8. The Second Coming or Left Behind

Deliverance is coming from a world of sickness, wars, hunger.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful? But it’s not going to be some charismatic world leader, prime minister or President who is going to deliver you—no, your deliverer is far superior! Jesus is coming soon, but there are a lot of misconceptions regarding how He’s coming back. So take a few minutes to understand what the Bible really says about the second coming so you won’t be left behind!

  1. Can we be positive Jesus will return a second time?

“Christ … shall appear a second time” (Hebrews 9:28).
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again” (John 14:3).

Answer:   Yes! In Matthew 26:64, Jesus testified that He would come back to this earth again. Since the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35), this is proof positive. It is Christ’s own personal guarantee. Besides, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of His first coming—so we can be absolutely certain that He will fulfill the prophecies concerning His second coming as well!

  1. In what manner will Jesus return the second time?

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

Answer:   The Scriptures promise that Jesus will return to this earth in the same manner that He left—in a visible, literal, bodily, personal manner. Matthew 24:30 says, “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” He will come in the clouds literally, as a personal being with a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:36–43, 50, 51). His coming will be visible; Scripture is clear on these facts!

  1. Will the second coming of Christ be visible to everyone or only to a select group?

“Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27)
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

Answer:   Every man, woman, and child living in the world when Jesus returns will see Him at His second coming. The staggering brightness of His appearance will stretch from horizon to horizon, and the atmosphere will be charged with brilliant glory like lightning. No one will be able to hide from it. This will be a loud, dramatic event in which even the dead are raised.

Note: Every person will know the second coming is occurring! Some use 1 Thessalonians 4:16 to suggest a “secret rapture,” where the saved disappear from the earth quietly, but it’s actually one of the noisiest verses in the Bible: The Lord shouts, a trumpet blasts, and the dead are raised! The second coming is not a quiet event, nor is it only a spiritual coming into the heart. It does not take place at a person’s death, nor is it figurative. All these theories are human inventions, but the Bible plainly states that the second coming will be a literal, worldwide, visible, personal appearance of Christ in the clouds.

  1. Who will come with Jesus at His second coming, and why?

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” (Matthew 25:31)

Answer:   All the angels of heaven will come with Jesus at His second coming. As the bright cloud nears the earth, Jesus will send forth His angels, and they will quickly gather together all of the righteous people in preparation for the trip back to heaven (Matthew 24:31)

5.  What is the purpose of Jesus’ second coming to this earth?

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12)
“I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).
“And he shall send Jesus Christ … whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:20, 21)

Answer:   Jesus is coming back to this earth to save His people, just as He promised, and to take them to the beautiful home He has prepared for them.

  1. What will happen to the righteous people when Jesus comes the second time?

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:20, 21)

Answer:   Those who accepted Christ during their lives but have died will be raised from their graves, given perfect and immortal bodies, and will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord. The saved living will also be given new bodies and will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Jesus will then take all the saved to heaven.

Note: That Jesus does not touch the earth at His second coming. The saints meet Him “in the air.” So God’s people won’t be fooled by any report that says Christ is in, for instance, London, New York, Moscow, or anywhere else on the earth. False christs will appear on the earth and do miracles (Matthew 24:23–27), but Jesus will remain in the clouds above the earth at His second coming.

  1. What will happen to the wicked people when Jesus comes again?

“With the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4).
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” (Jeremiah 25:33)

Answer:   Those who are rebelliously clinging to sin when Jesus comes will perish from His radiant glory.

  1. How will Christ’s second coming affect the earth itself?

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great.(Revelation 16:18)
“I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place [was] a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, [and] by his fierce anger.” (Jeremiah 4:26)
“The Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste. … The land shall be entirely emptied” (Isaiah 24:1, 3).

Answer:   The earth will be seized by a great earthquake at the coming of the Lord. This earthquake will be so devastating that it will leave the world in a state of total destruction.

9.  How can we know when we have reached the very last days of earth’s history? Does the Bible describe the world and its people in the last generation?

Answer:   Yes! Look at the following signs of the last days. You will be amazed. And these are just a few of many signs that show we are in the closing days of earth’s history.

