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THE SECOND COMING OF THE CHRIST
by Dr. Fred Wittman
INTRODUCTION: When The Lord Jesus Christ met with His disciples in the upper room the night He was betrayed to be crucified, He prepared them for His departure from the Earth. He gave them a promise to which they could cling for hope in the most trying and desperate circumstances. He said four vitally important and timely words to them, “I am coming again” (Jn. 14:3 APT). This promise in its complete form is,
“Stop letting the heart of yours& be disturbed! You& are continually committing trust unto The God, continually commit trust unto Me also! In the dwelling of My /Father there are many abodes[of rest at the end of. a highway], but if (and it is not true) |it were| not |so|, I would have told you&. I am journeying in order to prepare a place for you&. And if (and it may be) I journey /and\ I prepare a place for you&, I am coming again. And for Myself I shall take you& alongside to [the face of] Myself in order that you& yourselves also be where I Myself am continually being” (Jn. 14:1-3 APT).
What did the promise that He is coming again mean? For what reasons will He return? Who are the ones included for whom He is coming? How does this promise affect you? To answer these questions four questions shall be examined. What is meant by the second coming of The Christ? Why is The Christ coming again? For whom is The Christ coming again? And, What does the second coming of The Christ mean to you? This leaflet will guide you through the answers to these questions.
I. What Is Meant by the Second Coming of The Christ?
When the apostle Paul wrote to the regenerated members of the church at Thessalonica (Thehssahlohnée-kay) in A.D. 51, it meant “to serve as bondslaves to 0Absolutely Living and Genuine God and to abide expectantly (waiting for) His (0Absolutely Living and Genuine God) Son out of the Heavens (1 Thes. 1:10 APT).
Then when the apostle Paul wrote in that same Epistle, he spoke of Jesus Christ’s coming presence (2:19 APT). He used the Greek word παρουσία here and three other times in this Epistle and three more times in Second Thessalonians, seven times in both Epistles. The verb from which this noun is derived is πάρειμι which means and is translated ‘be present.’ Lexicographers refer to παρουσία as used in mythology to refer to an advent or coming of a hidden divinity who makes his presence felt by revelation of his power. They note it is also used of a person of high rank, especially kings or emperors visiting a province. But it is used in our literature to refer to the first and or second or Messianic Advent of The Christ. It is consistently translated ‘coming presence’ in A Precise Translation.
When the two Thessalonian Epistles were written the Thessalonians were deeply concerned about and grieved over redeemed loved ones who died (‘reposed in sleep’) because they thought that the living saints would antecede or go into Heaven before those who slept in Christ , He gave them this word of comfort in his first Epistle to them in A.D. 51. At that time he called the second coming of The Christ for His redeemed and regenerated disciples, the παρουσία, ‘the coming presence of The Lord.’
“For if (and it is true) we persistently commit trust that Jesus died off and resurrected, so also The God by means of The Jesus shall lead the ones being reposed in sleep together with Him. For this~ we are saying to you& by means of 0Lord’s 0Word. ‘Ourselves, the ones absolutely living who are being left around unto the coming presence of The Lord, positively do not[emphatic negative] antecede the ones being reposed in sleep[sleeping in death].’ Because The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shouted directive, with 0archangel’s call, and with God’s trumpet. And the dead ones in Christ shall be resurrected first. Thereupon we ourselves, the ones absolutely living, |namely| the ones being left around, at the same time shall be snatched away together with them in 0shaped clouds for the purpose of a meeting up with The Lord in 0air. And so we shall be together with 0Lord all the time. So then repeatedly comfort one another with these /words” (1 Thes. 4:14-18 APT).
In his Epistle to Titus (Téetohs), his legitimate child according to common faith and his colleague in The Lord’s work, Paul called Jesus’ second coming in the air for His saints ‘the blessed hope.’
“. . . while persistently expectantly awaiting the blessed[favored and joyful because of all God’s beneficent gifts] hope and the glorious splendid appearing of The Great God and Savior of ours, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself in behalf of us in order that He by Himself ransom us from all lawlessness and cleanse for Himself a special chosen people, one boiling-zealous of intrinsically good works” (Tit. 2:13.14 APT).
Additionally in His first Epistle, Paul wrote in A.D. 49 to the Galatians concerning those attempting to be justified by means of Law.
“For we ourselves, in Spirit by means of faith, wait eagerly expecting 0Hope of Righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision nor uncircumcision prevailing anything, on the contrary, faith being energized by means of love[sovereign preference for Christ over self and others]” (Gal. 5:5,6 APT).
Here Paul referred to the Blessed Hope as 0Hope of Righteousness.
Therefore the threefold meaning of the second coming of The Christ is: His Son coming again out of the Heavens, the coming presence of The Lord, the blessed hope and the return of The Lord Jesus Christ in the air for ‘His own.’ The action absolutely necessary in order for one to be among those who will be included in this great event is threefold: (1) to serve as a bondslave to The Absolutely Living and Genuine God and to abide expectantly waiting for The God’s Son out of the Heavens (1 Thes. 1:10), (2) repeatedly to comfort one another with these /words” (1 Thes. 4:18), and (3) persistently to expectantly await with boiling-zealous intrinsically good works (Tit. 2:13.14, see above).
This “serving as bondslave to The Absolutely Living and Genuine God and abiding in expectant waiting, the looking for ‘the blessed hope” and the return of The Lord Jesus Christ in the air for His ‘own,’ by all who repent and commit trust to Him was the expectation of the early church in A.D. 33. It has been called ‘the Rapture’ because of what takes place on that occasion. Webster’s A.D. 1925 edition of The International Dictionary defined ‘rapture’ as “1. Act of seizing or carrying off with force; . . . 2. Act of transporting.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Electronic Version (1996) defined ‘rapture’ as “3. The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.”
