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 (Essential Biblical Doctrines)
The Second Coming of Christ
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The Second Coming of Christ

Jesus’ second coming is a Christians greatest hope and expectation (Tit 2:13; Phil 3:20, 21; 2 Tim 4:8).

I.       Biblical Grounds For The Lord’s Second Coming

A.     Old Testament Prophecies

1.        “Before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth” (Ps 96:13).

2.        “Then the LORD your God will come, and all the holy ones with him” (Zech 14:5, 6).

3.        “For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the stormwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire” (Isa 66:15).

4.        The following are additional references: Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalms 50:3, 98:9; Isaiah 35:4, 40:10; Daniel 7:13, 14; Malachi 3:1, 2.

B.     Lord Jesus’ Promise

1.        “For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father” (Mt 16:27; Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26).

2.        “And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (Jn 14:2, 3).

3.        A detailed description of the Lord’s second coming is given in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21.

4.        Jesus told many parables about his second coming. The following are a list of parables: the ten virgins (Mt 25:1–13); the talents (Mt 25:14–30); the shepherd’s separating of the sheep and goats (Mt 25:31–46); the servants waiting for their Lord (Lk 12:35–40) and the minas or pounds (Lk 19:12–27).

5.        We should remember the revelation of Jesus Christ that was given to John after the Lord’s ascension. The message of the Lord’s second coming, a central theme of Revelation, points to the book’s eschatological relevance (Rev 1:7, 3:11, 16:15, 22:20).

C.     The Testimonies of Angels and Apostles

1.        Angels declared to the people, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10, 11).

2.        Peter said, “Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:2–4).

3.        John said, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”
(1 Jn 3:2).

4.        Paul said, “But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20).

5.        James said “Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (Jas 5:7, 8).

6.        “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb 9:28).

II.    Prospect Of The Lord’s Second Coming

A.     The Lord Will Come Again with Fire and Thousands of Angels

1.        “It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads’ ” (Jude 1:14).

2.        The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire (2 Thess 1:7, 8).

B.     The Saints Shall First Resurrect and Then Meet the Lord in the Air

“For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess 4:14–16).

C.     We Shall Be Transformed and Caught Up to Meet the Lord in the Air

1.        “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 shall be changed” (1 Cor 15:52).

2.        “Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17).

D.     All Humanity Shall See Him and All Tribes of the Earth Shall Mourn

1.        “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (Rev 1:7).

2.        “Then will appear the sign of the Son of man 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” (Mt 24:30).

III. Consequences Of The Lord’s Second Coming

The purpose of Christ’s second coming is to execute judgment on the world and to repay the good and evil. According to the Bible, Jesus’ second coming will bring about several important consequences.

A.     The Saints Will Enter the Heavenly Kingdom and Have Eternal Life

1.        “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ ” (Mt 25:31–34).

2.        “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim 4:7, 8).

3.        “And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4).

B.     The Wicked Will be Cast into Hell and Eternal Condemnation

1.        “The Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess 1:7–9).

2.        “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rev 21:7, 8).

3.        “Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ ” (Mt 25:41–46).

C.     The Devil Will be Cast into the Lake of Fire to be Eternally Tortured

1.        “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev 20:10).

2.        “The eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41).

D.     The Old WorldWillPass Away and a New Heaven and New Earth Shall Come

1.        “Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them” (Rev 20:11).

2.        “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mt 24:35).

3.        “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:10–13).

IV.  Signs Of The Lord’s Second Coming

The Lord Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Mt. 24:36). The day of the Lord Jesus’ second coming is not known by humanity. However, from the many signs and events we observe, we know his coming is at hand.

A.     The Present World

1.        Iniquities and sins are prevailing.

The destruction of Noah’s generation and the city of Sodom was due to serious sinning (Gen 6:11–13, 18:20). In the future, the world will be destroyed because of its violence and corruption.

 a.      “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people” (2 Tim 3:1–5).

 b.      “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshipping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts” (Rev 9:20, 21).

 c.      “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities’ ” (Rev 18:4, 5).

2.        Knowledge is increasing

 a.      “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Dan 12:4).

 b.      “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near’ ” (Rev 22:10). This passage indicates spiritual knowledge will increase during the end-time.

3.        Nations dissolve and war with one another

 a.      “As you saw the iron mixed with miry clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan 2:43, 44).

 b.      “And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, every man against his brother and every man against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom” (Isa 19:2).

 c.      “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs” (Mt 24:7, 8).

4.        Wars will be terrible

 a.      “When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, ‘Come!’ And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword” (Rev 6:3, 4).

 b.      “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make men more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir” (Isa 13:11, 12).

 c.      “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.... Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man 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” (Mt 24:21–30).

5.        Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes will increase

 a.      “When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, ‘Come!’ And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth” (Rev 6:7, 8).

 b.      “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven” (Lk 21:11).

 c.      “Terror, and the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit; and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is rent asunder, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man, it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again” (Isa 24:17–20).

