Monday, June 2, 2008

The Bible confirms that Jesus is coming back again

It is estimated that there are more than three hundred prophecies in the Bible concerning the first coming of Christ ... and about eight times as many concerning His Second Coming. The New Testament mentions it at least 318 times in 210 chapters and there can be no doubt that saints throughout the ages have always "looked for His appearing".

This is no new doctrine dreamed up by some feverish theological brain. Even that Old Testament saint, Enoch — just seven generations from Adam — looked way beyond his time and prophesied concerning the Second Coming of Christ. This godly man, who walked so close to the Lord that he just walked right into His Presence one day (Gen. 5:22), said: "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints" (Jude verse 14 KJV).

The inspired Scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ will return personally. "This same Jesus" (Acts 1:11) will come again in a literal and visible manner.

Genuine Christians will be the first to meet Him.

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

We notice that those who love the Lord, and have died before His return, will come back with Him. The atoms that made up their bodies will be called together and they will receive their resurrection bodies at exactly the same time as believers currently living on the earth. Together ... we shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This "catching up" of the saints is what is known as "The Rapture of the Church". This is the first phase of the Second Coming. Those who do not know the Lord will not see Him at this time. Their turn is coming.

The second phase occurs when the Lord — together with all His saints — returns and stands physically on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem ... the very place He left this earth after He came the first time. Zechariah 14:4 tells us about it "On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south."

It will happen suddenly and unexpectedly as far as the world is concerned. "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape" (1 Thess. 5:1-3).

Everybody will know about it — from the East to the West. "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Mat 24:27).

Revelation 1:7 gives us some more detail: "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen."

The sight of the Glorious Resurrected Christ will shock this world. "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matt. 24:30). Terrified, those who once scoffed and mocked will call out to the mountains and the rocks: "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!" (Rev. 16:6).

There is a Day coming when "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10,11).

When Christ returns, every knee will bow — willingly or unwillingly. What a joy to bow before Him now and enjoy wonderful fellowship with the Risen Lord while we wait for His Return.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Val Waldeck