The Nature of Christ's Second Coming
There are some things about the second coming of Christ that we are not told in the Scriptures. One is the timing. Even Jesus, at least while he was upon this Earth and presumably until even now, does not know when He will come again (Matthew 24: 36).
There are some clues about the manner of His arrival. All quotations below are Revised Version.
Mat 24:30 and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mar 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Mar 13:27 And then shall he send forth the angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Luk 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Luk 21:28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption draweth nigh.
Act 1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. Act 1:10 And while they were looking stedfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Act 1:11 which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, which was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 1Co 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Co 15:54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Th 4:13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, which have no hope.
1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. 1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 1Th 4:17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they which pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him. Even so, Amen.
There is context, before and after each of these passages, that bears reading, that further describes what the manner of the second coming of the Son of God will be like; feel free to read it. I have copied as much as I have for brevity’s sake. I think I have found and included all of the passages that have to do with the manner of His coming.
There is tremendous consistency among these passages about the manner of Christ’s coming. It will be sudden. People will be going about their lives in the same ways they always have been, as Jesus said in Matthew 24: 37-39: Mat 24:37 And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. Mat 24:38 For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
Mat 24:39 and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.
When the coming occurs, judgment is “on”, and there will be no changing of anything. No more time to repent. No time for the unbeliever to find a minister to baptize him. No time to confess Christ as Lord (Matthew 10: 32, 33; Romans 10: 9, 10). For those who have already died, judgment is next (Hebrews 9: 27).
The repetitive teaching of the earlier passages is that Christ is coming in the clouds. There is no indication that He will ever set foot on this Earth, at least as we know Earth, again. Rather, the Earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3: 7-13). We look for a new heaven and a new earth.
Regarding the question of whether heaven as the place of God’s dwelling would be destroyed, the word “heaven” is used in more than one sense in the Bible. There is the atmosphere, the place in which birds fly (Matthew 6: 26), one “heaven.” There is a second heaven in the sense of the resting place of the saved who are awaiting judgment day, that place also likely being the Paradise of which Jesus spoke on the cross (Luke 16: 22; Luke 23: 43). And then there is Heaven in the sense of the “forever place” which is the dwelling place of God, the place where the saints will live after time ends. That is the place described in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. That is also the place that Paul was unable to describe with words in 2 Corinthians 12: 1-9. Paul begins describing his view of the dwelling place of God as if another man had seen the third Heaven, but by the end of the passage, he lets it slip that he was that person.
There is no reason for the third Heaven to be burned with fire to accomplish purification, for it has never been stained. Sin cannot come to the place where God lives. In fact, God cannot even be tempted (James 1: 13). The third Heaven is the unspotted place we long for.
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