The Bulletin
of the
Church of Christ at New Georgia

Tim Johnson, editor

December 18, 2011

 
In This Issue:
The Second Coming of Christ
by Jerry Curry


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The Second Coming of Christ

We often hear people talk about the rapture. Neither the word rapture, nor the event generally described by this word is found in the Bible. Briefly stated, the rapture is part of the premillennial doctrine that says Jesus will return and take only the saved up from the earth prior to the years of tribulation. Although the premillennial view of rapture is foreign to the scriptures, it does point us to a need to understand what the Bible does say about the second coming of Christ.

The return of Christ is mentioned over 300 times in the New Testament. The evidence is so overwhelming that if one believes the Bible he is compelled to accept the second coming of Christ. Jesus says in John 14:3. “And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven.”  Let’s take a few minutes to review a few of the Bible facts related to the second coming of Christ.

We are told that Jesus will return, but we are not told when that day will occur. Many dates have been predicted through the years by various religious groups. Most recently, “the elder” predicted the second coming, offering explanations as to why his dates where not correct. Perhaps the most prominent date was 1914, which was predicted by the group that calls themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. A dear friend of mine in Illinois once told me that she was alive in 1914 and knew for a fact that Jesus did not return. Notice what the scriptures say about one who prophesies an event that does not come to pass. “But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if thou say in thy heart, how shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him”  (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). We are told in 2 Peter 3:10 “the day of the Lord will come as a thief”. God has not revealed the day of His return, and he alone knows when it will occur.

Another question raised about His second coming is how? As the apostles were gazing into heaven, watching the ascension of Jesus, they were asked in Acts 1:11, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.” This is further confirmed by John in Revelation1:7. “Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him.” We have it on good authority by the many living in 1914 that Jesus did not return in the clouds.

What will happen when the Lord returns? We learn from 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that he will “descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” Combining the teaching of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, we learn that the “dead in Christ (referring to those who died faithful in Christ) will be raised incorruptible, and the faithful in Christ who are living shall be changed, putting off mortality for immortality. The faithful will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, to be with Him through eternity. Contrary to premillennial teaching, the Bible plainly states that, at the Lord’s return, the earth will be burned up. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

As we sort fact and fiction concerning the return of Christ, we are admonished by the exhortation in 2 Peter 3:11. “Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

- Jerry Curry