Bible study lesson 09 - The Second Coming
Purpose: The second coming is literal, visible, audible, and imminent.
Theme: The second coming is the culmination of salvation history.
Bible verses to read:
- John 14:1-3
- Acts 1:9-11
- Matthew 24:36
- Matthew 24:6-7
- Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 23-26
- Matthew 24:27
- 1 Thessalonian 4:16-17
- Matthew 16:27
- 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
- Titus 2:11-14
- Revelation 6:15-17
- Isaiah 25:8-9
What is the Second Coming? People everywhere seem to be aware of this concept, as the phrase has penetrated the American lexicon and there are references in all types of media. For example, sports writers may talk about an upcoming basketball player with the potential for greatness in these terms: "this player is so good, he is like the second coming of Jordan." However, the Second Coming is more than just a metaphor! Do you know what the Bible says about the Second Coming? Let's study together today and find out!
Let's open our Bibles and turn to John 14:1-3.
- According to these verses, what does Jesus promise us?
- Answer (highlight to read): Jesus promises us that He is coming again.
We believe that there is a Second Coming because Jesus said so.
Let's turn to Acts 1:9-11.
- According to these verses, what did the angels tell Jesus' disciples?
- Answer: The angels told the disciples that Jesus would return again.
Let's turn to Hebrews 9:28.
- According to these verses, what does Paul the Apostle say about Jesus' return?
- Answer: He emphasizes the fact that Christ will return.
From these verses, we should be able to conclude that the Second Coming is a pillar of the Bible and that it is foundational to the New Testament.
So when is Jesus coming back? This message has been preached so much that there are a lot of people today who are very jaded and perceive this message as sensationalism. Does the Bible offer any clues as to when Jesus will return?
Let's turn to 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
- According to these verses, what are some moral clues that point to Jesus' return?
- Answer: Immorality and hypocrites will abound in the church.
We would expect God's character to be reflected the most clearly in the church. So, if we can see that there are issues in the church, then we can see how critical the Second Coming is in order to remedy this condition.
Let's turn to Matthew 24:36.
- According to this verse, does anyone know when the Second Coming is going to happen?
- Answer: No one knows the day and hour but God.
No one know the exact time for the Second Coming. If angels who hang out with God all the time do not even know, then how can any earthly church organization predict a time for Jesus' Second Coming? The Bible clearly teaches that nobody knows the time, so we have no business announcing a date. However, we can see that the Second Coming is close from what the Bible says.
(As a side note, 1863 is the date of the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and we have never been an organization of date setters. We came out of the Millerite movement, where William Miller predicted the second coming of Christ in 1844 because he predicted the wrong place in the cleansing of the sanctuary.)
Let's turn to Matthew 24:6-8.
- According to these verses, what are the political clues?
- Answer: There will be wars and political upheaval.
- According to these verses, what are the environmental clues?
- Answer: There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Isn't it interesting that when we look at our political situation in these current times, we can see how crazy things are? Jesus mentioned these things 2000 years ago as clues of the last days and we are seeing them happen right now in our time!
The Bible also gives us environmental clues. However, you might ask, isn't history full of wars, diseases, moral and environmental issues? Why would I say now is the time when these things have been going on for centuries?
That is a good question, but if you look at verse 8, the phrase "the beginning of sorrows" is a clue. If you liken "the beginning of sorrows" to birth pains, think about the pregnancy cycle and culmination at delivery. A pregnant woman's contractions occur more frequently and forcefully the closer it is when it is time for her to deliver her baby. Although, it is absolutely true that there always have been all these issues, Jesus is saying that the closer to the end of time, these issues are going to be more frequent and severe.
Let's turn to Matthew 24:4-5.
- According to these verses, why does Jesus warn us not to be deceived?
- Answer: Jesus warns us that false Christs will arise at the end times.
Let's turn to Matthew 24:11.
- According to these verses, what does Jesus warn us about?
- Answer: There will be false prophets who will arise at the end times.
Let's turn to Matthew 24:23-26.
- According to these verses,what does Jesus warn us about?
- Answer: There will be false Christs and false prophets who will perform such miracles that even God's people will be deceived. Jesus also warns us to stay away when people tell us that the Messiah is at a particular location.
There have been instances in the past where people have claimed to be the Messiah and deceived some people, but there will be more instances of this kind of deception closer to the end times. The important thing is that we do not let ourselves be deceived. "Do not go."
Let's turn to Matthew 24:27.
- According to this verse, will the Second Coming of Jesus be in a secret, remote location?
- Answer: No, the Second Coming of Jesus is going to be clear and visible to all. It will be universally seen! It will not be in an isolated location seen by a select group of people.
Let's turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
- According to these verses, will the Second Coming be silent?
- Answer: No, the Second Coming of Christ will be a loud event!
Let's turn to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52.
- What are the similarities between this text and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17?
Answer: A trumpet will sound.
