I. The Fact of His Coming

The second coming of Christ is as certain as God's Word is true. He who acknowledges the authority and accuracy of the Bible must recognize the fact of Christ's return to earth. The second coming of Christ is a definite event that will occur in the future. Future events predicted by human philosophers are based upon speculation and are open to question. Future events described by prophets of God and recorded in the Bible are certain to occur. God's infinite wisdom and power guarantee that His promised blessings will be bestowed and that His predictions concerning the future will come to pass.

Prophecies concerning the fact of Christ's future return to earth are presented clearly in the Bible. "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 1:10, 11). "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 Thess. 4:16, 17). "Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28).

Bible prophecies concerning Christ's first coming and second coming are linked together. During His earthly ministry, prophecies concerning His first coming were fulfilled in minute detail. During His new earthly ministry in the future, therefore, we are assured that prophecies concerning His second coming will be literally fulfilled. At His first coming, Jesus was the suffering Sacrifice; at His second coming, he will be the reigning Sovereign. At His first coming, He was the Lamb of God who was crucified on the cross; at His second coming, He will be the Lion of Judah reigning on His throne. The reality of Christ's future return to earth is definite and sure.

II. The Importance of His Coming

1. Open Door to God's Tomorrow. The second coming of Christ is the open door to God's Tomorrow. The fulfillment of almost every Bible promise concerning the future of man and the earth is dependent upon this glorious event. Apart from the second coming of Christ, the Church would not be completed, the dead would not be raised, the Kingdom would not be established, the wicked would not be judged, and there would be no peace upon earth. Wonderful blessings resulting from Christ's future rulership will become realities only because of the fact of His return to earth. The second coming of Christ, therefore, will mark the end of man's today and the beginning of God's Tomorrow.

2. Blessed Hope of the Church. The return of Christ is the blessed hope of the Church. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). It is the one outstanding event to which all believers look forward with desire and expectation. (I Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. I :10; 2 Thess. 3:5; 2 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:11-14.) Appropriating scriptural promises, believers have many hopes for the future. They desire and expect resurrection to immortality, reunion with loved ones, freedom from sickness and death, and an environment of perfect righteousness and peace. The one hope which supersedes all other hopes, however, is the second coming of Christ. The blessed hope makes all other hopes possible.

3. Incentive to Christian Living and Service. The hope of Christ's return is an important motive for Christian living. Expecting the Bridegroom's return, the believer seeks to be "all glorious within" and to be arrayed in garments of righteousness. Devout Christians so order their conduct that they would not be ashamed if He should appear at any moment.

2 Peter 3:11, 12, 14


What manner of persons ought ye

1 John 3:3


This hope purifieth himself

Colossians 3:4, 5


Mortify therefore

Titus 2:12, 13


Denying ungodliness, looking

The second coming of Christ is an appeal to watchfulness and faithfulness. When Jesus returns, true believers will be found watching for His coming. (Matt. 24:42-46; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:35-40; 21:36; 1 Thess. 5:6.) His return is an incentive to Christian service and a stimulus to missionary work. (Luke 19:13; Matt. 24:45-51.) The outstanding work of the Church today is to warn men in all nations of Christ's return and future judgment.


III. The Nature of Christ's Second Coming

Many men have acknowledged the Bible's teaching concerning the fact of Christ's coming, but they have rejected its teaching concerning the nature of His coming. The Bible clearly describes the second coming of Christ as personal, physical, visible, sudden, glorious, and triumphant.

1. Personal Coming of Christ. The second coming of Christ refers to the personal return of Christ to earth. "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 1:11). "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God',' (1 Thess. 4:16). It is not merely an event that will occur; it is a person who will appear. Jesus Himself is coming back to earth.

2. Physical Coming of Christ. The second coming of Christ will be a physical return of Christ to earth. When Jesus ascended to God's right hand in heaven, He had a real, literal, material body. When He returns to earth, He will have that same physical nature. He will "so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "When he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him" (Rev. 1:7). Christ ascended from the Mount of Olives. When He returns, "his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives" (Zech. 14:4). When He ascended, clouds received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9.) When He descends, He will come with clouds. He will return in like manner as He ascended. His coming will be real, literal, material, and physical.

3. Visible Coming of Christ. The second coming of Christ will be a visible return of our Lord to earth. "Every eye shall see him" (Rev. 1:7). "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27). If men say that Christ's coming is invisible and refers merely to His presence, Christians are warned by their Lord to believe it not. (Matt. 24:23-26.) "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" (Matt. 24: 27). Christ's second coming, therefore, cannot refer to the coming of Christ's power on Pentecost, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., or the influence of Christianity in the world. Christ's future return is an event which will be personal, physical, and visible.

4. Sudden and Unexpected Return of Christ. Sinners in the world scoff at the teaching of Christ's second coming. (2 Pet. 3:3-5.) They are not expecting Him to return. His coming, therefore, will overtake them as a thief comes unexpectedly in the night; it will take them by surprise. (1 Thess. 5:2-5; Matt. 24:37-44.)'

Believers, on the other hand, are watching for His return. Although they do not know the date of His coming, they constantly are alert for His return. They may be grinding at the mill or working in the field (Matt. 24:40, 41), but they are always ready for the return of their Lord. They will gladly cease all activity in order to be united visibly with their returning Saviour.

5. Glorious and Triumphant Return. The second coming of Christ will be glorious and triumphant. The King of kings will come in power and glory. He will subdue all enemies and rule in triumph over the earth. The triumphant return of Christ is described in the following verses: Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Col. 3:4; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 11:15; 17:14; 19:11-16; Psa. 2:6-9; Dan. 2:44, 45; 7:13, 14, 27; Psa. 72: 8-11; 1 Cor. 15:25.

IV. The Purpose and Results of His Coming

Christ's second coming will mark the beginning of His new earthly ministry. As King of kings, He then will sit upon His throne of glory, establish His Kingdom, and rule the earth with Jerusalem as His capital city. His rulership will result in the earth's transformation. He will remove the presence and results of sin from this planet. In His future Kingdom, the earth will be full of the glory of the Lord, and God will be revealed in His true character as holiness, love, and truth. As the open door to God's Tomorrow, Christ's return will result in fulfillment of prophecies concerning the future of the Church, Israel, nations, and the earth.

The Church. The second coming of Christ will result in physical redemption for believers. (Rom. 8:23.) Dead Christians will be resurrected to immortality. (1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52.) Living Christians will be changed instantly from mortality to immortality. (1 Cor. 15:51-53; Phil. 3:21.) Living and resurrected believers will be caught up to meet Christ in the air. (1 Thess. 4:17; 2 Thess. 2:1.) Believers will be glorified with Christ (Col. 3:4) ; they will be made joint-heirs with Him. (Rom. 8:17.) The glorified Church will be with Christ when He rules over Israel and the nations. Members of the completed Church will become kings and priests and will reign on the earth. (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6; 2 Tim. 2:12.)


(Adapted from Systematic Theology, by Alva Huffer, published by Church of God General Conference, Oregon, Illinois 61061, U.S.A.)

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