WILL JESUS COME AGAIN?
You have likely celebrated his birthday many times--the birthday of Jesus, born in Bethlehem almost 2,000 years ago. We now look back to his birthday, and we call the celebration Christmas. But for 4,000 years before Jesus' birth, God's people could not look back, for Jesus had not yet come. They could only look forward to his birth. God kept reminding them that one day the Messiah would come. "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall arise out of Israel," was the promise. (Numbers 24:17)
Jesus was the promise that gave hope and vision to the people of Old Testament times. The prophets proclaimed his coming: "Jesus Christ. . .which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:20,21) So, for almost four thousand years the cry went out: HE IS COMING!
Then one night in Bethlehem, it happened. The angels appeared to the shepherds and announced: "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11) Prophecy met fulfillment. Jesus came as one of us, a baby born in a stable, born into a world filled with pain and sin.
He grew up as one of us, a carpenter who hewed wood, hammered and built, got tired muscles and slivers and blisters. He came as the master teacher, the divine healer, and the great comforter. But his main purpose was to deliver us from sin.
He gave his life on the cross to save us from eternal death. He rose from the dead in order to seal his promise to us of eternal life! Then while hundreds watched, he ascended to his Father in heaven. But before he disappeared, he sent two angels with a special message: "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)
The Old Testament prophets repeated almost 1,500 times that he will come! The New Testament writers announced over and over again, "He has come!" Now the Word of God promises us repeatedly, "He will come again!"
Why will Jesus come again? Isn't it enough that he came once and gave us a clearer understanding of God's love? Isn't it enough that he came to show us "the way, the truth, and the life?" Isn't it enough that he came and gave his life to save us from the power of sin and eternal death?
No, all of this is not enough. There is more to God's glorious plan for us. The death of Jesus on the cross and the forgiveness he brought us. . .his walking out of the tomb in triumph and the power he gave us. . .these would accomplish nothing in the end if he did not return to rescue us from this world of sin and suffering. His plan did not include paying the highest ransom ever paid to rescue us from sin and then leaving us in the hands of our captor.
The next vital step in God's plan of salvation is to take us home to be with our Savior, Jesus Christ. . .to be in a place where no poverty, war, sickness, or death exists.
Right now Jesus is preparing that place for us. He is guiding all those who love him to be ready for that new home. You, friend, can be there, for he said, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3) Jesus often directed his listeners to the time of his second coming. Even when he was on trial, he told the high priest, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:64)
To those who did not love him, Christ's references to his second coming meant fear and dread. But to those who loved him they were precious promises. . .promises like this one: "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:27)
Another promise was: "The Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him." (Matthew 25:31) The promises Jesus made to come again sparkle throughout the gospels. We can be sure he will keep those promises.
The Bible is quite descriptive and clear on how Jesus will come again. One out of every 30 verses speaks about his second coming- -that's over 2,000 times the Bible refers to his return. Together these verses give a dazzling picture of his second coming.
Jesus himself said his second coming would break across the skies in a brilliant display. "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)
Jesus said that in the midst of momentous troubles and confusion, with wars raging, with famine and natural disasters running rampant, he would come. "Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30)
His coming will not be in secret. The Bible is absolutely clear on that fact. "Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him." (Revelation 1:7) Not only shall our eyes see. . .but all our senses will be aware of his coming. "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)
We will not only see and here his coming--but will also feel something happening to us. As the apostle Paul said, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
All the prophets, apostles and Bible writers agree that Jesus will come with all his splendor, in majestic glory, surrounded by all the angels from heaven! What a day that will be! Friends and families will be reunited at the resurrection. Little Children who have been snatched away by death will be place in their mother's arms. The lame will walk. The blind will see. The tired and weary will be charged with the vigor of eternal, perfect youth, and all those who have followed Jesus and longed to be with him will see him face to face!
What other events will happen when Jesus comes again? We've already seen that the dead in Christ will rise first. Jesus said, "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life." (John 5:28,29) Jesus comes not only for the righteous who have died, but also for those who are still living when he comes. As the apostle Paul said, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
But what about the wicked? What will happen to them? The Bible tells us that when they first see Jesus coming, they will scream out to the mountains, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." (Revelation 6:16) To those who have turned away from Christ, his second coming will be a day of utter dread and judgment.