A. Wars and Commotions

Prophecy:
“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified; for these things must first come to pass” (Luke 21:9).

Fulfillment: Wars and terror attacks are affecting millions worldwide. Only Jesus’ soon coming will bring an end to the pain and destruction.

B. Unrest, Fear, and Upheaval

Prophecy:
“There will be … on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26)

Fulfillment: This is a very accurate picture of the world today—and there is a reason: We are the people of the very last days of earth’s history. The tense atmosphere present in the world today should not surprise us. Christ foretold it. It should convince us that His coming is near. Many are looking on the things of this world in this day and age and most today can admit that the future looks bleak.

C. Increase of Knowledge

Prophecy:
“In the time of the end … knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4).

Fulfillment: The dawn of the Information Age makes this one obvious. Even the most skeptical mind must admit that this sign is fulfilled. Knowledge is exploding in all areas of science—medicine, technology, and more.

D. Scoffers and Religious Skeptics

Prophecy:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4)

Fulfillment: It isn’t difficult to see the fulfillment of this prophecy today. Even religious leaders are denying the plain Bible teachings of Creation, the Flood, the divinity of Christ, the second coming, and many other Bible truths. Public educators teach our youth to scoff at the Bible record and substitute evolution and other false teachings for the plain facts of God’s Word.

E. Moral Degeneracy, Decline of Spirituality

Prophecy:
“In the last days … men shall be lovers of their own selves … unloving … incontinent (without self-control) … despisers of those that are good … having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof ” (2 Timothy 3:1–3, 5).

Fulfillment: America is in the midst of a spiritual crisis. People from all walks of life are saying so. Nearly one marriage in two ends in divorce. The current generation’s decreasing interest in Bible spirituality is a plain fulfillment of God’s Word. For a real shock, see how many of the last-day sins listed in 2 Timothy 3:1–5 you see described in the news today. Nothing short of the coming of the Lord will stem the tide of evil now engulfing the world.

F. Craze for Pleasure

Prophecy:
“In the last days … men will be … lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 4).

Fulfillment: The world has gone crazy for pleasure. Only a few people attend church regularly, but thousands jam sporting arenas and other places of amusement. Americans are spending billions each year for pleasure and only “peanuts,” in comparison, for God’s causes. Pleasure-mad Americans waste millions of hours in front of the TV searching for worldly gratification—in direct fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:4.

G. Increasing Lawlessness, Bloody Crimes, and Violence

Prophecy:
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)
“Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence.” (Ezekiel 7:23)

Fulfillment: It is obvious that this sign is fulfilled. Lawlessness is increasing with shocking rapidity. Many fear for their lives just stepping out the door of their homes. Many today are concerned about the survival of civilization because crime and terror sweeps forward relentlessly.

H. Natural Disaster and Upheaval

Prophecy:
“There will be great earthquakes in divers places, and famines and pestilences … and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity” (Luke 21:11, 25).

Fulfillment: Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes are happening like never before. Thousands die daily of starvation, disease, and lack of water and health care—all signs that we live in earth’s last hours.

I. A Special Message to the World in the Last Days

Prophecy:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)

Fulfillment: The great, last-warning message of Christ’s second coming is now being presented in nearly every world language. Before Jesus’ second coming, every person in the world will be warned of His soon return.

J. A Turning to Spiritism

Prophecy:
“In latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1).
“For they are spirits of devils.” (Revelation 16:14).

Fulfillment: People today, including a vast number of the heads of nations, actors and actresses, many in the music industry seek counsel from psychics, channelers, and spiritists and many are practicing spiritism. Spiritism has invaded Christian churches as well, propped up by the unbiblical teaching of the immortality of the soul. The Bible teaches that the dead are dead and they “know not anything”. (Ecc 9:5)

K. Capital Labor Trouble

Prophecy:
“Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth…Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:4, 8)

Fulfillment:
 Trouble between capital and labor is predicted for the last days. Do you doubt this is fulfilled?

10.  Just how near is the Lord’s second coming?

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh:  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors.  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Matthew 24:32–34).

