I. JESUS PROMISED TO RETURN
John 14:1–4 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
- Jesus has just given the disciples some unpleasant news in John 13.
- v.33 I am only with you a little while longer. You will look for me, but just as I told the Jews, you will not be able to go to where I am going.
- v.36 Peter wanted to know here he was going. Jesus told him, where I am going you cannot follow, but afterward you will be able to follow me.
- v.37 Peter is not happy about not being able to follow. He says, I will lay my life down for your sake right now.
- v.38 Jesus informs him otherwise.
- Then in John 14, Jesus goes on to attempt to calm their troubled hearts.
- v.1 Don’t be troubled in your hearts. If you trust in God, trust in me also.
- v.2 In my Father’s house are many mansion (many amazing places to live). Trust in me and trust in God, I only tell you the truth. I am going to prepare a place for you.
- v.3 The fact that I am going to prepare a place for you is proof that I am going to come again and receive you unto myself, so that where I am there you may be also.
- v.4 Where I am going you know – heaven – and the way you know – me.
- In a time of great uncertainty and worry, the return of Christ brought great comfort and peace to the disciples.
- And it should to us as well – to know that…
- though Jesus has left, He is coming back
- He is currently in heaven preparing a place for us so that he can come and receive us unto Himself, so that we can be where He is.
This was not the only time, Jesus talked about His return. He had mentioned it before. Notice Matthew 16:21-28
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
- v.21-24 This verse follows Jesus explanation that He was going to suffer, be killed, and rise again and then His explanation of the requirements of discipleship – to deny self, to take up our cross, and to follow Jesus.
- v.25-27 But for those willing to lose their life for Jesus, they will find their life and be rewarded when the Son of man (Jesus) comes again in the glory of his Father with his angels.
- Right now you may see me and my followers as losers, as the rejects, as the ones who have lost it all – but one day I will come clothed in all the glory I had with the Father.
- v.28 And there are some here that will not die until the see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Later on, at the trial of Jesus, Jesus also references His return.
Mark 14:61–62 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
- The high priest asks Jesus are you the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the blessed?
- His question is a set up to see if He will “blaspheme” and admit to being the Messiah, the eternal promised King.
- Jesus does not deny it – He said, yes, I am.
- And He adds – one day you will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven.
- I am the one who is going to come and set up His kingdom here on earth.
So, the return of Christ is something that Jesus talked about and foretold.
- His return is something that is essential when we consider how many prophecies about the Messiah are yet to be unfulfilled.
- He came the first time to die for man’s sins; He will come the second time to rule and reign and set up His kingdom on earth.
II. JESUS WILL RETURN TO SET UP HIS KINGDOM
The kingdom of Christ is something that is talked about and prophesied a great deal in the Old Testament.
- To Abraham, God proposed to give him land from the river Egypt until the river Euphrates – something that has yet to be fulfilled (despite the victory given to Joshua and the extend of Solomon’s kingdom). (Gen 15:18).
- To David, God promises that his descendent would rule on the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12–16)
- In Isaiah’s famous prophecy of the virgin birth, we are told, Isaiah 9:6–7 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, To order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice From henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
- Christ’s coming would be not just to die and save men from sin.
- But also to have an unending government and peace, to be on the throne of David, and to establish the kingdom with judgment and justice for ever.
The kingdom of Christ also something foretold in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 20:1–4 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
- 19:11 Christ is going to return and this time to judge and make war.
- 19:14 He will have armies with Him and will defeat the nations of the earth.
- 19:16 He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
- He will defeat all kings, bind Satan, and reign 1000 years.
III. JESUS WILL RETURN TO RAPTURE HIS CHURCH
Prior to this return of Christ, there is also another part of His return commonly called the rapture.
- The word “rapture” comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
- Rapture is a word that means to be “caught away” as in v.17.
- Christ is coming back for to catch away living believers on Jesus – the church.
- At the same time as living believers are changed, all those who sleep in Jesus (died in Christ – since the cross) will be resurrected and will see the Lord in the air.
- Notice that this return is quite a bit different the the other – it is in the air, it is for the saints.
- It is similar to that talked about in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.
- This is a mystery (previously unrevealed truth) that is being shown.
