The Second Coming - 1
Lesson 23

At the time of Jesus’ first coming, the Jewish people were expecting the Messiah. Being students of prophecy, they were acquainted with those predictions that indicated the time of His coming. They knew that the 483 years of the Messianic prophecy of Daniel which were to elapse between the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the coming of the Messianic Prince were expired.

While they were right regarding the time, they misunderstood the character and work of the Messiah. They were looking for a deliverer, not from sin, but from political bondage. They were expecting a powerful monarch who would break the yoke of their Roman rulers from off their necks and bring them political freedom. They expected a king who, taking the throne of David, would establish a temporal government more powerful than any then on earth.

1. For what did Jesus reprove the leaders of Israel?

Matthew 16:2-3
Matthew 16:2-3

2. What did Jesus tell them would be the result of rejecting Him?

Matthew 21:43
Matthew 21:43

Note: The entire future of the Jewish nation depended upon their receiving Jesus as their Saviour, but they refused. They failed to recognize that, which had they accepted it, would have assured their future peace and prosperity. See Luke 19:42.

Israel’s Rejection of the Messiah

A careful reading of all the Messianic prophecies reveals that Jesus did not fail in fulfilling even one. How then, we must ask, were the people so deceived as to crucify their own looked-for Messiah?

The answer is to be found in a confusion of regarding the nature of the kingdom Christ came to establish and the character of those only who will make up the subjects of that kingdom.

Ancient Israel visualized a kingdom that gratified their natural human desires and inclinations. Pride had obscured their vision and they interpreted prophecy in accordance with their own selfish desire—a form of idolatry. For, strictly speaking, in idolatry the idol is but the creation of the worshiper’s imagination and own false conceptions, leaving the worshiper the task of interpreting and fulfilling the wishes of the idol, which from the beginning were but his own. Thus, while professing to be worshipers of the only true God, and having hedged up His law with a myriad of man-made rules to assure that none would lapse into idolatry, they had, in their own imaginations, established a form of idolatry. It is true that there were no outward visible tokens; no idols in their place of worship or sacrifices offered to a strange god. However, it is as easy to make an idol of cherished ideas or objects as to fashion gods of wood or stone, and this they had done.

Sadly, human nature is no different today, nor has Satan’s enmity against the church of Jesus Christ abated. We must then expect that just prior to Christ’ return, Satan would again seek to lead Christ’s professed followers, through false expectations, to be unprepared for the reality of the event.

With this thought in mind, we will now turn our attention to Christ’s teaching regarding His coming and some of the events that were to be sure signs or indications of its approach, as well as the preparation that must take place among His followers if they are to be prepared to meet Him in peace.

3. To what event did Christ compare His Second Coming?

Matthew 24:37–39
Matthew 24:37–39

4. To what other experience did Christ liken His coming?

Matthew 24:42–44
Matthew 24:42–44

Note: While Christ does say that His coming will be as a thief in the night, He also compared it to the time of Noah. The Flood was not a secret matter, but just as a thief comes as a surprise, the Flood found the vast majority of the people in the world unprepared. Just so, Christ’s second coming will come as an overwhelming surprise to the world as a whole.

5. How plain will Jesus’ coming be?

Matthew 24:27
Matthew 24:27

6. By how many will it be seen?

Revelation 1:7
Revelation 1:7

Note: Just as there is nothing secret or obscure about lightening that lights up the heavens, so Christ’s return will be an event that will be seen by all. See Matthew 24:30.

7. What did angels, appearing to them as men, tell the disciples at Jesus’ ascension, regarding the manner of His return?

Acts 1:10-11
Acts 1:10-11

8. How does Paul refer to Jesus’ appearing?

Titus 2:13
Titus 2:13

Christ’s Purpose in Coming

9. What was Christ’s promise to His followers?

John 14:1–3
John 14:1–3

Note: From the very beginning of creation it has been a part of God’s eternal purpose that His people should be with Him throughout eternity.

10. What event then takes place?

John 5:28-29
John 5:28-29

Note: It is at the Second Coming that the righteous dead are resurrected. See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The resurrection of the wicked is a separate event taking place at a later point in time.

11. What happens to the righteous at His coming?

1 Thessalonians 4:17
1 Thessalonians 4:17

12. How will His faithful people be gathered together?

Matthew 24:31
Matthew 24:31

13. What physical change will the righteous experience?

1 Corinthians 15:51–53
1 Corinthians 15:51–53

Note: It is well to notice that here Paul explicitly tells the Corinthians believers that it is at Christ’s coming that the righteous dead receive the gift of life; not at death as many have come to believe. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

Signs of the Second Coming

14. Has the exact time of Christ’s return been revealed?

Matthew 24:36
Matthew 24:36

15. In enumerating signs of His return, what was the first warning Jesus gave?

Matthew 24:4
Matthew 24:4

Note: The implication is clear that there will be an unusual amount of misleading information about His return.

16. As the time approaches, what will men as a whole be saying?

2 Peter 3:3-4
2 Peter 3:3-4

Note: Despite all the evidence pointing to Christ’s soon return, a significant sign that His return is near will be the widespread skepticism regarding its nearness.

17. What conditions will men be predicting?

1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

18. Will the world as a whole be ready for Jesus?

Matthew 7:13-14
Matthew 7:13-14

19. Even among those professing to have accepted the gospel call, what does Christ tell us the situation will be?

Matthew 22:14
Matthew 22:14

One of the sad realities of life is that even among those who profess to have accepted the gospel call and who count themselves among the saved, there are those who are self-deceived and lost. See also Matthew 7:21–23; 13:47–50. Our only safety is in a daily submission of our will and desires to Christ and to strive in His strength to bring out lives into conformity to His revealed will.

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