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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 29 2024

Christ's promised second coming - the climatic solution to mankind's problems

Much of Bible prophecy focuses on the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth. The last quote of Jesus Christ in the Bible is an assurance: “Surely I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20).

The second coming of Jesus Christ will be the greatest event in all history. The Bible contains many prophecies of His first coming—His birth, life, death and resurrection—when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us(John 1:14). But the Bible has almost three times as many prophecies of His second coming. But at the time of His return, most people will be so deceived and confused by counterfeit teachings that they will reject Him (Revelation 19:19).

Until Christ’s death and resurrection, it was commonly assumed the Messiah would come only once—that the messianic prophecies were about only one set of events instead of two. Because these Scriptures were not properly understood most were expecting the Messiah of King David’s lineage to be a conquering king, and they didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

Although God inspired many prophets and Apostles to write down prophecies of a coming glorious Messiah and “Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14), the earlier biblical prophets didn’t have full understanding of how their prophecies would be fulfilled. Many questions in their minds went unanswered. Even the angels longed to have a better understanding (1 Peter 1:10-12).

The Kingdom of God is the direct reign of God over the entire earth, which the Bible shows will begin with Jesus Christ’s return as King of Kings. Every Bible prophecy of future peaceful, utopian conditions is based on the sure promise that Christ will return to bring about those conditions.

The focus of the New Testament is also on the exciting anticipation of the coming Kingdom of God (or, as often called in the book of Matthew, “the kingdom of heaven”). Many of Jesus’ parables were about the Kingdom of God. Parables about “a man traveling to a far country” who later returns (Matthew 25:14) and about “a certain nobleman [who] went into a far country” and later returns (Luke 19:12) are clearly referring to Jesus going to heaven and later returning to the earth.

There won’t be anything secret about the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. He promised He would return “with power and great glory”: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30).

One of Christ’s first acts as He is returning will be to resurrect (bring back to life) the dead saints and change the living saints to immortal life: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep…For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus…we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

We are also told to “watch” for Christ’s coming (Matthew 24:42-51), which means we need to stay spiritually awake and vigilant concerning our spiritual condition and events signaling the Lord’s coming. In Jesus’ outline of things to pray about (often called “the Lord’s prayer”) in Matthew 6:9-13 and in Luke 11:2-4, one of the things we are told to pray for daily is “Your kingdom come.” This means to pray that Jesus Christ will soon return to establish God’s Kingdom on earth so we will at last have worldwide peace, purity and plenty. It also means to pray that we will be spiritually ready and that we’ll be a light to others to influence them to be ready.

Jesus Christ told us how blessed we are to understand these things: “... blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17). Along with that blessing comes responsibilities to draw close to God—obeying and serving Him and serving our fellow man, confident in the assurance of our Lord and Saviour : “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work…(Revelation 22:12).