THE SECOND COMING
Before we begin, I would like to raise a question for your consideration.
If I could zap you into a full day without need of working for a living,
without family responsibilities, without studies - NO I CANNOT BRING HEAVEN
TO PASS - but if I could do that for you, what would you do with your day?
Go fishing, camping, shopping, buy a car, sleep, visit friends - just what
would you do?
Okay, let us go on to our subject, and then at the end of the section
we will look at this thought of "a day off."
THE SECOND ADVENT
Cambron gives statement to the importance of the doctrine of the second
coming of the Lord in Scripture.
"It is said that one out of every twenty-five verses of the New Testament
speaks of the Second Coming, while in the Old Testament there are eight
verses concerning the second Coming to every verse concerning the First
Coming." (Cambron, Mark G. D.D.; "BIBLE DOCTRINES"; Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
1954, p 264)
The term ADVENT means simply, "arrival." Webster's first definition
is the Catholic idea of four Sundays before Christmas. We view the Christmas
arrival, or advent of Christ as the first advent, and we look forward to
His second advent, when He comes to take care of the program of God, and
bring it to a final culmination.
The fact of the event is seen in the following passages.
a. Christ Himself spoke of the coming in relation to His preparing a place for the disciples in Heaven. This is a very joyful contemplation for the believer. His Lord and Savior is now at this time preparing an eternal abode for each of us personally.
What a thought! Jo 14:3
b. The angels spoke of it when they spoke of the Lord's ascension. It
should be noted that He will return in like manner - that is physically
and visibly. This will be the second coming and not the rapture. Acts 1:11
c. Peter spoke of it in one of his sermons. Acts 3:20, "And he shall
send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:"
He also spoke of the coming in his two epistles. I Pet 5:4, II Pet 1:16.
d. Paul spoke of the Lord's return several times. I Cor 1:4-7; Rom 11:26;
Philippians 3:20-21; Col. 3:4; I Thess 5; II Thess 1:7,10; I Tim 6:14;
II Tim 4:8; Tit 2:11-14.
Some might question some of the references that are listed. Some of
them are normally listed as rapture texts. If you consider Paul and his
every looking for the Lord's return and relate that to the preaching that
he did, it is not hard to think that he was speaking of the second coming
rather than the rapture. The texts are prophetic of the rapture, however
from Paul's viewpoint, I believe that he was talking of the coming. We
will look at this in more detail later.
e. The author of Hebrews spoke of it. Heb 9:28
f. James spoke of it. Acts 15:13-16; James 5:7
g. John spoke of it. I Jo 2:28; I Jo 3:2; Revelation 19:11-18.
h. Jude spoke of it. Jude 14
i. The prophets spoke of it. Jude 14; Isa 45:23; Ezek 21:25-27.
Years ago I ran into a Roman Catholic while doing some door to door
visitation that really thrilled me for a time. As I shared the gospel with
her she agreed with everything that I said. When I asked her if she had
received Christ, she said that she had. I left thinking that she was probably
a believer. Some time later I discovered that the Roman Catholic receives
Christ every time they go to mass. The eucharist is Christ's very body.
The woman was talking about mass and I was talking about salvation.
As you talk with people be aware that their meaning for words may not
be the same as your meaning. This is true in relation to the term "second
advent." It has different meanings to different people, so you need to
find out what a person means. Some of the possibilities are as follows:
a. Some view the rapture as the second advent. Christ coming to earth
to receive His own unto Himself. This may or may not be differentiated
from the coming to set up the kingdom.
b. Others view the rapture as the introduction to the entire second
advent time. The second advent includes the rapture, the tribulation, the
second coming to introduce the kingdom and the kingdom age.
The first advent was 33 plus years long so the second one needn't be
an event, but can be a number of years in length.
