THE RETURN OF THE KING

 

 

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THE RETURN OF THE KING

Chapter 7

7/7/2012

 

 

The return of Jesus Christ will be the most momentous event in history. Every eye will see him, no one will miss it. Your eternal destiny will be decided at that moment. For many it would be the happiest moment of their lives and for the rest it would be the saddest moment of their lives.

Every eye will see him? Yes, every eye will see him. How about people who are on the other side of the earth? On that day people will be so terrified of the strange sight in the sky that they will stay awake and watch the event on their smart phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, TV, smart TV or other device.

Many, with transformed bodies, will be caught up to meet him in the sky and the rest will be left on earth to face the wrath of God. The outcome is up to you; to persist in your pride to be your own God or to repent (change of heart toward God) and accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and honour Him as only He deserves.

 

The second coming of Jesus Christ will also be the most spectacular event in history. Just prior to that there will be signs in the sky to warn us of His arrival; the sun and the moon will be darkened and the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven; and we will see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 24:29-31 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”.

About two thousand years ago, he came as a babe in a manger and was rejected and crucified on a Roman cross but soon, He will come again as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus will be welcomed by millions of raptured people. This will be a supernatural event because these transformed people will be able to fly to meet Jesus in the air. No one will miss this extraordinary event; all people who are alive at that time will witness it.

‘What a day that will be’

Words and Music by Jim Hill

 

The Purpose of Christ’s Return

If Christ does not return your salvation is incomplete (Final Redemption).

If Christ does not return there will be no resurrection of the dead and no rapture.

If Christ does not return His literal kingdom will not come (Kingdom)

If Christ does not return there will be no restoration of the whole creation (Restoration)

If you do not include the truth of ‘Christ’s Return’ in your preaching of the gospel your message is incomplete. The great commission involves teaching all that Jesus commanded (Matt 28:19-20).

 

Final Redemption

Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

In relation to believers the purpose of Christ’s return is to bring about their final redemption.

At His first coming, through His dead and resurrection, believers received redemption as expressed by Apostle Paul in Ephesian 1:7 (KJV):

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

There is also the final redemption yet to come. Jesus said in Luke 21:28:

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

We believed, and were saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  God declared that we became righteous through faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-23 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We believe, and are being saved. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit shapes us into more holy and Christlike people. It's a natural part of a Christian's growth in spiritual maturity. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We believe, and we shall be saved when our Lord Jesus comes. At His return there will be complete salvation for the individual.

Salvation means the salvation of the whole man. "But our commonwealth [Citizenship] is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself" (Phil. 3:20-21).

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”

Titus 2:13 (KJV)

All this takes place while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ (verse 13). Christian morality is driven by Christian eschatology, the confident expectation of the visible coming in glory of Jesus Christ at the close of this age. Believers are saved in this hope (Rom. 8:24f.), because the final events of the history of salvation have still to be played out when Jesus comes again. So believers wait for the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5; Col. 1:4f.). Their hope is blessed because it will bring in their perfect blessedness in the enjoyment of the presence of their Lord forever.

 

Resurrection and Rapture

When Jesus returns the dead in Christ will be resurrected and the living (those in Christ) will be raptured.

In the New Testament, the hope of resurrection is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His resurrection means that he has "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel"

2 Timothy 1:10 (ESV)

“..and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,..”

We must emphasize that Jesus' resurrection was not a resuscitation--that is, a return to physical, mortal life. The resurrection of Jesus means the emergence of eternal life and immortality in history. The account of the resurrection appearances is given by the apostle Paul:

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (ICor. 15:3-8)

The appearances of Jesus after the resurrection were also recorded in the gospels. Matthew records that as the women were leaving the tomb after seeing the angel, Jesus met them "and they took hold of his feet and worshiped him"

Matthew 28:9 (ESV)

And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Luke records that two disciples on the road to Emmaus recognized him in the act of breaking bread.

Luke 24:30-31 (ESV)

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

Luke further records that Jesus told his disciples to handle his body, to be assured that he was not an apparition: "for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have"

Luke 24:36-43 (ESV)

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marvelling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

John records that the disciples were gathered in an upper roam, "the doors being shut, for fear of the Jews", when Jesus apparently appeared from nowhere and stood in their midst.

John 20:19 (ESV)

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

There follows the famous story of doubting Thomas who was invited to feel Jesus' wounds in his hands and the spear thrust in his side. The record does not say that Thomas did so, but obviously it was possible or Jesus would not have invited it.

