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.