Later in A.D. 51 Paul deemed it necessary to provide clarification of meaning for the church at Thessalonica (Thehssahlohnée-kay). Then in A.D. 63 Paul wrote, to the Hebrews and Peter followed up with Epistles to Hebrew Christians, exhortations concerning persistent anticipation of this second coming of The Christ.
1. The Expectation by the Early Church (Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21).
After Jesus led His eleven disciples to the Mount of Olives forty days after His resurrection on Thursday , 25 Iyar (May 14), A.D. 33, He ascended into Heaven in a shaped cloud. While they were gazing up into Heaven, two men (angels ) in white apparel stood along side them and spoke.
“O men of Galilee, why have you& stood earnestly looking into /Heaven? /Jesus Himself, Who was taken up away from you& into /Heaven, in this way He shall come in which manner you& intently gazed [with rapt attention] upon Him while journeying into /Heaven” (Acts 1:11 APT).
This angelic promise reinforced the promise that Jesus Himself gave His disciples in the upper room about 9:30 P.M. the eve of 14 Nisan (April 2), A.D. 33. However they did not fully understand the significance of that promise. The Old Testament prophets spoke of the Day of The LORD in which The Messiah would return to Earth to set up His Kingdom to Reign in righteousness and peace. Truly that will introduce ‘times of refreshing from The Lord’s face’ (Acts 3:19-21). So Peter preached this in his second sermon on Solomon’s porch in mid Sivan (early June) A.D. 33.
“Therefore repent& at once and be converted& in order that your& /sins be obliterated! so that 0appointed times of cool refreshing ever come from The Lord’s face and He send[with commission] Jesus Christ, The+ One standing proclaimed as an herald beforehand to you&, Whom it is absolutely necessary for 0Heaven so to hospitably receive until [spaces of]time of complete restoration of all[people and things], which The God spoke through 0mouth of all His holy prophets [away]from an age” (Acts 3:19-21 APT).
This incomplete understanding of Jesus’ promise in the light of Old Testament prophecies needed clarification. Even the Gentile disciples of The Christ at Thessalonica (Thehssahlohnée-kay) misunderstood the difference between the coming of The Lord Jesus Christ in the air for His redeemed and regenerated saints and His coming back to Earth to judge the nations and set up His Millennial Kingdom. Therefore Paul wrote to them in A.D. 51 to clarify this prophetic mystery.
2. The Clarification for the Church by Paul (1 Thes. 1:9,10; 2:19; 3:12,13; 4:13-18; 2 Thes. 2:1,2; Titus 2:13).
It was absolutely necessary for the early Church, as it is just as necessary for the churches today, to understand the difference between the coming of The Lord Jesus Christ in the air for His redeemed and regenerated saints often called the Rapture and His coming back to Earth to judge the nations and set up His Millennial Kingdom called the Revelation. The apostle Paul began to clarify the difference in the prophecy concerning the second coming in early spring of A.D. 51 when he first wrote to The Thessalonians from Corinth. Paul wrote of the response of the Thessalonians to the Gospel that involved two aspects of living, firstly, turning from their idols to the true God to serve as bondslaves and secondly, persistently abiding expectantly waiting for Jesus to come out of the Heavens. This is taught by Paul in his First Epistle to them.
“For they themselves are reporting about us what sort of entrance we had to[the face of] you& and how you& wholly turned to[the face of] The God from the idols to serve as bondslaves to 0Absolutely Living[as opposed to dead] and 0Genuine[as opposed to false] God and persistently to abide expectantly |waiting for| His /Son out of the Heavens, Whom He raised up out of 0dead ones, Jesus, The+ One rescuing us away from the coming /anger” (1 Thes. 1:9,10 APT).
Since the context speaks of rescue from coming anger, it would seem that this refers to His return to Earth to execute judgment upon the nations (Mt. 25:31-46).
Paul mentioned His coming presence again (2:19 APT). Here Paul refers to the victor’s crown which is given after The Lord Jesus Christ comes in the air for His saints to take them to Heaven to be with Him forever. Another mention of the coming presence is found in chapter three. Here the reference appears to be to the second coming of The Lord Jesus Christ in company with all His saints.
“Now The Lord cause you& to abound and be in abundance in the love [sovereign preference for another over self and others] unto one another and unto all&, just as we also unto you&, in order to confirm [firmly fix] the hearts of yours& blameless in holiness before the face of The God, even our Father, in the coming presence of The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ [in company]with all the saints[holy ones] of His” (1 Thes. 3:12,13 APT).
However, in order for The Lord Jesus to come with hearts blameless in holiness, it will be necessary for Him first to come in the air for the saints and all the saints must be judged at The Baymah (judgment seat on steps) and declared righteous or blameless. Although the saints are declared righteous on the basis of the applied blood on The Mercyseat in Heaven by our Great High Priest, The Lord Jesus Christ, they must judicially be declared righteous at The Baymah after trial. It is true that the way this passage is written could cause confusion, but the next reference to the coming presence of The Lord in this First Epistle clarifies the matter by stating that The Lord Jesus will come in the air to meet the resurrected dead ones in Christ and the living ones in Christ who are snatched up together with them in the clouds to meet The Lord Jesus Christ in the air to be with Him forever.
