The Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department, presents brief excursions into the study of the Bible, delving into topics relevant to the development of future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which Christians, are renewed daily (II Cor. 4:16), so let's refresh ourselves with more of the precious truths of God's Word!
Instructions: The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up and read in your Bible the scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.)
No news story could be more shocking. No newspaper headline could be more spectacular than: "JESUS CHRIST RETURNS!"
Yet, just before His death and resurrection before His departure from the Mount of Olives to go to heaven more than 1,900 years ago Jesus Christ promised, "I will come again" (John 14:3).
And only moments after His ascension, the apostles were startled by the appearance of two divine messengers who assured them, "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).
In spite of these clear, plain statements in the Bible, there are professing Christians today who don't believe in Jesus' literal return to planet Earth. Then there are those who do believe in His Second Coming, only they think this time He will appear secretly to "rapture" true believers away with Him to heaven!
Let's examine the plain truth about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as revealed in God's holy, inspired Word.
1. Until when does the Bible tell us Jesus Christ will remain in heaven before returning to earth? Acts 3:20-21, Isa. 2:2-4.
The glorified Christ is coming to restore the rule of the government of God over the entire earth. It was taken away from the earth when the archangel Lucifer (now Satan), whom God had made ruler over our planet, rebelled against the government of God and attempted to dethrone and replace God as ruler of the entire universe (Isa. 14:12-14).
2. Will God's intervention in world affairs and the Second Coming of Christ be universally expected? Luke 21:25-27, 31, 34-35.
3. To what period in earth's history did Jesus compare His future return? Matt. 24:37. Did the people before the Flood really expect God's supernatural intervention at that time? Verses 38-39. Will most people today be expecting God's intervention and the Second Coming of Christ? Same three verses.
4. Will those who are expecting Christ's return know the day and hour of His coming? Matt. 25:13, 24:36.
5. Would only the apostles be unable to know the day and the hour, or did Jesus mean all even those of us today would not know? Luke 12:40-43.
Notice that Jesus' warning is especially for our end-time generation those alive "when he cometh" (verse 43).
6. Though we cannot know the day and hour of Christ's return, can we nevertheless know very nearly the actual time of His return? Matt. 24:32-33. What signs did Jesus say would precede His Second Coming? Verses 4-31.
7. What is a major sign that would indicate Christ's return was very near? Matt. 24:14, Mark 13:10.
Jesus made it plain that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God the Gospel message He preached must go to all nations before His coming. That Gospel is being proclaimed worldwide today by the end-time era of the very Church Jesus built more than 1,900 years ago (Matt. 16:18, Rev. 3:7-13)!
8. Does the Bible picture Christ coming as a "thief"? Rev. 16:15. Does this scripture mean Christ will return secretly or invisibly in a clandestine manner, as so many modern Christians have come to believe? That's a fair question.
But here's another question to ponder. When thieves or burglars rob a home, do they come and go without anyone knowing about it? Do they come invisibly? Of course not!
A thief, however, usually comes when the household is away or asleep. He catches them unawares, off their guard surprises them. You never know when a thief is coming. If you did, you would call the police and be prepared for him. The big question you would want answered if you already knew a thief was planning to rob your home would be, when?
So it is with the coming of Christ. He will not come invisibly any more than a thief comes invisibly. But He will come, unexpectedly! No one will know exactly when He is going to come.
Jesus Himself explained: "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 24:42-44).
And so Jesus likened His coming to that of a "thief" in respect to the uncertainty of the time of His coming and the element of surprise.
9. Is Jesus' Second Coming pictured as a dramatic event? Verses 29-30. Will a tremendous trumpet blast rend the air at His coming? Verse 31.
10. Will Christ's return from heaven be accompanied by a tremendous shout, as well as a trumpet blast? I Thess. 4:16.
Christ's coming will not be a clandestine event at all, for the whole world will hear it!
11. When Christ returns, will He be visible to everyone? Matt. 24:27, 30.
The Greek word astrape used in Matthew 24:27 may mean the lightning of thunderstorms, or any brilliant illumination. Now what brilliant light "cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west"? Why, the sun, of course. Can you see the sun? Of course you can.
Christ's presence will be "as the sun shineth in his strength" (Rev. 1:16). It will be obvious nobody will be able to miss it.
12. Did the angelic messenger, who spoke to the disciples right after Christ's ascension from the Mount of Olives, affirm that He would return "in like manner" as He left? Acts 1:10-11. What was the manner of His leaving was He seen until He disappeared in the clouds? Verse 9.
13. Will Christ return to that same Mount of Olives near Jerusalem from which He ascended? Zech. 14:3-4.
When Christ returns to the Mount of Olives in the same manner as He departed, He will not be alone. Notice who will come with Him:
14. Will all the "saints" resurrected Christians be with Jesus Christ when He returns to the Mount of Olives? Verse 5, last part.
15. Do the saints return from heaven with Christ, or just from the atmosphere of the earth the clouds into which they will have risen to meet Christ? I Thess. 4:15-17. Is this the time they will have been "caught up" to be with Him? Verse 17. Who will have gathered them together from around the earth to be with Christ at His coming? Matt. 24:31.
16. Will this resurrection of the dead in Christ have occurred at the exact moment the trumpet ("trump" ) mentioned in I Thessalonians 4:16 is blown? I Cor. 15:51-52.
17. Is the trumpet mentioned in I Thessalonians 4:16 and I Corinthians 15:52 obviously the same as the one blown in Revelation 11:15? Rev. 11:18.
In these verses of Revelation 11, John is describing the same momentous future event Paul did in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15 the time of the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection of Spirit- begotten Christians. Thus we see that Christ will return and the saints will be resurrected at the mighty blast of a great trumpet, which will be heard by everyone around the earth.
Both the resurrected dead in Christ and living Christians, then made immortal, will rise to meet the returning Christ in the air, and then come down soon thereafter with Him to the earth.
18. Will the born-again saints stay with Christ forever? I Thess. 4:17. Where will they spend at least the first thousand years with Him? Rev. 5:10, 20:4.
19. Who is scheduled to come with Christ from heaven at His dramatic return? Mark 8:38, last part; Rev. 19:14-16.
When Jesus Christ comes again, He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords to set up the Kingdom of God on earth. He will return with great power and glory and a great army of angels will accompany Him from heaven.
Immediately after His return, the almighty Christ will have to use His great power to subdue the deceived, rebellious nations, until they at last learn that obedience to His law is the only way that will produce real happiness, joy and peace for all mankind!