The Second Coming
Brief overview: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Rev. 14:14-20; 19:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.)
Why it is important to understand the truth about the second coming:
Jesus Himself says many will try to impersonate His coming, so He told us exactly how He would come so we will not be deceived. See Matthew 24.
Why it is important to understand the second coming in light of the cross:
There is a difference between believing He will come, and loving His appearing. Children who are misbehaving at home while mother is out running errands believe she is coming again but since they have misbehaved and made a mess out of the house they do not love her appearing. A true Adventist is one who not only believes in Jesus’ coming but is in love with Him and His appearing. They are like Paul in Galatians 6:14 and in love with the Cross and crucified to the world!
The Bible often refers to the church as a woman (Revelation 12). Revelation 19:7 mentions a bride who is ready for marriage with the Lamb. Who could the Lamb be but Jesus and who could this bride be but His church? Now when you go to a wedding you will notice a very pretty little flower girl all dressed up. She is prepared for the wedding. But the groom does not wish to marry the flower girl. Oh she is pretty all right, and she is prepared. But she has not come prepared for the groom. No, she has come prepared for the cake and punch after the service! The groom does not want to marry a flower girl and neither does Jesus. The groom, Jesus wants to marry the bride. You see the bride has come and is prepared for one thing and one thing only. It’s not the cake and punch, no all she cares about is the groom! You see Jesus is not returning for “flower girls” who just get all excited about the cake, punch, golden streets and mansions. Jesus is returning for a bride who cares about Him! Even Satan believes Jesus is returning, but that belief will not do him any good since he is not in love with Jesus.
At the cross we see how much Jesus loves and desires to be with us, and it inspires us to love Him and want to be with Him.
Further Study on the Second Coming
What did Jesus promise to do?
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3 NLT
How will He come?
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:9-11 NLT
Was He a real person?
And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them.“Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost! “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet. Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish,and he ate it as they watched. Luke 24:36-43 NLT
To what does He liken His coming?
For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Mancomes. Matthew 24:27
What type of glory accompanies Him?
And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30 NLT
Whose glory is it?
If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. Luke 9:26 NLT
What do the angels do?
And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. Matthew 24:31
What happens to the righteous dead?
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16- 17 NLT
What happens to the island and mountains?
The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places.Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” Revelation 6:14-17 NLT
How many will see Him coming?
Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him— even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! Revelation 1:7 NLT
Why is Jesus coming back?
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3 NLT
The Gift of Prophecy
Brief overview: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10.)
Why it is important to understand the truth about the gift of prophecy:
In 1 Corinthians 12 we read about several gifts God has given His church to help edify and build it up. Many are surprised to find that the gift of prophecy is one of the gifts mentioned (verse10). Prophecy in the biblical sense is so much more than just predicting the future. It is also having a message from Jesus-bearing His testimony, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
Why it is important to understand the gift of prophecy in light of the cross:
Ephesians 4:1-13 tells us that after the Cross Jesus gave the church several gifts including the gift of prophecy. Paul knew that just as Jesus and the prophets were not accepted in their time and place that many in his day and our day would reject the idea of someone having the gift of prophecy, so he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 “Despise not prophesyings” but rather
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” We know that is sound advice as John has warned us in 1 John 4:1 “because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Please take a look in the further study section on how the Scriptures reveal a true prophet from a false prophet.
Further Study on the Gift of Prophecy
What two things identify the remnant church?
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17
What is the testimony of Jesus?
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10
What is the purpose of a prophet?
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
How long is this gift to be in the church?
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-13
Was this gift given to men only?
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. Exodus 15:20
Will this still happen in the last days?
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. Joel 2:28-31
How can one tell the true from the false?
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20
Will what they say come to pass?
The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him. Jeremiah 28:9
Do prophets place their own interpretation on Scripture?
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 peter 1:20
Will all they say be in harmony with the Scripture?
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because [there is] no light in them. Isaiah 8:20
Will they point out sin?
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1
Will they edify and counsel?
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Corinthians 14:3- 4
Will they warn of judgment?
The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. Isaiah 24:20
What if we reject a true prophet?
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:18-22
What is God’s assurance to us?
Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 2 Chronicles 20:20
What are we counseled to do?
Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21
The Punishment of the Wicked
Brief overview: The wicked will be destroyed by fire. The punishment will be everlasting but the punishing will not. The wicked will die instead of being tormented for all eternity. See John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Obadiah 1:16, Matthew 10:28, Ezekiel 18:4, 20.
