s Word. The words of Jesus, regarding end things, are also an encouragement, “…see that you are not frightened (Mt 24:6).” The arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ has some features for us to know. Let us consider a number of them.
First, there is only one day of the Lord, that is, His coming a second time to earth (Dan 7:13; Mt 24:29–31; Mt 25:31–46; Mk 13:20; Acts 2:20; 1 Cor 1:18; 1 Cor 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thess 5:1–2; 2 Thess 2:2; 2 Tim 4:8; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 2:9; 3:4; 3:10; 3:18; Rev 19:11–21). There is no secret rapture of the church, resulting in a one thousand year visible reign of Christ on earth, ending in His coming again. That simply does not make sense. Rather, His one return will be the climax and end of history (Rev 19:11–21; 20:1–15).
Second, Christ’s return is appointed for a day known only to God, not men, nor angels (Mt 24:36, 44, 50). Men have foolishly predicted the day of His return (ie. Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Harold Camping, etc.), thus, proving themselves to be false prophets of the fake church (Mt 24:23–24). The day is likened to the surprise discovery of a thief in one’s house (Mt 24:43; 1 Thess 5:2, 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15). It will happen after the great tribulation (Mt 24:21, 29; Mk 13:24).
Third, Jesus’ second coming will be obvious to all because it will be immediately preceded by the one, universal resurrection of the dead (Mt 24:41; 25:32; Jn 5:29; Acts 24:15; 1 Thess 4:13–18). The elect and reprobate, alike, will arise (the dead) and be gathered (living and dead) by angels (Mt 13:38–43, 49; 24:31; Mk 13:27), and all those who dwell on the face of the earth will greet the coming King of glory (Lk 21:35; Rev 1:7). The good (righteous) shall experience the resurrection of life, unto eternal life (Mt 25:46). The evil (wicked) will experience the resurrection of judgment (Jn 5:29; Acts 24:15), to eternal punishment (Mt 25:46).
Fourth, the second advent of Christ will be visible. Every eye shall see the One who was pierced (Dan 7:13; Zech 12:10–14; Rev 1:7). It is come with cosmic chaos (Mt 24:29; Mk 13:24–25; Lk 21:25–26). The sight will be filled with wonder, for those who are His, at His coming. The prayers of the persecuted saints will be answered. Contrariwise, the reprobate will experience immeasurable terror at the sign of the Son of Man coming on the clouds (Ps 18:11; 97:2; 104:1–3; Is 13:9–10; 34:4–5; Ezek 19:9, 16; 32:3–7; Mt 24:30; Lk 21:26–27; Heb 12:25–29; Rev 1:7; 6:12–14; 14:14).
Fifth, the day of the Lord Jesus Christ will be transforming. The elect saints, who previously died, will be raised from the dead and changed in a twinkling of an eye (1 Thess 4:16–17; 1 Cor 15:51–53). They will be joined by those living at the time, as the mortal puts on immortality (1 Cor 15:53). The saints will be glorified (Rom 9:22).
Sixth, behold the day of His coming will be loud. The trumpet will sound, with the shout declaring His arrival, which will be heard by everyone ever conceived (Mt 24:31; 1 Thess 4:16; 1 Cor 15:52). There is nothing secret about this one day when the bridegroom comes for His bride (the church), who has readied herself for the marriage supper of the Lamb, the great banquet of God (Mt 22:1–14; 25:1–12).
Seventh, the return of our Lord will be sudden and rapturous, as the living and resurrected elect are gathered by angels from the four winds and caught up together to meet the Lord in the air (Mt 24:31; 1 Thess 4:17). It will be as sudden as when the rains came in the days of Noah (Mt 24:37–41), or when a trap snaps shut (Lk 21:34).
Eighth, the day of the Lord is a day of wrath for the ungodly and unrighteous (1 Thess 5:3; 2 Pet 3:7). Christ will come to judge the living and the dead from His throne of judgment (Ps 9:7; Mt 19:28; 25:31; Lk 22:30; Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5; Rev 19:11–19; 20:11–15). The infinite sins committed against God will be accounted, and God’s just judgment will be issued against unrepentant sinners.
Ninth, the glorious appearing of the Son of Man will be a day of separation, as displayed in the judgment of Christ, at His judgment seat, on His glorious throne (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11–15). The wicked will be removed to their place in eternal hell and the lake of fire (Mt 13:39–40; 49–50; Rev 20:14). They will suffer the second death (Rev 20:14). In contrast, the righteous will be with the Lord, forever, the fulfillment of their blessed hope (Phil 1:23; Tit 2:13).
Tenth, the coming day of the wrath of the Lamb will find the arch enemies of Christ, Satan and his anti-Christ, removed to their place of eternal punishment, along with the legions of demon spirits who served them (2 Thess 2:8; 2 Pet 2:4). Hell was made for these rebels against God, and their torment is forever (Mt 18:8; 25:41, 46; Rev 20:10). Those who were deceived by them, who followed them will experience the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:16; 14:10).
Eleventh, the day of wrath will also bring destruction to the earth and heavens, by means of fire and fervent heat (Is 13:11; 2 Pet 3:10–12). The whole of fallen creation will melt on the day of Christ’s ultimate wrath against sin.
Twelfth, the coming of Christ is final. It is the end of the world, the end of this evil age (Dan 12:13; Mt 13:39–40, 49–50; 24:3, 14; 28:20). Thus, there is one final advent, with one resurrection, one judgment, one separation, and one final destruction.
Thirteenth, the day of Christ is one of new things, for God will create a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (Is 65:17–25; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21–22). Here is the eternal home of God’s glorified saints (Dan 12:5). The heavenly Zion, the city of God, is perfect in beauty, security, and prosperity (Heb 12:22; Rev 14:1). There, the covenant promise is ultimately fulfilled, “I will be their God and they will be my people (Jer 24:7; 31:33; 32:38; Ezek 11:20; 34:30; 37:23, 27; Zech 8:8; 2 Cor 6:16; 8:10).”
Finally, we see Christ’s return as an end and a beginning. It is mused upon with hope (Tit 2:13). It is embraced by faith. We have a token of Christ’s second advent in our second birth. Christ has already suddenly come to us by His Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3; Rom 5:5; 8:9, 11); and so we wait for Him, in bodily glory, yes, for Him, who said, “Behold, I come quickly (Rev 22:21).” Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 17, 2021