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When He was on earth during the sway of the Roman Empire, the stone kingdom that crushes all nations had not yet come. Only after the phase of the iron and clay feet, the period of the divided nations, would it arrive. It is to be set up at the Second Advent when Christ separates the righteous from the wicked Matt. When it comes, this stone or kingdom will strike the "'image on its feet of iron and clay'" and "'it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, '" leaving not a trace of them Dan.

Indeed, the Second Advent is an earth-shaking event. The Gathering of the Elect. An important aspect of the establishment of Christ's eternal kingdom is the gathering of all the redeemed Matt. When a head of state visits another country, only a few persons can be part of the welcoming party. But when Christ comes, every believer who has ever lived, regardless of age, gender, education, economic status, or race, will participate in the grand Advent celebration. Two events make possible this universal gathering: The resurrection of the dead in Christ. At the sound of the trumpet announcing Christ's return, the righteous dead will be raised incorruptible and immortal 1 Cor.

At that moment the "dead in Christ will rise first" 1 Thess. In other words, they are raised before the living righteous are caught up to be with the Lord. Resurrected ones reunite with those who sorrowed at their departure. Now they exult, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? It is not the diseased, aged, mutilated bodies that went down into the grave that come up in the resurrection, but new, immortal, perfect bodies, no longer marked by the sin that caused their decay.

The resurrected saints experience the completion of Christ's work of restoration, reflecting the perfect image of God in mind, soul, and body 1 Cor. The translation of the living believers. When the righteous dead are resurrected, the righteous who are living on the earth at the Second Coming will be changed. At Christ's return no group of believers takes precedence over any other believers. Paul reveals that the living and transformed believers "shall be caught up together with them [the resurrected believers] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And thus we shall always be with the Lord" 1 Thess. So all the believers will be present at the grand Advent gathering, both the resurrected saints of all ages and those who are alive at Christ's return.

Christian eschatology

The Death of the Unbelievers. To the saved the Second Advent is a time of joy and exhilaration, but to the lost it will be a time of devastating terror. They have resisted Christ's love and His invitations to salvation so long that they have become ensnared in deceptive delusions see 2 Thess. When they see the One they have rejected coming as King of kings and Lord of lords, they know the hour of their doom has struck. Overwhelmed with terror and despair, they call upon the inanimate creation to shelter them Rev.

At this time God will destroy Babylon, the union of all apostate religions. The powers responsible for enforcing the mark of the beast see chapter 12 will be cast "into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. The Signs of Christ's Soon Return The Scriptures not only reveal the manner and object of Christ's coming, they also describe the signs that tell of the nearness of this climactic event. The first signs announcing the Second Advent took place more than years after Christ's ascension, and others have followed, contributing to the evidence that His return is very near.

Signs in the Natural World. Christ predicted that there would "'be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars'" Luke Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory'" Mark In addition, John saw that a great earthquake would precede the signs in the heavens Rev. All of these signs would mark the end of the years of persecution see chapter The witness of the earth.

In fulfillment of this prophecy "the largest known earthquake," 2 occurred on November 1, Known as the Lisbon earthquake, its effects were observed in Europe, Africa, and America, covering an area of about 4 million square miles. Its destruction centered on Lisbon, Portugal, where.

While the earthquake's physical effects were large, its impact on the thought of the time was just as significant. Many living then recognized it as a prophetic sign of the end 4 and began to give serious consideration to the judgment of God and the last days. The Lisbon earthquake gave an impetus to the study of prophecy. The witness of the sun and moon. Christ had pointed out the time of the fulfillment of this sign, noting that it was to follow the great tribulation, the years of papal persecution spoken of elsewhere in Scripture Matt.

But Christ said that the tribulation that was to precede these signs would be shortened Matt. Through the influence of the Reformation and the movements that grew out of it, the papal persecution was indeed shortened, so that by the middle of the eighteenth century it had almost wholly ceased. In fulfillment of this prophecy, on May 19, , an extraordinary darkness descended upon the northeastern part of the North American continent. Recalling this event, Timothy Dwight, president of Yale University, said, "The 19th of May, , was a remarkable day.

