Chapter 8

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One Second Coming—

All in Christ Gathered on the Last Day

 

 

 

How did Jesus describe His coming in Matthew 24 and 25?

 

The Second Coming, as described in Matthew 24 and 25, is the only coming Jesus spoke of in the Bible. Here’s how He described it:

 

• It will be as difficult to hide as lightning (24:27).

• It will take place immediately after the tribulation (24:29).

• The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light (24:29).

• The stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (24:29).

• Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven (24:30).

• All the tribes of the earth shall mourn (24:30).

• All shall see the Son of Man coming (24:30).

• He is coming in the clouds of heaven (24:30).

• He is coming with power and great glory (24:30).

• He is coming with all His holy angels (24:31; 25:31).

• He is coming with a great sound of a trumpet (24:31).

• The saints shall be gathered by the angels (24:31).

• Heaven and earth shall pass away (24:35).

• Destruction shall come on sinners as in Noah’s day (24:39).

• They that are ready shall go in with Him to the marriage supper (25:10).

• The door shall be shut (25:10).

• Christ shall sit on the throne of His glory with all His angels (25:31).

• All nations shall be gathered before Him (25:32).

• The righteous shall inherit the eternal kingdom of God (25:34–40,46).

• The wicked will be condemned to everlasting fire (25:41–46).

 

How did the apostles describe Christ’s Second Coming?

 

The apostles described the Second Coming the same way Jesus did.

Paul’s description of Christ’s coming in First Thessalonians 4:16–18 agrees with the description Jesus gave in Matthew 24:29–31, including the Lord’s coming from heaven, the clouds, the angels, the trumpet, the gathering of the saints, and the Day of the Lord.

Peter’s portrayal of our Lord’s return in Second Peter 3:4 to 13 is also in harmony with the post–tribulational description given in Matthew 24 and 25. They both describe the Day of the Lord (compare with Matt. 24:29–31 and Acts 2:20), the destruction of the wicked as in the day Noah entered into the ark (compare with Matt. 24:38), the destruction of heaven and earth (compare with Matt. 24:35), and the new heavens and a new earth where the saints will abide forever (compare with Matt. 25:34,46).

In Revelation 6:12–17, John also described the coming of the Lord Jesus much the same as the description in Matthew 24:29–31: the unmistakable signs in the sun, moon, and stars; the powers of heaven shaken; the Lord’s coming from heaven; all the tribes of the earth mourning; and their seeing the Son of Man coming in power and great glory.

The chart below shows that the apostles’ description of the Second Coming corresponds with the description given by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 and 25. None of these passages mention a secret coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus

Paul

Peter

John

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt. 24,25

1 Cor. 15

1 Thess.

2 Thess.

1 and 2 Pet.

Revelation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming after the Tribulation (24:29)

At the end The last trump (15:24,52)

Saints from tribulation “remain” (4:15,17)

Antichrist is destroyed (2:8)

At the end—(1 Pet. 1:13)

Antichrist is destroyed (19:20)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs in sun, moon, and stars—Day of the Lord (24:29)

Last trump (15:52; see Rev. 11:15,19)

The Day of the Lord (5:2)

The Day of Christ (2:2)

The Day of the Lord (2 Pet.3:10)

The great day of His wrath (6:12,17)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power Clouds Angels Trumpet (24:30,31)

Trumpet (15:52)

Clouds Angels Trump of God (4:16,17)

Power Glory Angels (1:7,9)

“The power and coming of our Lord” (2 Pet. 1:16)

“Behold he cometh with clouds” (1:7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visible and audible— He “shall appear” (24:30)

“The trumpet shall sound” (15:52)

Shout, voice of arch–angel, trump of God ( 4:16)

“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed” (1:7)

“At the appearing of Jesus” (1 Pet. 1:7, 13)

“Every eye shall see him” (1:7; 6:16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elect gathered together (24:31)

All made alive—All changed (15:22,51)

“Caught up together” ( 4:17)

“Glorified in his saints” (1:10)

Salvation (2 Pet. 3:15)

The marriage supper (19:7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thief (24:43)

 

Day of the Lord—thief (5:2)

 

Day of the Lord—thief (2 Pet. 3:10)

“I come as a thief” ( 16:15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven and earth pass— Judgment (24:35,51)

Christ puts down all rule (15:24)

Sudden destruction, no escape (5:3)

Everlasting destruction (1:9)

All is burned up (2 Pet. 3:10)

“The heaven departed as a scroll” ( 6:14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did the prophets describe the Second Coming?

