8. The Second Coming:Here Comes the King

The notion that bad triumphs over good is nothing new. Over three
thousand years ago King David lamented the same problem:
  
I myself have seen it happen--proud and evil people thriving like mighty
trees (Psalm 37:35).

The Wicked Plot Against the Godly
---------------------------------
The world hates God and the world hates Jesus, who said this animosity
arose because "I accuse it of sin and evil" (John 7:7).

Likewise, the world hates Christians, who are God's representatives on
earth (John 15:19). Consequently, the world is doing everything it can to
harass Christians and quiet their testimony, David knew this, and it
frustrated him:
 
The wicked plot against the godly;they snarl at them in defiance
(Psalm 37:12).

We're Not Going to Win
-----------------------
Even if Christians do not go through the tribulation, it's going to get
worse before it gets better. We can be an influence on society (Jesus
calls us to be salt and light--Matthew 5:13,14), but we will not change
society by beating back the forces of evil. To the contrary, we can expect
to be beaten back. That's what Jesus meant when He said, "Since they
persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you (John 15:20). 

Jesus was opposed at every turn. As His followers, why should we have it
any easier? Jesus was misunderstood at every word. Why should we expect
people to fall down in wonder every time we open our mouths for God? Jesus
was betrayed by someone He trusted. Why should we be surprised when
friends turn against us?

Jesus was eventually deserted by His friends and killed by His enemies.
You may not be in such mortal danger, but there's no guarantee. Each of
Jesus' disciples except for one was put to death for his faith in Christ,
and since that time millions of people have been martyred for their faith.

Why Didn't Jesus Call 10,000 Angels?
------------------------------------
Good has not yet triumphed over evil for the same reason the Son of God
was born on earth in obscurity, lived in humility, and died in apparent
defeat:It was all part of God's plan.

When Jesus hung on that cross at Calvary, He could have called an army of
angels to come and crush His opposition. But He died, and He was buried.
For a while it seemed as if sin and death had won. It seemed like the bad
boys had crushed the good guys forever.

Then something happened--something so powerful and so significant that it
shook the world and changed everything.

       Jesus rose from the dead.

After three days, Jesus conquered death forever--and He did it for us.
That's why we thank God, "who gives us victory over sin and death through
Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

This was all part of God's plan from the beginning (Ephesians 1:9,10).

It's Only a Matter of Time
--------------------------
At no time in the history of the world has God ever lost control. Sin and
the world are not out of control--not from God's perspective. He has a
plan in place, and His plan is not yet finished. When we get upset at the
apparent success of the wicked, "the Lord just laughs, for he sees their
day of judgment" (Psalm 37:13).

Even when the tribulation hits full stride, with Satan and his superhuman
allies marshaling the armies of the world against God and His chosen
people, the final chapter will not have been written.

Just when it seems that the victory of evil is assured, something so
incredible and glorious will occur that the very foundation of the earth
will shake. Just when the night is at its darkest hour, the dawn will
break with ferocity and glory as the most anticipated event in human
history finally arrives:The long-awaited second coming of Jesus Christ!

What is the Second Coming?
--------------------------
The second coming of Christ is a future event in which Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, will come from heaven to earth to finally and completely crush
evil forever and introduce the future age and eternity (Daniel 2:44,45;
Daniel 7:9-14; Daniel 12:1-3; Zech 12:10; Zech 14:1-15; Matt 13:41;
Matt 24:15-31; Matt 26:64; Mark 13:14-27; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:25-28;
Acts 1:9-11; Acts 3:19-21; 1 Thess 3:13; 2 Thess 1:6-10; 2 Thess 2:8;
1 Peter 4:12,13; 2 Peter 3:1-14;Jude 14-15; Rev 1:7;Rev 19:11-20:6;
Rev 22:7,12,20).

The world is going to get worse (2 Timothy 3:1).

All Christians, both dead and living, will be caught in the air to meet
Jesus in the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18).

The seven-year tribulation will unfold in two 3 1/2-year segments 
(Daniel 9:27).
 
Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet will mobilize their armies
of human and demonic versus evil in the history of the world 
(Revelation 19:19-21).

The Nature of the Second Comimg
-------------------------------

1. The second coming will be personal. After Jesus rose from the dead, 
   He made several personal appearances to His disciples and hundreds of
   other people. Forty days after His bodily resurrection, Jesus 
   "ascended" into heaven (Acts 1:9). As the disciples watched in wonder,
   an angel told them, "Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven.
   And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!" (Acts 1:11).
   Just as Jesus left in person, Hewill return in person.

2. The second coming will be physical. Jesus will come to earth in His
   body, not in spirit. And everyone will see Him (Revelation 1:7).
 
3. The second coming will be visible. The whole world will see His coming,
   whether they want to or not.
 
4. The second coming will be sudden. The Bible tells us that people,
   will be caught by surprise at His sudden return (1 Thess 5:1,2).