Candles were lighted in many houses; the birds were silent and disappeared, and the fowls retired to roost. A very general opinion prevailed, that the day of judgment was at hand. Samuel Williams of Harvard reported that the darkness "approached with the clouds from the southwest 'between the hours of In some places 'persons could not see to read common print in the open air.

If every luminous body in the universe had been shrouded in impenetrable shades, or struck out of existence, the darkness could not have been more complete. When the moon became visible, it had the appearance of blood. John the revelator had prophesied the extraordinary events of that day. After the earthquake, he wrote, the sun would become "black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon. The witness of the stars.

Both Christ and John had also spoken about a falling of the stars that would indicate that Christ's coming was near Rev. It was estimated that a single observer could see an average of 60, meteors per hour. Christ gave these signs to alert Christians to the nearness of His coming so that they might rejoice in their expectation and be fully prepared for it.

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When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you, likewise, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near'" Luke This unique witness of earth, sun, moon, and stars, which came in the precise sequence and at the time Christ had predicted, directed the attention of many toward the prophecies of the Second Advent.

Signs in the Religious World Scripture predicts that a number of significant signs in the religious world will mark the time just preceding Christ's return. A great religious awakening. The book of Revelation reveals the rise of a great, worldwide religious movement before the Second Advent. In John's vision, an angel heralding Christ's return symbolized this movement: The message itself indicates when it is to be proclaimed. The everlasting gospel has been preached throughout all ages. But this message, emphasizing the judgment aspect of the gospel, could only be proclaimed in the time of the end, for it warns that the "hour of His judgment has come.

At that time people would understand its mysteries. The unsealing took place as the year period of papal dominance came to its end with the captivity of the pope in The combination of the exile of the pope and the signs in the natural world led many Christians to study the prophecies about the events leading to the Second Advent, which resulted in a new depth of understanding of these prophecies. This focus on the Second Advent also brought about a worldwide revival of the Advent hope. As the Reformation sprang up independently in various countries throughout the Christian world, so did the Advent movement.

The worldwide nature of this movement is one of the clearest signs that Christ's return is drawing near. Preaching of the Gospel. God "'has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness'" Acts In warning us of that day, Christ did not say that it would come when all the world is converted, but that the "'gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come'" Matt. Thus Peter encourages believers to be "looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God" 2 Peter 3: Statistics on the translation and distribution of the Bible in this century reveal the growth of the gospel witness.

In , the Bible was available in languages. By , it had been translated, in full or in part, into 1, languages, representing nearly 96 percent of the world population. Similarly, the annual distribution of the Scriptures has risen from 5. In addition, Christianity now has at its disposal an unprecedented variety of resources for use in its mission: Today, powerful shortwave radio stations can beam the gospel to practically every country around the globe. Used under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, these unparalleled resources make realistic the goal of evangelizing the world in our time.

Seventh-day Adventists, with a membership that represents about languages and 1, dialects, are proclaiming the gospel in countries. Almost 90 percent of these members live outside of North America. Believing that medical and educational work play essential roles in fulfilling the gospel commission, we operate nearly hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and dispensaries, 19 medical launches, 27 health food factories, 86 colleges and universities, secondary schools, 4, elementary schools, Bible correspondence schools, and 33 language institutes.

Our 51 publishing houses produce literature in languages and our shortwave radio stations broadcast to approximately 75 percent of the world population. The Holy Spirit has abundantly blessed our mission thrust. The widespread proclamation of the gospel does not necessarily mean a massive growth in genuine Christianity.

Instead, the Scriptures predict a decline of true spirituality. Paul said that "in the last days perilous times will come: So today, love of self, material things, and the world has supplanted the Spirit of Christ in many hearts. People no longer allow God's principles and His laws to direct their lives; lawlessness has taken over. A Resurgence of the Papacy. According to Biblical prophecy, at the end of the years the papacy would receive "a deadly wound" but it would not die see chapter 12 of this book. Scripture reveals that this deadly wound would heal. Already today many view the pope as the moral leader of the world.

