(watch part two of this series by clicking play on the video below)
There are over 318 verses in the New Testament that speak about the return of Jesus Christ. Paul called the second coming of Christ our blessed hope. Peter teaches that our present actions and our lifestyle choices should be based upon the return of Christ.
In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter says, “So now, prepare your minds, so that you are ready to live in a good way. Think clearly about how God helps you. Always remember that God will be very kind to you when Jesus Christ comes again.”
The whole idea of the anticipation of Jesus coming should cause us to live in a way that’s righteous before Him.
In John 14:1-3, Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”
When we study the end times, we understand that there are lots of atrocities and devastating global calamities that will occur. But there is one thing, above all others, we know about the coming of Christ, it should bring peace to our hearts.
Now, admittedly, the study of end times is very complex. There is a lot to unpack but in this article, I’m going to keep things simple and answer three questions about the second coming of Christ.
Why will Jesus return?
How will Jesus return?
When will Jesus return?
Why will Jesus return?
The Bible gives us several reasons in answer to this singular question. The first of which is primarily a relational reason. In John 14:3, Jesus says, “After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me so that you may be where I am.”
So why will Jesus return?
Because He wants us to be with Him. That’s it. He loves you. He wants you to be with Him. That’s the reason.
Now, Jesus gives another reason as to why He will return. Jesus is speaking in Matthew 25:31-34 and He says, “When the son of man comes in his glory with all of his angels, he will sit on his royal throne. The people of all nations will be brought before him, and he will separate them, as shepherds separate their sheep from their goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘My Father has blessed you! Come and receive the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world was created.”
Remember our question, why will Jesus return? It will be a time of judgment.
And Jesus distinguishes judgment into two types or two experiences. Those on His right are the sheep, the followers of Him. These are individuals that invited Christ to be their Savior and Lord during their lifetime. They’re not going to be judged for sin because the sin issue was dealt with when they invited Christ into their lives.
Now, Jesus says, when I return I’m not going to deal with the sin issue, or with those who walked with me and accepted me as their Savior. That’s already been done. Now, I’m going to deal with the reward issue. He says, when I return, your judgment is about the reward for service.
In fact, 1 Peter 5:4 says, “Then our master, Christ, will give you a gift. He is the most important Shepherd who leads us. When he returns, he will give you a beautiful crown. That is a great gift that will never become old or less beautiful.”
Why will Jesus return?
One, because He wants us to be with Him. Two, there’ll be a judgment that’ll occur.
Now, let’s ask the question again, why will Jesus return?
We heard about those on His right, the sheep. But we’ve not yet heard about those on His left, the goats. And if you have to choose between these two animals, what type you want to be? Let me tell you. Be a sheep.
Matthew 25:41 says, “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! You are under God’s curse. Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
The punishment for those who chose not to live for Christ, those who chose not to accept Christ and put their trust and their faith in Christ, is eternal damnation. And Scripture doesn’t let us think that hell is a place of pleasure, hell is a place of punishment and torment.
When a person dies and goes to hell, they don’t die and go to hell because God chose for them to do that or God wanted them to do that. Hell was never created for human beings. Hell was created for Satan and his cohorts, the fallen angels/demons. And so when a person dies and goes to hell, it’s not because they were destined to go there.
They go to hell simply because they opted not to invite Christ into their lives, to change them, and to live for Him.
Thankfully, His judgment is always true and His rewards are always reflective of how we’ve served Him.
When Jesus has got a hold of your heart and gripped your heart with a revelation of His love for you, that should motivate you to do things for God. It should motivate you to use your gifts, talents, resources, and time for the glory of God.
How will Jesus return?
Unlike His first coming, which was lowly and humble, being born of a virgin and in a manger, His second coming will be totally different. It will not be quiet and mysterious; it will be loud and majestic.
Paul tells us this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
I love that Paul chose to use the word command. It’s the Greek word for order. It’s a military order, a loud striking order meant to excite soldiers as if they’re going to charge the enemy. It’s intended to awaken encouragement in our hearts.
The return of Jesus will not be mysterious, it’ll be majestic; it will not be quiet, it will be loud. Jesus is returning with a triumphant entry back to the Earth. And although the coming of Jesus will be visible, it will be unexpected.
Paul tells us this in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “You know very well that the day the Lord comes again will be a surprise, like a thief that comes in the night.”
Paul is saying, though we know Christ’s return is imminent when it comes, you’ll still be shocked and surprised. Surprise does not mean unplanned or accidental. Paul is simply laying heavy stress on our need to be watchful and alert because Christ’s return can come at any moment.
Even Jesus spoke about the surprise element of His return when He gave the parable of the 10 virgins. There were five wise virgins that prepared for the bridegroom that would come at night and five foolish virgins.
The five wise ones had enough oil to keep their lamps ablaze. And the foolish ones didn’t have enough oil so they asked the wise ones to give them some oil. The wise ones said, no, we’re not giving you any oil, you didn’t plan.
Christ’s return will be unexpected.
Acts 1:9-11 says, “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
His return will not be spiritual and invisible. His return will be visible and public.
They saw Him visibly ascend and He’ll return visibly so that everyone can see. We will all know Christ has returned.
When will Jesus return?
This is the age-old question, when is he coming back?
Let me tell you a secret. Jesus told us when.
Matthew 24:36 says, “No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.”
Nobody knows. Angels don’t know. Jesus says I don’t even know. Only the father knows. So if someone tells you, I know when Jesus is returning, you know that they are crazy because Jesus doesn’t even know.
Jesus gives us a second answer to the same question in Matthew 24:44, He says, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Jesus says I will return when you least expect Me.
Revelation 22:12 says, “Then I was told: I’m coming soon! And when I come, I will reward everyone for what they have done.”
The early church took the language of Scripture and used it for the purpose of readying the church to always live in expectation in regards to Jesus’ return. Paul, when he was closing out his letter to the Corinthians, used the Aramaic phrase “Maranatha,” which means, oh Lord, come. Keeping this in mind leads us to live in an expectant way, it makes us realize He’s coming soon.
Be ready, be expectant, be about the business of the kingdom as you wait for the return of Jesus.