Copyright © 2006 by The Voice of Prophecy
|February 24, 2006|
Every Eye Shall See Him
An evangelist was promoting a tour to the Holy Land. It was 1988 -- the year some Christians thought Jesus was going to return. Amid the copy in the brochure was the following pitch to prospective travelers: “We stay at the Intercontinental Hotel right on the Mount of Olives where you can get a beautiful view of the Eastern Gate and the Temple Mount. And, if this is the year of our Lord’s return, as we anticipate, you may ascend to glory from within a few feet of His ascension.”
I don’t know who went on that tour. I sure hope, however, that whoever did bought a ticket back home
All joking aside, friends, we’ve been studying a very serious topic this week, and that’s the Second Coming. Today, I want to look at the important question, What is the manner of His return? There’s been so much speculation, so much hype about the Second Coming, as that ad we just looked at shows. So many different voices are teaching so many different things--how can we know for sure just what will happen when Jesus comes back?
The answer’s easy. We’re going to look at a few clear and unambiguous Bible texts that--if accepted for what they say--should clear up a lot of misconceptions about the return of Jesus.
To begin, lets go back to when Jesus was here. After His death and resurrection, Jesus was talking to His followers. Then something extraordinary happened: “And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9 KJV).
Jesus just went up into the sky. Kind of like a rocket, I guess.
But the Bible continues: “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10,11).
Notice, with me, two important points.
First, “this same Jesus” will come back. Not some emissary, not some spirit-guide, not some divine messenger or angel. No--Jesus Himself will return.
Second, He will return in the same manner that He left. He “shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven
Let’s let Jesus describe it Himself: "See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be . . . . Then will the Son of Man will appear in heaven, 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” ( Matthew 24: 25-27, 30 NKJV).
When Jesus comes back, out of the sky, His return will be like lightning. Lightning? What’s lightning like? It’s bright, it’s accompanied by loud thunder, and it appears all across the sky. Hardly some event you can miss, right?
And that’s Jesus’ point precisely. When He comes back, everyone is going to see Him. When He returns, all people—white, black, rich, poor, Jew, Gentile, Russian, Frenchman, Christian, Hindu, atheist —will see Him coming, for He will return with “power and great glory.”
John’s describes Christ’s return like this: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).
Every eye shall see Him! Hardly sounds like some sort of secret event, when He returns and quietly takes believers away with Him to heaven, does it? Certainly not to me.
But there’s more. Here’s Paul talking about Jesus’ return: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
A shout? A trumpet? A friend once told me about how his neighbor in an apartment complex got the notion to learn how to play a trumpet. The dwellers in the nearby apartments went up in arms. A trumpet is loud. But Paul here is talking about the trumpet of God! Imagine how loud that will be. It’s going to be loud enough, as they say, to wake the dead.
Wake the dead? We use that as a figure of speech, but in this case it’s literal. And here is where we get into what’s really the great hope found in the Second Coming.
Let me finish reading those verses from Paul: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. “(1Thessalonians 4:16, 17 NKJV).
The dead in Christ shall rise first! Here’s the great hope of believers. The grave isn’t the final resting place. No, it’s not. When Jesus returns He will, literally, raise the dead. The Second Coming is Jesus fulfilling His promise when, talking about those who were faithful, He said, “I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).
The Second Coming is that last day! It’s when all the promises of eternal life found in the Bible are fulfilled completely!
But there’s more. The text said that “We who are alive shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the in the air.”
Here’s the rapture that the popular Left Behind series was talking about, but it hardly happens as those books and movies depict it. Given what we’ve read so far, does the Second Coming sound like some quiet event when believers are secretly taken away to heaven out of moving cars or airplanes at 30,000 feet? Hardly! On the contrary. It’s loud, it’s dramatic--and no one will miss it! Everyone will know when it is happening.
This is the real rapture, friends, when our sick and dying bodies will be instantly changed. Instantly!
Here’s Paul talking more about the Second Coming of Jesus “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all 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 incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52, 53).
Dead or alive at Christ’s Second Coming, if you have accepted Him as your Savior, you will be given a new body, an incorruptible body, one that will never know sickness, pain, disease, or death again. Through the supernatural power of the God who created the universe you will be given a new body--one that will last forever!
Friend, because this is such an important topic, and because there’s so much misinformation about there on it, let’s review our study this week about the Second Coming.
First, we’ve seen powerful evidence that we can trust in the reality of the Second Coming. Yes, friends, God has given us good solid reasons, logical reasons, to believe that it will happen.
Second, Jesus Himself will return.
Third, His return isn’t some secret thing that happens without people knowing about it. On the contrary, it’s a dramatic and loud event that everyone, all over the world, will witness.
Fourth, and finally, at the Second Coming, the dead in Christ will rise from their graves and, along with those who are alive when He returns, they will be given new and incorruptible bodies that will last for ever. And then all of us will be taken from this earth, and we will never again know sickness, disease, suffering, or death.
No wonder there’s such an emphasis in the New Testament about Christ’s return. It’s the culmination of all the hopes of followers of God since the beginning of time.
Friends, life goes by so fast, doesn’t it? I remember reading about an old man, in his nineties, talking about his childhood. Someone asked him, “Must all seem like a long time ago, right?” The old man looked up and said, “No, it seems like yesterday.”
And, as we all know, only too well--in an instant life can be snuffed out You’re here, living to the fullest; Puff!—you’re gone. Just like that!
But Jesus, through His death, offers us all the hope of something more than what our existence here, long or short, can ever give—an offer that is once and forever completed when He returns. And that’s the great hope and promise found in the Second Coming, a hope and promise made certain by His first coming-- a hope and a promise offered to you, yes you! through Jesus, right now.
Accept Him now, give your heart to Him now, claim for yourself what He so graciously offers you now--and that, is eternal life. Ten when He comes back, He’ll take you with Him, and you, most certainly, won’t be . . . left behind.