To a large extent, the papacy's rising influence has come as Christians have substituted traditions, human standards, and science for the authority of the Bible. In doing so, they have become vulnerable to "the lawless one," who works "with all power, signs, and lying wonders" 2 Thess. Satan and his instruments will bring about a confederation of evil, symbolized by the unholy trinity of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, that will deceive the world Rev. Only those whose guide is the Bible and who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" Rev.

Decline of Religious Freedom. The revival of the papacy will affect Christianity dramatically. The religious liberty obtained at great cost, guaranteed by the separation between church and state, will erode and finally be abolished. With the support of powerful civil governments, this apostate power will attempt to force its form of worship on all people. Everyone will have to choose between loyalty to God and His commandments and loyalty to the beast and his image Rev.

The pressure to conform will include economic coercion: Eventually those who refuse to go along will face a death penalty Rev. During this final time of trouble God will intervene for His people and deliver everyone whose name is written in the book of life Dan. The spiritual decline within Christianity and the revival of the man of lawlessness have led to a growing neglect of God's law in the church and in the lives of believers. Many have come to believe that Christ has abolished the law and that Christians are no longer obliged to observe it. This disregard of God's law has led to an increase in crime and immoral behavior.

Surge in World Crime. The disrespect for God's law current within much of Christianity has contributed to modern society's contempt for law and order. Throughout the world, crime is skyrocketing out of control. A report filed by correspondents from several world capitals stated: Disregard for God's law has also broken down the restraints of modesty and purity, resulting in a surge of immorality. Today sex is idolized and marketed through films, television, video, songs, magazines, and advertisements.

The sexual revolution has resulted in the shocking rise of the rate of divorce, aberrations like "open marriage" or mate swapping, the sexual abuse of children, an appalling number of abortions, widespread homosexuality and lesbianism, an epidemic of venereal diseases, and the recently surfaced AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Before His return, Jesus said, "'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven'" Luke As the end draws near and the conflict between the satanic and divine forces intensifies, these calamities will also intensify in severity and frequency, and find an unprecedented fulfillment in our time.

Although wars have plagued humanity throughout history, never before have they been so global and so destructive. World War I and II caused more casualties and suffering than all previous wars combined. Many see the prospect of another worldwide conflict. World War II did not eradicate war. Since it ended, there have been some " conflicts fought with conventional weapons, in which up to ten million people have died. Disasters appear to have increased significantly in recent years. Famines have occurred many times in the past, but they have not occurred on the scale with which they have in this century.

Never before has the world had millions of people suffering from either starvation or malnutrition. The unprecedented extent of starvation clearly signals that Christ's return is imminent. But will He come a year from now? Although one cannot state dogmatically, this reference addressing believers [cp "To Timothy"] appears to speak of Christ's return to remove His Bride, the Church, at the Rapture.

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Note that the idea of imminency is also implied by this verse. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom. Because of the mention of appearing and kingdom in the same context, this verse appears to be more likely a reference to the Second Coming followed immediately by the Messianic Kingdom. Given the fact that the phrase that day relates to rewarding of a crown, this passage seems to favor the Rapture, for most evangelical commentators feel that the Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ follows the Rapture and precedes the Second Coming.

This passage appears to speak primarily of Christ's Second Coming. However in view of the verb "eagerly await" there is a sense in which His return is pictured as imminent, and this would speak of the Rapture for those believers who live prior to the Tribulation. In addition "a second time for salvation" is a description of our "future tense salvation" or glorification, an event that will be experienced by some saints at the Rapture and for others who come to faith in the Tribulation their glorification will be realized at His Second Coming.

Once again, it seems the predominant idea is that God wants His children "future focused", for such "heavenly" looking motivates sound godly living.

This is the only place in the New Testament where the return of Christ is called a second coming. InterVarsity Press Bolding added. The imagery behind the picture of Christ appearing a second time to bring salvation gets its force from the Day of Atonement, when the priest stood appeared before the people, then disappeared inside the Most Holy Place to present the blood on the mercy seat. And the people waited eagerly, anxiously, expectantly for his appearing.

