Fred E. Dennis
We know that Christ is coming again. There are many reasons why we know this. First, he himself said so. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). This language was uttered by Christ to the apostles the night of his betrayal.
Again, we know that Christ is coming again because the angels say so. “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 1:11). This language was addressed to the apostles by two angels at the ascension of Christ.
And yet again, we know that Christ is coming again because inspired apostles say so. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1 :6-8). This was written by the inspired Paul to the church of the Thessalonians.
When is he coming? There has been much speculation and wild guessing along this line. Many dates have been set. These dates have come and gone, but Jesus has not come. What does this prove? It proves that men know nothing “of that day and that hour.” When God says that men don’t know that ought to settle it. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). We ought to thank God that Christ is coming again, and we ought to thank him that we know not the time of his coming. No doubt there are reasons as high as heaven why the time has not been revealed.
We know not the time of his coming, but we do know something about how he is coming. We have already learned from Acts 1: 11 that he is coming as he went. This being true he is coming in the clouds of heaven. “Behold, he cometh 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” (Rev. 1:7).
What will take place at His coming? Here the floodgates of speculation have been torn down! But let us see what the scriptures say. Let us read slowly and carefully:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thess. 4: 13-18)
This makes it pretty plain relative to what is going to happen when the Lord returns. The dead are to be wakened, and “then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” Yes, we are going to “be caught up together,” and all meet the Lord at the same time. What about that word “first”? “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” That is, the ones who are living shall not precede the ones who are dead. No two resurrections with a thousand years or so between taught in this passage.
When Jesus comes again the dead will be raised, and all shall be judged. In the last chapter that Paul ever wrote we hear him saying this, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1). What did Paul say Jesus was going to do at his “appearing”? He said he was going to “judge the quick and the dead.” How would you state this more plainly? If he didn’t mean what he said, why didn’t he say what he meant?
In Matt. 25:31-46 we have Jesus telling about the judgment “when the Son of man shall come in his glory.” Yes, and he says that at this judgment the “sheep” and the “goats” both will be there! The righteous will be rewarded with eternal life, and the wicked will be punished with eternal damnation. Jesus uses the same word to describe the duration of hell that he uses to describe the duration of heaven. When Jesus comes that will be the end of time. The gates of time shall be closed, and the doors of eternity opened. May God help us to be ready for the second coming of Christ. My reader, are you a Christian?