 

Consider two prophecies:

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice” (Psa. 50:3–6).

“The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory” (Psa. 97:1–6).

As in Matthew 24 and 25, the above passages mention the clouds, the throne, the lightning, the visible glory of the Lord, the gathering of His saints, the judgment of the wicked, and the destruction of the world.

Some other inspiring Old Testament prophecies about the Lord’s coming are Job 19:25,26; Psa. 17:15; 46; 96:13; 98:9; 99:1; 149:5–9; Isa. 2; 13; 24; 25; 26; 63:1–3; 66; Zeph. 1:14–18; 2:1–3; Dan. 7:9–13; 12:2; Mic. 1:2–4; Mal. 3:17,18 through 4:3. These shed additional light on the New Testament scriptures, making us realize that the Bible is “a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet. 1:19), a truly marvelous and inspiring book!

 

What events of significance did the angels in Acts 1:9–11 foretell would accompany Christ’s return?

 

The angels foretold that Jesus will return from heaven in the same manner as He was taken up to heaven: visibly (“they beheld”), with a cloud, with angels, and only once. Jesus did not ascend to heaven in two phases; therefore, He will not return in two phases, as some incorrectly teach.

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? 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 1:9–11).

 

Does this mean, then, that there will be only one resurrection of the just?

 

Yes. When the Bible speaks of “the coming” of our Lord and of “the resurrection,” it’s always in the singular. Therefore, there’s only one Second Coming of our Lord and only one resurrection of the just—not two or one in two phases. The following scriptures illustrate these truths:

 

“Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7).

“Be patient . . . unto the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7).

“Be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14).

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Phil. 3:11).

 

What biblical terminologies relate to “the resurrection of the just”?

 

Expressions related to this resurrection are:

 

• the harvest (Matt. 13:30,39)

• the gathering (Matt. 24:31; Mark 13:27; 2 Thess. 2:1)

• be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22)

• raise him up (John 6:54)

• to receive you (John 14:3)

• the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23)

• be caught up (1 Thess. 4:17)

• be glorified (2 Thess. 1:10)

• we shall all be changed (1 Cor. 15:51; Phil. 3:21)

• we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2)

• we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2; Job 19:26,27)

• appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4)

 

Since several of these terms are often used interchangeably, we know they are speaking of the same event—the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Will the wicked dead see Christ’s coming?

 

Yes, because “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth . . . “(John 5:28,29). Scripture states that they who pierced Jesus will see Him. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Rev. 1:7). Jesus said to the high priest who condemned him to death, “Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62).

 

Every eye shall now behold Him,

Robed in dreadful majesty.

Those who “set at nought” and sold Him,

Pierced and nailed Him to the tree.

Deeply wailing, deeply wailing—

Shall the true Messiah see.

Author unknown

 

What is meant by the expression “the last day”?

 

“The last day” means no other days will follow. It refers to the end of the world when time shall be no more. In John’s gospel, this phrase is used in connection with the resurrection five times and with the Day of Judgment once:

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).

“Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:24).

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

The last day is both resurrection day and Judgment Day. Other expressions synonymous with the last day are:

 

• the last trump (1 Cor. 15:52,53)

• the end (Matt. 13:39,40,49)

• immediately after the tribulation (Matt. 24:29)

• the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:7)

• the day of the Lord (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10)

• his appearing (2 Tim. 4:1)

• the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:13)

• the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Pet. 3:7)

• the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12).

 

Since the Lord is coming on the last day, when will the marriage supper of the Lamb take place?

 

On that same day. Jesus spoke of the marriage supper with reference to His coming after the Tribulation. (Compare Matt. 25:1–13 in context with 24:29–31.)

Second, Jesus said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Matt. 25:6). Midnight is the last hour of the day. This signifies that Jesus is coming at the end of the world. No doubt the midnight hour also implies the dark days of persecution that will be on the earth just prior to our Lord’s return.