“But I determinedly will, O brothers, that you & not be ignorant about the ones standing reposed in sleep[sleeping in death] so that you& not grieve according as even the remaining ones, |namely| the ones not having hope. . . . For if (and it is true) we persistently commit trust that Jesus died off and resurrected, so also The God by means of The Jesus shall lead the ones being reposed in sleep together with Him. For this~ we are saying to you& by means of 0Lord’s 0Word. ‘Ourselves, the ones absolutely living who are being left around unto the coming presence of The Lord, positively do not[emphatic negative] antecede the ones being reposed in sleep[sleeping in death].’ Because The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shouted directive, with 0archangel’s call, and with God’s trumpet. And the dead ones in Christ shall be resurrected first. Thereupon we ourselves, the ones absolutely living, |namely| the ones being left around, at the same time shall be snatched away together with them in 0shaped clouds for the purpose of a meeting up with The Lord in 0air. And so we shall be together with 0Lord all the time. So then repeatedly comfort one another with these /words” (1 Thes. 4:13-18 APT).
Then within six months he wrote again to the Thessalonians in mid A.D. 51 to clarify emphatically the difference between what Paul calls ‘the revelation of The Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Thes. 1:7) and ‘our gathering together up to Him’ (2 Thes. 2:1), known as the Rapture. He was concerned that they not be hastily upset from their comprehension nor repeatedly alarmed by misunderstanding his First Epistle or by word that was circulated that the Day of The Christ was impending. Even today there are those proclaiming that the Day of The LORD meaning the revelation-in-judgment aspect of His Second Coming is impending. A careful study of Second Thessalonians should settle the matter.
“. . . if indeed |it is| a just~ thing with[alongside] God to recompense: affliction[tribulation] to the ones continually afflicting[put under pressure] you& and to you&, the ones being afflicted[put under pressure], relaxation [in company]with us in the revelation of The Lord Jesus [away]from Heaven with[in midst of] His angels of miraculous power in a fire of flame, giving avenging to the ones not aware[to perceive] of God and to the ones not obeying the gospel of The Lord of ours, Jesus /Christ\ [Mss. divided]” (2 Thes. 1:6-8 APT).
“O brothers, now we beseech you& about the coming presence of The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ and about our gathering up together up to Him, that you& not be hastily upset[agitated] away from the comprehension, neither repeatedly be alarmed, not at all by spirit nor by word nor even by epistle as by us, as that the Day of The Christ stands impending” (2 Thes. 2:1,2 APT).
Here once again Paul uses the Greek word παρουσία to refer to both aspects of the coming again of The Lord Jesus Christ. But he further clarifies the distinction between both aspects and calls the revelation-in-judgment aspect ‘the Day of The Christ’ and the coming-in-the-air aspect and our gathering up together up to Him ‘the Blessed Hope’ (Titus 2:13).
In addition to consideration of the expectation by the early Church and clarification by Paul the apostle, it is imperative to consider that the regenerated disciples anticipated the coming presence of The Lord as imminent.
3. Anticipation as Imminent by Regenerated Disciples (Lk. 12:22-40; Mt. 24:3,42-44; Heb. 10:37: 2 Pet. 3:4,8,9).
About five months before His crucifixion, The Lord Jesus Christ had taught His disciples to anticipate and constantly watch for His sudden return and be ready ones (Luke 12: 22-40). Highlights from this passage are inserted here,
“Your hips are to be girded around continually and your portable oil lamps continually burning! And you yourselves |be| like ones to humans! who are expectantly awaiting the lord of themselves when he takes departure out of the marriage feast in order that when he comes and knocks at the door, they open to him immediately. Blessed[favored & joyful because of all God’s beneficent gifts] ones |are those /bondslaves whom, when The Lord comes, He will find watching! . . . But know[from experience] this, ‘If (and it is not true) the housemaster had perceived what kind of hour the thief comes, he would have watched and he would not have permitted his /house to be dug through.’ Therefore you& yourselves also become ready ones! Because The Son of /Man[Human] comes in what hour you& do not suppose” (Lk. 12:35-37b,39,40 APT).
Then again on Wednesday, two days before He was crucified, The Lord Jesus Christ exited the Temple with His disciples and was sitting upon the Mount of Olives when they privately asked Him, “What is the sign of the coming presence of Yours and of the consummation of the age?” (Mt. 24:3 APT). At this time there had not yet been a clarification of the two aspects of the coming presence of The Lord. But it appears that for both aspects, at this time as He did five months before, The Lord Jesus emphasized the need for anticipation of and preparation for an imminent return because He emphatically concluded His answer with a directive.
“Therefore watch! Because you& are not aware at what sort of hour The Lord of yours& comes. Now know[from experience] this! ‘If (and it is not true) the housemaster had perceived[was aware] in what sort of watch[protective guard] the thief comes, he would have watched. And he would not have allowed his /dwelling to be digged through.’ Because of this you& yourselves also become ready ones! because in what hour you& do not suppose, The Son of Man[Human] is coming” (Mt. 24:42-44 APT).
From this teaching the disciples learned of the urgency to constantly anticipate the imminence of His coming presence, παρουσία. In A.D. 63 the apostle Paul wrote his treatise to the Hebrews, in which he presented seven warnings to his readers. At the close of the fifth warning urging his readers that they ‘Do not despise The Spirit of Grace, he wrote of the arrival of The Lord Jesus Christ.
“Therefore never cast away your& /boldness which is having great reward of retribution! For you& continually have need of patient endurance, so that you&, after doing the determined will of The God, retrieve the promise for yourselves! For yet a very[extremely intensive double use], very little |space of time|, [Hab. 2:3]The+ Coming One shall arrive and He shall not tarry [delay].” (Heb 10:35-37 APT).
