When Jesus ComesBy Miguel Valdivia
|Photo by Pixabay|
What Christ's Second Coming Will be Like
In the summer of 1969, TV screens around the globe showed the incredible images of men walking on the moon. The first part of this history making feat was accomplished on July 20, with the touchdown of the Apollo 11 lunar module on the moon's surface. A few hours after touchdown, Mission Commander Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and onto the moon's surface. Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin soon joined him, and they both walked and worked on the lunar surface for more than 21 hours.
The reentry of the Apollo 11 into earth's atmosphere was almost as exciting as the manned lunar landing. Soon after noon on July 24, several hundred shipmen and NASA personnel on the USS Hornet, and millions around the globe watching their televisions, focused on the clear skies about eight hundred miles southwest of Hawaii. At 12:50 p.m., the small command module broke through earth's atmosphere and fell into the Pacific Ocean, bringing home three safe and elated American astronauts.
The accomplishment of the Apollo 11 mission still thrills us today. The mission made America the leader in space exploration and helped pave the way for its role as the world's only superpower.
But we who believe in the Bible know very well that humanity will one day witness another reentry from space that will make Apollo's mission seem puny. Indeed, it will eclipse every other event in human history. The Bible refers to it as Christ's return and includes enough information for us to at least partially understand its grandeur and significance.
How will Christ return?
Christ's return will be visible. Jesus described His coming in terms of an extraordinary public event, not a spiritual or secret coming, as some believe.
When the time came for Jesus to return to heaven after the Resurrection, the disciples witnessed the Ascension. This is how Luke describes it:
"He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'"1
Christ Himself describes His return as personal visible, and glorious. "'As lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.... They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.'"2
Revelation also emphasizes the visibility of this astonishing event: "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him."3
The Second Coming is not a private event for a privileged few. The Bible assures us that the glorious return of the Son of Man will be impossible to ignore.
It will be audible. The incredible scale of the Second Coming will also overwhelm our sense of hearing.
The apostle Paul described it in these terms: "The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."4
God's own extraordinarily powerful voice will be so authoritative that even the dead will hear it! It will penetrate the deepest tombs with its message of victory over sin and death.
It will be glorious. There is more. This time Jesus is not coming alone, to share the fate of the human beings who rejected and condemned Him. He will come as a conquering general. In symbolic language, Revelation described Him as the Rider on a white horse:
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.... The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.... On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."5
Jesus will come surrounded by a glorious army of heavenly beings. The book of Jude quotes an ancient prophecy by Enoch: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones."6 But it is not the size of this army that will determine Satan's ultimate defeat. The same power that created earth will destroy it. The same voice that called to life our planet will initiate destruction unparalleled by all nuclear weapons ever devised.
Peter wrote about the Day of the Lord: "The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.... That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat."7
Why is He coming?
Jesus is coming to free us from death. Christ won the decisive battle against Satan at Calvary. His death and resurrection make it possible that every person who chooses to can escape the bondage of sin and Satan. No one can close the door that Jesus opened. But the fight between good and evil will not end until Satan and death are eliminated.
Let's read how the apostle Paul explained it: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.... For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death."8
Jesus is coming to fee us from injustice and suffering. Since the death of Abel at the hand of Cain, humankind has had to deal with injustice. Many men and women through the ages have cried, "When will it end, O Lord?" When will the anguish of the poor and the oppressed end? When will parents no longer have to bury children killed by violence? When will everyone have enough to eat? When will evil people no longer prosper, while good people suffer misery or disease?
The plan of salvation, of which Jesus is the executor, was designed to forever neutralize every consequence of sin.
Jesus is coming to judge humanity. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."9
The apostle Paul wrote to his associate Timothy, "Christ Jesus...will judge the living and the dead."10
Jesus is coming to establish His kingdom. The most glorious result of Christ's second coming is that He is coming to stay. Its effects will be permanent.
The Bible abounds in passages about the restored kingdom. Revelation makes a prophetic announcement of the moment Jesus takes possession: "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.'"11
On our knees before God
Joni Eareckson Tada talks about what the Second Coming will mean for her. Joni is a quadriplegic who has spent most of her life in a wheelchair. One of her greatest wishes in life is to be able to kneel before the Lord.
On a certain occasion, Joni participated in a convention in which the six hundred attendees were invited to kneel for prayer. When seeing this large group kneeling before God, Joni could not contain her tears. Then she prayed, "Lord Jesus, I anxiously await the day when I will stand on my resurrected legs. The first thing I will do is fall on my knees and worship You."
Soon the day will come when Joni, you, and I will be able to kneel before the coming King. Christ's glorious return is imminent. Won't you choose to be ready?