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THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST


One of the greatest events in human history, yet to take place, is the return or “second advent” of the Lord Jesus Christ — the hope and expectation of past and present “born again” believers. Dr. Charles Stanley wrote: “The certain return of Christ should fill believers with unquenchable hope and help them to find strength when they come under attack for their faith” (Life Principles Bible, p. 1445). It is very important Christians understand the various aspects of our Lord’s return, especially in these “last days.” We see the signs of the times all around.

Preaching the doctrines of the Lord’s return does not seem to be a priority in church teachings today, as it used to be some time ago. This is amazing. Why then does the apostle Paul make the Lord’s return a grand theme in both of his letters to the Thessalonian Christians? He instructs them concerning their own hope of the Lord's return. In every chapter of these letters, this important event is prominent.

Jesus promised His disciples that He would return for them. He said, ”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many rooms. if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Rest assured, Jesus will keep this promise of His return.

The promise of Christ’s return was also announced just after He gave us the “commission to evangelize the world” and His upcoming departure for heaven. The book of Acts records, “And when [Jesus] had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

The return of Jesus Christ should be regarded as imminent because it will definitely take place at any time. Paul writes, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). The fact is that no one is in a position to actually predict God’s appointed time and day when Jesus will return. The scriptures are absolutely clear on the subject. Jesus Himself specifically declared, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only … Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:36, 42). Why then have so many (even Bible teachers) over the years erroneously predicted or speculated on this mystery? Clearly this a violation of God's word?

Let us accept this glorious truth, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17). Believers in Jesus Christ have absolutely nothing to fear nor doubt. The Lord’s return is both an assurance and a comfort for us. Likewise, we should also encourage “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

The Biblical doctrine of Christ’s resurrection and second advent has been referred to as “the rapture” when “we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The word “rapture” is not used in the scriptures, but that is what the words “caught up” in the text means, and is derived from the Latin word “rapto” meaning “to carry off.” It is also noteworthy that as Paul pointed out, “we will meet the Lord in the air.” Not on earth.

Christ’s return provides a wonderful “peace of mind” and a great hope for Christians. He promised to “go and prepare a place for you and I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). We will also be changed to be like Him. The apostle John writes: “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like him, because we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Believers will also know each other in heaven, some we had never met before. Paul contrasts the present with the future in writing “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Let us rejoice that the Lord is coming soon in majesty and power. He may come at dawn, or at noon, or at twilight, or at midnight, and we look forward to share His glory. The Holy Scriptures wonderfully conclude with the last promise, the last prayer, and the last benediction. “Surely I am coming soon.” And the response, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus.” Then, “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen."

Are you prepared to meet Jesus Christ? You can be prepared now, right where you are -- no time like the present. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus to come into your heart, accept Him as your Savior and Lord and you will be prepared to meet Him.

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