The Return of the King
By Steven J. Hogan
The most important event in the history of our world was the 1st coming of Jesus Christ, which included His birth, three years of ministry, His death and resurrection. This took place about 2000 years ago. The next most important event is the 2nd coming of Christ, and this is going to happen soon, and could even take place in our lifetime. Let me ask you a question: are you ready for Christ’s return, for the return of the King? Luke 12:35 – “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.” Luke 12:40 – “You too be ready.”
There are a number of verses that tell us that Jesus Christ is coming back: Matthew 24:27 – “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Luke 17:29-30 – “But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” John 14:3 – “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Acts 1:11 – “Men of Galilee,… why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” Romans 11:25-26 – “All Israel will be saved, just as it is written, ‘the Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.’ This is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 1 Corinthians 1:7-8 – “as you eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 9:27 – “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 – “You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,
and to wait for His Son from heaven,…, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 – “They will be punished with everlasting destruction…on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people, and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8 – “Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming.” Titus 2:13-14 – “while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, who gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness.” 1 Peter 1:16 – “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Revelation 1:7 – “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him.” Revelation 22:12 – “Behold, I am coming soon. My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”
These are just some of the many verses that speak about the Lord’s return. But why has God given us so much information about the return of His Son. Let me share some reasons. He wants to impress upon us the importance of this momentous, cataclysmic, life changing, earth shaking, altogether holy and God glorifying event. He wants us to know specific things that are going to take place so we are not caught off guard, so we are ready for what will happen, and so we don’t get discouraged. He wants us to be looking forward to what will be happening. He wants us to be obedient to Him, helping to fulfill His purposes during the last days of this church age. He also wants us to know that the initial events of Christ’s coming will bridge this present age to the next age, the Millennial Kingdom age. Our focus isn’t just to be on His return and the rapture, but what is going to take place after this, the reign of Christ on earth, and world peace, but most importantly, the glory of God on earth like we have never seen before. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.” Habakkuk 2:14
Jesus Christ has promised us that He will come back; and He will keep His Word. But why is Jesus Christ coming back? What does God tell us?
- Christ is coming back so that you can be with Him. He loves you more than you realize and He can’t wait to see you and be with you, and for you to see Him and be with Him, and to know and love Him like never before. John 14:1-3
- Christ is coming back to take you home to heaven, to this wonderful, most beautiful and perfect place, to this heavenly home that He has prepared for you. You cannot imagine how good, how great, how special it will be, to be in heaven, and on the new earth, with the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation 21
- Christ is coming back to change you, to get you out of your mortal, weak and sinful body, and to give you a brand new, powerful, immortal, glorified and spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
- Christ is coming back to rescue you from His wrath that will be poured out upon this entire earth at the end of this age. He will punish all unbelievers who are still living on earth at the time of His return, ones who have rejected Him and His offer of mercy. This wrath, this punishment, vividly described in Revelation 8-9, 16 will be painful, tortuous and rightly deserved. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
- Christ is coming back to destroy his chief enemy on earth, the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9
- Christ is coming back to reward you for all your labor, all your work for Him. Don’t ever forget that working wholeheartedly for the Lord is infinitely and eternally worth it. 1 Corinthians 15:58
- Christ is coming back to complete His work, to fulfill His promises to the Jews, to save a great number of them at the end of what is called the 70th week of Daniel. Isaiah 45:17
- Christ is coming back so that He can begin His reign over this earth. The Kingdom the Jews desired at Christ’s first coming will finally be realized at Christ’s second coming, and then, Christ as the King, will rule and reign for a thousand years over this earth. Revelation 20
- Christ is coming back to be praised and worshiped, for every eye will see Him, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, the King of heaven and earth. Revelation 5:11-14
Jesus Christ is also coming back because His character demands it. He is coming back to this earth because He is holy and there needs to be justice, and because He is loving and He wants to show His love and kindness to those who are believers, and because He is faithful – faithful to His Father, faithful to His promises, faithful to His prophetic Word, and faithful to His people.
But when is Christ coming back? Some people say that God doesn’t want you to know when Christ is coming back, but that’s not true. The verses in Matthew 24:32-41 tell us that we won’t know the day or hour of Christ’s return, but they do tell us that we can know the general time of His return. You can’t know the specific time, but you can know the general time of Christ’s coming. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that Christians will be able to see and know that the day of the Christ’s return is getting closer and closer. God doesn’t want you to be in the dark – He wants you to know that the day of His return is getting closer, and He wants you to be ready and waiting for Him.
Matthew 24:3. The disciples ask Jesus this question about when He’s coming back. They wanted some visible signs that would let them know that the time was getting close. Now Jesus could have told them that they didn’t need to know, and that it wasn’t important to know. But He didn’t do that. He told them a number of specific things that would be taking place in the years and months before His coming. And other portions of the Bible tell us many other things that will be taking place before Christ’s return. Indeed, God does not want us to be asleep, but to be aware and alert to the fact that His Son’s return is getting closer. Let me briefly mention some of these things that have been taking place that indicate that Christ is coming soon:
- The Jews have been regathering back to their land since the late 1800’s, an amazing and miraculous fulfillment of God’s prophetic word. This is the number one reason that we know we are in the end times. Ezekiel 36-37, Isaiah 11:11-12
- The Jewish people took over Jerusalem in 1967. Daniel 9:24
- Wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilence, and economic hardship have been taking place all over the world, and will continue to take place with increasing frequency and intensity in the time leading up to Christ’s return. Matthew 24:4-8, Revelation 6:1-8
- The alignment of particular nations is now taking place as predicted in the Bible. The United States is going down in power, allowing for European / Mideast powers to rise up, from which the antichrist will come, along with a 10 nation confederacy that is spoken of in Daniel 7:23-24 and Revelation 17:12-13.