Answer:   The Bible is very specific and plain on this point. Almost all the signs have been fulfilled. We cannot know the day and hour of Christ’s return (Matthew 24:36), but we can know that His coming is near. God has promised to finish things very quickly now (Romans 9:28). Christ is coming back to this earth for His people soon. Are you ready?

11. Satan is telling many falsehoods regarding the second coming of Christ and, with lying wonders and miracles, will deceive millions. How can you be certain you will not be deceived?

“They are the spirits of devils, working miracles.” (Revelation 16:14).
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24).
“To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20).

Answer:    Satan has invented many false teachings about the second coming and is deceiving millions into believing that Christ has already come or that He will come in a manner not consistent with the Bible’s teachings. But Christ has warned us of Satan’s strategy, saying, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4).

He has exposed Satan’s falsehoods so we can be forewarned, and He reminds us, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:25). For example, Jesus stated specifically that He will not appear in the desert or come to a séance chamber (Matthew 24:26). There is no reason to be deceived if we learn what God teaches about Christ’s second coming. People who know what the Bible says about the second coming will not be led astray by Satan. All others will be deceived.

12.  How can you be certain you’ll be ready when Jesus comes back?

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.(John 6:37).
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
“I will put My laws in their mind and write them in their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10).
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Answer:   Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus knocks and asks to come into your heart so that He can change your life. If you turn your life over to Him, He will erase all your sins (Romans 3:25) and give you the power to live a Godly life (Philippians 2:13). As a free gift, He bestows upon you His own righteous character so you can stand unafraid before a holy God. Doing His will becomes a pleasure. It is so simple that many doubt its reality, but it’s true. Many also doubt because they look to the members in the churches today, and because of bad examples believe that it isn’t normal to live that life.  We must keep focused on Christ and his life. (Heb 12:1-3, 2 Cor 3:17)

Your part is simply to give your life to Christ and let Him live within you. His part is to work the mighty miracle within you that changes your life and prepares you for His second coming. It is a free gift. You need only accept it.

13.  Of what great danger does Christ warn us?

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44).
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.(Luke 21:34).
“But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37).

Answer:   There is great danger in becoming so busy with the cares of this life or so entranced by the pleasures of sin that the coming of the Lord could sneak up on us as the Flood did on the world in Noah’s day, and we would be surprised, unprepared, and lost. Sadly, this will be the experience of millions. Jesus is coming back very soon. Are you prepared?

14.  Do you want to be ready when Jesus returns for His people?

Answer:

THOUGHT QUESTIONS

1.  Isn’t the great tribulation yet to come?

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1). There has certainly been much tribulation during the dark ages for many Christians as we shall look at in upcoming studies. But yes there is a great tribulation still to come. It is mentioned in Daniel 12:1, but this “Time of Trouble” is also mentioned in Matthew 24 where we read: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt 24:21)  Then following this, we read of Jesus coming in the clouds to deliver his people.

2.  Since the Lord is coming “as a thief in the night,” how can anyone know anything about it?

The answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2–4: “You yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” The emphasis of this passage is on the suddenness of the day of the Lord. It comes as a thief only for those who are unprepared, not for those who are prepared—those called “brethren.” We need to beware lest he comes like a thief to us.”Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev 3:3)

3.  When will Christ set up His kingdom on the earth?

After the great 1,000-year period of Revelation 20. This millennium begins at the second coming, when Jesus takes the righteous from earth to heaven to live and reign with Him “a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4). At the close of the 1,000 years, “the holy city, new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2) comes down from heaven to the earth with all the saints (Zechariah 14:1, 5) and the wicked dead of all ages are raised to life (Revelation 20:5). They surround the city to capture it (Revelation 20:9), but fire comes down from out of heaven and devours them. This fire purifies the earth and burns up all traces of sin (2 Peter 3:10, Malachi 4:3). Then God creates a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1) and gives it to the righteous, and “God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). Perfect, holy, happy beings, restored once again to the perfect image of God, will at last be at home in a sinless, spotless world as God originally planned.

