Jesus Is Coming
The doctrine of the return of Christ demands careful and discriminating consideration. A distinction is to be made between two future events; first, Christ and His coming For His saints, and second; Christ and His coining With His saints.
In coming for his saints He descends into the air and receives to Himself those who are caught up from earth; some from the dead and others translated from a living state. This truth will be seen from such passages as, 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:22, 23, 51, 52.
In descending to the earth lie personally places His feet on it. (Zech. 14:4-7), coming with His glorified saints. (Rev. 19:7, 8, 14, and Jude 14). He takes the Throne of David to establish His earthly kingdom of glory (Matt. 25:31). Though these two events differ in every particular, they are often confused and should be closely compared. They can be distinguished in the following way.
First; our gathering together unto Him, “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,” (2 Thess. 2:1). Second; The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
First; Christ is the Morning Star, “I am the root and the offspring of David the bright and Morning Star,” (Rev. 22:16; 2:28; 1 Pet. 1:19). Second, Christ is the Sun of Righteousness, “But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings,” (Mal. 4:2).
First; is the Day of Christ, “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the Day of Christ,” (1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phill. 1:6, 10, and 2:6). Second; is The Day of The Lord, “But the Day of The Lord will come as a thief in the night,” (2 Pet. 3:10; 2 Thess. 2:2 R.V. and J.N.D. translations).
First; Is a signless and timeless event; at any moment, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power,” (Acts 1:7). The believer is to be “waiting”, “looking for”, and “loving” it. (1 Thess. 1:9-10; Phil. 3:20; and Tit. 2:13). Second; an event whose approach is to be observed, “But ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief,” (1 Thess. 5:4). The fulfillment of much prophecy is to precede it, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,” (2 Thess. 2:3).
First; has no reference to evil. Second; evil is ended on earth; Satan is judged; the Man of Sin destroyed, etc.
First; Israel is unchanged. Second; all of Israel’s covenants are fulfilled.
First; the whole creation is unchanged. Second; the Gentile nations are judged. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,” (Rom. 8:19-22).
First, the Church is removed from the earth, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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,” (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). Second; the Church is seen returning with Christ, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints,” (Jude 14; Rev. 19:14).
First; A mystery not before revealed, “Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep,” (1 Cor. 15:51). Second; revealed throughout both the Old and the New Testaments.
First; Christ appears as Bridegroom, Lord, and Head to the Church. Second; He appears as King, Messiah, and Emmanuel to Israel, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David,” (Luke 1:32).
First; Not seen by the world. Enoch is the illustration of this, he was translated without being seen, for God took him, (Gen. 5:24). Second; will be visible to the entire earth, “Behold He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him…” (Rev. 1:7).
First; Christians are judged as to their rewards, “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” (Rev. 22:12). Second; nations are to be judged as to the Kingdom, “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats,” (Matt. 25:31-46).
The order of these two events is obvious; Christ cannot come to the earth With His saints until He shall have come first of all For His saints.