B.     The Spiritual World

1.        The Holy Spirit, symbolized by the latter rain, has descended.

2.        According to God’s plan, the promised Holy Spirit is given in two periods. The Holy Spirit in the apostolic era and the Holy Spirit in the last days before the Lord’s coming are respectively symbolized by the former rain (the fall rain) and the latter rain (the spring rain):

 a.      “Be glad, O sons of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD, your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before” (Joel 2:23; cf. Deut 11:14).

 b.      “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest’ ” (Jer 5:24).

 c.      “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit. ‘And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the LORD shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls’ ” (Joel 2:28–32).

3.        The spiritual Israel is restored.

 a.      “For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land.... A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances” (Ezek 36:24–27).

 b.      “The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:1–3).

 c.      “Then say to them, Thus says the LORD GOD: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides, and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall  be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms” (Ezek 37:21, 22).

4.        False religions prosper among unbelievers.

 a.      “Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. So man is humbled, and men are brought low—forgive them not!” (Isa 2:8, 9).

 b.      “A drought upon her waters, that they may be dried up! For it is a land of images, and they are mad over idols” (Jer 50:38).

 c.      “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur issuing from their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, with heads, and by means of them they wound. The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshipping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk” (Rev 9:18–20).

5.        False Christs and false prophets arise.

 a.      “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray” (Mt 24:4, 5).

 b.      “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.... Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Mt 24:11, 23, 24).

 c.      “Then I saw another beast which rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men” (Rev 13:11–13).

6.        Antichrist arises.

 a.      “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads.... it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation” (Rev 13:1–7).

 b.      “And the king shall do according to his will; he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is determined shall be done. He shall give no heed to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women; he shall not give heed to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all” (Dan 11:36, 37).

 c.      “Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.... and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thess 2:3–10).

7.        The gospel of the kingdom of God is preached all over the earth

 a.      “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come” (Mt 24:14).

 b.      “And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, ‘You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings’ ” (Rev 10:10, 11).

 c.      “‘And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’ These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth.... And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will make war upon them and conquer them and kill them” (Rev 11:3–7).

8.        The church will be greatly persecuted

 a.      “And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another” (Mt 24:10).

 b.      “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been” (Rev 6:9–11).

 c.      “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev 20:7–10).

9.        The Bride prepares for the marriage of the Lamb

 a.      “That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:26, 27).

 b.      “ ‘Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev 19:7, 8).

 c.      “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2).

V.     The Church Should Prepare For The Lord’s Second Coming

After the Lord Jesus pointed out several eschatological signs in Matthew 24, he continued with three parables. These parables encourage us to get ready for Christ’s coming.

A.     We Should Prepare Ourselves and Strive to be Holy and Perfect

1.        Always be filled with the Holy Spirit.

 a.      “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps” (Mt 25:3, 4; cf. 1 Jn 2:27). Now we know that oil represents the Holy Spirit, so we must be filled with the Spirit.

 b.      “But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9).

 c.      “In him you also ... were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:14).

2.        Be the light of the world.

 a.      “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out’ ” (Mt 25:8). We must be filled with the Holy Spirit to manifest God’s light.

 b.      “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:15, 16).

 c.      “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).

3.        Be watchful and sober in waiting for the Lord, while patiently enduring till the end.

 a.      “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him’ ” (Mt 25:5, 6).

 b.      “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man” (Lk 21:34–36).

 c.      “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 24:13).

B.     Have a Good Conscience Toward God’s Work

1.        Remember the divine commission

 a.      “For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away” (Mt 25:14, 15).

 b.      “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom 12:6–8).

 c.      “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission” (1 Cor 9:16, 17).

2.        Diligently fulfill God’s commission according to your ability

 a.      “He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more” (Mt 25:16, 17).

 b.      “And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they  will demand the more” (Lk 12:47, 48).

 c.      “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness, by which gods and men are honored, and go to sway over the trees?’ And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over the trees?’ And the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine which cheers gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?’ ” (Judg 9:8–13).

3.        Never receive the Lord’s grace in vain

 a.      “But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.... And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth” (Mt 25:18, 26–30).

 b.      “Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.’ Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:1, 2).

 c.      “For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est 4:14).

C.     Love the Brethren in Truth

1.        To love the brethren is to love God.

 a.      “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’ ” (Mt 25:40).

 b.      “If any one says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also” (1 Jn 4:20, 21).

 c.      “He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors him” (Prov 14:31).

2.        Those who love God and others will be saved.

 a.      “Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me’ ” (Mt 25:34–36).

 b.      “In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world” (1 Jn 4:17).

 c.      “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love” (Gal 5:6).

3.        Love your neighbor as yourself.

 a.      “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Gal 5:14).

 b.      “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Rom 13:8–10).

 c.      “The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:7, 8).