- Not everyone will be dead at Christ’s return, but everyone will be changed, in just a moment, the twinkly of an eye, at the last trump.
- The dead will rise and the living will be changed.
This rapture is when Christ will come to deliver His bride the church from an awful period of time called the tribulation (time of Jacob’s trouble) during which He will judge the earth and deal with the nation of Israel once again.
- Daniel 9:20–27 20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
- v.1 Daniel realises that the nation of Israel would be in captivity only 70 years, so he begins to pray for God to forgive them and allow them to return to their land.
- v.20 Then the angel Gabriel speaks to him in a vision and tells him what God has planned for the nation of Israel.
- v.24 70 weeks (sevens) = 490 years are determined upon they people (Israel) and upon this holy city (Jerusalem) to finish the transgression and to make and end of sins and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in ever lasting righteousness and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
- v.25 From the command to rebuild the walls (by Artaxerxes) on 444BC until Messiah the prince – when Christ comes in His kingdom is 70 7s.
- v.26 After 69 weeks, Messiah will be cut off (crucified) = 483 years from March 5, 444 BC to March 30, AD 33.
- There is an interval (this is the interval we are in right now) – called the church age when Israel is temporary set aside while Christ builds His church of believing Jew and Gentile.
- v.26 The people of the prince shall destroy the city (Roman destroyed city in AD 70).
- v.27 Then there will be one more week (1 more seven year period) related to Israel (tribulation period). This period will begin with a covenant of peace, but in the middle it will change with the sacrifices stopped and great abomination as the Antichrist demand worships and will lead to the consumption and the determined end.
So this 7 year period is particularly related to Israel as a nation which is currently set aside while God builds His church.
- So what happened to the church during the tribulation.
- The church will be kept from this awful time of punishment and suffering.
- Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
- Though written to various churches, they are for the benefit of all who hear (v.13).
- God will keep this church from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.
- How will this happen? The rapture which takes place before the tribulation.
- When Christ comes in the clouds to catch His bride away.
- That explains why the church, mentioned 19 times in Rev 1-3 is not mentioned again until Revelation 22, because the tribulation is for Israel and not the church – the church will not be here.
The return of Christ is certain and it will happen in two phases – the rapture for the church (in the air) and the revelation (to the earth) to set up His kingdom.
Acts 1:11 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
- His return will be bodily – same Jesus; in the clouds – like manner, and visible – as ye have seen Him go.
IV. HOW THE RETURN OF CHRIST SHOULD IMPACT US
It should comfort us.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
- It should comfort us to know that Christ is coming, that Satan is going to be defeated, that the wrongs will be righted, that evil will be judged.
- It should comfort us to know that Christ is going to keep us from the hour of tribulation and trial.
It should cause us to be watchful and serious minded.
1 Thessalonians 5:1–10 1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
- We should be aware that the day of the Lord is coming.
- It will come when the world things it won’t.
- We need to be alert to the Lord’s coming.
- We need to live like children of light and not be sleeping but be watchful and sover.
- We are not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation.
- Let us be busy serving the Lord when He comes for us.
It should cause us to live holy lives.
Philippians 3:20–21 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
- Our conversation (lifestyle) is in heaven, the same place that we are looking for our Saviour.
- We know He is coming and He is going to change our vile bodies to be like His glorious body by the power He has to subdue all things.
- Just as He will subdue all things in the end, so He can subdue our bodies.
- This should cause to live holy, heavenly lives.
It should cause to stand firm in our service to God.
2 Timothy 4:1–5 1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
- Paul appeals to the highest level – God and the Lord Jesus Christ will will judge the living and dead at his appearing and his kingdom.
- Now based on that – do your job.
- 1 Corinthians 15:54–58 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
It should cause us to not judge things prematurely.
1 Corinthians 4:5 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
- We don’t need to judge because the Lord is coming who will judge all things.
- He will reveal all and give the appropriate praise to men.
It should cause us to rest. 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
- There are man things to worry about.
- There are many challenges and troubles we face.
- But the Lord Jesus is coming with His mighty angels
- With flaming fire He will take vengeance on them that know not God and that do not obey the gospel, punishing them with everlasting destruction from His presence.
- He is also coming to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believed.
- So rest, relax, trust, look to Jesus and look for His coming. He is coming.