John 20:24-29 (ESV)

Jesus and Thomas

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

While he was raised in bodily form, it was not the same body. It was a transformed body which possessed new powers. He was both sufficiently physical to show his wounds and sufficiently immaterial to pass through closed doors. Jesus was raised in bodily form, but he possessed powers which transcended the ordinary physical world of time and space.

At the second coming of Jesus Christ our physical bodies will be transformed into the resurrected bodies like that of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus not only assures our resurrection; it also tells us that our resurrection will be like his. When he comes in power and glory, he "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself"

Philippians 3:21 (ESV)

…who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself

Paul gives us the nearest thing to a description of the resurrection body to be found in Scripture: "What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power"

1 Corinthians 15:42-43 (ESV)

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.

The resurrection body will be imperishable, glorious and powerful. The important thing is that the resurrection body will be like Jesus' resurrection body. "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven" (1 Cor.15:47).  It is clear from other Scriptures that the resurrection of the saints occurs at the Second Coming of Christ. Paul makes this clear in I Thessalonians:

"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first" (I Thess. 4:16). That the dead rise "first" is not said with reference to the rest of the dead. The fact is, Paul nowhere in his letters mentions the resurrection of non-saints. "First" means that the dead saints are raised before the living saints are caught up to be with the Lord at the rapture.

This will occur at the same moment as the resurrection of the saints and of the martyrs in Revelation 20. Revelation 19:11-21 pictures the second coming of Christ in terms of a conqueror. He is seen riding a white horse to destroy Antichrist and those who had followed him. Thus, at the second coming of Christ occurs the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4 designates more than one group of people. John saw first those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus. He saw also those who had not worshiped the beast and its image; believers who had escaped persecution. The dead come to life again and rejoice with Christ a thousand years (20: 4). Then after the millennial reign of Christ they continue on into the age to come, still in their transformed bodies, in a new heaven and a new earth.

Another event which occurs simultaneously with the resurrection of the saints is what we call the rapture. Paul says in I Thessalonians that immediately after the resurrection of the dead in Christ, "Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we always be with the Lord" (4:17). The word "rapture" comes from the Latin for "we shall be caught up"-rapiemur. The catching up of the living saints to meet the Lord in the air is Paul's way of describing the transformation of the living saints when they put on their transformed bodies without passing through death.

Paul says the same thing in different words in I Corinthians 15:51-54

We shall not all sleep [in death], but we shall all [both the dead and living saints] be changed; in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we [the living as well as the dead] shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. Then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

Resurrection for the dead saints; rapture for the living saints. Thus shall all the saints of all ages enter the life of the age to come.

The Fulfilment of the Kingdom

 

At the sounding of the seventh trumpet which is the last trumpet, the Lord Jesus will return to set up his kingdom on earth.

Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Prophet Daniel predicted this more than 2500 years ago:

Daniel 7:14

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," this is what we are praying for: the effectual and universal rule of Christ in all the world, not only over believers. Then, when his Kingdom comes, "at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10 - 11).

He will come as the heavenly Son of Man and bring his Kingdom to his saints. He will reign in his Kingdom as the messianic King.

 

Restoration

Apostle Paul said the whole creation is waiting to be restored from decay:

Romans 8:20-22 (ESV)

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

Such a rule of Christ and His people must secure unparalleled blessedness for the world. "The end of the world" does not mean, in prophecy, the end of the earth and the destruction of its inhabitants; but the end of "the present age," which is to be followed by an age of glory. The "present evil age" is predicted to close amid scenes of fiery judgment upon the enemies of God, and with portents and convulsions which will affect the very earth itself; but the results will be what is figuratively described as the "new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." Nature itself will become more beautiful and joyous.

"The whole creation which is groaning and travailing in pain together until now will be delivered from the bondage of corruption unto the liberty of the glory of the children of God" Romans 8:21.

In spite of the sin and failures of man, we are not to look for the destruction of this globe, but for an era when the true full life of humanity will be realized, when all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest, when all art and science and social institutions shall be Christian, when "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" Isaiah 2:1-4. Such an age, of which poets have sung and philosophers have dreamed, such an era as psalmists, and prophets, and apostles have promised, will dawn at the coming of the King, Inspired by such a hope the waiting Church has learned to sing:

"Come, Lord, and tarry not; Bring the long looked for day; O, why these years of waiting here, These ages of delay? "Come, and make all things new; Build up this ruined earth; Restore our faded Paradise, Creation’s second birth. "Come, and begin Thy reign Of everlasting peace; Come, take the kingdom to Thyself, Great King of righteousness."