The Second Coming of Jesus is going to be clearly audible! You may be asking yourself, "Wait a minute, wasn't Jesus supposed to be coming in secret to secretly rapture His people before the Tribulation?" My friend, the "secret rapture" is not a Biblical teaching. Is it possible for Christ’s second coming to be a secret if He is coming with a shout and a trumpet? Let's keep reading.
Let's turn to Matthew 16:27.
- According to this verse, is Jesus coming back to earth by Himself?
- Answer: No, Jesus is coming with all the angels and with the glory of His Father.
If the "secret rapture" is true, why would you come with all these people? Now let's consider the following example. Suppose you were a thief and you were going to rob a house. If you decided to bring people with you, you might bring one or two people only, right? Fewer people would minimize noise and the chance of being seen. However, this verse clearly shows that ALL the angels are coming with Jesus. This event is not going to be secret!
You may be asking yourself, "Wait, I remember reading about some Bible verses that point to a secret rapture! How would you explain that?" Well, let's look at these verses some people use to try to support the idea of a "secret rapture."
Let's turn to Luke 17:33-37.
- According to verse 37, how did Jesus answer the disciples question of "where to?"?
- Answer: "Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
Does that sound like paradise - dead bodies and vultures? Jesus is clearly talking about a place of death and destruction in these verses.
Let's turn to Job 39:26-30 and compare with Luke 17:33-37.
- According verse 30, where is the eagle?
- Answer: It is where the slain are, that is to say, around dead bodies.
Can we safely conclude that they are not being taken to paradise?
Let's turn to Matthew 24:37-39.
- According to these verses, what does Jesus compare the Second Coming to?
- Answer: The days of Noah.
Let's turn to Genesis 7:21-24.
- According to these verses, did Noah go to heaven when the flood came?
- Answer: No, Noah and his family were saved through the flood and remained alive on earth.
Notice that Noah and his family were not saved from the flood (the time of tribulation), but they were saved through the flood. Remember in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 that there will be a group of God's people who will be alive on earth when the Second Coming happens. Some people do not want to go through the time of trouble, but the thing is, we go through the tribulation to get to the kingdom of heaven. Turn to Acts 14:22 and you will see that Paul says just as much.
If you remember the story of Daniel's three friends in Daniel 3:1-30, note that they were not saved from the fiery furnace, but they were saved through the fiery furnace. Also, if you consider the story of Daniel and the lion's den in Daniel 6:1-28, Daniel was not saved from the lion's den, he was saved through the lion's den.
Let's turn to John 16:33.
- According to this verse, what does Jesus say about tribulation?
- Answer: Jesus says that we will have tribulation, but be of good cheer.
Jesus says we are going to have tribulation. However, we do not have to worry because our bread and our water will be sure. Jesus is making a promise that God is going to take care of us.
What about that Bible verse that says Jesus is going to come like a thief in the night? I'm glad you asked. Let's turn to 2 Peter 3:10.
- According to this verse, is the day of the Lord going to come silently?
- Answer: No, there will be great noise and heat.
As you can see, the verse says that the heavens will pass away with a "great noise" - that is not the movement of a thief! If you read this verse carefully, when the "day" comes as a thief, that means the day will come unexpectedly, just as you would not expect a thief to come and rob you. This verse is clearly not about Jesus coming secretly!
I hope you are convinced that the Second Coming will be literal, visible, and audible!
Let's turn to Titus 2:11-14.
- According to these verses, is the Second Coming something to be afraid of?
- Answer: No, it is a blessed and glorious event.
We do not have to be living like a bunch of depressed people; we have something to look forward to. The best is yet to come. We have a hope that is given to us. The author references the Second Coming to the death of Christ at the cross which had already happened. The biggest guarantee that Jesus will come a second time is because of what He did the first time He came.
"When Christ was nailed to the cross, heaven was nailed to the earth." - Unknown author
The Second Coming and the cross are two events that motivate our lives to be lived in a certain way if we have the promise of the past and the future of Christ’s glorious appearing…so now in this present age we need to live soberly and righteously.
When Jesus returns in the clouds in the Second Coming there are only going to be two classes of people on the earth.
Let's turn to Revelation 6:15-17.
- According to these verses, where are the first class of people?
- Answer: They are in hiding.
The first class responds to the Second Coming by hiding in caves and talking to those caves. When people begin to talk to rocks, you know something has gone wrong. There is going to be panic and trauma, causing them to hide - they are lost.
There is a second class of people who responded entirely differently to the Second Coming.
Let's turn to Isaiah 25:8-9.
- According to these, what is the critical element that makes this class of people different from the first class?
- Answer: They know God and have been waiting for Him. There is rejoicing and gladness when Jesus comes again.
This group of people is standing on the rocks with open arms saying, "We are happy to see you!" They have been waiting for Jesus and recognize Him as a friend because they have spent time on earth getting to know Him. In Revelation 6, there is the other set of people who are hiding under those rocks in fear and panic because they were not waiting for Jesus. They didn’t spend any time getting to know Jesus and when He comes they don’t recognize Him and think He is an enemy.
Wouldn't you want to be part of the group that is happy to see Jesus come again? Will you make the time to get to know Jesus now?