The Blessed Hope - The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
The Chinese call it “Doomsday,” the Christians call it “The Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13) and that is the glorious second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will be a time of terror for the wicked, and a time of victory and rejoicing for those who love Him and are eagerly waiting for His return to earth.
The fact that Jesus would return a second time was clearly understood by His disciples. –
And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the world?” - or the world as we know it (Matthew 24:3).
It is interesting to note that Jesus had positioned Himself upon the Mount of Olives for His discourse on the events that precede His second coming. The Mount of Olives is the actual physical location of His return as prophesied by Zechariah. –
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (Zechariah 14:4).
In other words, Jesus’ return will be an obvious, earth shaking event, reminiscent of God’s absolute declaration of His power upon Mount Sinai when He manifested Himself to His people. -
And Mount Sinai was altogether on smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly (Exodus 19:18).
Therefore Jesus begins by warning His disciples against the deceptions regarding His return that would be so prevalent in the latter days. His second coming would be an unmistakable, massive, supernatural event that will result in a cataclysmic overturning of all the evil world powers that will be holding the earth captive at that time.
Jesus said, “Take heed that no man deceives you. For many shall come in My name, saying I am Christ; (the Messiah), and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4,5).
Jesus reiterates His warning about this deception throughout His entire discourse. He proceeds to tell them that there would be times of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes (Matthew 24:6,7). Sounds a lot like the times we are living now, doesn’t it?
He also tells us that there will be an increase in persecution against the Christians (verse 9). Today there are more Christians being persecuted than at any other time in history.
He warns about a lack of love among the people which is the greatest tragedy of all – “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (verse 10).
He reminds us again that “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (verse11).
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). A false prophet will negate the atonement of Jesus Christ and will deny that He is the Son of God and the only way to the Father.
Then Jesus reminds us again that because of the increase of sin and lawlessness, the condition of the world before His return will be characterized by its lack of love (verse12).
During this time, those who belong to God will not deny their faith, endure to the end and be saved (verse 13).
There will be continued evangelism through these troubled times (verse 14). –
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (verse14).
This sharing of the Gospel will be proclaimed by a faithful remnant that is operating amid a time of apostasy that proceeds the revealing of the anti-christ as prophesied by the Apostle Paul. –
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple (naos/inner court, or holy place) of God, showing himself that he is God (II Thessalonians 2:1-4).
This is what Jesus refers to as “The abomination of desolation” that was prophesied by Daniel (Dan. 9:27).
This desecration is to be in the holy place which is the inner court where atonement for sin was made by animal sacrifices. Those sacrifices were replaced by Jesus’ atonement. The word for temple that Paul uses is actually naos which designates the holy place and is not referring to an actual building. This suggests that the desecration by the anti-christ is a substitution of the need for atonement by declaring his own godhood, thus negating the need to humbly approach the true God of Israel through the pattern and plan for man’s salvation that God requires. So when we see the world and its anti-christ leader declaring a communist/ humanist religion that negates the plan of salvation for mankind that God has ordained through His Son, operating in the church and being accepted by a secularized Jewish population, it is time to head for the hills. We have churches like that now springing up all over the United States.
This is the sign that directly proceeds the prophesied attack upon Jerusalem (Rev. 11:2, Zechariah 14:2,3, Ezekiel 38,39).
Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains Matthew 24:16
Mountains are a safer place to be during a nuclear attack as they can defer the effects of the radiation and the blast.
We are warned not to look back Matthew 24:17,18. Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32). As the time for this event draws near those who can hear the Lord will begin to sever their attachments to the things of this life.
The attack on Jerusalem occurs during the great tribulation (verse21). Please note that Jesus is telling His disciples about the signs that will directly precede His second coming. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD was a localized event and a foreshadowed of the event that Jesus describes in Matthew 24 which will affect the entire world. Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD is obviously not the event Jesus is describing to His disciples.
“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zechariah 14:2). Israel’s alley, and military defender, the United States, seems to have been eliminated from the picture at this point; something that has to happen in order to fulfill Biblical prophecy, for as we shall see, it is God who will rescue His people after this time of chastening.
…and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city ( Zechariah 14:2).
The beast system one world government is now in full control, the mark of the beast is implemented upon the whole world and at the same time the bowl judgments are being poured out upon the beast’s empire just prior to the Lord’s return, as illustrated for us in Revelation 16-18. Jesus' return begins in Rev. 19.
Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14: 3).
The following verse is the triumphant portrait we have previously been shown of Jesus’ supernatural descent upon the Mount of Olives, “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives… (Zechariah 14:4).
It seems we have come full circle here and we return to Matthew 24 for where Jesus reminds us again of the deceptions of the age. -
Then if any man shall say to you, ‘Lo, here is Christ, or there’; don’t believe it. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the desert’; don’t go there: ‘Behold, He is in the secret chambers;’ Don’t believe It (Matt. 24:23-26).
As of this writing there are many Jews in Jerusalem awaiting the coming of the Messiah along with Christians, and Muslims. It has been reported that some Jews who have left Jerusalem have special rental agreements allowing them to return to their apartments when the Messiah returns.
Jesus wants us all to know that His return will be a dramatic supernatural event that occurs after the great tribulation’s devastations. -
For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcass is, there will be the eagles gathers together (Matthew 24:27,28).
