The Second Coming

By Larry Cockerham

The announcement of our Lord's visible and glorious return to the earth is in view here. This is the second stage or Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the first stage, called the Rapture, the church is caught up to be with the Lord in the clouds. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Paul tells us: "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: 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." This is the Rapture of the church that is seven years prior to the Revelation or second stage of His coming.

In the first stage of the Rapture, the Lord comes back for His church; whereas, at the end of the tribulation period He comes back with His church. Jude 14 tells us of this event: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints." Zechariah 14:4-5 relates this same event: "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east... and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." In 1 Thessalonians 3:13 Paul tells us: "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."

This same event is depicted in Revelation 19:11-21, which is the same period in view here in verse seven. At this event "every eye shall see him" although at the Rapture He will come "as a thief" and only believers will see Him (1 John 3:1-3). The nations of the world will wail and they will oppose Him but to no avail. The nation of Israel is especially in view here. Zechariah 12:10 relates to this time: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." For the nations it will be a time of judgment (Matt. 25:31-46; Joel 3:1-3, 11-14; Jude 15) as well as for Israel (Ezek. 20:35-38). As He was taken up (Acts 1:9-11) so shall He return in like manner (Matt. 24:30). "Behold, he cometh with clouds." John exclaims, "Even so, Amen."

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