The Lord's Return

 

The second advent of Jesus is a vast topic involving prophecy, chronology, symbolisms, etc.  It is treated in detail within both volumes one and two of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, available from this website. (See Available Literature Link.) For the purposes of this doctrinal kernel, we will highlight major areas of the topic without an attempt to prove points or to treat the many details or objections which might come to some minds.

 

PURPOSE

 

Perhaps most misunderstandings regarding Jesus’ return is caused by a lack of understanding of WHY he comes.  His two advents are related to each other as cause and effect.  The first advent had Jesus coming AS A MAN for the suffering of death to satisfy God’s justice so that Adam and his race can eventually be released from the death penalty.  (Hebrews 2:9)  (See RANSOM.)  That first advent, additionally, had the purpose of establishing Jesus’ church—those who would reign with him in the eventual blessing of all those whom Jesus had ransomed.  This church was NOT the primary purpose of his first advent.  It is a secondary, though vital, purpose instituted at the first advent and continuing through the centuries which intervene between the two advents.  (Revelation 5:10; Matthew 19:27-28; Galatians 3:29 with Genesis 12:3.)

 

The primary purpose of the second advent is to RESTORE what was lost—everlasting life in an Edenic paradise on the earth. (Acts 3:20, 21) (See RESTITUTION.) At the beginning of the second advent many things occur to prepare for the blessing work while the world goes on in ignorance of their occurrence.  (Luke 17:26,27)  Among these occurrences are (1) the completion of the church who will all go to heaven to be with and to reign with their Lord (Revelation 11:15-19); (2) the destruction of the old faulty religious and social systems (“heaven and earth”) so that the new righteous order can be established (II Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 20:11); and (3) the re-establishment of Israel in its promised homeland so that the Lord, as promised, might use that nation as the nucleus for his new earthly kingdom.  (Zechariah 8:20-23; Isaiah 2:1-4; Romans 11:25-36)

 

Contrary to widely-held errors, Jesus does not come to “rapture” his followers, burn the earth, and to create Hollywood-style spectacular displays involving a personal “man of sin.”  He comes to undermine and remove the old religious-political-social order and to establish his own righteous government in its place.  (Isaiah 9:6, 7)

 

THE MANNER OF HIS COMING

 

Paramount among errors regarding Jesus’ return is the expectation that he will be visible.  True, there are texts which imply this.  Revelation 1:7, for example, states “…and every eye shall see him.”  But any consistent and accurate conclusions about Scripture must take into account all texts on the subject and be able to arrive at an explanation which harmonizes the totality of evidence.  Therefore, the plethora of texts which claim that Jesus will NOT be seen must also be considered.  One example is John 14:19 in which Jesus states, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more.”  The Apostle John (I John 3:2) points out that in order to see Jesus at his second advent, we will have to “be like him” to “see him as he is.”  Thus, he will be visible only to his glorified saints, not to men.

 

The point is this:  the prophecies regarding the second advent are a combination of both literal and symbolic statements.  A true understanding will have to discern which is which so that the final conclusions leave no scripture without reasonable and adequate explanation.  When the Revelator said that “every eye shall see him,” he meant that all would DISCERN him.  We all use this expression daily when we exclaim, “Oh, yes.  I see!”  Somehow many of us are reticent to allow Scripture to speak as we do!

 

Equally a problem to understanding Jesus’ return is the concept that it is swift and short.  The Scriptures do not indicate this.  On the contrary, they point out that Jesus’ second-advent duties last a thousand years!  (Revelation 20)  They point out that he rules until he has rooted out all remnants of man’s former ways of doing things.  (I Corinthians 15:22-28)  They allow time to write God’s law in the hearts of men rather than on stone.   (Jeremiah 31;31-34)

 

Jesus came as a man for the suffering of death.  (Hebrews 2:9)  When he returns, he returns as the mighty, invisible, spirit being that he is with all of the power and authority necessary to restore all things.  (Acts 3:20-23)  To return as a man would weaken his position.  He has given up his humanity for the life of the world.  He will not re-assume it.  (John 6:51)

 

TIME

 

Jesus’ second advent is a period of time.  His first advent, the time during which he was “Messiah,” lasted only 3-1/2 years of his total 33-1/2 year life as a man.  It required no more time than this to cast off Israel, establish his church, and offer himself to die.  But the second advent lasts a thousand years because the vast work of restoring billions of mankind requires that much time (Revelation 20; II Peter 3).

 

Partly responsible for misconceptions is that translators have translated the Greek word PAROUSIA by using the English word COMING.  Parousia means PRESENCE, not coming.  Thus, when the disciples inquired, “What shall be the sign of thy PAROUSIA,” (Matthew 24:3) they were not asking Jesus what would precede his arrival, but what would be the evidence that he was already here!  The difference is enormous—not only in this text, but in all others which use this word, PAROUSIA.  Jesus’ second advent, both his arrival and the time he stays, has Jesus as being invisible to the human eye.  He need not be any more visible as a good ruler than Satan had to be as a bad one.

 

Since this day of the Lord arrives as a thief (II Peter 3:10), Jesus can accomplish secretly his works of completing his church, re-gathering Israel, and undermining the old order before he reveals his secret presence at the beginning of his peaceable kingdom (II Peter 3:7-13).  The 1000-year kingdom is divided into two clearly different parts.  First are the decades of doing away with the old order.  Second is the peaceable reign of blessings for all.  (Jeremiah 1:10)

 

Since ancient times, the day of Messiah has been associated with the number seven.  The Jewish law celebrated the seventh day and year as a rest looking forward prophetically to the day in which Messiah would grant rest to this sin-sick and dying world.  This is one reason Jesus chose the Sabbath to do much of his healing works.  As he stated, “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”  (Luke 6:5)  The Sabbath was a type (or prophetic picture) of the thousand years of Christ’s Kingdom.  Biblical chronology attests that 6000 years since man’s creation were completed in the 1870s.  At that time the great Sabbath, the seventh thousand years, began.  Other Biblical number prophecies point to the same date.  The evidence is so compelling that it is Scripturally reasonable and authoritative to claim that the secret part of Jesus’ 1000-year second advent has been in progress for well over a century.  When we look at the history of that time, we are forced to see the dramatic changes for good and for bad (as far as the old order is concerned) that have characterized the 20th century.  In the words of Daniel 12, Michael (another name for Jesus) would stand up (assume control) in the time of the end.  He would, among other things, assume control over Daniel’s people (the Jews).  There also would result a great time of trouble.  Simultaneously would occur much running “to and fro,” and there would be a noticeably dramatic increase of knowledge.   (Daniel 12:1, 4)  Could we describe better the days since the 1870s?

 

While the thought challenges nearly every pre-conceived thought on the subject common among Christian peoples, it is Scripturally consistent and authoritative to conclude that the second advent has begun.  Any sincere disciple should want to examine the rationale behind such a claim!  How long have sincere Christians anxiously awaited the return of their Lord?  Could they possibly be complacent when someone claims that he HAS returned?  The first advent disciples were skeptical when told that Messiah was there.  But their hearts made them investigate the claim, and their resulting blessings were enormous!  (John 1:45-49)

 

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We can supply a booklet entitled "I Will Come Again" for those who wish to look into this matter further.

 

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