Third, Jesus linked the time of the marriage supper with the Judgment Day. Once the Bridegroom comes, it’s too late to prepare. “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:10–13). See also Matt. 22:11–14.

Fourth, according to the context of Revelation 19:7–9, the marriage supper is after the destruction of Babylon at the end of the world (compare with Rev. 16:19 through to 19:9).

Fifth, because the Bride is the Church (Eph. 5:23–25), the body of Christ (Eph. 5:30–32), the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7), and the saints (Rev. 19:8), the marriage supper cannot possibly occur before the last day since Jesus will not come for His Bride until she is complete (James 5:7,8; 2 Pet. 3:9).

 

Does the Bible teach that the whole body of Christ will be raised together at one time?

 

Yes, because “the body is one” (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12,13). Scripture repeatedly emphasizes this truth: “one fold” (John 10:16); “one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17); “one new man” (Eph. 2:15). Furthermore, the Church is Christ’s bride (Rev. 19:7); His people (1 Pet. 2:10; 2 Cor. 6:16; Heb. 8:10); a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9); a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5); a holy temple (Eph. 2:21); the olive tree (Rom. 11:17); and His elect people (Matt. 24:31; Rom. 8:33).

Since “the body is one,” all who are in Christ Jesus will be raised on the last day. This is seen in the following verses:

“His elect” are gathered “after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29,31).

“All which he hath given me . . . [I] should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39).

“Every one which seeth the Son . . . I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

“Whoso . . . hath eternal life . . . I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).

“All be changed. . . . At the last trump” (1 Cor. 15:51,52).

“The dead in Christ” and “we which are alive . . . shall be caught up together. . . . The day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16,17; 5:2).

“All them that believe” will be glorified “in that day” (2 Thess. 1:10).

“All . . . that love his appearing” will be given a crown “at that day” (2 Tim. 4:8).

The truth that the Church is one body and that all in Jesus Christ will be raised together on the last day is further evidence that a resurrection of the Church before the Great Tribulation is impossible.

In summary, Jesus, the apostles, the Old Testament prophets, and the angels described the return of our Lord as a one–time event—the consummation of all things at the end of the world, on the last day. Then, and not before, the Church as one body—the Bride of Christ—will be resurrected to be with her Lord forever.

 

Objections Answered

 

Isn’t it true that there are two types of believers: true believers or the Bride of Christ, those who are raptured before the Tribulation, at the main harvest; and nominal believers, those who missed the rapture, but because they refused the number of the beast (666), were ready for the second phase of the harvest at our Lord’s coming afterwards?

 

According to the parable of the wheat and the tares and the general teaching of the Bible, there are not two types of believers, but one—wheat (the Bride of Christ); there are not two harvests, but one—the harvest at the end of the world (Matt. 13:30,39). Therefore, there is no opportunity for salvation after Jesus comes. At the harvest the wheat will be gathered and the tares will be burned.

Given the premise, however, that there will be a pre–tribulational rapture, nominal Christians who are left behind would not be able to save themselves by merely refusing the number of the beast and giving their own lives, as some claim. Salvation is “by grace . . . through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). During the Tribulation, true believers will be able to resist receiving the number because their sins have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and their names are written in the book of life (Rev. 7:14; 13:8). They’ll be willing to suffer because they are saved, but not to get saved.

 

Doesn’t the Bible teach that there are three companies of saints to be resurrected separately: the bride, the bridal party, and the guests?

 

Jesus did not make such a distinction. Those who wear a wedding garment include the Lord’s bride, the bridal party, and the guests (Matt. 22:2,10,11).

 

Doesn’t First Corinthians 15:22 and 23 depict different orders of the resurrection?

 

First Corinthians 15:22 and 23 reads, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

These verses show only one resurrection of believers, which will occur at Christ’s coming. The order is Christ first, then the Church—Christ the firstfruits, then the harvest (“the precious fruit of the earth,” James 5:7). This chapter also teaches that “in Christ shall all be made alive” and “we shall all be changed” at “the last trump” (1 Cor. 15:22,51,52). How, then, can there be a resurrection of the Church before the “last trump”?
 
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