1. As the disciples watched Jesus ascend to heaven...
a. Two men stood by in white apparel - Ac 1:10
b. With a promise that Jesus would one day return - Ac 1:11
2. Those who look for the Lord's return often differ greatly over the details...
a. The premillenialist looks for Christ to come in order to establish a literal kingdom on the earth, over which He will reign for a 1000 years
b. The postmillenialist believes that Christ will at some point begin a thousand year reign from heaven, at the end of which He will come to judge the world
c. The amillenialist believes that Christ has been reigning as King of kings, and Lord of lords ever since His ascension to heaven, and that His coming will be to raise the dead, judge the world, and usher in the new heavens and new earth
[In this lesson, the amillenial view will be presented, which I believe most accurately teaches what the Bible reveals about the Second Coming of our Lord. Beginning with...]
I. THE CERTAINTY OF HIS COMING
A. PROCLAIMED BY ANGELS...
1. The "two men...in white apparel" - Ac 1:9-11
2. Who said that "This same Jesus, who was taken up from into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." - ibid.
B. PROCLAIMED BY APOSTLES...
1. Peter - Ac 3:19-21; 2Pe 3:1-13
2. Paul - 1Co 11:26; 15:22-23; 1Th 1:9-10; 2:19; 3:13; 2Ti 4:1
3. John - 1Jn 2:28
4. The writer to the Hebrews - He 9:27-28
[In the OT one finds the recurring theme "The Messiah is coming!" In the NT we learn not only "He has come!", but that "He is coming again!" To the certainty of His coming, we can add..]
II. THE MANNER OF HIS COMING
A. HE WILL COME IN PERSON...
1. "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come..." - Ac 1:11
2. "the Lord himself will descend from heaven..." - 1Th 4:15-17
B. HE WILL COME WITH THE CLOUDS...
1. "This same Jesus...will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" - Ac 1:11 (referring to verse 9: "He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight")
2. "...in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." - 1Th 4:17
3. "Behold, He is coming with clouds..." - Re 1:7
C. HE WILL COME WITHOUT WARNING...
1. "...the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night." - 1Th 5:2
2. "For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes..." - 1Th 5:3
3. "...the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night..." - 2Pe 3:10
[Of course, this unexpected coming of the Lord will not surprise the faithful, who seriously watch for the Lord's coming (cf. 1Th 5:4-11). With joyful anticipation, they await the personal return of their Savior. What will happen when the Lord returns? To answer this question we now consider...]
III. THE PURPOSE OF HIS COMING
A. TO RAISE THE DEAD...
1. "...for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth..." - Jn 5:28-29
a. Note that there is but one resurrection, including both the good and evil, that will occur at one time ("the hour")
b. As Paul said, "...there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." - Ac 24:15
2. Those who are alive at the Lord's coming (believers)...
a. Will be "changed" in "the twinkling of an eye", being clothed with immortality and incorruption - 1Co 15:50-54
b. Then "caught up...to meet the Lord in the air." - 1Th 4:16-18
B. TO DELIVER UP THE KINGDOM TO GOD...
1. Contrary to the view that Jesus has yet to establish His kingdom on earth, He has been ruling over His kingdom since He first ascended to heaven!
a. In fulfillment of the prophecy that God would raise up the Christ to sit on the "throne of David", Jesus was raised from the dead and made "Lord" - Ac 2:30-36
b. All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto Him - Mt 28:18
1) He is far above all principality, power, might, and dominion, with all things placed under His feet - Ep 1:20-22
2) At the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers are made subject to Him - 1Pe 3:22
c. Christians are said to be "in" His kingdom
1) Having been "delivered...from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love" - Col 1:13
2) They are "in the kingdom...of Jesus Christ" - Re 1:9
d. Christ will continue to reign "till He has put all enemies under His feet" - 1Co 15:25
1) Note that His reign will be concurrent with the fact enemies are still present
2) As prophesied by the Psalmist: "Rule in the midst of Your enemies!" - Ps 110:1-2
e. Thus Christ is NOW "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of Lords" - 1Ti 6:15; cf. Re 19:16
f. And He will reign "till He has put all enemies under His feet" - 1Co 15:25
1) The last enemy that will be destroyed is death itself - cf. 1Co 15:26
2) Which we have seen will be destroyed at the coming of the Lord when He will raise the dead - 1Co 15:51-54
2. So when Jesus comes, it will not be to set up His kingdom, but to deliver up His kingdom!
a. As Paul clearly told the Corinthians - 1Co 15:23-26
b. As taught by Jesus in His Parable of the Tares - Mt 13:36-43
1) His kingdom will last until "the end of this age"
2) After which "the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (i.e., the heavenly kingdom)
C. TO JUDGE THE WORLD AND PUNISH EVIL...
1. God has appointed a "day" in which He will judge the world - 2Pe 3:7
a. The one appointed to be the Judge is Jesus Christ - Ac 17:31; 2Co 5:10
b. The standard by which He will judge will be the words He has spoken - Jn 12:48
2. It will be a day of perdition (utter destruction) of ungodly men - 2Pe 3:7
a. Those who know not God and have not obeyed the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction - 2Th 1:7-10
b. Those not in the "Book of Life" will be cast into the "lake of fire" - Re 20:11-15
D. TO USHER IN THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH...
1. As taught by Peter - 2Pe 3:10-14
a. This will follow the "passing away" of the present heavens and earth
b. It is in fulfillment of God's promise - cf. Isa 65:17-19; 66:22-23
c. It is something we are to "look for" (13-14)
d. It will be a realm where righteousness dwells, therefore the need for us to be found "in peace, without spot and blameless" when Christ returns (13-14)
2. As taught by John - Re 21:1-22:5
a. It will follow after the first heaven and first earth have "passed away" - Re 21:1; 20:11
b. It will be the place where the New Jerusalem will abide when it "comes down out of heaven" - Re 21:2; 3:10; 21:10
c. God will dwell with us in this "New Jerusalem" that has "come down out of heaven" - Re 21:3-27; 22:1-5
1. The purpose of Jesus' second coming can be summed up by His statement in Re 22:12... "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."
2. That Jesus has not yet come is only an indication of God's long-suffering, but rest assured "that day" will one day come! - 2Pe 3:8-9
3. In the meantime, what should be our attitude be toward the coming of our Lord? One of...
a. Prayerful preparation - Lk 21:34-36; 2Pe 3:14
b. Joyful expectation - Php 3:20-21
c. Patient endurance - He 10:35-39
1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up [to heaven,] after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over [a period of] forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
The Holy Spirit promised
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," [He said,] "you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Jesus ascends to Heaven
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."