Then the priest came out a second time and proclaimed forgiveness on the people. So Jesus appeared on our behalf the first time. When he returns, he will proclaim the full benefits of salvation. Life application Bible Commentary. When the high priest disappeared into the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement, the people waited outside expectantly for him to reappear. Perhaps God would refuse the blood and kill the high priest. What joy there was when he came out again! And what joy we will have when our High Priest appears to take us to our eternal holy of holies, to live with Him forever!

Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. Note that all 3 passages allude to the imminent return of Christ. However depending on which commentary you consult, you will find some writers consider this a reference to the Second Coming and others to the Rapture. The second coming of Christ.

He simply declares it as an inescapable fact, emphasizing, as he does so, its imminence. Gaebelein, The Practical Epistle of James, ,. When this verb is used of time, it speaks of imminence. James tells us that this blessed event of the second coming of the Lord will come any time, is imminent… Our hearts will be propped up if we live in the constant expectation of His coming.

Spiros Zodhiates, The Patience of Hope. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Arthur Whiting Bibliotheca Sacra In addition, Christ as judge began to stand before the door before James wrote his epistle, and Christ as judge continues to stand before the door. James wanted to impress his readers with the fact that Christ could come through the door at any moment and cause them as Christians to stand before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

He could do so today. Maranatha Our Lord, Come! This verse could refer to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, but it could also refer to the revelation of Jesus when He returns to Rapture His Bride and rescue her from all affliction and adversity, following which there will be a time of reward at the Bema Seat. Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. This could refer to the Rapture J Vernon McGee favors this interpretation , but it would be difficult to exclude the possibility that it refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation John MacArthur favors this later view.

Again we see the difficulty of separating the Rapture from the Second Coming and it is quite reasonable to interpret that both events are in view in this verse. This could refer to the Rapture, but probably more likely refers to the Second Coming at the end of the Great Tribulation John MacArthur favors this view. Thomas Constable interprets this as most likely a reference to both the Rapture and the Second Coming. For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

MacDonald deftly includes both an allusion to the transfiguration and the Second Coming explaining that "The Transfiguration was a preview of Christ's coming in power to reign over all the earth Ed: For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. In the context of a world which rejects Christ's Second Coming, this verse would appear to favor the Second Coming or Christ's return at the end of the Tribulation to judge the earth and establish His millennial kingdom.

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears phaneroo , we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Although one cannot state dogmatically, this reference appears to speak primarily of Christ's return to rescue His Bride, the Church, at the Rapture, especially since it seems to convey a sense of imminency or the idea that He could return at any moment so guard your heart and watch the steps of your feet! See comment above on 1 John 2: Again the practical point is that if believers really believe they might see Him any day, they would or should be motivated to live in the reality of His imminent return.

Pentecost in Bible Knowledge Commentary favor this as a reference to the Rapture. Certainly if one is continually waiting anxiously for the Lord's return, it would serve to motivate one to keep one's self in the love of God, an application which might favor the this as a reference to the Rapture, but certainly does not exclude those saints who come to faith in the time of the Tribulation, which there will be considerable pressure not to keep one's self in the love of God.

At the Second Coming, however, Satan will be bound for a thousand years Rev. Later, at the Second Coming those raptured earlier will join those still living in the world who will enter the millennial kingdom. Also, Jews will experience a similar judgment Ezek. The fact that this judgment takes place after the Second Coming, when they are still intermingled, is proof that the Rapture did not take place as a part of the Second Coming. When Christ Comes for the Church. Although I favor the interpretation that this passage refers to Christ's return at the Rapture one certainly cannot exclude reference to Christ's return at the end of the Seven Year Tribulation Daniel's Seventieth Week - a "Week" of 7 Years specifically after the last 3.

