The Return of Jesus Christ

By Mike Ratliff

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, [2] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)

Jesus Christ is returning to this earth. However, if you look at the havoc the enemy is causing in the visible Church in our time it would appear that many, if not most, professing Christians are unconcerned about it. When certain Christian leaders can dismiss clear teachings from God’s Word and replace them with what the unregenerate want to hear then we must know that they do not believe that what the Word of God teaches us is literal in any sense of the word. Instead, they go on about in their lasciviousness in utter disregard for what awaits those who are guilty of making light of the direct commands of God. However, our Lord made it very clear in His Word that He was returning and with Him He will bring both reward and judgment.

When Christ returns He will not appear the way He came the first time. He was born into poverty and came from obscurity into His ministry in the 1st Century AD. No, He will not come that way when He returns. His “second coming” will be a royal visit. It will be both personal and physical as we read in the passage I placed at the top of this post as well as in these passages (Acts 1:11; Colossians 3:4; 2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 9:28).  It will also be visible and triumphant as we see in the following passages.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life [4] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38 ESV). 

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering- since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from [2] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ESV) 

When He returns, Christ will make an end to history. The dead will be raised and He will judge the world (John 5:28,29). He will impart to God’s children their final glory (Romans 8:17,18; Colossians 3:4). Our Lord will then deliver the kingdom and become subject to the Father ( 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 ) in that He has completed the plan of God assigned to Him for redeeming the elect. The elect will honor the Lamb who opened the book of God’s salvation (Revelation 5).

We learn in  the following passage that Christ’s coming will be a descent from the sky. A trumpet, a shout, and the voice of the archangel will herald it.

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, [4] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV)

Those who have died in Christ will be raised, and Christians living on earth will be caught up to meet our Lord in the air. This will end life on earth as we know it. Those in Christ will enter into unbroken communion with God. Some teach that Christians will be taken out of this world for a period after which Christ will return to earth a third time for the real “second coming.” This view lacks scriptural support.

What about the period between Christ’s first and second comings? Does God’s Word tell us anything about what takes place during what many refer to as the “Church Age?” It does not give us any method or way to determine even a approximate date for Jesus’ second coming. We learn from the New Testament only that there are ongoing processes ordained by God that concern the Gentiles coming to faith(Matthew 24:14) along with many Jews before Christ’s return (Romans 11:25-29). It also tells us that false prophets and false christs will plague the Church (Matthew 24:5,24; 1 John 2:18,22; 4:4). Unfortunately, there will also be apostasy from the faith and tribulation for the faithful (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Revelation 7:13,14; cf. 3:10). We also learn that the “man of lawlessness” must come onto the scene (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). However, we cannot deduce a date for our Lord’s return through any of this (Matthew 24:36).

What we do know for certain, however, is that our Lord’s return will be a tragic disaster for those who are not ready (Matthew 24:36-51). The Christian should mediate on and pray a great deal about our Lord’s return. Those who know Him and serve Him should be anticipating His return with great joy. This should help us and encourage us to continue in our present Christian service (1 Corinthians 15:58). We should live our lives in such a way as to be ready to meet Christ at any time (Matthew 25:1-13).

As I walked during my lunch break today I thought a great deal about our Lord’s return and this caused me to do an inventory of my current desires and hopes to see if I was living in anticipation of His return or if I was living as if I didn’t think it would be anytime soon. I had to confess and repent of some things then. This exercise changed how I reacted to all of the circumstances that took place the rest of this day that would usually cause me anxiety or stress. I was amazed how peaceful I was while dealing with the news that one of my most important tools (a server) had crashed and it would not be any time soon when it would come back up. I dealt with hateful people with smiles and silence. I dealt with bad news with patience and God’s wisdom. I was not perfect in this, but I could sure tell a difference.

My brethren, if we allow the temporal to rule our lives then we will live just like the world does instead of how we should as Christians whose eternal destiny is far above the experiences of this life.

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 thoughts on “The Return of Jesus Christ

  1. Pingback: The Return of Jesus Christ - Reformata

  2. So true Mike. The world thinks things are just great right now and so do the ones in the ‘mega’ churches. Yet we true Christians see what is happening very clearly. Like our King said (paraphrased), things will be going on as usual, same ol same ol. Yes they will sure be suprised won’t they??

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  4. Hello, Mike
    The Lord has been teaching me this very same thing that you mentioned today about how you are now handling the present …. with great patience and grace as God give us. I felt like I were about to face death a few weeks ago and at that time was able to focus on what is really important… to be anxious for nothing and to be kind to people everyday at work, in traffice, etc. Also, we must study His Word and pray to be more like Christ. God may take any of us at any moment so we should be prepared to stand before a Holy God and not be ashamed. Who can worry about the future….none of us are garanteed tomorrow. Pray and serve the Lord today with gladness.

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  6. Dear Mike,
    You so encourage me….I think about the Lord’s return all the time…and this past year was such a horrible year for me…it was only thinking about Jesus returning and His JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS in the millenial kingdom that gave me the peace to make it thru each day. The Lord’s GRACE truly is AMAZING. I was driven from my home last year, divorced, laid down my sons….(rather than battle over them in court) to see them 50% of the time and had to deal with their father’s new “girlfriend”. I went from a wife and mother in a 3 bedroom home, to a part-time mom, working as many hours as I can at Mcdonald’s living in a 1 bedroom apartment. But I have PEACE, JOY, and when I have my sons , our spiritual talks are wonderful….I am equipping them to stand for the Lord in all things. I’ve had miracles of provision happen….(campbell’s soup..ha ha!) and such times of prayer. We say “I want to know you more Lord”…I truly believe it is thru SUFFERING that that process takes place. We pick up our cross…walk the narrow road….lay down our rights….die to self…..love our enemies and pray for those who spiotefully use us….this does not happen when all is good….when your world is rocked and shaken and turned upside down do you understand that your particular “pity-party” at the moment is NOTHING compared to what the Savior endured..and then you just bow before his majesty and thank Him again and again for so great a salvation…and you make sure satan knows we will NEVER be plucked out of the Master’s hand…we pray that we are not deceived and ponder the glories of eternity with our Lord….my past year of suffering has made me giddy with excitement at His Coming….so we look around and see America collapsing..yet we know….we’re ONE DAY CLOSER to Yeshua’s REIGN ON EARTH……Hallelujah!!

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