The light of his coming, the brilliance of his power, will be the force that resurrects the righteous and transforms his living followers. But it will also be the force that destroys the wicked, "whom the Lord shall consume with the brightness of his coming." (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
How important it is for us to fully trust our lives every day to Jesus Christ! Don't you want to be able to say with Paul, "I knowwhom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2 Timothy 1:12)
Our life of faith, our obedience to our Lord and Savior, these will decide which group we will be in, whether with those who meet the Lord in the clouds, or with those who are destroyed by his brightness. Friend, won't you determine now, more than ever, to be a friend of Jesus, to be in the righteous group at his second coming?
You want to be in the clouds with Jesus on that day, for the earth will be absolutely unlivable. The Bible says, "The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." (Revelation 6:14)
Even today earthquakes are among the most dreaded of natural disasters. Recently they have killed tens of thousands of people. But at Jesus' second coming, the Bible says, "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) This earthquake will cause every city around the world to crumble. "And the cities of the nations fell." (Revelation 16:19) Then to complete this worldwide destruction, the Bible says, "there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven." (Revelation 16:21)
From these verses we easily see that the earth will be no place to live; we will want to be with Jesus on the way to heaven. We also see that Christ's second coming will not be a quiet affair. It will be accompanied by great disasters.
But this will not be the end of our earth. First of all, there will come a cleansing by fire. As the Bible says, "The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10) All the wicked including the devil and his angels, shall be burned up completely. As the book of Revelation says, "Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." (Revelation 20:9)
God wants a clean universe, with not even a trace of sin. After he has cleansed the earth, he will bring forth a new world. "Behold," he says, "I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5) And the Bible writer, John, says, "I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away." (Revelation 21:1) God will restore our earth to its original beauty and harmony. The apostle Peter said, "We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13)
We will return to this new earth. We shall "build houses, and inhabit them; and. . .plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them."(Isaiah 65:21) We shall have every opportunity to reach our highest aspirations. We shall forever have our Friend and Savior, Jesus, with us. Then the prophecy will be fulfilled, "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end." (Isaiah 9:7) "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
Friend, to be ready for the second coming of Jesus is the most important thing in all your life. A deep and abiding faith in his coming again will purify and uplift you. As you grow in your relationship with him, more and more will you long to be able to say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us!" (Isaiah 25:9)
Friend, there is nothing on this earth that can even faintly compare with this glorious hope, the second coming of Jesus. His second coming will usher in an age when "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." (Revelation 21:4)
No wonder it is worth every effort to be ready for that day. It is worth every hour in Bible study and prayer that you now spend. It is worth drawing closer and closer to your Savior. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5) Let's look "unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:2)
With the apostle Paul let's "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14) We must make Jesus first and foremost in our lives. We must study his Word, for in the time just before his coming great deceptions shall arise to throw us off the right track. Satan shall be going about like a roaring lion, knowing his time is short. He shall bring forth every deception possible. As Jesus himself warned, "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders." (Matthew 24:24)
If you walk with Jesus every day, you will want to stay away from these false messiahs and false prophets. Even now they abound. False gods are on every hand--unbridled sex, materialism, eastern cults, Satan worship, and spiritism. Perhaps someday someone will come to you and say, "But Christ has come already." But Jesus warns, "Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not." (Matthew 24:26)
No, Jesus will not come to just a few, to be hidden away in some secret place. His coming again won't be some mysterious event. It will be a glorious, magnificent, thunderous return that every eye will witness. The earth itself will bear witness to his coming by upheavals and earthquakes. We will see Jesus come with a cloud of angels, the number of which is "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." (Revelation 5:11)
Friend, will you be there? You can be. Jesus wants you to be among the righteous at his coming, and he has provided a way. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us." (Titus 3:5) It's not what you can do that will guarantee your being with Christ; it's what Christ has done for you. He has died for you. He rose from the dead for you. He will come back for you. Accept his plan for your salvation, and look forward to the glorious hope of his coming again.
His promise to you is this: "Being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:7)
Yes, Jesus is coming again. This is the hope of every follower of Jesus Christ. Is it your hope? Do you wish to see the face of your Savior? Do you long for and pray for his soon return? Are you willing to let him take your life now and help you become his kind of person, his friend? Let us pray for a moment.
Dear Father, thank you for providing a glorious hope beyond our mixed-up world. Thank you that Jesus is coming again to save us from all this sin and suffering. I do not want to disappoint him when he comes by not being ready for Him. Help me with your grace to draw close to him now, to accept him as my Lord and Savior. I want to be taken up into the clouds to be with him when he comes. Amen.