This difficulty probably explains why such excellent expositors as John MacArthur refer to this verse as a reference to the Second Coming and not a specific reference to the Rapture. There is however no question that for those of us in the church age, the application of this truth to our minds congers up the awesome thought of the imminent return of our Bridegroom to catch us up and rescue us from this present evil age before the Seven Year Tribulation pretrib Rapture or before the last 3. For those saints who come to faith during the Seven Year Tribulation, this verse will likewise be a blessed hope as they look for the sure appearing of the King of kings to defeat His enemies and bring in His year reign on earth.

Obviously if you do not hold to a pre-tribulation or even mid-tribulation rapture viewpoint, this would probably not be your interpretation. However, in this section, I will assume that you hold a pre- or mid-tribulation rapture view and that this event is imminent in the sense that no other prophecy needs to be fulfilled in order for it to transpire. Let's look at a few evangelical commentaries to give you a sense of how they vary in their interpretation. Dr John Walvoord , the late and greatly esteemed dean of evangelical prophecy scholars, writes that….

A description of the " rapture ". This is the express teaching of 1 John 3: Believers in that case should look for signs. Premillennialism and the Tribulation — Part IX: Conclusion , John F. In other words, Dr Walvoord favors Titus 2: Whenever the truth of the rapture of the church is presented in the Bible, it is always in the form of predicting it as an imminent event.

It is therefore offered as a hope to believers and a basis for comfort and exhortation with no events indicated as necessarily occurring first 1 Thess. The Coming of Christ for His Church. Henry Thiessen favors Titus 2: He does not ask us to look for the Tribulation, or the Antichrist, or for persecution and martyrdom, or for death, but for the return of Christ. Part 3 from Bibliotheca Sacra The second coming of Christ , specifically the very first event of that coming, the resurrection of those who died in Christ and the rapture of those believers still living when He comes, is the "blessed hope" of the Christian.

When a believer is truly looking for that hope notice that he is to be looking for the imminent coming of Christ , it is a great incentive to witnessing and godly living. Morris makes a clear distinction that Titus 2: The "appearing" epiphaneia, Gk. This appearing of Christ is the next great event on God's prophetic calendar. Christ will come for His bride, namely, every true believer in Jesus cf. It is also of great significance that Paul here refers to Jesus not only as our "Savior," but also as "our great God.

New King James Version. Christ is coming to take His church out of this world. Thru the Bible Commentary: McGee clearly is referring to the Rapture when Christ comes for the Church. His coming for us means translation the rapture of the church to meet the Lord in the air , transformation or glorification glorified resurrection bodies , reunion meeting loved one and friends who have died in the Lord , examination and remuneration evaluation for and the giving of rewards for faithful service , and reigning with Christ in the glorious future that follows 1 Thess.

Note that Keathley like MacArthur below combines the blessings of the first and second phases of Christ's return. This is certainly reasonable in view of the fact that both phases bring glorious blessings and both contribute to our present steadfast hope. Notice that Dr Ryrie's comment is not otherwise qualified and thus it leaves you uncertain as to whether he interprets the blessed hope as the Rapture or the Second Coming.

I do not think Paul is speaking specifically of the Rapture —the time when, just before the seven-year Tribulation, Christ will appear and receive all believers, both living and dead, to Himself see notes 1Thessalonians 4: Paul is focusing on the culmination of our salvation, which will be perfected and completed when our Lord calls us up to the place He has prepared cf. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality 1 Cor.

Even when we come back to earth to reign with Him, we will be untemptable and untouchable by sin. In the New Jerusalem,. Dr MacArthur's comment is somewhat confusing, for in the first paragraph he feels Paul is not referring to the Rapture, but in the second paragraph he describes events what most evangelical commentators would identify as associated with the Rapture! This would be an explicit reference to Jesus as God. His coming again is the central reason Christians have hope. Disciple's Study Bible Ed: Again this comment is somewhat non-committal. William MacDonald comments on the phrase blessed hope and the appearing writing that….

By this are we to understand the Rapture , when Christ appears in glory to the church and conveys it to heaven 1 Thess. His term for the Second Coming , when He appears in glory to the world, puts down His foes, and sets up His kingdom Rev But whether it is His coming as Bridegroom or as King, the believer should be prepared and looking for His glorious arrival.