5. The second coming will be glorious and triumphant. When Jesus came to
   earth the first time, He came in humiliation and obscurity 
   (Isaiah 53:2,3). When He comes the second time, it will be a much
   different story. The return of Christ will be magnificent. He will be a
   mighty warrior, the conquering King, coming to earth with power and
   glory (Matthew 24:30).
 
          The clouds will be His chariot (Matthew 24:30).

          The angels, His bodyguard (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

          The archangels, his heralds (1 Thessalonians 4:16). 

          The saints, "His glorious retinue" (1 Thess 3:13).

The Purpose of the Second Coming
--------------------------------
The destruction of all the evil forces that are hostile to God is part of
the reason for the second coming of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8). But
there are other reasons to consider:

1. To reveal Himself and His own. The people who lived when Jesus walked
   the earth had a distinct advantage over us. They could see Him! Ever
   since Jesus ascended to heaven, no one has seen Him. As a Christian,
   you now have the presence of Jesus in you (in the form of the Holy
   Spirit), but you can't actually see Him. All that will change when
   Jesus comes again (1 John 3:2).

2. To judge the beast, the false prophet, and their armies. Jesus won't
   merely defeat His opponents. He will swiftly and completely judge and
   condemn them for all eternity (Rev 19:19,20).

3. To bind Satan. Satan will be captured and imprisoned for a thousand
   years (Rev 20:1-3).
 
4. To save Israel. When Jesus came to earth the first time, He came for
   His people, the people of Israel. But they rejected Him as their
   Messiah (John 1:11). Does this mean that God has rejected Israel? The
   apostle Paul, himself a Jew, says, "No, God has not rejected his own
   people, whom he chose from the very beginning" (Romans 11:2). Paul
   explains that when Christ comes again, the Jews will finally accept Him
   (Romans 11:11,12).
  
5. To judge the nations. Jesus will judge the living nations on earth
   before the millennium (Matthew 25:31-46). All of the dead will be
   judged in the skies at the "great white throne" after the millennium
   (Rev 20:11-15).
 
6. To deliver and bless creation. God's glorious creation, which He
   pronounced as "good" at the beginning of the world (Genesis 1:25),
   will barely be inhabitable by the end of the world. One of the
   purposes for the second coming will be for Jesus to remove the curse 
   of sin from the earth and restore creation to its original glory 
   (Romans 8:19-22).

7. To set up His kingdom. When Christ returns, one of His purposes will be
   to usher in the eternal kingdom. The Old Testament prophets wrote about
   this kingdom and the One who would rule it (Isaiah 9:6,7). This famous
   passage of Scripture indicates that the kingdom of God will include a
   literal rule of Jesus Christ on the earth. He will sit on David's
   throne in God's capital city, Jerusalem.

"What Is The Significance of David's Throne?"
---------------------------------------------
King David, who established his throne in Jerusalem, played a very
significant part in the life of Jesus, the King of kings. Jesus was a
direct descendant of David (Matthew 1:6-16) and was born in the city of
David (Luke 2:11). Someday, in the millennial kingdom, Jesus will rule
from David's throne in Jerusalem (Luke 1:32).

It all goes back to the covenant--or promise--God made with David before
he became king (2 Samuel 7:8-16). First of all, God promised that David
would become Israel's greatest king. Second, God promised that He would
raise up one of David's descendants and "establish the throne of his
kingdom forever." Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise. He will reign
in Jerusalem, and His kingdom will last forever.

The Spiritual And The Literal Kingdom Of God
--------------------------------------------
The kingdom of God is both a literal and a spiritual kingdom. Jesus will
literally rule during the millennium, and His rule will extend into
eternity after the millennium. But there is a spiritual kingdom as
well--that inner and therefore unseen rule of God over the hearts of men
who yield themselves to His will--This is what Jesus meant when He said,
"Make the Kingdom of God your primary concern" (Matthew 6:33). He was
talking about letting God rule in your heart.

The Light of the Lord
---------------------
One of the most consistent themes in the Bible is light. 

1. God's first command was, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3)

2. The prophets predicted that a light would come to people in darkness
   (Isaiah 9:2)

3. Jesus came to earth to be that light (John 1:9)

4. Those who reject Jesus love darkness more than light (J0hn 3:19)

5. Those who accept Jesus are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

6. When Christ appears, His light will shine once again (2 Peter 1:19)

7. In heaven there will be no sun, for the Son of God, who is the Sun of
   Righteousness (Malachi 4:2), will be all the light we need (Rev 21:23)
 
The Millennium
==============
The millennium spoken of in the Bible is the only true millennium, and it
will be the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man. Jesus Christ will
rule, and His light will shine forth with such power that all who oppose
Him will be consumed.

The Lord Almighty says, "The day of judgment is coming, burning like a
furnace. The arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw on that
day. They will be consumed like a tree--roots and all. But for you who
fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his
wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to
pasture (Malachi 4:1,2).

