No one can read and believe the Bible and not believe in the Second Coming of Christ.
The fact that the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, lived 33 years, died on a cross and ascended to heaven, will return one day is a scriptural fact. It is taught throughout scripture clearly, definitely and repeatedly. Only the doctrine of the Atonement is more prominent.
The Second Coming of Christ is mentioned 318 times. It is mentioned eight times for every one time the first coming is recorded. Paul, in his writings, mentions the Second Coming more than 50 times.
Every time we lift the communion cup, we do show the Lord’s death, “till He comes.” Jesus promised, “I will come again” (John 14:3).
There are three basic ideas concerning the return of Christ to the earth. All three relate the Second Coming of Christ to its timing in relation to the 1,000-year millennium or kingdom rule.
The amillennial position is simply that there is no literal millennium. The “a” or Greek alpha, when placed before a word, negates the word. An example of this is the word atheist. The atheist says “no God.” We all enjoy amusements. To muse is to think. Amusements usually major on not thinking.
The amillenarian, by definition, holds a duel interpretation of scripture. Passages related to prophecy are viewed as figurative, while other portions may be construed as literal. At this point, it is worth noting that scripture is never to be taken figuratively unless it declares itself to be by statement or context. From my experience, the great portion of religious denominations fall under the amillennial position. Most do not believe Christ will rule the world one day for 1,000 literal years seated on the throne of David in Jerusalem.
The second position could be called postmillennialism. Identified by the prefix that means “after,” this group believes Christ will come to the earth, but only after man has brought in the Kingdom. There is no scriptural basis for this. Actually, the Bible teaches the opposite. Conditions will degenerate, men will become more openly sinful and wars and natural disasters will increase before He comes. Most postmillenarians passed off the scene after the Second World War.
The last position is premillennialism. This has been the traditional teaching of fundamental Christianity throughout the ages. The scripture teaches clearly that the Second Coming of Christ will be in two advents. The first is an imminent coming to receive the Church to Himself. (The biblical definition of the Church would be all believers from Pentecost to the Second Coming). This is called the Rapture or the catching away.
The second advent of the Second Coming will be seven years later after the Tribulation on the earth. This is called the Revelation Coming. At that time, Christ will begin the 1,000-year reign.
When a person passes out of this life, their body sleeps in the grave and their soul and spirit either goes to be with Christ or is consigned to Sheol. Every person has eternal life. Eternal destination is the question depending on their acceptance or rejection of God’s payment of their sin debt by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. Christ’s resurrection guarantees the believer’s resurrection.
Soul sleep is not taught in the Bible. The resurrection is always physical. The glorified bodies of believers will be reunited with souls and spirits at the Rapture. As our present bodies are identified and acclimated to this earth, our new bodies are described as celestial and will be acclimated to Heaven.
As a pastor, I have been asked many times, “When will Christ return?”
Although we are promised repeatedly in Scripture that Christ will come, we are also admonished that, “no man knows the day nor the hour” (Matthew 24:36).
Religious groups have emerged around the false narrative of this knowledge and have been proven wrong time and again. Jesus withheld this fact even from His own disciples (Acts 1:7).
Personally, I believe He is coming soon; it could be today. All signs point to the closing of the age of grace. The Rapture of the saints will open the door to the fulfillment of end-time prophecy. Once the believers are taken, the unsaved world will enter the horrible seven-year Tribulation. The reign of the anti-Christ and the acceptance of the mark of the Beast will turn the world into chaos unparalleled in human history.
At the close of the Tribulation, Christ will return to the earth; this time bringing with Him the hosts of heaven. The anti-Christ will suffer defeat and Christ will establish His earthly Kingdom. The Bema Seat of Christ will take place in heaven prior to the Revelation Coming and believers will receive their rewards.
Following the Kingdom Age, at the White Throne Judgment, all unbelievers will be judged and degrees of punishment for eternity will be ascribed before being cast into the Lake of Fire. Only then, after every semblance of evil has been removed, will God welcome believers into the New Heaven and the New Earth.
God’s plan and purpose of the ages is laid out in Scripture. The Bible is the sole guide to the truth concerning the subject of the Second Coming and biblical prophecies of the end times. We are admonished to be ready. An entire generation will escape the veil of death and be transformed in a moment in a twinkling of the eye. I expect to be part of that group, but then again, so did John on the isle of Patmos in 90 A.D., and so have the saints through the ages.
The signs point heavenward and the trumpet is sure to sound. Our world is ripening for judgment. Israel is in the land. The fig tree of Matthew 24 has bloomed. In 1948, the U.N. declared Israel’s homeland and recognized it as a nation. Across the world, there is a movement toward a cashless society. The computer age has made it possible for the anti-Christ to know and control who may buy and sell. The signs of the times are everywhere.
The events of the last three months vividly reveal the possibilities of a world united under a common cause. Nations of frightened people relinquish their freedoms easily. A pandemic is only one of many global catastrophes setting the stage for an international super leader. All the ingredients are in place for the closing of this Age of Grace, the Rapture of the Church, and the beginning of the Tribulation.
Remember, the restraining of evil today is basically happening from those who are believers in Christ and His Word. Imagine a world without that restraint. The Second Coming of Christ is imminent and all who are true believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air; leaving a world without a voice of godliness. No wonder that seven years following the Rapture is called “the Tribulation” (I Thessalonians 4:13).
We are admonished, as believers, to love His appearing. He will bring with Him rewards for the saints (Revelation 22:20). He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness (I Corinthians 4:15). He will judge the world, destroy death, and complete the salvation of the saints (I Corinthians 15:26-27). Most importantly, He will receive the glory that is His (II Thessalonians 1:10).
Listen for the trumpet!
Dr. Jack Scallions serves as pastor emeritus of Fairview Baptist Church in Athens.