When the author was a teenage discipling under a dear, godly, older brother, the expression ‘if The Lord tarries’ was frequently used by many in prayer. After hearing it used by this author, this brother took his disciple aside and asked, “How does Hebrews 10:37 read?” After turning to it and reading it, again the older brother asked, “Is it true that He will not tarry?” At the answer, “Yes!” he asked, Then why do you repeatedly pray, ‘if He tarries,’ when God’s Word says that He will not tarry? What a memorable and impressive lesson that was! Indeed He will come and He will not tarry!
Four years after Paul wrote Hebrews, in A.D. 67 Peter also wrote to the Hebrews scattered in the dispersion concerning the coming presence of The Lord and alerted them of scoffers or mockers that would surface in the last days.
“Customarily know[from experience] this first, that mockers shall come at the time of the last days, ones journeying[through life] according to their /own[private] passionate lusts and saying,[Is. 5:19; . Jer. 17:15; . Ezek. 12:22], Where is the promise of His coming presence? For [away]from which |time| the fathers reposed in sleep, all~ things are constantly remaining thus throughout [away]from 0beginning of creation. . . .But, O beloved ones, this is not to escape notice of you&! ‘One day with 0Lord |is| as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day!’ The Lord is not being slack[slow(ness)] with reference to the promise, as some are deeming slackness[slow(ness)]. On the contrary He is longsuffering unto us, not desirously willing for any& to perish, but on the contrary, for all& to make room for repentance” (2 Pet. 3:3,4,8,9 APT).
Peter made it clear that The God does not calculate time as humans do. Jesus is coming again just as He promised in two stages as Paul indicated in His Epistles. Are you anticipating His coming presence as the regenerated disciples of the first century Church did? What are you doing to be prepared when The Lord Jesus Christ comes again in the air to rapture those who are looking for Him when He comes again?
II. Why Is The Christ Coming Again?
There are seven wonderful reasons why The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again.
1. To Resurrect Regenerated Disciples (1 Thes. 4:15,16; 1 Cor. 15:51,52).
The first transaction that will take place when The Lord Jesus Christ comes again is the resurrection of regenerated disciples (saints) from out of dead ones. There are two Scripture passages that describe this event.
“For this~ we are saying to you& by means of 0Lord’s 0Word. ‘Ourselves, the ones absolutely living who are being left around unto the coming presence of The Lord, positively do not[emphatic negative] antecede the ones being reposed in sleep[sleeping in death].’ Because The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shouted directive, with 0archangel’s call, and with God’s trumpet. And the dead ones in Christ shall be resurrected first. Thereupon we ourselves, the ones absolutely living, |namely| the ones being left around, at the same time shall be snatched away together with them in 0shaped clouds for the purpose of a meeting up with The Lord in 0air” (1 Thes. 4:14-16 APT).
“Lo! I tell you& a mystery: On the one hand we all shall not sleep in death, but on the other hand we all shall be changed in an instant, in a blink of an eye at the last trumpet. For He shall sound a 0trumpet and the dead ones shall be raised up. Incorruptible ones! And we ourselves shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51,52 APT).
2. To Redeem the Bodies of the Saints (Rom. 8:23,25; Phil. 3:20,21).
In the winter of early A.D. 58 Paul wrote to the Romans of the righteousness of The God in producing the wonderful Salvation in The Lord Jesus Christ. In chapter eight he described the results of that Salvation to those who appropriate it in complete trust and with obedience reckon the mortal flesh dead. One of those glorious results is the redemption of the body of each saint. The Greek word translated redemption in this passage is apolútrosis which means “release for ransom paid”. Paul indicated that this release pertains to the body of ours. Although the soul and spirit of the regenerated disciple is redeemed -- the price of ransom from sin has been paid by The Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, yet the body is still subject to living in a world of sin and corruption from which we long to be released forever.
“For we are aware that all[every kind of] the creation groans together and travails in pain together until the now. But not only, but[on the contrary] also ourselves, ones having the firstfruits$ of The Spirit. Even ourselves, we ourselves groan within ourselves, ones eagerly awaiting in expectation for 0conferral of adult sonship, namely the redemption[release for ransom paid] of the body of ours. For we were saved in the hope. But hope being seen is not hope. For what anyone is seeing, why is he also hoping |for it|? But if (and it is true) we are hoping |for| what~ we are not seeing, we eagerly await in expectation through patient endurance” (Rom. 8:22-25 APT).
Five years later in A.D. 63, Paul wrote to the Philippians from prison in Rome. He gave more information regarding the redemption of the body.
“For the commonwealth of our citizenship exists in 0Heavens, out of which also we eagerly await in expectation for 0Savior, 0Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall alter the outward appearance of the body of /humiliation of ours in order for itself to become conformed~ to the body of the glory of His according to the effectual working of the miraculous power with the result, for Him to be able also to subject[arrange under] the all~ things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20,21 APT).
The Greek terminology that The Holy Spirit led Paul to use is very interesting. When The coming presence of The Lord Jesus is manifest, He shall alter the outward appearance of this body of humiliation, which has caused so many so much humiliation in the days of maturing in Christ. He shall alter it to conform to His glorious body. The beloved disciple John wrote, “. . . we shall be like ones to Him, because we for ourselves shall behold Him according as He is” (1 Jn. 3:2 APT). No wonder we groan within ourselves, eagerly awaiting in expectation for the redemption or release for ransom paid of the body of each one of the regenerated disciples (saints).
Another reason why Jesus is coming again is:
3. To Rapture the Church (1 Thes. 4:13-17).
The third reason for The Lord Jesus Christ to come in the air is to take His own regenerated disciples (saints) home to Heaven. This will be a thrilling and rapturous occasion for His Church.