Here Jesus is telling us that there is great persecution of His people, Jews and Gentiles. The eagles, their enemies are gathering, feasting on their prey just before Jesus comes to the rescue.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, (there will be a solar and lunar eclipse) and the stars shall fall from heaven (These stars are demonic powers, fallen angels, possibly camouflaged as aliens and UFOs, that have been manipulating mankind) and the powers (demonic forces) shall be shaken (Matthew 24: 29).
The prophet Joel has also prophesied of this event. –
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come (Joel 2:31).
We are being shown a solar eclipse and a blood moon, which occurs during a lunar eclipse. These events happen often and are not unusual. So why are they designated as notable signs before our Lord’s return?
A solar eclipse only occurs at New Moon, and a lunar eclipse happens at full moon and they must be separated by at least two weeks. These are natural occurrences and not a great sign, but what if they happen at the same time? This is a scientific impossibility that would be sure to get everyone’s attention.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the moon and the sun. A solar eclipse happens when the moon comes between the earth and the sun. So we see that a solar and lunar eclipse happens when a large body passes between the moon and the sun and the earth and the sun.
Jesus has told us that His coming will be as lightening from the east to the west. We are also told in the Scriptures that every eye shall see Him (Rev.1:7) and that He will not be alone. Jude, who is quoting from the prophetic book of Enoch tells us that the Lord “comes with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 1:14). These are the armies which were in heaven (Rev. 19:14).
When Jesus comes half of the world will be sleeping, the other half will be going about their daily routines as usual, when suddenly an unpredicted solar eclipse occurs as the Lord and His armies make their way from the east to the west. The enormity of their numbers creates a massive body in the heavens passing between the earth and the sun and simultaneously blocking the moon and the sun. As the sun’s rays filter around the massive army, the moon unpredictably turns blood red signaling Jesus’ return to those who may have been supernaturally awakened to behold His return.
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn….
The sun has grown dark on one side of the world and the moon red above the other, when suddenly a large cross, forms in the sky supernaturally visible to all.
I read two news reports in one day that recoded similar instances of attacks upon the cross. In one of them I learned, that the Chinese government was removing crosses from the churches citing that were building code violations as an excuse. At the same time I read that ISIS was removing crosses wherever they find them. So we see that when the sign of the cross appears in the sky above their heads, they will mourn, because those who have removed this Christian symbol are about to be removed themselves and there is absolutely nothing they can do except repent in these few moments before the Lord descends.
…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).
And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet….
Apparently this sound will be heard by all and it signals a time of war against the wicked and announces a jubilee for the righteous who have received Christ.
…and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24:31).
Before God deals with the wicked, His righteous are air lifted to safely. This is the first resurrection as detailed for us by the Apostle Paul. –
For the Lord Himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thessalonians 4:16,17).
Jesus tells us that the signs He has described for us in this chapter of Matthew’s gospel show us that His coming is very near. –
So likewise when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors (verse 33).
He shows us that the time before His coming will be like the days of Noah, (Matt.24:37,38) and the days of Lot (Luke 17:28,29) which means the evil that has been embraced by mankind will be such as it will trigger the removal of the wicked.
The word of God shows us that there is a distinction between the wicked and other people. The Bible describes the wicked as those who willfully reject God and His atonement. These are also those who practice lawlessness and are deliberately hurting others. There will be many in the world at that time who have not heard the gospel and do not know Jesus, but are good people and are trying to survive and raise their children in an evil world of oppression and cruelty. These will be the ones that God knows through His foreknowledge will receive the atonement, accept His Messiah and be faithful to Him. We note in Ezekiel 34:17 that there are three categories of people that stand before Him for judgment, cattle, rams (sheep) and goats. The sheep are followers of Jesus, the goats are the tares among the wheat; apostate professed “Christians.” The cattle are the remainder of the nations that have been spared, Jews and Gentiles; the poor and meek of the earth that God refers to as His brethren in Matthew 25:40.
Jesus likens His coming as a flood and a fire upon the wicked. As the flood descended upon the evil ones in Noah’s day, and fire upon those who were practicing abominations in Lot’s time, so Jesus will be that descending fire and the flood that sweeps away the ungodly.
Jesus shows us the removal of the wicked in verses 40 and 41.-
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, the other left (Matthew 24:40,41).
Be kind to your co-workers.
This isn’t a rapture of the wicked, they are not disappearing; they are being “slain”. Let’s take a look at the book of Revelation’s description of what happens when Jesus returns. –
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He himself.
And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
And He had on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Jesus descends and the evil world system and the anti-christ are destroyed along with their followers. –
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
The evil are slain by the power of God’s holy word, which is the weapon, the sword that comes forth from the mouth of Jesus.
Israel and the persecuted Christian church are defended and vindicated by God in Christ and Jesus reigns as the new one world ruler, who rules with love and justice, a dramatic contrast to the leadership that has been disposed in His wake.
The Lord’s return is doomsday for the wicked, and all those who oppose God’s people in this present evil world.
The signs of Jesus’ return are all around us today, and as the Lord has said, keep watch, for you don’t know the hour or day of His arrival,(Matthew 24:42); but I believe those who can hear His Holy Spirit voice will recognize the signs of the season and be among those who are ready and watching.
Copyright 2014 by H.D. Shively
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