This would be seen in two phases, as Cambron mentions (p 266). The first
phase is viewed as being the rapture of the church, and the second phase
the second coming in glory to set up the kingdom.
c. Another possibility is that the coming of Christ at the end of the
tribulation is the second advent. At that time He will set up His Millennial
The rapture is not the second advent in that the first advent was a
coming to the earth and the second will have the same idea (a physical
visible appearance). The rapture is not a coming to the earth, but only
a secret coming in the clouds for the saints.
d. There are some that view the second advent as a spiritual coming
and that it will not be a physical return of Christ. This may take a number
of forms. One man that I knew held that the second coming was when the
Lord comes to take a believer home (at the point of physical death). The
problem with this view is that the world system as we know it can never
come to an end. Christ will never come to finish up unfulfilled prophecy
and earth would have to continue for eternity.
Chafer mentions that Dr. William Clarke held the spiritual coming view.
He sees the coming of Christ in a spiritual sense - that Christ is here
in His church. The new Jerusalem mentioned in the revelation is the "ideal
church" and not a coming literal city. Chafer deals with the belief on
page 283 and following of Vol. V.
and from rapture to the consummation we have THE DAY OF THE LORD, and
following the consummation we have THE DAY OF GOD.
THE DAY OF MAN: Some have suggested that from the fall to the rapture
we have the day of man.
THE DAY OF THE LORD, I Thess 5:2, "For yourselves know perfectly that
the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."
This shows that the day of the Lord is introduced by the rapture, yet
we see within the context some items that might indicate that it covers
more territory. In 5:23 there may be an element of judgment for the believers,
which would indicate the judgment seat of Christ.
Verse three could indicate the trouble of the tribulation that was to
come as well, thus the term may indicate much more than just the rapture.
THE DAY OF GOD, II Pet 3:12, "Looking for and hasting unto the coming
of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
DAY OF CHRIST: Philippians 2:16
I Corinthians 1:8
II Corinthians 1:14
DAY OF GOD: II Peter 3:12 (consummation)
SOME MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS AND TOPICS FOR FURTHER STUDY:
The day of Jesus Christ: I Cor. 5:5; Philip. 1:6
The day of Christ: Phil 1:10; Phil 2:16; II Thes. 2:2
The day of God Almighty: Rev. 16:14
The day of the Lord God: Jer. 46:10
The day of the Lord: Acts 2:20; I Cor. 5:5; II Cor. 1:14; I Thes. 5:2;
II Pet 3:10
We want to list some of the differences between the rapture and the
RAPTURE 2ND COMING 1. The devil is still free The devil will be bound soon 2. The Lord comes in the air The Lord returns to the earth 3. Saints go up Saints come with Him 4. Living saints translated No translation 5. Dead church age saints raised Old Testament saints raised 6. World unchanged World changed physically 7. Imminent Preceded by many prophetic events 8. New Testament truth Old and New Testament truth 9. Saved only involved Saved and lost involved (lost will be destroyed) 10. Christ coming for the church Christ coming for Israel 11. To remove church To establish the kingdom The fact that Christ stated that He would return is plain from Jo 14:1-3.
We might make note of the fact that one of the purposes of the Lord's
return is to gather His people unto Himself. There are other events that
come along with this, but in Christ's mind at this point in time (early
in His ministry) was the gathering of His people.
THE FACTS OF THE RETURN:
Acts 1:11 In like manner would indicate a number of items to consider.
a. The leaving was visible and witnessed. b. The leaving was from the earth's
surface. c. The leaving was in a physical form. d. The leaving was from
the Mt. of Olives (Acts 1:12) To be in like manner, then we should look
for all of the above to be true at the second coming of Christ. A literal,
visible, physical return to the surface of the earth.
There are other references to the second coming in the Old Testament
that you might want to read. Ezek. 43:1-7; Zech. 14:4.
Matthew 24:27 also mentions that it will be very visible.
Bancroft in his Elemental Theology (p 356 ff) lists the signs of the
second coming. I will list those for you with the references that he uses.
This is for your future consideration.