Thomas Nelson Bolding added. We are looking for Jesus Christ to return; this is our only hope and glory. This verse boldly affirms that Jesus Christ is God, for there is only one article in the Greek: Believers should always be expecting His return and live like those who will see Him face-to-face. Wiersbe is a normally clear commentator but here does not clearly distinguish which aspect of the "return of Christ" that he feels Paul is describing. But the Gospel also promotes godly living by focusing on the future. Christians look forward to the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ cf.

A holy people was His purpose in paying such a fearful price. A full understanding of these things leads inexorably to godly living. Conversely, ungodly living in a Christian is a clear sign that either he does not fully understand these things or he does not actually believe them. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. A very nice discussion but again without a clear specification as to which phase of Christ's return.

Obviously, the thrust of the comments points toward the Rapture but it is never clearly stated. The dynamic of this new life is the expectation of the coming of Jesus Christ. When a royal visit is expected, everything is cleansed and decorated, and made fit for the royal eye to see. The Christian is the man who is always prepared for the coming of the King of kings.

The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press Ed: No distinction between the first and second stage of the Second Coming. That blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ refers to His second coming. Paul gives us a wonderful motivation for all this righteous living—believers are waiting for a hope that is already a certainty: Our hope makes us live each day ready morally and ethically to serve him.

It seems fairly clear that the authors are referring to the Rapture but they do not clearly state that conclusion. The second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the blessed hope of the church and of every believer. It is unfortunate when we make a test of orthodoxy out of some particular version of this hope.

Whatever your view of the manner of His coming, let the hope of His return be your sustaining joy and strength. The Preacher's Commentary Series. I appreciate this politically correct approach, but it surely loses some of its motivational character if the return is "after the Millennium" [I see no Scriptural basis for such a statement] or "the Great Tribulation". This is not simply semantics because a post-Tribulation return means the Antichrist will "return" first [And thus in an "ironic sense" believers would first be looking for the Antichrist rather than the true Christ!

The knowledge that our God is coming creates expectancy in believers that stimulates faithfulness in daily endeavor and grants perseverance in times of trial. Because Christ is coming, we desire to live in fidelity to him. And knowing that he will deliver us from trial and will vanquish all his and our enemies, we can live in faithfulness to him. Literally, imminent means hanging or projecting over. It is important to note that from the table comparing the two aspects of Christ's return, that His return is both knowable and unknowable!

In other words, there are signs that will occur prior to the Second Coming "knowable" whereas the Rapture has no preceding signs unknowable. In this section, we will discuss the "unknowable" aspect of the Lord's return, a doctrine that Bible scholars refer to as imminency. A Christian ought to live in the light of the imminent coming of Christ. If you tell me today that He is not coming for another ten years I may not live that long! But if He might come today, if He came right at this moment, He would catch me preparing this Bible study and that would be fine. If the Lord were to come at that moment, I might be ashamed at His appearing.

So you and I need to be living all the time in the light of His imminent return. He will come right on schedule. We are not to look for the soon coming of Christ but the imminent coming of Christ. The Lord is coming on His schedule—not mine nor yours. He will not delay.

But we must remember that the Lord is long-suffering. He is not willing that any should perish. Listen to the Mp3 of Hab 2: It will change your life, affect your life-style, if you hold to the hope of the rapture of the church; that is, the imminent coming of Christ for His own. It is just sort of a theory or a philosophy with you. He did not say or believe that He would come in his lifetime, but he said that He could come… There are those who accuse Paul of changing his position on the imminent coming of Christ as he himself grew older.

Remember that this epistle to the Thessalonians was his earliest letter. Did Paul change his theology? When he wrote to the Philippians he was an old man, a prisoner in Rome, and he said: Paul, at the end of his life, was still looking for Him. Between where we are right this moment and the coming of Christ for the church it is tissue-thin, which means it could happen any moment—even before you finish reading this page—or the coming of Christ could be way down yonder in the future.

