Jesus’s Second Coming and what precedes

2024-03-20A

A. A LIMITED STUDY OF THE SUBJECT.

The second coming of Jesus is a subject about which the Bible has much to say. In this study however, we focus on what Jesus taught about it as recorded in the four Gospels. We will also touch on what is written in the Book of Acts since, especially the first chapters of that Book, are so closely related to the Gospels. What remains to be known about this topic will be dealt with in subsequent studies.

B. REASON FOR JESUS’S REVELATION OF WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.

God created man to rule over his creation. Adam and Eve lost their authority and rulership over it to the devil when they sinned. However, Jesus regained it for mankind and it now rests with his children; the citizens of his Kingdom. In order for them to be able to exercise their rulership and all the functions attached to it, they must know what the Lord is planning for tha future. Then they can put themselves at his disposal to give effect to his planning. The future also holds severe hardships. Knowing this ahead of time, but also knowing the blessed outcome of it all, will provide the encouragement not to give up, but to persevere till the end and reap the eternal fruits. This is what this study guide will briefly deal with.

C. JESUS IS PREPARING HIS DISCIPLES A HOME IN HEAVEN AND WILL RETURN TO FETCH THEM. (Please read John 14:1 – 3.)

There is no other god who ever promised His followers to pass through the grave to the other side, prepare a home for them there, then come back and take them with Him so they can be where he is. This is exactly what Jesus promised his disciples. What a fantastic prospect and encouragement this is.

So even if you suffer great bodily pain, live in poverty not due to neglecting of your responsibilities, or are martyred for your faith, as long as you belong to the Lord Jesus and serve him wholeheartedly, you can be assured of a glorious home in heaven. This you will receive at his return, or even earlier, if your earthly shelter is taken down before that time.

Once He has completed the heavenly home, He will return for the rest of his disciples who are then still alive.

D. THE CERTAINTY OF HIS SECOND COMING. (Please read Acts 1:6-14).

What is important to note, is that God sent angels to confirm Jesus’ words that He will return. They said that somewhere in the future, on a certain day, Jesus will return to fetch His people. The present parting was just for a period. They were not to stand longing for the past years when He had been ministering to them. They were to look up at the clouds, look forward, to his second coming. This incident occurred while Jesus was ascending to heaven, making their message so much more striking.

E. THE WAY OF HIS SECOND COMING.

The importance of this revelation is that Jesus’ return for his disciples will be visible to all of his then living disciples. Jesus ascended in a cloud so that everybody present could see him going up to heaven. There were, of course, just a small group of disciples present. When He returns, his disciples spread all over the world will see him. How can this happen; the earth being round with everyone looking in a different direction? Let us leave that miracle to him while we get ready for the occasion.

(Later in the New Testament we read that when the Lord Jesus returns, He will first of all come back to fetch His followers, His true believers. At that moment, when the trumpet of God sounds, the graves will open. The believers who had died throughout the ages will rise in a new glorified body. Together with the still living they will ascend to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. He will then take them away to be with Him forever (1 Thess 4:16). But more about that in a coming study guide).

F. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL NOT RESTORED (till much later). (Acts 1:6,7).

The nation of Israel had been looking forward that the Mesiah promised to them by the prophets, would deliver them from the oppression of the Roman government, making them a free nation ruling over all others. This was also the expectation of Jesus’ disciples. But this was not the will of God. (God had set that date for the remote future.)

To be a citizen of a sovereign, free people who can manage their affairs as they please without having to bow the knee to another nation, truly is a wonderful privilege. That privilege Israel had enjoyed for hundreds of years. God was not denying them that joy, but giving them something better. Now every person within that nation could obtain a greater freedom. They could become spiritually free from the power and rule of Satan and become part of God’s eternal Kingdom. That is worth so much more than to be a citizen of a free people on earth.

G. FIRST PRIORITY: MAKING DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS. (Matt 28:18,19).

God’s plan was to first offer all human beings the opportunity of being saved from sin, death and the devil. One could see the logic in his planning. The longer the earth lasts, the more human beings will be born from which more can be saved, becoming citizens of his glorious coming Kingdom. Good for the Kingdom and good for mankind.

Jesus would manage the entire process of saving the nations from his position of authority, seated at the right hand of the throne of God, His Father.

After the disciples had seen this miracle of Jesus’ ascension and heard the good news of His second coming, they first had to return home. There they had to face the challenges of daily life and to preach the Gospel to their, and all the other nations. The spiritual precedes the physical. The spiritual is more important than the physical.

H. PHYSICAL SIGNS DENOTING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. (Please read Luke 21: 8-28).

The condition on earth during the years preceding His second coming is described here. Now one must admit from the outset, that all the signs mentioned have already happened to a greater or lesser extent throughout all the centuries. There have been wars, uprisings, earthquakes, famines, strange phenomena in the starry sky, etc. in the past. The difference, however, will be that in the last days, there will be a frightening increase in such incidents. It will be so bad that mankind will live in constant fear. Their lives will be continually threatened.

To what extent these conditions are on the increase, scientists will better be able to judge. They do, ever so often, warn against the warming of the earth and the consquenses it will have. The radio, TV, and other media day by day report on tragic natural or man made disasters all around the world. Thousands of people die, are badly injured or left homeless.