War Matt 24:7
Famine Matt 24:7
Earthquakes Matt 24:7
Industrial unrest and lawlessness II Thess. 2:7
Multiplied transportation Dan 12:4; Nahum 2:4
Apostasy and demonic interest I Tim 4 1
Commercial signs Rev 13:16-17
Political signs Dan 2 & 7
Jewish sign Matt 24:32-34
1. Turn to I Thess. 5:1 for a few moments and we will make a few observations.
a. Paul mentions, in verses 1-2, that they need not discuss the time
of the return of the Lord. It will be as a thief in the night. They would
not know when it will occur. The Lord told the disciples in the book of
Acts that no man knew the schedule of the end times Acts 1:6-7. They were
seeking information, but Christ gave them none, other than that the Father
will take care of the schedule. (Some other refs that picture the swiftness
that is in mind are: Rev 3:3; Rev 16:15; II Pet 3:10; Matt 24:43; Lu 21:34.)
b. In verse 3 Paul tells them that when people cry peace and safety
that they should look out for destruction is coming.
c. In verses 4-10 Paul lets them know that they needn't worry of the
coming, nor should they go to sleep to wait for it. They are to prepare
and watch for the coming of the Lord, but they are to be busy with living
until it comes.
He encourages them to realize that they are of the light and not of
the darkness. ( John 2:11; Acts 26:18 may be of interest to you along this
d. Paul encourages them to bring one another along in the proper spiritual
life so they will be properly prepared at the coming of the Lord in verses
11-23 (vs 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."
I'd like to just list the things Paul encourages them to bring into
their lives. Be not in darkness, let us not sleep, let us watch, be sober,
put on breastplate of faith and love, put on helmet of salvation, comfort
yourselves together, edify one another, know those that labor among you,
know those that are over you, know those that admonish you (May I suggest
that this is a strong indication that you have a responsibility to chose
of your leaders and get to know them?), esteem the three above highly,
be at peace among yourselves, warn the unruly, comfort the feebleminded
(Who are the feebleminded? The mentally handicapped, the mentally injured,
the senior citizens that are loosing their ability to operate properly
mentally), support the weak, be patient with all, don't render evil for
evil, follow that which is good, rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in everything, quench not the Spirit, despise not prophesyings,
prove all things, hold fast to the good, and ABSTAIN FROM ALL APPEARANCE
WOW, WHAT A LIST TO LIVE BY! Can you envision a church that is attempting
to live according to that list? Would it not be an awesome body to behold?
I would like to relate a story that describes some people who were serious
about their Lord's return, and how they were living.
The occasion was some revival services in Alliance, NE at the Evangelical
Free Church. The people involved were witness to people being saved, marriages
coming back together, baptisms, and backsliders returning to their Lord.
This was all due to the fact that the church people and the evangelist
were serious about living their life as if the Lord could come at anytime.
The evangelist lives as the Lord provides and does not have charges
for his services. All that they receive goes to "get by" and the rest is
put back into the ministry. They live in trailers and log cabins to conserve
on expenses at their home base.
2. Let us return to our question about the day off that I would like
to give you. How do those things you wanted to do relate to the fact that
Christ is returning at any moment, at any time? Would you like to be doing
those things when Christ returns?
IN LIGHT OF CHRIST'S SOON RETURN, MIGHT WE WANT TO BE SERVING HIM TO
THE UTMOST OF OUR ABILITY?
I WOULD THINK THAT THIS WOULD BE OUR DESIRE!
We believe in the immanent return of the Lord, but we practice the someday
return of the Lord.
I have often used an illustration that might help you in your thinking.
Most of us know who Mr. Spock is. The Vulcon on Star Trek that is the ultimate
in logic. I often suggest that congregations and classes think of a scenario
which states that Mr. Spock is orbiting the earth and is observing the
fundamental churches of the world trying to find out what Fundamental Christianity
taught. Just what would he deduce logically from the facts that he observed.
Might I take the liberty to just suggest a list of possible observations?
Fighting, arguing, division, materialism, segregation, arrogance, pride,
lack of interest in spiritual things, lack of acting on belief systems,
etc. Now, just what would Mr. Spock deduce? Would he ever think of the
second coming of the Savior of this people?
I trust that as you consider the truth of the second coming that you
will consider how you live. Are you living as if you could be gone tomorrow,
or are you living like you are settling in for the duration of life?