My friend, it is tissue-thin from where we are right now to the coming of Christ for His church. He could come the next moment or tomorrow. It may be a hundred years, but, my friend, His imminent return is what we are to look for. In view of the fact that the Rapture could take place at any moment, the church is to be alert. The date is not set, nor even the period in which He will come, and the reason for that is that the church is to be constantly on the alert for His coming.

The doctrine of imminency is taught in Scripture in such passages as John In Scripture, the coming of Jesus Christ is portrayed as an imminent event. This means that Jesus can come at any moment: Imminency makes it impossible to know when He might come so the believer must remain constantly on the lookout in case the Lord were to return and find him unprepared Mt.

From His perspective, these events are certain but their timing is unspecified. This interval between the comings of Christ is the time of the last days, and the last of these last days is always impending. Harvest House Publishers, Dr Reginald Showers has an excellent "definition" of the doctrine of imminency as understood by conservative evangelical premillennial scholars…. The concept of the imminent coming of Christ is a significant inference for the Pretribulation Rapture of the church.

Other things may happen before the imminent event, but nothing else must take place before it happens.

The Second Coming of Christ

If something else must take place before an event can happen, that event is not imminent. The necessity of something else taking place first destroys the concept of imminency…. Imminence is the combination of two conditions, viz,: By an imminent event we mean one which is certain to occur at some time, uncertain at what time.

First , we cannot count on a certain amount of time transpiring before the imminent event happens; therefore, we should always be prepared for it to happen at any moment. Second , we cannot legitimately set a date for its happening. As soon as we set a date for an imminent event, we destroy the concept of imminency because we thereby say that a certain amount of time must transpire before that event can happen. A specific date for an event is contrary to the concept that the event could happen at any moment. Third , we cannot legitimately say that an imminent event will happen soon. This is illustrated by the fact that the next coming of Christ was just as imminent when the New Testament was written as it is today.

However, today, some two thousand years later, that coming has not occurred yet. It depicts the kind of event that is always hanging overhead and could happen at any moment. If something else must happen before it can take place, then it is not imminent. The necessity of something else taking place first destroys the concept of the imminent coming of Christ. Again, it may happen soon, but it does not have to in order to be imminent. Since it is imminent and therefore could happen at any moment, believers should constantly look forward to, look out for, or wait for that event.

William MacDonald the godly Plymouth Brethren writer who went home to be with our Lord in wrote these poignant words regarding the effect that the truth of the Bridegroom's imminent return should have on His Bride, the Church….

For believers the hope of the imminent return of Christ has practical implications of vast significance. Only those who are in Christ will go to be with Him at the Rapture. The rest will be left behind for judgment. Do you believe that Jesus is coming today? What first struck me in reading the New Testament was this: All paths of obedience and service lead on to that mountain.

Ron Rhodes on End Times Chronology

One fact is clear—Jesus is coming back. Each day we are getting closer to that climactic moment. Today could be the day! Don't complain about what this world is coming to. Proclaim the One who is coming to this world. He who loves the coming of the Lord is not he who affirms it is far off, nor is it he who says it is near. It is he who, whether it be far or near, awaits it with sincere faith, stead-fast hope and fervent love.

The certainty of the Second Coming of Christ should touch and tincture every part of our daily behavior. In the first advent God veiled his divinity to prove the faithful; in the second advent he will manifest his glory to reward their faith. The only remedy for all this mass of misery is the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why do we not plead for it every time we hear the clock strike? As Christians, we should not be exitists, looking for our going, but adventists, looking for his coming.

The subject of the second coming of Christ has never been popular to any but the true believer. Christ hath told us he will come, but not when, that we might never put off our clothes, or put out the candle. Oh, the joy to see thee reigning, Thee, my own beloved Lord! Every tongue thy name confessing, Worship, honour, glory, blessing, Brought to thee with glad accord—Thee, my Master and my Friend, Vindicated and enthroned, Unto earth's remotest end Glorified, adored and owned!

