By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
When I was younger, we used to play a game called “Hide And Seek.” A person would hide his eyes, giving another time to hide. After a preset countdown, the “seeker” would yell, “Ready Or Not, Here I Come!”
Then the game would ensue.
In much the same way, the Word of God teaches that one Day Jesus Christ will return in Judgment.
What does the Bible teach us about this Second Coming of Christ?
Let’s open our Bibles and study.
No One Can Predict When Jesus Will Return
Jesus taught very clearly while He walked the Earth that no one would know when He would return. Notice:
Matthew 24:36-“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Matthew 24:42-Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
Matthew Matthew 24:44-Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Matthew 25:13-“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
In the context of these statements, Jesus answered the questions of His disciples regarding His judgments on Jerusalem (which occurred in A.D.70) and then of the end of the age (Matthew 24:36-25:46). In describing the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus gave many signs for the disciples to watch for and referred to that judgment from God on the city of Jerusalem as “those days” (Matthew 24:19, 22, 29). Yet in the judgment at the end of the world, there will be no signs given, and this event is refereed to as “THAT day” (Matthew 24:36, 50; 25:13).
Since Jesus may return at any moment, we need to be ready always!
When Jesus DOES Return Everyone Will Know
Jesus makes it clear that every person will know when He returns.
One reason for this is the fact that when He returns, all nations will stand before Him in judgment:
Matthew 25:31-32-31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
Again, John tells us:
Revelation 1:7-Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, described the words of the angels to the Apostles regarding the Second Coming:
Acts 1:9-11-9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 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.”
The Apostle Paul described the Second Coming as being with a “shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). All of these are clear indicators of the fact that Jesus’ Second Advent will be obvious to all persons.
Did not the Apostle Peter describe the Return of Christ as a “thief in the night?”
Indeed, he did.
However, when we study the context of Peter’s statement, we learn that Peter was not trying to say that no one would be aware of the fact that Jesus had returned; but that He would come at a time when people were not expecting Him (just like thieves come at an hour when people are not expecting)!
He points out that before the Second Coming, there will be many people who are willfully ignorant of Jesus (2 Peter 3:5-8), and as a result, they refuse to be prepared when the Lord will return.
2 Peter 3:9-13-9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Notice that Peter is clear about the fact that when Jesus returns, the Creation will be destroyed.
So, when Jesus returns, every person in the entire world will know it.
The Angels Will Gather The Saved To One Place And The Unsaved To Another When Jesus Returns
In the Parable of the Tares, Jesus clearly teaches that the angels will play a very important role in the End of Time:
Matthew 13:30-Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In His explanation of the parable, Jesus informs us:
Matthew 13:41-43-41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
The righteous (i.e., the saved) will be taken to one place which Jesus describes as the kingdom of (the) Father. This is undoubtedly a reference to Heaven itself (John 14:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:1-2). At the same time, those who practice lawlessness (i.e., the unsaved) will be cast into the “furnace of fire,” where there is “wailing and gnashing of teeth.” These are both references used in the New Testament with Hell (Matthew 8:11-12; 25:41-46; Revelation 20:14-15). The word translated here as “furnace” is kaminos, and in the Bible often had reference to a place of refinement, where metals were purified. In this we see another indicator of the fact that God designed Hell to be a place where He hoped the most wicked would be redeemed (although it is doubtful that those in this realm would ever repent of their wickedness).
it is also worth noting that the Bible here shows that the saved and the unsaved will be together in the world until the very end of time. The teaching of the Rapture (that the righteous will be removed from the Earth several years before the Second Coming) does not have its’ origin in the Word of God.
The Scriptures also plainly declare that when Jesus returns, there will be a resurrection of all the dead.
Job 19:25-27-25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
John 5:28-29-28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice. 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Acts 24:15-I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
The Old Testament Prophets had also foretold this resurrection at the end of time:
Isaiah 26:19-Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead.
Daniel 12:1-2-1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Ready Or Not…
Friends, Jesus is coming back!
He came the first time to save mankind, but the next time He returns, it will be to initiate the Day of Judgment:
2 Corinthians 5:10-For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
In His First Coming, Jesus died on the cross of Calvary to save mankind from sin:
Matthew 20:28-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
1 Timothy 2:6-who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
Jesus died for us, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third Day (as affirmed by over five hundred witnesses-1 Corinthians 15:5-8). This is the foundation of the Gospel (or “Good News”) of Jesus Christ:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4-1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
His Word teaches us what we must do in order to be forgiven:
Acts 2:38-Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:12-13-12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
Acts 8:35-38-35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.
Acts 16:31-33-31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
Acts 22:16-And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
Addressing Christians who sin and fall away from the Lord, John writes:
1 John 1:8-9-8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus is coming back.
Will you be ready, or not?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.