The Mystery of Christ’s Second Coming

Moshe Dyan  Moshe Dyan

I remember when Israel was surrounded by armies and ultimately initiated an attack in its defense that precipitated the 1967 Six-Day War with Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.  My pastor at the time was so excited because he really believed that Christ’s coming could be at any moment, basing his beliefs on the words of Jesus when He said the following (Luke 21):

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21)

Since those days nearly 50 years ago, numerous teachers have arisen who have claimed to know not only when Christ would appear again (count 40 years from the date Israel’s became a nation in 1948), but also the identity of the Anti-Christ (Henry Kissinger?  Anwar Sadat?), the aligning of the Common Market in Europe to become the ten “horns” in Daniel Chapter 7, and even what the locusts represent in the Book of Revelation (helicopters).

I have attended numerous teaching presentations and read many books that included timeline charts purporting to show all of the events leading up to the Second Coming and beyond, including a secret “rapture” of the Church, a seven year tribulation period, a visible coming of Christ with His saints, and the setting up of the Millenial Kingdom, a 1,000 year period when Christ reigns on earth from Jerusalem.  The charts end with Armageddon, the place where the final battle will take place, and the coming of the “new heaven and new earth.”

All this chaotic speculation in spite of Christ’s own statement about His visible coming in the clouds with great glory” (Mark 13:26).   He also  related that “of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (13:31-32).  We must be alert, Jesus taught, because we don’t know when He will come again.  In fact, Jesus Himself did not know the day nor the hour of His return (cf. Mk. 13:32) .

 

When Will He Come?

Actually, the Scriptures do tell us when Christ will come again.  It’s important to find a pattern when interpreting Scripture in order to confirm our interpretations with sufficient evidence.  I like to find at least three scriptural passages that relate the same or similar insights.  I believe that this interpretive technique is in keeping with Jesus’ statement that “out of the mouths of two or three witnesses” everything may be established.

In this case, three passages from three different New Testament books depict the same event in different language:

  • Matthew 24:31 says, “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
  • I Corinthians 15:51-2 says, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 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 will be changed.”
  • I Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

All three of these passages relate in remarkably similar fashion the second coming of Christ and the raising of the dead.  Based on these three passages, we learn that His coming will be powerful, visible, and manifest to everyone.   All of His chosen people will either be raised from the dead or changed in a twinkling of an eye to meet Him in the air.

Plus, one significant detail that appears in all three of these passages is often overlooked–the blowing of the trumpet of God.  This detail links all of these passages together, serving as a key to help us discover the mystery Christ’s coming.  If you read them carefully in context with the surrounding passages and meditate on them, I believe you will receive significant insights from the Holy Spirit, your Teacher!  These insights should serve to clear away all of the confusion about Christ’s appearance.

Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:29-31 makes clear that both His coming and the blowing of the trumpet occur “immediately after the tribulation of those days.”  This blowing of the trumpet links all of three prophecies together, showing that His coming will neither be “secret,” nor take place in stages. nor before a mere seven-year period of tribulation.  

Thank God for trumpets!

 

 

3 Comments

  • By patrick Kennedy, June 30, 2014 @ 2:08 pm

    I read quite a bit of end times prophecy stuff, and while it makes for interesting reading, it’s all just speculation. If Christ himself didn’t know when it was to be, why do we think that WE can figure it out?

    While I do believe that there are signs in the world that do point to his imminent return, people usually just look foolish when they try to get into timelines etc.

    From the way I read it, there is NOTHING else that has to happen before the rapture. I’m definitely a ‘pre-tribulation’ guy. In fact, the longer I am in this world and the older I get, the more I long for the sound of said trumpets.

  • By Charles Jenkins, June 30, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

    Thanks for your erudite comments, Patrick. They are always appreciated. You might want to consider Matthew 24:29-31 when you hold to the pre-tribulation model. It says “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…” The the trumpet signaling His coming is in verse 31.

    How are you doing? I look forward to talking with you again, and I’m praying for you!

  • By patrick Kennedy, July 1, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

    What is your take on it, Chuck? I’ve always held to the belief that ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ Christ comes back, raptures his church, THEN come the seven years of tribulation. This is sort of a second chance opportunity for some to repent, although it won’t be easy.

    From what i’ve read regarding the extent of ‘hell on earth’ the tribulation will be, i’m just not sure that Christ will let his own go through it. (at least I hope).

    Honestly, maybe that’s my problem. Maybe i’m bring too much bias to the equation. I want pre-trib to be true so I just hang on to it no matter what. maybe I do need to study some of the other options. Now THAT would be an awesome Bible study….and I just so happen to know an AWESOME Bible teacher who recently has a lot more free time than he used to……….. (not so subtle hint)

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