- Descendants of Ishmael, Lot, and Esau, who make up many of the present Arab / Islamic nations, are actively, unitedly and increasingly opposing Israel. Psalm 83:1-8
- The gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ, is being preached to all the nations like never before, again a fulfillment of God’s Word. Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:19-20
- There is a present and urgent need for a peace treaty in Israel. Peace in Israel is one of the biggest international concerns, and much diplomacy is taking place in these days to bring this about. This peace treaty will be signed or confirmed at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel. It will result only in a temporary pseudo peace. Daniel 9:27
- There has been a growing interest in prophecy and an understanding of it. I have seen this increasing interest in this subject of prophecy in my lifetime, particularly since the 1970’s. God knows that now is the time, more than ever before, that we need to know, understand, believe, and take heed to what He has said about the return of His Son. Daniel 12:4, Revelation 1:3
- The Jews are ready to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. There’s actually an organization called “The Temple Institute” that already has the garments, the utensils, the priests, and everything else that is needed to carry out the temple sacrifices. Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4
- The means for the antichrist to be dictator of the world, to establish a one world government are now being developed. The communication, identification, economic, tracking, military and transportation systems are becoming more and more sophisticated and globalized, making it possible for the Antichrist to rule the world in the end times. Revelation 13:11-18
What’s amazing is that these things weren’t taking place 100 years, and many not even 50 years ago. But they are now. God’s timetable for the return of His Son is right on schedule, on His schedule, and can be observed by any spiritually minded and discerning Christian. As we study God’s prophetic Word and then look at the world around us, we can see that Christ’s coming and the day of the Lord is getting closer and closer and closer. CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, and many other TV news networks and internet sources tell us their version of the “news.” But they don’t know how to interpret what’s going on in the world in light of God’s Word. These news stations aren’t going to tell us that Christ’s second coming, the biggest story since Christ’s first coming, is not that far off. But that you see is our job as Christians, and it’s imperative that we tell others. We are to preach the first coming, the news of the Savior, but also preach the second coming, the news of the coming Savior, Judge and King. Talk about “breaking news” or a “news alert.” This is it – “Christ is coming back soon!!” 1 Peter 1:10-12, 2 Peter 1:19, Luke 12:56
How then should we live, knowing that Christ’s return could take place in our lifetime?
- If we are Christians, then we should be making disciples “until the end of the age.” We should be preaching the gospel, warning people before it’s too late. We should tell people that if they repent then they will be forgiven and go to heaven, but if they don’t repent then they will remain unforgiven and spiritually dead, and will go to hell. And if they are alive on earth when Christ comes back, then they will also go through the Day of the Lord, a “hell” on earth. Matthew 24:14, Revelation 8-9, 16
- We should be living holy lives, hastening the return of Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:11-13
- We should take comfort in the fact that Christ will return soon to take us home to heaven, to relieve us from our suffering, to redeem us from our bodies, and to rescue us from this wicked world. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9
- We should be thinking about Christ’s coming, and excitedly looking forward to His return to rescue, rapture, and resurrect us, and to receive us to Himself. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
- We should encourage one another as we see the day of Christ drawing nearer. Hebrews 10:24-25
- We should be faithful to carry out the work that God has given us to do. The parable about the talents should motivate us to use the abilities, gifts, and money that God has given us to serve Him while we are living on this earth. Matthew 25:14-20
- We should have faith, trusting God and His Word. We should have hope, confidently expecting Christ to come back soon, looking forward to all that He has for us. We should have love, and be loving both the believers and the unbelievers. 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Indeed, there is much written in the Word about Christ’s Second Coming. God has told us everything that we need to know about Christ’s return, and how we should then live. Let’s not neglect this important and timely truth. Let’s be good students and understand what Christ has told us, take heed to it, and then tell others. Mark 13:23, Revelation 1:4
If you are not sure if you are a Christian, then pray that you would understand that you have sinned against a holy God. Know that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and desires to save you from your sins, from death, and from hell. Repent of your sins, and ask God for mercy, and believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again for you, and then you can be forgiven and receive eternal life. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.” Romans 6:23
What we are talking about today is no small thing, but the biggest event to take place since Christ came to this earth about 2000 years. It relates to you, to your family, to your friends, and to the church, but it also relates to the entire world. There will be more people alive on this world to witness this great, holy and magnificent event than at any other time in history. There will be a vast number of believers but a much greater number of unbelievers. This is most important and most exciting, but also very sobering. Be ready, be faithful, be loving, be holy, be hoping, be strong, and be doing the work of God.
As God’s children, let’s believe what God has told us in His Word about His Son’s coming. Let’s be excited about Christ’s return, and thankful that we can be alive on earth at this time in history. And let’s do the work God that has given us to do as long as it is day, for night is coming when no one can work. Hebrews 10:37, Revelation 22:12