The Return of Christ
Since the early days of the Church, much has been written and preached about Christ’s return. Now, as we approach the end of the twentieth century, there seems to be renewed interest in the Second Coming. Some mystics would like to attach special significance to the year 2000. Yet it may well turn out to be merely another marker in time for human history.
Many have wrongly pinpointed Christ’s return. In recent years, someone thought that Jesus would return in 1988 and wrote a book about it. Now another book has been written to say that Jesus will return in 1994. Whether or not we agree with the author’s premise, only the close of 1994 will prove whether he is right or wrong.
The fact remains that though some may think they have an “inside track” on the time of Christ’s return, no one really knows. In any case, we believers ought to think seriously about Y’shua’s return and be prepared for it. Let’s look at what the Scriptures reveal about this all-important event.
1. Jesus promised His followers that He would return.
“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
“You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’” (John 14:28)
“. . . be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40)
2. Angels promised Y’shua’s followers that He would return in the same way, to the same place from where He left (in a cloud from heaven).
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
3. The Mount of Olives, a hill outside of Jerusalem that directly faces the Temple Mount, will have a central role at Christ’s return. After a major cataclysm in the Holy Land, the coming King will physically appear on that very hill.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)
4. From that site facing Jerusalem, with a full view of the front of the Temple, Jesus answered His disciples’ questions about His return.
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, . . . what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
5. In discussing the characteristics of His return, Jesus said that wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines will not be the signs of His coming.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars . . . all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:6-8; see also Mark 13:7-8 and Luke 21:9-11)
6. The signs of Y’shua’s return will be that the gospel will be preached throughout the whole earth and then the anti- Christ will be revealed.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14; see also Mark 13:10)
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him. . . . Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
7. We should not believe anyone who claims to know when Jesus will return because He told His disciples that no one will know.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36; see also Matthew 24:42, 25:13 and Mark 13:32-35).
“. . . they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said. . . , “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” (Acts 1:6-7)
8. Y’shua will come at a time when no one expects Him.
“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44; see also Luke 12:40)
9. Y’shua’s return will be in conjunction with the Jewish people living in Jerusalem. There will also be a temple in existence where the anti-Christ will set up the abomination of desolation prophesied by Daniel.
“. . . from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
“And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:25-27)
“And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.” (Daniel 11:31)
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16; see also Mark 13:14)
10. The Messiah will come when all nations are gathered to make war on Jerusalem.
“I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)
“For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem. . . . Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.” (Zechariah 14:2-3)
11. Many false messiahs will arise and lead many astray.
“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5; see also Matthe w 24:23-24; Mark 13:5-6, 21-22; Luke 21:8)
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)
12. Before Y’shua’s return, there will be an atmosphere of unbelief.
“. . . when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
“. . . scoffers will come in the last days . . . saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
13. The expectation of Y’shua’s return should motivate us to godly living.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household . . . ? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.” (Matthew 24:45-47)
“And do this, knowing the time . . . for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. ” (Romans 13:11-12)
“Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (2 Peter 3:11-12)
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that . . . we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13)
14. Y’shua’s return is the blessed hope that comforts all who believe in Him.
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Paul wrote to the believers at Rome: “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). If that was true in Paul’s day, how much closer is Y’shua’s appearing now!
Jesus promised, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:12-13).
Let us give thanks for this promise, as Peter wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope . . . kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). And let us say with John, “Amen. . . . Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).