Here are some reasons why you can believe in a literal millennium on
earth:

1. A literal millennium fulfills the promises of God, including the
   promise He made to Abraham that his descendents would be a great nation
   in a literal land (Genesis 15:18-21);and to David that his dynasty and
   kingdom would continue and be secure forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
 
2. A literal millennium fulfills the purpose of Christ in coming back to
   earth to set up His kingdom (Matthew 25:31).

3. A literal millennium fulfills the promise of Scripture that there will
   be a period during which peace and righteousness will reign upon the
   earth (Isaiah 2:4).

What Will the Millennium Be Like?
---------------------------------
1. Jesus Christ will personally rule from the throne of David in
   Jerusalem. Jesus will reign over all the earth, bringing about a
   1000-year period of universal peace (Isaiah 2:4) and righteousness
   (Jeremiah 23:5,6). He will keep things in order by swift judgment
   (Zechariah 14:17-19).

2. The church will reign with Christ. As the bride of Christ (Revelation
   21:9), the church--which is made up of all believers--will reign with
   Christ over the Gentile world (2 Timothy 2:12).
 
3. Israel will be completely regathered and will recognize its King. All
   the people of Israel, God's chosen people, will be regathered and will
   become a great nation, just as God promised (Isaiah 11:10-13) and Jesus
   predicted (Matthew 24:30,31).
 
4. The nations of the earth will populate the millenniuym. Jesus will
   judge the living before the millennium begins. These will be people who
   have survived the tribulation. Jesus prophesied that He would separate
   "the sheep from the goats" (Matthew 25:31-34). The sheep will be those
   who accepted Christ during the tribulation, and the goats those who
   rejected Him. These sheep will be a part of the millennial kingdom and
   "will form the nucleus of the kingdom , together with the restored and
   converted Israel." Together, the Gentile nations and the restored
   nation of Israel will go up to Jerusalem to worship the King 
   (Isaiah 2:2-4).
  
5. Satan will be out of the picture during the millennium. The Bible is
   very clear that Satan will be captured, bound, and thrown into the
   bottomless pit during the millennium (Revelation 20:1-3).
 
6. Nature will be restored to near-perfection. The presence of sin and
   Satan in our world today does more than corrupt people. It also affects
   nature. Nature itself has been "groaning as in the pains of childbirth
   right up to the present time" (Romans 8:22). When Christ reigns on
   earth, nature will be delivered from that curse.
 
          All creation anticipates the day when it will join God's
          children in glorious freedom from death and decay (Romans 8:21).

7. In general, conditions will be heavenly. The millennium will be as
   close to "heaven on earth" as possible--but it won't be heaven. With
   Jesus as their ruler, people will have direct access to the
   all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving God.
  
          For my people will live as long as trees and will have time to
          enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain, and 
          their children will not be doomed to misfortune. for they are
          people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be
          blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While
          they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go
          ahead and answer their prayers! The wolf and lamb will feed
          together. The lion will eat straw like the ox. Poisonous snakes
          will strike no more. In those days, no one will be hurt or
          destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the Lord, have spoken! 
          (Isaiah 65:22-25).

What Will Happen When the Millennium Ends?
------------------------------------------
Satan doesn't know when he's defeated. The Bible says that at the
conclusion of the millennium, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will
try to mount yet another rebellion against God and His people
(Revelation 20:7,8).

After the brief rebellion of Satan, "the whole world has now become the
kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever"
(Revelation 11:15).
 
What Does All this Mean to You?
-------------------------------
The second coming of Jesus Christ to earth will be the most magnificent
event the world has ever known. If you have accepted Jesus as your
personal Savior, then you will have a front-row seat as Jesus returns to
earth at the end of the world. More than that, you will have a place of
honor and prominence as you rule in the millennial kingdom with the King
of kings and Lord of lords.

But what difference does all of this future talk mean to you now? The
anticipation of the return of Christ to earth in the future should
encourage you to live for Christ on earth now as you remember what He did
for you in the past.

1. Understanding what Jesus did for us in the past to secure our future
   (1 Peter 1:3-5). 

2. Realizing that our present troubles are only temporary (Romans 8:23).

3. Anticipating that Jesus is coming in the future, even though we don't
   know when that will be (2 Peter 3:9,10).
 
"What's That Again?"
--------------------
1. While we're on this earth, we are  going to influence, not change
   society.
 
2. It's only a matter of time before Jesus returns to set things right.

3. When Jesus returns to earth to set up His Kingdom, He will do it in a
   way that is personal,physical, visible, sudden, and glorious.
 
4. Jesus will establish His kingdom on earth during the millennium, which
   is a literal period of a thousand years following the second coming.
 
5. After the millennium, Jesus will crush Satan for good and usher in His
   eternal kingdom.
 
6. As you anticipate the return of Christ in the future, you should live
   for Christ now on earth as you remember what Jesus did for you in the
   past.