This passage (1 Thes.4:13-17) was quoted above under I.2. Clarification for the Church by Paul on page 1.
4. To Receive His Bride (Mt. 25:1-10: Jn. 14:1-3).
The fourth reason why The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again is to come as The Bridegroom to receive His Bride made up of regenerated disciples and to fulfill His promise to come again and to take her unto Himself. On Wednesday, 12 Nisan (April 1), A.D. 33, the day of teaching in the Temple, Jesus taught the disciples about His coming presence while sitting on the Mount of Olives. Jesus likened preparedness for His coming to the coming of the bridegroom in the parable of the ten virgins.
“At that time the Kingdom of /Heaven shall be likened to ten virgins, who[whoever]^ took their /torches and [they]exited unto a meeting up with the bridegroom. Now five of them were prudent^ ones and the^ five were morons[worthless thinkers]^. Though |the ones^| whoever^ |were| morons[worthless thinkers] ^ took the torches of themselves, they did not take olive oil with themselves. But the^ prudent ones took olive oil in their /containers with their /torches. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all became drowsy and continued sleeping. Then midst nighttime a shout has occurred, Lo! the bridegroom comes! Exit unto a meeting up with him! At that time all those^ /virgins arose and [they]arranged their torches in order. Then the^ morons[worthless thinkers] said to the^ prudent ones, Give to us out of [source] your& /olive oil because our /torches begin [inceptive present] extinguishing. But the^ prudent ones answered, saying, Rather journey& now to[the face of] the+ ones selling! And buy in a marketplace for yourselves lest ever there not be sufficient for us and for you&! Now while they were departing to buy in a marketplace, the bridegroom came and the^ ready ones entered with him into the wedding& festivities and the door was locked shut. Then afterwards the remaining^ virgins come, saying, O Lord, O Lord, open to us! But He answered and said, Amen I am saying to you&, I am not aware of you&. Therefore continually watch &! because you& are not aware of the day nor the hour in which The Son of /Man[Human] is coming” (Mt. 25:1-13 APT).
In this parable The Lord Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven (Christendom) at the time just prior to the coming of Christ The Bridegroom to take His Bride. He represents Christendom (the kingdom of Heaven) with ten virgins who took their torches to go out to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise and properly prepared by making sure they had olive oil in their vessels while the others were morons (worthless thinkers) and unprepared because they did not have oil in their vessels. While the bridegroom delayed (as far as they were concerned), they all slumbered and slept. Then in the midst of nighttime a shout occurs, Lo! The Bridegroom comes! Go out to meet Him! So they arose and arranged their torches to lighten the path in the dark. Now the moment of realization occurs. The morons had not prepared olive oil in their vessels. When they attempted to kindle their torches they began extinguishing so they asked the wise virgins to share their oil. They refused and told them to go buy for themselves in the marketplace. Of course until it was light they could not go to get light nor go to meet the bridegroom because of the darkness. When they finally came to the place where the wedding festivities were being held, the door was locked shut. When from outside they called to the bridegroom, “O lord, O lord, open to us!” He answered, “Amen I am saying to you&, I am not aware of you&.” The Lord’s application of the parable was. “Therefore continually watch&! because you& are not aware of the day nor the hour in which The Son of /Man[Human] is coming.”
The significance of this parable is that all in the Kingdom of Heaven (Christendom) appear to be believing in and desiring the Bridegroom to come, but only some contain olive oil in their vessels, while others lack the oil. Olive oil in Scripture is a symbol and representative of The Holy Spirit. The morons knew they needed oil, but they made no preparation for the imminent coming presence of The Bridegroom. Alas they lacked olive oil. Like many professors today who claim to be looking for His coming, they are deceived and lack regeneration and thus the indwelling of The Holy Spirit, but instead they have committed control to an unholy spirit, “a spirit of another different kind”, “the prince of the power of the air,” “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”, who is Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 11:4,13-15 cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2).
“For if (and it is true) actually the one coming proclaims as an herald another Jesus of the same kind, whom we did not proclaim as an herald, or you& are receiving another spirit of a different kind, which you& did not receive, or another gospel of a different kind, which you& did not hospitably receive, well were you & holding back[literal meaning] from |him|. . . . For the such like ones |are|: false apostles, deceitful workers, transfigurers[alterers of outer appearance] of themselves into apostles of Christ! And not a marvelous~ thing! For /Satan himself is repeatedly transfiguring [alter outer appearance] himself into an angel of light. Therefore no great thing! if (and it is true) the domestic[deacon, attendant to needs] servants of his also are being transfigured[alter outer appearance] as domestic[deacon, attendant needs] servants of righteousness, whose /end shall be according to their /works!” (2 Cor. 11:4,13-15 APT).
The True Gospel of Christ calls for repentance and persistent totally committed faith for regeneration by The Holy Spirit and constant watching for His coming again in order to be prepared for the coming presence of The Bridegroom.
5. To Rescue from Sin’s Presence (Heb. 9:27,28; 1 Thes. 5:9; Phil. 3:20,21).
The fifth reason why The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again is to complete Salvation in its future aspect and deliver us bodily from the presence of sin.
“And according to as much as it is scheduled for the humans to die off once for all |time|, but after this, 0judging. In this way after The Christ was offered once for all |time| to bear Sin for the many, He shall appear for 0second |time| apart from sin, to the ones eagerly awaiting in expectation for Him unto Salvation” (Heb. 9:27,28 APT).
According to this passage, the Salvation referred to is that completing act of the third and future aspect of Salvation which saves us from the presence of sin. Paul referred to this aspect as Salvation’s purchased possession which occurs when those who are still alive and watching and those who are reposing in sleep at the same time absolutely living together with Him.
