For those precious few of us who eagerly look for and anticipate the return of our dear Lord Jesus and His kingdom, these are both exciting, and troubling, times! As we proclaim here at Walk Worthy, we’re one day closer to Home and Him. This passage below is the normal and customary response to a kingdom citizen.
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…
Now then, by no means is this piece intended to be an exhaustive study and presentation of Christ’s second coming but only on the signs, timing, and our response to them. But we do think this will contribute to the growing body of truth about this most vital doctrine and event.
The Scripture describing the great and terrible day of the Lord is for another time altogether.
Correct Bible interpretation, or hermeneutics
Any serious understanding of God’s heart begins with a careful and thorough plumbing of the Holy Bible. Correct and wise Biblical interpretation must include all the pertinent passages combined with an open heart for the true truth…not just an agenda to confirm a current bias.
In our master Bible interpretation teaching, we recall Point 20: Specific-Clear-Consistent-Context, then General-Isolated-Sporadic. We quote from that teaching:
We need to carefully look at the specific, the clear, the consistent, and in their rightful context. Biblical context means discovering the whole passage and idea surrounding the doctrine or story being declared. Take the wrong doctrine that is universally taught in the west that believers are “sinners.” The crowd that plays this fiddle takes the isolated and sporadic verse from Paul in Romans 7 and 1 Timothy 1. But these passages refer to his past life as a pagan!
We must also always remember the Bible is a high context document written by ancient writers thousands of years ago. In other words, only a minimum number of details appears in our modern Bible. For instance, there’s absolutely no description of the heinous act of crucifixion. And the only place that marriage vows exist is in the Old Testament in Exodus 21!
The Signs of Christ’s Second Coming
First, there are signs leading up to His return. Those described are false Christs, wars and rumors of more wars, famines and earthquakes, arrest and death, believers who betray others and fall away (apostate), misleading false prophets, increasing lawlessness leading to disillusionment and loss of enduring love.
Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many…”
Matthew 24:6 “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end…”
Matthew 24:7-8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs…”
Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name…”
Matthew 24:10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another…”
Matthew 24:11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many…”
Matthew 24:12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold…”
The Greatest Tribulation in all history
Second, Jesus Himself and others taught about The Great Tribulation of that time period that certainly stood out from other past tribulations.
Matthew 24:21 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will…
Revelation 7:13-14 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb…
Daniel 12:1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress (tribulation) such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
The Last Trumpet
The Bible speaks plainly that Christ’s coming will be at the last trump, or the last trumpet. We can comfort one another with these encouraging words as the dark and foreboding days close in upon us.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the (last) trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the (last) trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will 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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded (with the last trumpet); and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
As scholar Craig Keener points out, Biblical tradition employed the trumpet for proclamation for kingship, triumph, and worship.
Please notice nowhere here does the Word indicate there are two trumpets in relation to the second coming. There’s no second and third coming. There’s only one final trumpet. He comes once. That’s it. And that’s enough!
Pre, Mid, or Post Tribulation timing
One of the most hotly debated topics in Christendom is whether He’s coming back before or after The Great Tribulation. Is it pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation? Whatever it is, we all should agree. Never agree to disagree. Never. That’s a heinous sin to our great and gracious God.
When I was first saved, all the Bible teachers that were thrust in front of me taught a pre-tribulation second coming as a part of complete dispensational doctrine. In other words, they boldly stated that Jesus would come back for His saints before The Great Tribulation.
As I closely followed their line of reasoning, it became clear that their position fully rested on the argument that since the saints would not endure the wrath of God, they had to be “raptured” out of The Great Tribulation.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 …and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
So, does the Word of God clearly state any connection between the end of The Great Tribulation and the timing of Jesus’ Second (and final) Coming?
Matthew 24:29-31 “But immediately after the (great) tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT (Last) TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
But, one might protest, if this is the case what about escaping the wrath of God?
Let’s observe several things. In the Old Testament, God preserved His saints through His wrath aimed at His enemies although the saints were not a part of it. Persecution alone and even death by martyrdom is not wrath as evidenced by the martyrdom of millions of saints throughout history.
The seventh or last trumpet is blown in Revelation 11.15. Although some Bible events are not chronological (see Jeremiah and Daniel for instance), it’s noteworthy that in Revelation 6 the saints under the altar are crying out for God to avenge their blood after the breaking of the sixth seal. And His response?
Revelation 6:9-11 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
Now, we see more saints are killed and martyred during The Great Tribulation that must join these under the altar. If the wrath of God is poured out during this time as the pre-tribulation rapture camp suggests, then how can these saints still live under this “wrath” waiting to be killed?
Their position makes absolutely no sense. Zero.
What is our response to all this?
We already know from the get-go here we’re to be eager for our Lord Christ’s return. But what else is required?
Matthew 24:36-42 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
“Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
Be on the alert…always.
Matthew 24:43-44 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
“For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
No one knows when a thief will make his entrance, do they?
Matthew 24:45-51 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
“But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Did you carefully see that? Being cut in pieces and assigned a place with the “hypocrites” – the cursed lost, the unbelievers. The slave-saint was foolishly caught unaware and not on the alert. Probably being disobedient to his Creator all the while caught up in church activities.
In other words, according to Keener in his Matthew commentary, page 601:
…by failing the master’s trust, he insults the master…Disciples who neglect the resources entrusted to them in this life will be damned.
Notice that the parable of the separation of the sheep and goats follows immediately thereafter.
The righteous acts of the saints
So, therefore, the timing of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming is important, but not near as important as being ready. And clothed in the righteous acts of the saints, your works.
Revelation 19:7-8 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
The spiritually one year old Thessalonians were living boldly for Christ and were even suffering martyrdom.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 …therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.
And the fate of those who spurn this admonition unlike the holy Thessalonians?
2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…
Maranatha, Lord Jesus.
Daniel 7:13-14 “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days (the Father) and was presented before Him.
“And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
The best book on the planet by Robert Gundry regarding the church and the tribulation is here.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
Marc and Walk Worthy are supported in part by the body of Jesus Christ. Please consider donating on a regular basis:
You may view our Archives here: RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD – ARCHIVES; Complete Archives. May our Father richly bless you with His grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in order to walk worthy of His name.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org