The Second Coming - 2
Lesson 24

In the Bible, the second coming of Christ is the one event toward which all others tend. It is represented as a day of wrath, the time when sin and sinners are destroyed and the land becomes desolate. The language of the inspired writers expresses in most vivid terms the scenes of that day when God arises from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth. “For, behold, the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:21

When Jesus was here He not only declared that He would come again, but He also gave various signs or events, the unfolding of which would be indications to His people that the time of His return was rapidly approaching. While it is true that He told his followers that no man might know the precise day and hour, it is also true that in response to His disciples question regarding the time of His return that He gave a number of signs or indications and then, likening these things to the fig tree, which when it puts forth its leaves it is a sure indication of summer’s approach, He told them, “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:3, 33. One saying of the Saviour must not be made to destroy another.

A study of God’s dealings with man discloses that He will never destroy a world without warning. He sent Noah to preach for one hundred and twenty years the coming of the flood of water. He sent angels to warn Sodom of its impending doom; He warned Nineveh of its downfall. He has not changed His course or His methods of justice and mercy. And, though no man knoweth the day nor the hour of His coming, we are also taught that to disregard His warning, and refuse or neglect to know when His advent is near, will be as fatal for us as it was for those who lived in the days of Noah not to know when the flood was coming.

1. What has God promised regarding His dealings with mankind?

Amos 3:7
Amos 3:7

2. What did Paul tell the believers in Thessalonica regarding the coming of Christ?

1 Thessalonians 5:4
1 Thessalonians 5:4

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

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

Note: For more than one thousand years the Jews had awaited the coming of the promised Saviour. To prepare the people for His coming, through the prophets He had given them signs by which they might know when the time was at hand. And yet, when Jesus came, He was unrecognized. In like manner, He has given other signs and indications of the times for the people in the time of His return.

In departing the temple for the last time, and speaking to the priests and rulers, said to them: “Behold your house is left unto you desolate. “ Matthew 23:38. This solemn pronouncement filled the hearts of the disciples with a foreboding of evil. As they left the temple, by drawing His attention to the strength and beauty of the temple, they hoped to draw from Jesus some more definitive statement. Jesus then told them that the day was coming when not one stone would be left upon another.

4. What did the disciples ask Jesus?

Matthew 24:3
Matthew 24:3

Note: The question revealed that the disciples equated the destruction of the temple with Jesus’ return and the end of the world. Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming, but mingled the description of the two events. Thus His words were twofold in their meaning; while foreshadowing the destruction of Jerusalem, they also pointed forward to events that would transpire just prior to His return.

5. What was the first sign that Jesus gave?

Matthew 24:5
Matthew 24:5

Note: This warning had special significance to the Jewish nation. During the period of time spanned by the years between the crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem, there were many who arose pretending to be Christ, and false prophets multiplied. See Josephus, Wars VI, 5. And so we may expect that just prior to Jesus return, there will be many who will come professing to have a special message from the Lord for this time, but whose messages will not be in harmony with biblical truth.

6. What was the next indication Jesus enumerated?

Matthew 24:6
Matthew 24:6

Note: These conditions certainly applied to the era of time between Christ’s death and Jerusalem’s destruction. Both Jewish and Roman writers describe the period of time between A.D. 31–70 as a time of great calamities. And while applicable to the years directly preceding the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jewish nation, it would be difficult to find a period of time when wars and the threat of war was more widespread than it is today. During the last century the nations have been engaged in two world wide conflicts waged on a scale never before imagined. Neither has there ever been a time before when war had the potential to wipe out civilization as it has today. Notice, however, that this does not signal the end has arrived, but that it is near. Jesus continued by enumerating other events or signs that must also take place.

7. What events in the natural world were next foretold?

Matthew 24:7
Matthew 24:7

Note: As these events unfolded in the days of the disciples, they were generally viewed as being tokens of the coming Messiah. Jesus, however, warned the disciples that these were not tokens of deliverance but of the coming destruction.

There have always been natural disasters. The sign that Jesus mentions refers to their increase and far-reaching effect. With the methods of modern travel, distance, once a factor in helping to contain the spread of epidemics, is no longer of any significance.

8. What was the next sign Christ gave?

Matthew 24:11
Matthew 24:11

Note: Christianity began as one body of believers united in faith and works. Today there is much religious confusion, and the Christian church is divided into more than two hundred and fifty denominations and sects, all claiming that their faith and doctrines are founded on the teachings of Christ.

9. How will these false prophets appear?

2 Corinthians 11:14-15
2 Corinthians 11:14-15

10. What ultimate deception will they be able to perform?

Revelation 13:13
Revelation 13:13

11. How will we be able to detect the deception?

Isaiah 8:20
Isaiah 8:20

Note: In this end time of the world’s history we will not be able to depend on our senses (the things we see, hear, and can feel), because Satan’s agents, using his power, will be able to counterfeit many of the miracles performed by the power of Jesus in the past. Though these false leaders may speak of love and peace, even having an appearance of piety, their words will contradict the plain testimony of God’s Word. Even as they speak of love and brotherhood, they will not only disregard God’s law, the great standard of love, but teach others to lightly regard it as well.

12. What social conditions, leading to a loss of love on the part of many, did Christ indicate would prevail just before His return?

Matthew 24:12
Matthew 24:12

Note: In a day when innumerable laws have been enacted for the regulation of society, we experience our greatest lawlessness.

13. What is the basis for the continuing social problems we face?

Jeremiah 8:9
Jeremiah 8:9

Note: Though men profess a form of godliness, they fail of experiencing its power in their lives. See 2 Timothy 3:1–5.

14. 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.

15. In view of these facts, how are we to prepare for that glorious event?

Matthew 24:42
Matthew 24:42

Because of the great love that He had for us, God paid an infinite price to ransom us, that He might bring us back to be with Him and to share the joys of heaven with a life that never ends. Yet, at the end of time, there will be many who will be no more prepared than was the ancient Jewish church to receive Him at His first advent; they will be eternally lost; for them the great sacrifice will have been in vain.

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