“Because The God did not ordain us unto anger, but on the contrary, unto salvation’s 0purchased possession through The Lord of ours, Jesus Christ, Who died off in our behalf in order that whether we are watching, whether we are sleeping, at the same time we absolutely live together with Him” (1 Thes. 5:9 APT).
This future aspect of Salvation in which the saints bodies are delivered from the presence of sin was referred to by Paul in his Epistle to Philippians (3:20,21) which was quoted above under point 2. To Redeem the Bodies of the Saints. (Please read just above point 3.).
The sixth reason for The Lord Jesus Christ to come in the air is to bring all regenerated disciples to The Baymah (Judgment Seat on Steps in Heaven) to give an account of each one’s stewardship and the deeds (works) done in the body.
6. To Render an Account of our Stewardship and our Works (Lk. 16:1,2,11,12; Mt. 25:14-30; Lk. 19:12-28; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; Rom. 14:10-12).
In Kislev (early December), A.D. 32, The Lord Jesus was journeying unto Jerusalem. Through parables He taught His disciples that His coming was like to a human going away to a far-off place and return, at which time He would require an account of their stewardship in managing His possessions delivered to the trust of each one.
“Moreover He was saying also to[the face of] His disciples, A certain human was a rich+ one, who continued to have a manager[steward,.lit.: house administrator, usually a promoted bondslave] of affairs. And this+ one was being[successively] incriminated to him as dissipating his /possessions. 2And when he called him, he said to him, How |is| this~ I am hearing concerning you$! Render at once the accounting of your$ /stewardship[managing of affairs]! For you& are not able still to manage affairs. 3Then the manager [cf. v. 1] of affairs said within himself, What should I do, because my /lord is cutting off for himself the stewardship[v. 2] away from me? I am not strong |enough| to dig. I am ashamed to begin to beg. 4I just realized what I will do so that, whenever I am removed from the stewardship[v.2], they hospitably receive me into their /houses. 5And when he summoned to himself each one of the money debtors of the lord of himself, he was saying to the first, How much are you$ indebted[legally obligated] to my /lord? 6Then he said, One hundred baths[1044 gallons or 33barrels] of olive oil. And he said to him, Take in hand[receive hospitably] your$ promissory note[writing] and, after sitting down, hastily write fifty[522 gallons or 16.5 barrels]! 7Thereupon he said to another[different kind], Now how much are you& yourself indebted[v. 5]? Then he said, An hundred kors[5960 pecks or 1490 bushels] of grain. And he said to him, Take in hand[v. 6] your$ promissory note[writing] and write eighty[4768 pecks or 1192 bu.]! 8And the lord acclaimed the manager[v.1] of the unrighteousness because he did prudently. Because the sons of this /age in regard to the generation of themselves are more prudent than the Sons[Jn. 12:36] of The Light. 9And I Myself am saying to you&, Make for yourselves friends by means of the mammon[wealth, total assets in your trust] of the unrighteousness! in order that, whenever you& fail[to breathe] they[inhabitants] hospitably receive you& into the eternal habitations[tabernacle, place of rest and worship]. 10The faithful+ one in a very least~ thing is also a faithful+ one in a great~ thing and the unjust+ one in a very least~ thing is also an unjust+ one in a great~ thing. 11Therefore if (and it is true) you& do not emerge faithful+ ones in the unjust mammon[wealth, total assets in. your trust], who will commit trust to you& the genuine |wealth|? 12And if (and it is true) you& have not become faithful+ ones in what ~ belongs to a stranger, who will give to you& what~ belongs to you&? 13Not one+ household servant is able to serve as a bondslave to two lords. For either he will hate the+ one and he will love[sovereignly prefer over self and others] the other[different kind], or he will cling to one+ and despise the other[different kind]. You$ are not able to serve as a bondslave to God and to mammon[wealth, total assets in your trust]. 14Now the Pharisees, being[existing] lovers[fond of silver] of money, also heard all these things~; and they derided [turn up the nose at] Him. 15And He said to them, You$ yourselves are the+ ones justifying[declare righteous] yourselves in the presence of the humans. But The God continually knows[from experience] your& /hearts. Because the thing~ high among humans is abomination[detested offensive stench] in The God’s viewpoint [Lk. 16:1-15 APT].
On Monday, 3 Nisan (March 23), A.D. 33 on His journey to Bethany, after commuting Salvation to Zahk-Khaíohs in Jericho, Jesus taught the Parable of the Nobleman and the Minas (Lk. 19:12-28, please read). When he returned and received his kingdom, he called his bondslaves to himself to render account of what they gained through trading business.
Then a week later on Wednesday, 12 Nisan (April 1), A.D. 33, the day of teaching, two days before the crucifixion, Jesus taught the Parable of the Talents (Mt. 25:14-30, please read). The human lord delivered his possessions to his bondslaves, each one according to his own ability before travelling abroad for a long period of time. When he returned he settled up account with his bondslaves. After rendering account, each one received his reward accordingly.
Late in mid A.D. 56, Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning the material with which we are building Christ’s Church and the work we are doing for the Kingdom of The God.
“According to the grace of The God which was given to me, as a wise masterbuilder[architect] I have laid down 0foundation, then another[same kind] builds upon |it|. But each one is to constantly beware how he continues building upon |it|! For not one is able to lay down another[same kind] foundation than The + One lying, Who is Jesus The Christ. Now if (and it is true) anyone build up gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw[dead stalk of grain] upon This /Foundation, the work of each one shall become public. For the day shall make |it| apparent because it shall be revealed by means of fire. And the fire shall scrutinize[approve after examination] the work of each one of what sort it is. If (and it is true) the work of anyone shall abide which he built upon |it|, he shall receive compensation. If (and it is true) the work of anyone shall be utterly burned up, he shall forfeit[suffer loss] |compensation|. Then he himself shall be saved, but so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:10-15 APT).
