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Thread: Second Coming

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    Junior Member Sheep's Avatar
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    Sep 2008

    Second Coming

    When Jesus comes back, what will happen? What are some of the signs associated with His return? What is the real truth regarding his second coming?

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    The Return of Christ and His Teachings

    In the last 2000 years since Jesus left this earth to prepare a place for us, many have claimed to know when he would return. Dates have been set, anticipated, and have come and gone, and still Jesus has not returned.

    Because Christians have always believed in the Second Coming, there have always been Christians who believed that Jesus would come back in their own lifetime. It's clear that the earliest Christians expected Christ to return to the earth in just a few years. That's why the Apostle Paul could say in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that "the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." Paul clearly believed that Jesus would return in his own lifetime. He never expected to have his head chopped off in Rome; he fervently thought that he would live to see the Second Coming.

    False Predictions

    Some Christians in every generation since then have believed the same thing. In Jan, 1, 1000 CE: Many Christians in Europe had predicted the end of the world on this date. John of Toledo predicted the end of the world during 1186. This estimate was based on the alignment of many planets. Pope Innocent III computed 1284 as the date by adding 666 years onto the date the Islam was founded. In 1669, 20 thousand Old Believers in Russia burned themselves to death to protect themselves from the Antichrist. 1792 was the date of the end of the world calculated by some believers in the Shaker movement. In the 1840's a man named William Miller convinced his followers to sell all their worldly goods for Christ's imminent return.

    The 20th century has seen many similar predictions: In 1914 Jehovah's Witnesses connected with World War 1-"The war to end all wars". In 1967 during the six day war, the Israeli army captured all of Jerusalem which was a sure time to conservatives. 1975 was a sure date suggested by the Jehovah's Witnesses. Pat Robertson predicted a few years in advance that the world would end in the fall of 1982. Lester Sumrall, in his 1987 book "I Predict 2000 AD" predicted that Jerusalem would be the richest city on Earth, that the Common Market would rule Europe, and that there would be a nuclear war involving Russia and perhaps the U.S. Also, he prophesized that the greatest Christian revival in the history of the church would happen: all during the last 13 years of the 20th century. All of the predictions failed.

    All these dates have this in common: they were all wrong. In fact, every date for the Second Coming that has been suggested over the last 2000 years has been proven wrong. Churches have divided and new denominations have formed because some thought Jesus would take us out of this world before the tribulation, some thought he would take us away during the tribulation, and some thought he would not take us away until after the tribulation, while some taught that we were in the tribulation already, and still others taught that he had already come.

    Signs of His Return

    In Matthew 24-25 Jesus gives us his longest statement about the events surrounding his return to the earth. Called the Olivet Discourse (because he spoke these words while standing on the Mount of Olives). I would suggest you have your bible open or at least read these chapters before proceeding. There is not enough room in the forum post to quote these scriptures.

    The story of the fig tree in verses 32-36 works on two levels. First, it is a truth from nature. When the leaves first begin to come out in the springtime, we know that the summer is near. By the same token, when the signs of Matthew 24 begin to take place, then we will know the return of Christ cannot be far away. Second, the fig tree is a common biblical symbol for the nation of Israel (Hosea 9:10; Matthew 21:18-22). It may be that Jesus is here alluding to the restoration of the nation of Israel in the end times. Historically, Israel ceased to exist as a nation after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. But in May 1948 Israel became a nation once again. This is thought to be the first step in the fulfillment of the prophecies of Ezekiel 36-39, Daniel 9:24-27, and Romans 11:26.

    When Jesus says that "this generation" will not pass away until all the signs are fulfilled, I think he means that when the signs of the end do begin to occur, they will all come to a conclusion within the span of a generation. It helps to think of the signs of the Second Coming like the waters flowing in a great river. In the same way one "sign" may not mean very much. But as more and more of them come together, they form a river which leads us to the climax of human history. Those signs-which in some ways have always been present-will become more evident in the last days. In short, the generation that sees the predicted events of Matthew 24 begin to unfold will also see his return.

    In verses 37-41, Jesus makes a very simple comparison. As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be when Jesus returns. What was it like in Noah's day? It was "business as usual." While Noah patiently built the ark and warned men of coming judgment, they laughed at him and said, "It will never happen." Noah's day was like our days-an age of skeptical unbelief and casual unconcern. The more Noah preached, the more his contemporaries mocked him. They refused to believe that anything like a worldwide flood was possible. But it happened so suddenly that no one except Noah and his family were ready.

    This is what the Second Coming will be like for an unbelieving world. Just as the flood brought sudden judgment to the world, the return of Christ will do the same. When the waters came, the unbelievers were "taken" in sudden death so that only Noah and his family were left. When Jesus returns to the earth, unbelievers will once again be "taken" in death and judgment and only believers will be preserved by God. And just as the ark saved Noah, even so Jesus Christ is the "ark of safety" for those who believe in him.

    In verse 42, he says to "Keep watch" and the command in verse 44: "Be ready." This summarizes how believers should view the Second Coming of Christ. Theologians often speak of the imminent return of Christ. The word "imminent" means at any moment. He could have come yesterday, he might come today, he certainly could come tomorrow. How does a thief come to your house? Sudden and unannounced. Jesus is coming like a thief in the night. When we least expect him, he'll return to the earth. Therefore, keep your eyes on the skies and be ready at any moment to meet the Lord face to face.

    In verse 45 Jesus uses the "faithful" to describe the proper attitude of his followers while we wait for his return. It turned out that the master was gone for a long, long time-much longer than anyone expected. But the servant he put in charge kept reminding himself that his master would return any day, and performed his duties in belief each day was that day. But suppose the servant didn't believe the master or suppose he believed at first and then lost hope because the master was gone so long and started behaving like the world, living by its standards. Jesus said when he returns, those who remain faithful will be rewarded; those who doubt his word and squander their opportunities will be greatly punished.

    Everything we see happening in the world today would suggest that all of these are signs of the last days are accelerating as prophesied.

    Seven Signs of the Last Days

    Sign 1: Fig Tree Blossoming: After 2000 years the Jews are back in their own land. Already fulfilled!

    Sign 2: The rapid move toward a united Europe. We used to talk about the Common Market; now we speak of Eurodollars, a united currency, a European Parliament, and the establishment of a united European trading bloc corresponding with the prophecies of Daniel 2, Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.

    Sign 3: World attention focused on the Middle East. Scriptures clearly tell us that history both begins and ends in the Middle East-not in Africa, Asia, Russia, Europe, or North America.

    Sign 4: Global communications network. The whole trend toward globalization seems to be leading to a situation where one person could control world communication and ultimately the entire world economy, as predicted in Revelation 13.

    Sign 5: Vast spiritual apostasy. Second Timothy 3:1-9 tells us that in the last days "terrible times" will come as men become lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God. They will turn away from the truth because their minds are depraved. Such men will lead many others astray

    Sign 6: Worldwide preaching of the gospel. Matthew 24:14 tells of a worldwide preaching of the gospel in the last days.

    Sign 7: Growing movement of political correctness. Increasing effort for "tolerance" as the main virtue. In the name of "tolerance" we attack those who proclaim absolute truth, which is why persecution of Christians is on the increase around the world. The seeker-sensitive Emergent Church is the front runner of a final departure from sound doctrine.

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