The Second Coming of Christ
The Lord Jesus first came to serve on Earth. He lived a human life, being born, growing up, and eventually dying on the cross. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, receiving a new body that resembled His previous one. Between His first and second coming, the Holy Spirit came to Earth to empower and guide believers. Then, the Lord Jesus will gather His followers, and the Great Tribulation will begin. At the end of the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus returns to Earth, and His feet touch the ground. The Second Coming signifies someone's return. The Lord Jesus returns to Earth, and this will not be a brief visit. After the Second Coming, the most beautiful millennium on Earth will commence: the thousand-year reign of peace with Jesus as King. In this chapter, we study the day of the Second Coming. What happens on that day?
Who is Coming Back?
It should come as no surprise that the Lord Jesus is returning to Earth, and the Second Coming is about His presence on Earth. Shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples saw two angels who declared that He would return.
"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”" (Acts 1:10-11)
The Lord Jesus is coming back in the same manner. Just as He ascended into heaven two thousand years ago, He will soon return to Earth. Jesus is not sending a messenger, ambassador, or angel; He is coming Himself. Moreover, the Lord Jesus is 100% God and 100% human. He is the Son of God and the Son of David (Romans 1:3-4). He is a Man with a glorified body, having conquered death and sin, and reigning above every power, authority, and dominion (Ephesians 1:21).
"I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!" (Daniel 7:13)
Daniel received a vision and was granted a glimpse into the future by God. After all the tribulations of the Antichrist, Daniel saw Someone appear with the clouds. This is the Lord Jesus. Daniel tried to describe Him, and he saw that He resembled a Son of Man. The Lord Jesus returns as a glorified Man to Earth. The following Bible passage records Jesus speaking to the high priest of Israel.
"(...) you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:62)
The Lord Jesus described Himself as the Son of Man. This applies not only to His first coming but also to His Second Coming. The Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven.
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." (Matthew 16:27)
In this verse, we learn that the Lord Jesus does not come alone. He comes with His angels and intervenes in world events.
"Then the sign of 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 24:30)
While the Rapture of the Church is hidden, during the Second Coming, all the tribes of the earth will see the Lord Jesus coming. Everyone will see Him on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The Lord Jesus does not come as He did the first time, to serve and proclaim grace; He comes in power as a King.
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory." (Matthew 25:31)
"Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:27)
"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen." (Revelation 1:7)
The Lord Jesus returns to Earth with His angels and His bride. The bride consists of the Church of the Lord Jesus and Israel. When the Lord Jesus is revealed to the world, we will be revealed with Him.
"When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)
This will happen during the war that the Lord Jesus wages against the Antichrist and the ten kings (Revelation 19).
"These (the kings) will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." (Revelation 17:14)
In Revelation, we are referred to as called, chosen, and faithful. This is not about the angels but about the followers of the Lord Jesus.
The Lord Jesus is physically coming back to Earth. We cannot spiritualize this or claim that it already happened in the past through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or during the temple's destruction in 70 AD. When He comes, everyone will see and know it.
Where is He Coming Back?
The Lord Jesus is returning to Earth in a physical form. This means He can return to a specific location and is not spiritually present everywhere on Earth. There has been speculation about the place where He will return. A false prophet had claimed that He would return on Mont Blanc and even specified a date when this would happen. That date has passed, and the Lord Jesus did not return to that mountain, disappointing those who believed the false prophet. They had traveled to that mountain in vain. So, where will He return? Who will receive the King of kings? Will it be a political capital in the world, like Washington, Brussels, Beijing, or Moscow? Or will it be a religious location like Rome, Constantinople (Istanbul), or Canterbury? None of the above! The Lord Jesus will return in a city marked by great controversy and terrible wars.
"And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south." (Zechariah 14:4)
Two thousand years ago, Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives, and soon He will return to this mountain. The Mount of Olives is located east of Jerusalem and has an elevation of 827 meters. It's a fifteen-minute walk from Jerusalem, and from the mountain, one can see Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is not a strange place for the Lord Jesus. At its base, you'll find Gethsemane, where He was arrested. It's remarkable what the Lord Jesus said at that time.
"Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53)
At that moment, the Lord Jesus chose not to pray for more than twelve legions (a legion consists of 5,000 men) of angels because He wanted the Scriptures to be fulfilled. Soon, He will return to this place, surrounded by many angels and followers, and engage in battle with His enemies. The Mount of Olives is also where the Lord Jesus, together with His disciples, discussed future events such as the destruction of the temple, the Rapture of the Church, and His Second Coming.
"Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”" (Matthew 24:3)
It is a remarkable place, and when the Lord Jesus sets His feet on the Mount of Olives, it will split in two. The King of kings, the Man who possesses all power, will return to Earth, and from Jerusalem, He will reign over the entire world.
How Will He Be Received?
In the previous chapter, we examined three distinct groups left on Earth: the Israelites, the followers of Jesus who come to faith after the Rapture, and the ungodly. For the Israelites and the surviving followers of Jesus, His Second Coming is a day of salvation and eager anticipation. For the ungodly, it's a dreadful day, and many will face judgment. Let's briefly study what each group will do during Jesus' Second Coming and what will happen to them.
Group 1: The Israelites
This group can be divided into two subgroups: the Israelites who have fled to the wilderness and those who remain in the city of Jerusalem. For those in Jerusalem, terrible things happen before the Second Coming.
"Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city." (Zechariah 14:1-2)
The city of Jerusalem will be captured by the nations under the leadership of the Antichrist. The houses in the city will be plundered, and women will be subjected to violence. Many will be taken into captivity and transported to other lands. However, God makes a promise. Some of the people in Jerusalem will not be annihilated.