I. SPIRITUAL SIGNS. (Please read Matt 24:23-28).

The Lord Jesus warned against false christs and prophets. The increase of such will also be signs of his approaching coming. They will claim to be supernatural, even declare that they are Jesus Christ himself. They will say that they are the Christ Who returned to earth to bring peace and prosperity to mankind. They will call on mankind to follow them. They will perform all kinds of miracles to prove themselves.

They will look so genuine. They will be like wolves wrapped in sheep’s wool. Their voices will sound syrupy and peaceful like the bleating of sheep, but they will have the teeth of a wolf that tear and devour those that are not vigilant. Those who do not know God and who are not warned by His Holy Spirit will follow these false christs who are in fact anti-Christs. Such will eventually lose what little faith they have.

The Egyptian magicians could imitate some of the miracles that God performed through Moses (Ex 7:10-12). In the New Testament there is Elymas the Magician (Acts 13:8-12). He amazed the people with his magic arts on the island of Patmos. Paul however, unmasked him as an instrument of the devil. Some of the Roman Emperors also claimed to be gods and forced their nation to worship them. This kind of misleading has been happening throughout the centuries. Nearer to the end there will be a dramatic increase.

Christian leaders will have to wait on God for supernatural discernment because these false leaders will have a guise of godliness. They will perform all kinds of good deeds. They will also encourage humanity to do certain good deeds to blind their eyes. The effects of this satanic poison they inject into society will only be visible after some time when it is too late.

J. THE CHRISTIAN IN THE END TIMES. (Please read Luke 21:12-19).

  • 1. Christians will be hated and persecuted. The Lord Jesus says that it will be a time when Christians will be hated because of the name they bear. Even their unsaved family will turn against them and hand them over to wicked police forces and judges. Now it is interesting to note that Jesus says that during those evil times his people should not be nervous. They must not chew their fingernails and plan ahead how they will defend themselves. They must relax because when they stand arraigned in court, the Holy Spirit will rise up within them and fill their mouths with the exact words they are to speak. Those words will bare a powerful testimony for their Lord and Saviour.
  • 2. Fore-warned, is fore-armed. (Please read Luke 21:29-36) By knowing in advance how your enemy will attack, you can prepare yourself for the conflict. But the consequences of a warning disregarded, are painful. Just before Jesus went with His disciples to Gethsemane where He would be arrested and led away to be crucified, He warned them to watch and pray because although the spirit is willing to do the will of God, the flesh is weak and collapses easily under pressure. The disciples did not pay attention to this warning. They were proud and even boasted that they were ready to die with Him. The result was that they were not spiritually prepared when the attack of the evil one came. They fled in all directions when the soldiers arrested their Master.
  • 3. Example of being prepared or not prepared for Jesus’s coming: The Ten Virgins. (Please read Matt. 25:1-13). The way in which a marriage took place in Jesus’ time was very much the same as is still done in some rural parts of Africa. The groom and his friends went to the bride’s house where the first part of the wedding ceremony was held. From there they proceede to the groom’s house where the rest of the festival would take place.

The ten young ladies, or virgins, we read about, had probably been invited and planned to join the festival. They decided to wait for the bridegroom but when he delayed coming, fell asleep. Five of them were determined not to miss this joyous event, so they took extra oil for their lamps. When the bridegroom finally arrived, they quickly topped up their lamps and excitedly joined him. The other five however, first had to rush to the shops to buy oil. When they returned, the guests had already entered the banquet hall. The door was locked and they were turned away.

What the Lord Jesus wanted to teach us, is that we should find great joy in looking forward to the day when our Lord will come for His spiritual bride. That will ensure that we take care to keep ourselves ready for the event. Living a licentiousness life will keep us from the presence of God. Drunkenness and participating in sinful, worldly pleasures, draw our attention away from God. It grieves, and may in the end quench the Holy Spirit (the Heavenly Oil) within us.

K. CLOSING THOUGHTS ON BEING PREPARED.

1. Cultivate a joyful attitude.

Even worry about food and clothing, school fees for the children, health, rain for our crops and pasture and the loss of our land or other property, can distract our attention from God. The things with which we fill our thoughts will become more and more important to us. They will possess our minds. In the end we will no longer think of the Lord. We will no longer anticipate his imminent return. Do the opposite: cultivate a positive, joyful, friendly attitude. The joy in the Lord is a spiritual shelter of strength. (Neh 8:11b).

2. Draw strength from your prayer relationship with God.

Jesus encourages us to pray as He did in Gethsemane when facing his death on the cross. The result of His prayer was that His Father sent angels to strengthen Him and when the moment came that He was arrested, He was ready and He did not flee like His disciples did. When we pray, we enter into the presence of God and absorb His power. It is like a sponge that is pressed into water and absorbs the water into itself. When we are so filled with God, we will continually think of the things that are above and be ready to go with Jesus the moment He appears in the clouds .

3. It’s almost midnight!

The spiritual world is darkening around us. So, instead of worrying, let us trust God to provide for all our needs. Be grateful and cheerful. Enjoy all the beautiful things in life He is giving you. Turn your back on what is dirty or smells of sin. Every morning you step from home, look up into the blue sky above and say: “Today, Lord Jesus, come on the clouds today! I’m ready!”

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