VI.  Millennialism

Generally speaking, Christian churches often have divergent views on the millennium. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, many Christians have attempted their own interpretation of the Lord’s coming, which often contradicts the Bible. The following are some of these millennial theories:

A.     The Second Coming of the Spirit Theory

Some millennial theorists assume that the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the second coming of Christ. These theories often do not believe Jesus Christ will come again in glory and power, with thousands of angels from heaven, to execute judgment on this world. Moreover, these theorists often do not believe in heaven and hell. Such Christians usually view the Bible in scientific and humanistic terms.

B.     The “Millennial Dawn” Doctrine

This “Millennial Dawn” theory maintains Jesus Christ has already come. Charles Taze Russell, his followers, and the International Bible Students’ Association (a.k.a., Jehovah’s Witnesses) formed this theory.

According to Russell, the Lord’s second coming already occurred and we are now in the millennium. Christ returned to the “upper air” during the second advent in 1874. Four years later, in the spring of 1878, all the holy apostles and the members of “the little flock” who had died were raised to meet the Lord. They are now floating about in the air. At that time, God also rejected the existing churches.

“Pastor” Russell announced that the consummation of all things would take place in 1914. He figured seven “prophetic” times of 360 years each, a total of 2520 years, from the removal of Zedekiah in 606 B.C. It was later suggested that as Ezekiel was dumb for a year, five months, and twenty-six days, a similar period after Russel’s death would witness the end. The final battle may take place anytime now, hence millions who are now living will never die (Elmer T. Clar, the Small Sects in America, Nashville, Tenn., 1949, pp. 45–47).

According to Jehovah Witnesses, the beginning of the end for Satan came when Christ took power in heaven as king in 1914. Christ’s first act was to cast Satan out of heaven, and this was followed by great troubles on earth. This will be climaxed in God’s battle at Armageddon—where the complete destruction of the devil and his world will occur. This is the vindication of Jehovah’s name and the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ. Then all that breathe will praise Jehovah.

Christ is now in his second presence. He will always remain invisible to humans, but his presence is proved by world events since 1914, which fulfill all the predictions of Matthew 24.

C.     Pre-millennialism

According to pre-millenialists, Christ’s second coming occurs before the millennium. Generally speaking, when social and moral conditions have reached the ultimate state of degradation, Christ will come again to take up his church. Christ’s taking up of his church is often called the rapture. There is no agreement among Christians as to when the rapture will take place. Some say it is before the seven-year tribulation period, others say it occurs mid-tribulation, and still others say it occurs post-tribulation.

At any rate, a great tribulation comes upon the earth. During the tribulation, the antichrist will appear (some say to establish his capital at a miraculously restored Babylon). Some pre-millennialists say the world will be devastated. When tribulation comes, woe and confusion will abound. The Jews and some unbelievers will repent and accept Christ as their Savior. Suddenly Christ and the church (i.e., the saints) will descend back down after the rapture, and in the midst of flames, they will shout at the sound of trumpets. Satan will be bound and consigned to the lower regions. All the hosts of evil will be destroyed. Christ will sit upon a temporal throne in Jerusalem and the millennial reign will begin. Jerusalem and its temple will be reconstructed. All nations will have to come up to Jerusalem year by year to worship the Lord. If the nations do not keep the yearly feast of Tabernacles, God will cause no rain to fall upon that nation. During the millennial kingdom, land will be redistributed, economic ills will be removed, corruption in human government eliminated, and sin restrained. Human life will be lengthened, nature will be restored completely and there will be no more earthquakes, storms, famines and pestilences. The spring and the fall rain will be restored to Palestine. Animals will revert back to an Edenic state as God originally intended and a little child will literally lead animals around, while lions and lambs peacefully coexist.

At the close of the millennium, Satan will be released to wage war upon Christ, the saints, and the beloved city. He will command a host of innumerable demons, yet they will ultimately be overthrown and burned with heavenly fire. Once again, Satan will be thrown into a pit of fire, and will be eternally tormented. After this, the ungodly dead will be raised up to be judged and sentenced to the eternal fires. Then the earth will be burned, and Christ and his saints will rise to heaven to inherit eternal bliss. Some believe that immediately after the millennial reign, the earth will become a center of activity with the resurrection of the wicked, the return of the righteous from heaven, the setting up of the New Jerusalem on earth, and the final execution of judgment on the unrepentant. After that, the earth will be purified by fire and, at Christ’s command, be transformed into the eternal home of the redeemed. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped” (Isa 35:5). “And death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4). All sorrows will be over, and humanity’s brightest hopes will be realized. This will be “heaven on earth” for all who love the Lord Jesus.

D.     Post-millennialism

Post-millennialists believe Christ will come after the millennium. They generally believe in an earthly kingdom brought about by the church’s efforts. Christ’s gospel will be spread all over the world. The millennium will be a period in which the good triumph over evil and righteousness prevails. The majority of humankind accept Christ as Lord, and thus the world becomes a glorious place; thus the church age reaches a “golden age.” And millennial conditions reach a global scale.

At the end of the millennium, the earth resumes the great activity of wickedness and iniquities. Thus, Christ comes again to complete the judgment of the living and the dead, as well as introduce the eternal state of heaven and hell.

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