Then later in the winter of early A.D. 58 Paul wrote to the Romans concerning The Baymah (Christ’s Judgment Seat on Steps) where each one of us shall give account concerning oneself (Rom.14:10-12).
“. . . For we all shall present[technical term, lit.: to. stand alongside] ourselves alongside The Christ’s judgment seat[Baymah] on steps. . . . So then therefore each+ of us shall give account concerning himself to The God” (Rom. 14:10c,12 APT).
In connection with judging the saints at The Baymah, the seventh reason for Jesus to come again is to reward the saints
7. To Reward the Saints (Rev. 22:12; 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-11).
As reflected in the parables concerning the coming again of The Lord Jesus Christ which were cited under point 6 above, following the rendering of account for their stewardship and for their works is the rewarding of the saints for good stewardship and their beneficially good works which are equal in value to gold, silver, and precious stones. Additionally five crowns will be given for: running the race of faith (1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Tim. 2:5); evangelizing and discipling others (1 Thes. 2:19); loving (the sovereign preference over self and others) The Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8); suffering and enduring through trials and temptations (Jas. 1:12; Rev. 2:10); for elders who properly shepherd The God’s flock (1 Pet. 5:4). Paul clarifies the building material that is used in the work of building his church in his Epistle to the Corinthians written in A.D. 56.
“According to the grace of The God which was given to me, as a wise masterbuilder[architect] I have laid down 0foundation, then another [same kind] builds upon |it|. But each one is to constantly beware how he continues building upon |it|! 11For not one is able to lay down another [same kind] foundation than The+ One lying, Who is Jesus The Christ. 12Now if (and it is true) anyone build up gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw[dead stalk of grain] upon This /Foundation, 13the work of each one shall become public. For the day shall make |it| apparent because it shall be revealed by means of fire. And the fire shall scrutinize[approve after examination] the work of each one of what sort it is. 14If (and it is true) the work of anyone shall abide which he built upon |it|, he shall receive compensation. 15If (and it is true) the work of anyone shall be utterly burned up, he shall forfeit[suffer loss] |compensation|. Then he himself shall be saved, but so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:10-15 APT).
Nine months to a year later Paul wrote another Epistle to the Corinthians in which he refers to The Baymah (Judgment Seat on steps) where the saints shall receive back again the things done in the body.
“Wherefore we also of ourselves are being persistently ambitious[make it my aim, lit.: fond of esteem]+ ones to be well-pleasing ones to Him continually, whether being-at-home[lit.: in community], whether being-not-at-home[lit.: out of community]. For it is absolutely necessary for all the ones with reference to ourselves to be displayed in front of The Christ’s /judgment seat[Báymah] on steps in order that each one retrieve[receive back again] the~ things in accord with[to the face of] what he practiced by means of the body, whether beneficially good, whether evil[includes worthless]. Therefore we, because being aware[perceiving] of the fear of The Lord, continually persuade humans, but we stand being displayed by 0God. But I continually hope also to stand being displayed in the consciences of yours&” (2 Cor. 5:9-11 APT).
Having substantiated seven wonderful reasons why The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again and what will take place when He comes in the air to take the saints to be with Himself forever, let us consider for whom He will come again. This is absolutely necessary because many are being misguided in thinking that because they believe in Jesus, they will be included in that number who will be taken to Heaven. Just who are the saints for whom His coming presence will translate in the air at the Rapture?
III. For Whom Is The Lord Jesus Christ Coming Again?
The Word of The God indicates that this can be broken down into three groups: Old Testament Saints, New Testament Dead Saints, and present day Regenerated Living Disciples whose citizenship is in Heaven.
1. Old Testament Saints (Heb. 9:15).
According to Paul in His treatise to Hebrews, The Old Testament saints receive the fulfillment of the promise of eternal inheritance which was given to Abraham and to his seed (Rom. 4:16) because of the death of the Mediator of The New Testament to provide redemption (release for the ransom paid from Sin’s penalty to eternal death) for the saints of both Testaments.
“And because of this He is 0Mediator of 0New[in nature and quality] Testament[Covenant], so that by emerging from death for release-for-0ransom-paid[redemption] for the transgressions the time of the first Testament[Covenant], the ones being summoned receive the |fulfillment of| promise[metonymy: cause for effect] of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15 APT).
John’s vision on the isle of Páhtmohs provided a glimpse of what shall take place after the saints are taken up into Heaven (Rev 4:1-4). John saw the throne of The God surrounded by twenty-four thrones.
“After these~ things I beheld and lo! a door standing opened in the Heaven and the first /sound which I heard |was| as a trumpet speaking with me and saying, Ascend here at once! And I shall show to you$ what~ things are absolutely necessary to come to pass after these~ things. And immediately I emerged in 0Spirit. And lo! a throne was continually of itself lying in the Heaven and One continually sitting+ upon the throne /and The+ One continually sitting was like an extraordinary sight with jasper and carnelian[a deep orange red to brownish red variety of chalcedony] stone and a rainbow around the throne like an extraordinary sight made-of-emerald. And around the throne, twenty-four thrones and upon the thrones the /twenty-four elders were continually sitting, being permanently enveloped in white clothes and /they had upon the heads of theirs gold victor’s crowns” (Rev. 4:1-4 APT ).
These twenty-four (12x2) elders are representative of Old Testament Saints (the twelve tribes of Israel, Rev. 12:12) and New Testament Saints (the twelve apostles of The Lamb, Rev. 12:14). This use of twelve names of the tribes engraved on the gates and the twelve names of the apostles engraved on the walls indicate that both Old and New Testament Saints will be in The New Jerusalem. Both assemblies of saints are in Heaven after the rapture and then in The New Jerusalem.
2. New Testament Saints who are Asleep in Christ (1 Thes. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51,52).
In addition to Old Testament Saints for whom The Lord Jesus Christ’s death at Calvary paid the ransom to release them from the penalty of eternal death for Sin because they sacrificed according to the Law in faith, The Lord Jesus is coming again to resurrect and take with Him to Heaven the New Testament saints who are reposing in sleep. These saints will rise first.
“For if (and it is true) we persistently commit trust that Jesus died off and resurrected, so also The God by means of The Jesus shall lead the ones being reposed in sleep together with Him. For this~ we are saying to you& by means of 0Lord’s 0Word. ‘Ourselves, the ones absolutely living who are being left around unto the coming presence of The Lord, positively do not[emphatic negative] antecede the ones being reposed in sleep[sleeping in death].’ Because The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shouted directive, with 0archangel’s call, and with God’s trumpet. And the dead ones in Christ shall be resurrected first. Thereupon we ourselves, the ones absolutely living, |namely| the ones being left around, at the same time shall be snatched away together with them in 0shaped clouds for the purpose of a meeting up with The Lord in 0air.” (1 Thes. 4:14-17 APT).
Paul clarifies this truth in his Epistle to the Corinthians and calls it a mystery. He stated that the dead ones in Christ shall be resurrected and all, both the resurrected dead ones and the living regenerated ones, all shall be changed.
“Lo! I tell you& a mystery: On the one hand we all shall not sleep in death, but on the other hand we all shall be changed in an instant, in a blink of an eye at the last trumpet. For He shall sound a 0trumpet and the dead ones shall be raised up. Incorruptible ones! And we ourselves shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51,52 APT).
3. Present Day Regenerated Living Disciples Whose Citizenship Is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20,21).
In addition to Old Testament saints and New Testament saints asleep in The Lord Jesus Christ, He is coming again for the regenerated disciples who are living as citizens of Heaven at the time He comes.
“For the commonwealth of our citizenship exists in 0Heavens, out of which also we eagerly await in expectation for 0Savior, 0Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall alter the outward appearance of the body of /humiliation of ours in order for itself to become conformed~ to the body of the glory of His according to the effectual working of the miraculous power with the result, for Him to be able also to subject[arrange under] the all~ things to Himself ” (Phil. 3:20,21 APT).
All those who eagerly wait in expectation living in holiness and in purity will be in the number of those raptured at the second coming of The Lord Jesus Christ. Paul exhorted the Hebrews to pursue a life that maintained a holy relationship separated unto The God.
“Pursue peace with all |people|! and the sanctification[a holy relationship separated unto The God], apart from which not one+ shall behold The Lord!” (Heb. 12:14 APT).
Additionally, the beloved apostle John, when writing of the coming presence of The Lord Jesus Christ, emphatically stated that everyone, who has the hope of being transformed into His likeness when He comes, repeatedly purifies himself or herself according as The Lord Jesus Christ is pure (1 John 3:1-3, see next quoted text under point IV).
IV. What Does the Second Coming of The Lord Jesus Christ Mean to you?
It should mean purification to you! In A.D. 90-94 the beloved disciple John wrote to His children in The Lord concerning the necessity of purity in the lives of everyone who has this hope upon Him. (The pronoun is personal contrasted with reflexive pronoun in the same context, therefore it refers to The Lord Jesus Christ. Also the preposition used is επι with dative = upon and not εν = in.)
“Behold, what manner of love[sovereign preference over self and others] The Father has permanently given to us, that we be titled, 0Children[relationship emphasis] of God. Because of this, the world is continually not knowing /you&\ because it did not know[from experience] Him. O beloved ones, now we are 0children[relationship emphasis] of God. And it is not yet displayed what we shall be, but we are aware that, if (and it may be) He be displayed, we shall be like ones to Him, because we for ourselves shall behold Him according as He is. And everyone who[article as pronoun] continually has this /hope upon Him repeatedly purifies himself according as That+ One is pure (1 John 3:1-3 APT).
Conclusion: Will you be included in the number of those who will meet The Lord Jesus Christ in the air? Are you ready and properly prepared in holiness for Him to come? The noted preacher and writer Harry Ironside told of an occasion the night when he was preaching in Stockton, California on the topic The Coming of Jesus. While closing in prayer, he was conscious of the swishing of a skirt by a woman walking out of the service in a hurry. After closing his prayer, Mr. Ironside went to the back to greet people at the door. Pacing back and forth in the lobby, she was waiting for him. No sooner did he reach the door, than the woman said to him, “How would you dare to pray like that, ‘Come, Lord Jesus?’ I don’t want Him to come. It would break in on all my plans. How dare you?” His response was, “my dear young woman, Jesus is coming whether you want it or not.” Do you have plans that interfere with your preparation for that most important and consequential event? What did you need to do to get ready? Turn away from a sin or bad habit? Get right with a brother or sister in Christ? Share the joy of the Gospel with a friend or relative? You can ignore the Truth of The second coming of Christ or respond to it properly and purify yourself! The choice is yours! Your choice is brief, but endless!
| | understood $singular &plural /the 0no article +masculine ~neuter
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