Many other purposes:

A survey of the Bible will show many other purposes of Christ’s return which you can easily investigate; for example

1.      To imprison Satan

2.      To reward his servants

3.      To punish the wicked

4.      To rectify injustices

THE MANNER OF HIS RETURN

The Bible plainly declares that the return of our Lord Jesus Christ will be visible, audible, literal, joyful and glorious.

 

 

VISIBLE

Jesus Christ, at his second coming, shall be seen by all mankind.

Every eye shall see him. This assertion teaches us, that he will come in a visible form.

And as Jesus Christ will come in a visible form, so he will come, doubtless, in a human form. Though physical he will come in a glorious resurrected body.

Ye shall see this same Jesus come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. The early disciples saw him ascend to heaven in a human form; they will therefore, see him coming in a human form.

 

Mark 14:62 English Standard Version (ESV)

And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Matthew 24:30 English Standard Version (ESV)

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

 

Acts 1:11 (ESV)

“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.”

His second coming is to be as visible as His ascension.

Revelation 1:7 (ESV)

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

 

AUDIBLE

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (ESV)

For 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.

There will be a cry of command, the voice of an archangel and the sound of the trumpet at his return; a loud event, definitely not silent and secret.

 

LITERAL AND PERSONAL

By personal is meant all that may be suggested by the words visible, bodily,and local; and all that may be contrasted with that which is spiritual, providential, figurative. Of course, the spiritual presence of Christ is a blessed realityright now; one of the most comforting and inspiring of truths is the teaching that Christ does come to each believer, by His Holy Spirit, and dwells within, and empowers for service and suffering and growth in grace; but this is to be held in harmony with the other blessed truth that Christ will some day literally appear again in bodily form, and "we shall see Him" and shall then "be like Him," when "we see Him as He is."

1 Thessalonians 4:16 (ESV)

For 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.

The Lord Jesus will literally come in person. Although He has a resurrected and transformed body you can touch him as you touch any person. He said he will drink the fruit of the vine with us:

Matthew 26:29 (ESV)

I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

  

JOYFUL

1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Revelation 19:6-8 (ESV)

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!

For the Lord our God

    the Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and exult

    and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

    and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself

    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

 

GLORIOUS AND TRIUMPHANT

The Lord's coming will be a "glorious appearing" because the full extent of his personal glory as God and Saviour will be revealed on that day for the very first time. The glory of Christ, that is hidden from creation now, will then become universal knowledge, so that every knee will bow to him and every living thing proclaim him Lord (Phil. 2:9). It will be as God and Saviour that Jesus Christ will be revealed in that day. Paul is consistent in his ascription of deity to Jesus (Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:5f.; Col. 1:19; 2:9), as are the other writers of the New Testament (John 1:1 ff.; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 5:6).

Matthew 25:31 (ESV)

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

Philippians 2:8-11 (ESV)

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When Jesus comes again ‘every knee shall bow’ to Him. At his first coming he was rejected and killed, but He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords, victorious over every foe. He will come again in his own glory and the glory of his Father and of the holy angels.

Luke 9:26 (ESV)

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Revelation 19:15 (ESV)

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

Mark 13:26 (ESV)

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

Matthew 16:27 (ESV)For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

 

The return of Christ is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. It is embodied in hymns of hope; it forms the climax of the creeds; it is the sublime motive for evangelistic and missionary activity; and daily it is voiced in the inspired prayer: "Even so: Come, Lord Jesus."

And let us encourage our hearts that the blessed hope of all who believe is THE APPEARING OF OUR GREAT GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

Do YOU eagerly await the coming of Christ? And I don't mean: do you believe in the doctrine? Do you eagerly await him? This is a very crucial test of the genuineness of your faith. Peter said in his first letter (2:7), "To you who believe he is precious." And so the preciousness of Christ is the evidence of your faith. And the anticipation of his coming is the evidence of his preciousness. And therefore you can test the reality of your faith by whether you are eagerly waiting for Christ's coming.

 

The King is coming

Revelation 22:20-21 (ESV)

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

The End

By Dr Philip Cheong

D.Min, B.Sc, Dip.Ed.

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