In a previous post we examined the First Coming of the Lord and I pretty much fit it into one small blog. The fact of the First Coming of the Lord is a known fact and it is a simple matter to point out various Scriptures that reveal that Coming. The Second Coming, however, is not a historical event, so we must examine all of the Bible Scriptures and put them each into their proper place.
We can know that there is a Second Coming because there are many unfulfilled prophecies regarding the Lord’s Coming and because Jesus told us that parable in Luke 19:11-27. So, the question is not of his Coming, but rather the question is when will he come relative to other events in the biblical scenario.
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (NIV)
Many people have pointed this Scripture to me and said, “See, you can’t know the time of the Lord’s Second Coming,” but that is not exactly what this is saying. Let us look at this passage closer.
When Jesus says that he does not know the day and the hour of his Second Coming it really means that he didn’t know then. It doesn’t mean that that day will surprise him when it happens. What this really means, and listen carefully, is that that information (the day and hour of his coming) is not recorded in the Old Testament and you cannot use the Old Testament exclusively to determine the day of his Coming. Remember that the Bible, that is the Old Testament Scriptures, and Jesus himself, are both incarnations of the invisible God. If Jesus says he doesn’t know something then it is not in the Old Testament and God has not chosen to make that information known at that time. It doesn’t mean that God might not later reveal more information. More information has indeed been revealed in the New Testament.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-4
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. (NIV)
Notice that Paul says clearly here that the day of the Second Coming will NOT surprise us believers! Looking back at what Jesus said in Matthew we can see that his words certainly leave that option open. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” The people of the world were surprised at Noah’s flood, but the believers were not. Noah and his family were certainly not taken by surprise. If that was true for Noah how much more likely is it that those that are filled with the Holy Spirit will know? And the above passage says, “you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief,” so, clearly, we will know before that day comes.
There is a fundamental biblical concept that you should know. The Bible does not speak to everyone and any given passage might not be for you. The first type of person that the Bible speaks to is those that have ears that hear spiritual truth and eyes that see the same. Another category of Scripture is one that speaks to the Church, and another one that speaks to the Jews. There are Scriptures that speak to believers when the only believers are the children of Israel. To understand the Bible properly you must know to whom the Bible is speaking to. This whole point can get a little tricky during the end-times. At one point in the end-times period the Church is taken in what is commonly called the Rapture. After the Church is taken the prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled are not speaking to the Church! This should be a self-evident truth, but it is a stumbling block to many Bible readers.
When the Lord comes the second time the true Church of God will not be taken by surprise, but the rest of the world will be, and of those that are surprised not all are unbelievers. This last statement of mine might be confusing to people of the Church, so I will explain what I mean. Every single person that is in the Body of Christ will be taken from the earth in the rapture, but there will yet remain people that are believers in God through the Old Testament covenant—Jews, or more accurately people of all twelve tribes of Israel. The Old Testament covenant is still in effect.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (NIV)
The above passage makes it very clear that God has not forgotten Israel, and will fulfill each and every promise made to them. In fact most of the biblical prophecies are not about the Church at all, but rather they are about Israel. That part of Matthew 24 that is talking about being taken and not being taken (the Rapture); who might benefit from that knowledge? It certainly will not help those that have been taken, for those that have been taken are with the Lord forever, and what is written has already happened for them, no, it is for those that believe in the coming of the Christ, that is, the Second Coming, and are not Christians. Those people will see the Rapture and then recognize what happened, because they will have heard the preaching of the Two Witnesses, and then after the occurrence will understand that Jesus was in fact the Christ.
Matthew 24:42-44 is speaking to the Church. It is talking to those that believe that Jesus is the Christ, and understand that he has gone up into heaven and will return at the appointed time for his Church.
Now, I hope that you recall from an earlier blog that the name Antichrist means one that denies that Jesus is the Christ and that he is identified by his belief on that topic, and that many of the Jews will make a treaty with him so that they can build a Temple in Jerusalem and through that Temple usher in the ‘real’ Christ. Well those Jews are certainly not Christians. The signing of that treaty is the rebellious action on the part of the many in Israel that will bring the Antichrist/Beast-man into action, but because the Church has no part in the signing of that treaty, the Church will be removed from the earth in the Rapture so that they are not on the earth when the Beast-man is destroying everything in sight.
The thing to remember here is that the Bible prophecies speak mostly to those to which they apply. There are many Scriptures that concern the end-times but you must know to which group of people a given passage speaks.