"And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You." (Zechariah 14:4-5)
After this harrowing period, God Himself intervenes, and Jesus arrives on Earth. The Mount of Olives splits in two, and the remaining Israelites flee to find refuge with Him. Jesus is not alone; He brings all His saints with Him. These saints likely include angels and possibly believers who were part of the Rapture and return with Him. The Israelites in Jerusalem will discover they can take shelter with Jesus, finding protection under His wings. Perhaps they will sing the following Psalm in the presence of Jesus.
"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.' Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler." (Psalm 91:1-4)
The other part of this group comprises the Israelites who have fled to the wilderness. As we read, Israel goes through terrible wars, and when the Antichrist stops the sacrificial offerings and sets up the abomination of desolation in the temple, Jesus instructs them to flee to the mountains. This occurs 3.5 years before Jesus' Second Coming.
"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:15-16)
These are mountains in a wilderness. The Jews who have fled will be pursued by the devil, but God will protect them. We find this in the parable of the woman in labor and the male child, where the woman represents the people of Israel.
"Then the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days." (Revelation 12:6)
"So the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Revelation 12:6-11)
God beckons a portion of Israel into the wilderness, where He speaks to their hearts. There, He provides them with protection, and the devil cannot reach them. The devil knows this and decides to leave them be, focusing on the rest of Israel. I believe this remaining group consists of the people of Israel who are still in the world, especially Jerusalem, and the Gentiles who come to faith after the Rapture. In the wilderness, God will speak to the hearts of the Israelites, and they will discover that Jesus is their Messiah and Bridegroom.
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. And it shall be, in that day,' says the LORD, 'that you will call Me 'My Husband,' (...) I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD." (Hosea 2:13-19)
In the wilderness, the people of Israel will come to know the Lord Jesus, and from that point on, they will address Him as their Husband. The people of Israel will receive a revelation and recognize that Jesus Christ is their Messiah and Bridegroom, eagerly anticipating Him as the Bride.
Group 2: The Living Followers of Jesus
Apart from the people of Israel, there are followers of Jesus who are still alive. During the great tribulation, the Antichrist aims to exterminate everyone, but some followers survive. They have endured the most challenging period on Earth, and now the Lord Jesus will rescue them. What happens to them when Jesus returns?
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven." (Mark 13:24-27)
When the Lord Jesus returns, He sends His angels to gather all the elect. Everyone who has survived the great tribulation will be called and gathered. I believe Jesus is referring to both Jews and believing Gentiles. This gathering is mentioned in various passages in the Bible.
"And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31)
"Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise."(Psalm 106:47)
In the following Bible passage, Jesus spoke these words during His first coming about Jerusalem. He desired to gather all the children of Abraham and care for them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. He wanted to protect Israel under His wings, but the Jews did not desire this. However, the Lord Jesus will return, and He will gather all the elect.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!"(Matthew 23:37-39)
This is not a meeting in the Father's house of God, as in the Rapture of the Church. This is a meeting on Earth, in Jerusalem. This group eagerly anticipates Jesus' return. Finally, they don't have to fear the Antichrist and his allies because the Lord Jesus offers them protection.
Group 3: The Ungodly
Group 3 can be divided into two categories: those who engage in battle with the Lord Jesus and those who remain at home. In this section, we'll address those who engage in battle with the Lord Jesus, while we'll study those who stay behind in Chapter 11.
A vast multitude marches to Armageddon to engage in battle with the Lord Jesus. It is God's work, and God leads them to Jerusalem.
"'For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.' God Protects a Portion of Israel" (Zechariah 14:2-3)
The City of Jerusalem is Taken, and the Israelites are plundered. The Gentile Nations Think They Have Won. But Then, the Lord Jesus Goes Forth to Battle Against the Gentile Nations.
"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. (...) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great." And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet (...) These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh." (Revelation 19:11-21)
The Lord Jesus emerges victorious, signaling the end of the era of the wicked and the Antichrist. Jesus prevails! There are more Bible passages that speak of this war, but for this study, we'll stick with this one. Interested readers can also explore Joel 2 and Isaiah 13.
The second part of this group remains alive for now. They appear before the Lord Jesus and Jesus judges them, which chapter 11 talks about.
Immediately After His Second Coming
Following the destruction of the wicked who engage in the battle, an angel descends from heaven and casts the devil into an abyss for a thousand years. We delve deeper into this in Chapter 13.
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished." (Revelation 20:1-3)
During the Rapture of the Church, believers receive glorified bodies. Those who come to faith during the Great Tribulation and are martyred immediately go to heaven, but do not yet receive glorified bodies. They receive them shortly after Jesus' Second Coming and after the devil is cast into the abyss. Following this event, the First Resurrection is complete, and the Millennial Reign begins on Earth, with Jesus as the King.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4)
After the Great Tribulation, Jesus returns to Earth. Jesus doesn't come alone; He brings many angels and His bride. Jesus physically returns to the Mount of Olives, and everyone will see Him. The Israelites acknowledge Him as the Messiah and Bridegroom, and the believing Gentiles who are in the world are gathered by angels. They will be protected by Jesus. The wicked engage in battle against Jesus, and He triumphs over them. Those who stay behind are judged by Him, as described in Chapter 11. Immediately after Jesus' Second Coming, the devil is imprisoned in the abyss, and the believers who pass away during the Great Tribulation receive new bodies and come to life.
This chapter is in the book A Revelation of the End Times. Read this book right now, so that you don't miss anything about the end times, live in expectation and your faith is increased. The rapture of the church is a special prophecy from the Word of God. Due to the many theories and ideas about this event, many no longer know what is and what is not Biblical. Timo Groot takes you through the Biblical data about the rapture and why the rapture is more relevant today than ever before. The rapture is the hope of escaping the terrible things that are going to happen on earth and is the moment when the church will see the Lord Jesus face to face in the father's house of God.