Christ will come when he pleases, to show his sovereignty, and will not let us know when, to teach us our duty. If this Second Coming is not an integral part of the faith once given to the saints, I do not know what is. The primitive church thought a great deal more about the coming of Christ than about death, and thought a great deal more about his coming than about heaven.

I never preach a sermon without thinking that possibly the Lord may come before I preach another. Christ is coming to the earth, in such form at least as shall fulfil his purposes of mercy to his friends and justice to his foes. I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps he may interrupt my work and begin his own.

I am not looking for death, I am looking for him. There is such a danger of our being so occupied with the things that are to come more than with him who is to come. Millions of graves are dug every year, but it is inspiring to think that one generation of Christians will cheat the undertaker. The return of Christ represents not only the ultimate sense of accountability but the ultimate sense of hope as well. Oh, that Christ would make long strides! Oh, that he would fold up the heavens as a cloak, and shovel time and days out of the way!

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Uncertainty about the date of the Lord's return is calculated to keep believers in an attitude of constant expectation and to preserve them from despondency. If I knew that our Lord would come this evening, I should preach just as I mean to preach; and if I knew he would come during this sermon, I would go on preaching until he did. Oh, that the Lord would come! He is on the road and travelling quickly. The sound of his approach should be as music to our hearts! The fact that Jesus Christ is to come again is not a reason for star-gazing, but for working in the power of the Holy Ghost.

The imminent return of our Lord is the great Bible argument for a pure, unselfish, devoted, unworldly, active life of service. This is pinned as a badge to the sleeve of every true believer—that he looks for and longs for Christ's coming to judgement. The Christian hope is not a matter for tickling our minds, but for changing our minds and influencing society. The brightness of Christ's advent will reveal the true character of those things which were previously hidden by darkness. The Second Coming of Christ. Irregardless of our eschatological position, all believers can agree with John's encouraging and motivating declaration… Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.

Christian eschatology - Wikipedia

No Description of Saints accompanying Christ at the Rapture Those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful saints Rev And since both aspects of Christ's return hold forth glorious promises for believers, it is not at all inappropriate to think of them both with great hope and eager anticipation see Greek Verbs A number of the New Testament passages are somewhat ambiguous see examples of these passages as to which event is intended and one can read diametrically opposite comments by respected scholars that make relatively dogmatic interpretations regarding these ambiguous passages.

Today in the Word writes that… Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Dr Walvoord echoes the New Testament emphasis of the return of the Lord writing that… The revelation of the second coming of Christ is one of the most important and most frequently mentioned doctrines of the New Testament. Dr Walvoord , who is without doubt the most influential and respected evangelical writer regarding Biblical study of future events eschatology differentiates between the Rapture and the Second Coming writing… For the sake of brevity, the term rapture or translation is used for the coming of Christ for His church, while the term Second Coming is uniformly used as a reference to His coming to the earth to establish His millennial kingdom, an event which all consider post-tribulational.

Dr Walvoord adds that… Though the second coming may not be as important to the total program of God as the first coming , it certainly is without precedent in manifestation of the glory and power of the Triune God. It constitutes the most tremendous intervention of divine power in the entire course of human history… Just as Scripture concerning the rapture of the church is climactic and determinative in truth revealed about the church, so the second coming is determinative in tracing the future course of Gentiles and Israel in the world, the resurrection of the righteous, and the fulfillment of prophecies concerning the kingdom of God on earth.

Walvoord comments on the importance of the Second Coming writing… On every hand one discovers that the Scripture dealing with the second coming is the key to the prophetic future. John Walvoord writes the following caveat… His second coming will be a very public event. Signs of the End of the Age Comment: Thomas Nelson Publishers Arthur Whiting also mentions a "two stage" return of the Lord, writing that… The following is a brief summary of the three words in the various New Testament uses so far as we have been able to discover from personal investigation: Ref Speaking to the disciples as representatives of especially the Jewish nation in the time of the end, Jesus begins in Matt Let us heed John's warning in his first epistle… And now, little children, abide in Him Ed: