FOUR FACTS ABOUT THE FUTURE – Part 1 of 2
I - THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
“God will not permit Satan to exercise his power in human history forever . . . . [The] glorious destiny for man will be achieved only by the personal, visible, glorious return of Christ . . . . The second coming of Christ is thus both the Blessed Hope of the Church and the hope of human history.”—George Eldon Ladd
1. The Reality of Christ’s Return
(1) His first coming accomplished man’s salvation. His second coming secures it (Heb. 9:28).
(2) Its importance is reflected in its frequent mention in Scripture— 2,500 references to the Second Coming in the Bible. In the New Testament it is mentioned 318 times in its 250 chapters.
2. The Certainty of Christ’s Return
(1) An Old Testament promise (Ps. 50:3-6; cf. Jude14; Hab. 3:3-13).
(2) A New Testament promise (Titus 2:11-13).
(3) Jesus’ own promise (John 14:1-3).
(a) It promises a new relationship: “I will receive you unto myself”
(b) It promises a happy reunion: “there you may be also”
(c) It promises a secure residence: “I go to prepare a place for you”
3. The Manner of Christ’s Return
(1) He will come literally (Acts 1:9-11).
(2) He will come personally (1 John 2:28).
(3) He will come visibly (Rev. 1:7; cf. Luke 24:36-45, 50-51).
(4) He will come audibly (Matt. 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:16).
(5) He will come gloriously (Luke 9:25. cf. Rev. 5:11; Heb. 12:22).
(6) He will come brilliantly (Matt. 24:27; Rev. 6:14-17; 2 Pet. 3:10).
(7) He will come suddenly (Luke 21:35; 1 Thess. 5:2).
4. The Purpose of Christ’s Return (Rev. 22:12).
(1) It will be a time of separation (Matt. 23: 32-34, 41).
(2) It brings the promise of life after death for the saved (1 Thess. 4:16).
(3) It will promise eternal reunion for the saved (1 Thess. 4:17).
(4) It will confer immortality—an unending existence (1 Cor. 15:52-54).
(5) It will mean an end to sin, death, and suffering (Rev. 21:1-4).
5. The Preparation for Christ’s Return
(1) To be patient (James 35:7, 8).
(2) To live temperately (Luke 21:34-36).
(3) To endure difficulties (Matt. 24:13; cf. Luke 18:1).
(4) To warn others of His coming (Matt. 24:14; Jude 23).
(5) To rejoice at the fulfillment of the prophetic Word (Luke 21:28).
“I ardently hope that, amidst these internal dissensions on the earth, Jesus Christ will hasten the day of His coming.”—Martin Luther
“We must hunger after Christ till the dawning of that great day.”—John Calvin
“We know that He will return, and that with expedition.”—John Knox
II - THE SIGNS OF CHRIST’S RETURN
“The signs that show His coming near are fast fulfilling, year by year.”—F. E. Belden
1. Jesus promised signs of the nearness of His return (Luke 21:25 .cf. Mt. 24:3).
(1) We are counseled to understand these signs (Matt. 16:3).
(2) We cannot pinpoint the exact time (Matt. 24:36 cf. Matt. 24:33).
(3) We know that God gives advanced warnings to His people (Matt. 24:37-39; cf. Heb.12:18-29).
2. Jesus announced international events would announce His coming (Matt. 24:6, 7).
(1) This is the only generation in history which has seen world wars.
(2) Simultaneously has come a population explosion and crop crisis resulting famines in over-populated areas.
(3) Pestilences have increased in the plant and animal world, and among mankind.
(4) Multiplying earthquakes suggest the world is stumbling towards its fall
(5) The reaction of those who analyze world conditions (Luke 21:25; cf. Rev.11:18).
3. Jesus forecasted signs in the economic world
(1) The exploitation of the working classes (James 5:4).
(2) The impermanence and devaluation of wealth (James 1:5-3 cf. Isa. 2:2-7).
(3) What follows this distress and bewilderment? (Luke 21:27).
4.Jesus prophesied specific conditions in the religious world
(1) The absence of true faith (Luke 18:8).
(2) Profession rather than a possession of godliness (2 Tim. 3:5).
(3) Apostasy from the Christian faith (2 Tim. 4:3, 4).
(4) Many false religious teachers and teachings (Matt. 24:4, 5, 24).
(5) The spread of spiritism (Rev. 16:13, 14; 13:13, 14). (6) Eschatological ridicule (2 Pet. 3:3-7).
(1) Increase of Bible knowledge among the faithful (Dan. 12:4, 10).
(2) Worldwide proclamation of the gospel (Matt. 24:14).
(3) Revival in the studies of Daniel and Revelation (Dan. 12:3, 4; Rev. 14:6-12).
5. Jesus encouraged those who diligently seek to understand the meaning of these signs (Luke 12:37).
(1) God’s invitation to those who witness these signs (Luke 21:28-31).
(2) God will protect His people (Mark 13:27).
Note: The successive fulfillment of these signs impose the need for constant preparedness and serve to confirm our confidence in events is yet unfulfilled. eg. Jesus (John 14:1-3).
“The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.”— Ellen G. White (8T, 28)
Rex D. Edwards is a former vice president for religious studies, Griggs University.