4.  Why don’t we hear more preaching and teaching today regarding Christ’s second coming?

The devil is responsible. He well knows that the second coming is the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) of the Christian, and that once understood, it changes the lives of men and women and leads them to take a personal, active part in spreading that good news to others. This infuriates Satan, so he influences those who have “a form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:5) to scoff, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning” (2 Peter 3:3, 4). Those who deny or make light of Christ’s second advent as a literal, soon coming event are fulfilling Bible prophecy—and doing the devil a service. (Matt 24:48)

5.  But wasn’t Jesus speaking of a secret rapture when He said in Luke 17:36, “One will be taken and the other left”?

No. There is no indication that the event is secret. Jesus was describing Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom. (See Luke 17:26–37.) He told how God spared Noah and Lot and destroyed the wicked. He said specifically that the flood and fire “destroyed them all” (verses 27, 29). If we read it carefully we will see who is “taken”.”And knew not until the flood came, and TOOK them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matt 24:39)  In these verses it clearly describes the wicked being taken.  Not the righteous being “taken all away” as is taught in the secret rapture theory.  Jesus added, “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (verse 40). To illustrate, Jesus continued, “Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left” (verse 41). There is nothing secret about His return, nor is it referring to the righteous being taken in a secret rapture. “Every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). At His second coming, Christ publicly and openly delivers the righteous up into the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17), while His holy presence takes the wicked (Isaiah 11:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

QUIZ QUESTIONS

  1. At His second coming (1)
    _____   Christ will arrive privately and visit certain cities of the earth.
    _____   Christ will appear in the desert.
    _____   Christ will remain in the clouds and call the righteous up to meet Him in the air.
  2. When Jesus returns to this earth (1)
    _____   Only the righteous will see Him.
    _____   Every eye will see Him.
    _____   People will not know it until it is announced on TV.
  3. What will happen to the righteous at Christ’s second coming? (2)
    _____   Righteous dead will be raised, given immortality, caught up into clouds, and taken to heaven.
    _____   Righteous living will be given immortality, caught up into clouds, and taken to heaven.
    _____   Righteous will stay here and convert the wicked.
    _____   Righteous will be secretly snatched away.
  4. On the basis of biblical signs, Christ’s coming (1)
    _____   Will be very, very soon!
    _____   Will be several hundred years from now.
    _____   Has already occurred.
  5. The wicked who are living when Jesus returns will be (1)
    _____   Placed in hell, where they will burn forever.
    _____   Slain at His second coming.
    _____   Spared and given another chance.
  6. Check the statements below that tell the truth about Christ’s second coming: (4)
    _____   He will come secretly.
    _____   The second coming is the experience of conversion.
    _____   He will come in the clouds.
    _____   Christ comes for us on our deathbed.
    _____   The wicked will not see Him.
    _____   All the angels will be with Him.
    _____   He will not actually touch the earth.
    _____   Millions will be surprised and lost.
  7. At Christ’s second coming (1)
    _____   The whole world will be ready and waiting.
    _____   There will be a devastating, worldwide earthquake.
    _____   The wicked will be converted.
  8. Mark all statements that are true signs of the last days of earth: (7)
    _____   The world will get better and better.
    _____   Strife between capital and labor.
    _____   Fewer earthquakes, storms, etc.
    _____   Falling away from Bible truth.
    _____   Craze for pleasure.
    _____   Moral degeneracy.
    _____   A great drop in the crime rate.
    _____   Great famines.
    _____   Increase of knowledge.
    _____   Unrest and upheaval.
  9. How do we know that Jesus is coming back to earth very soon? (1)
    _____   The Bible gives signs and specific descriptions of the last days.
    _____   Because so many people believe that Jesus is coming soon.
    _____   Some fortune-tellers predict it.
  10. Millions will be deceived regarding the manner and time of Christ’s return because (1)
    _____   God does not want all to be saved.
    _____   They do not give large enough offerings.
    _____   They do not study their Bibles to find the truth of the matter.
  11. I can be ready for Christ’s return if (1)
    _____   Jesus lives within me.
    _____   I read the newspaper daily.
    _____   I do what my minister suggests.
  12. I am planning to be ready when Jesus returns.
    _____   Yes.
    _____   No.