Why it is important to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked:
I have a friend who is involved in a prison ministry that visits a juvenile detention center. My friend was telling me that they had recently shared thetruth about hell with the young men there. My friend said the Chaplin at the jail got very upset with him for letting the young men know that the punishment of the wicked is not an eternity spent in hell but rather death just like the Bible says in John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. The reason the Chaplin did not want them to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked was because he wanted the fear of being tormented for all eternity to motivate them to behave.
The teaching of people being tortured throughout all eternity is the most satanic false doctrine of all! It totally misrepresents the love and character of God making it impossible to love and know Him the way He loves and knows us.
Why it is important to understand the punishment of the wicked in the light of the cross:
Many churches use hell and fear as a motivation for doing good because they do not properly understand the love motivation. They do not understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice in dying the second death. They make the Cross out to be a mere pain endurance marathon instead of seeing a Savior who was actually willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save the world. When the early church saw the depths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice it turned the whole world upside down! Meaning it changed everything! It was God’s love that constrained, empowered and motivated them. This love is the only motivation that will actually succeed. Galatians 5:6 talks of a faith that works by love, not a fear of punishment. In John 14 Jesus says, “If you love Me keep My commandments”, not if you don’t want to go to hell you better keep my commandments. We must uplift the cross and the truth about the cross like never before. Young men in juvenile centers and people everywhere else need to know that there is a God who did way more than suffer for six hours on a cross. He faced the second death for them. He loved them more than He loved his own life. He loved them so much that when tempted to come down from the cross and go back to heaven He chose to die instead. Simply put, Jesus stayed on that cross for the young men in the juvenile detention center because the thought of heaven without them was hell to Jesus! When the love motivation receives its due power it will accomplish so much more than the fear motivation invented by men. Some people quote John 3:16 all the time while preaching of an eternal torment of sinners while that verse clearly says those who do not believe will “perish” instead of being tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
Further study on the punishment of the wicked
What is the opposite of eternal life?
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT
Note: Those who don’t believe perish. They are not tortured for all eternity. God did not kick Eve out of paradise just because she took a piece of fruit she was told not to. The serpent told lies about God’s love and interest in Eve’s welfare, that Eve and all mankind bought into. When Eve stopped believing in God’s love she stopped believing in her only Source of life. At the cross Jesus died for our sin of unbelief, and when we believe again in His love, we gain back the life we lost when we stopped believing in His love. This is the message of john 3:16.
What is the wages of sin?
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 NLT
Note that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell.
What becomes of the soul or person that sins?
For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:4 NLT
Note: KJV says soul, NLT says person. Both the KJV and NLT make it clear that the entire soul or person dies in hell and will not be tormented throughout eternity.
How long does the devil have?
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.” Revelation 12:12 NLT
Note: The devil does not have eternity in hell or anywhere else. He has but a little time left to exist.
What will happen to the devil or Satan?
You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate .You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” Ezekiel 28:18-19 NLT
Note: Satan, like all sinners, will be annihilated and exist no more.
What happens to both body and soul in hell?
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 NLT
Note: Neither soul nor body are tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Both are destroyed.
What is the final end of the wicked?
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Malachi 4:1-3 NLT
Note: There will be nothing left of the wicked – nothing but ashes.
What does the lake of fire stand for?
Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14 NLT
What is God’s promise?
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”Revelation 21:3- 4 NLT
Note: Sinners cannot be eternally tormented in light of the promise that there will be no more pain. The promise is unconditional.
Can we trust that promise?
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 NLT
Wednesday’s section of this week’s lesson reminded me about the importance of reconciliation. Reconciliation is so important to God that from Genesis 3 to Revelation 20, the theme of reconciliation.
Like King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-12, we all get mad when we hear about oppression and injustice. Like King David, most of us have been guilty of oppression and injustice at some point. When we find ourselves guilty, it is important to make confession and reconciliation, not just to get rid of our guilt and heal our conscience, but to heal the pain of those we have hurt. In Ken Sande’s book, Resolving Everyday Conflict, he shares the 7 A’s of confession and reconciliation. I would like to take a further look at them here, along with God’s Word. In so doing, I believe we can find a genuine and successful approach to healing the pain we have caused others. Please keep in mind that not all the steps need to be followed for lesser offenses. You will need to pray and let God lead you as to exactly what steps to follow.
The 7 A’s of Confession and Reconciliation.
- Address Everyone Involved.
Sins committed only in the heart need to be confessed to God alone. Public sins need to be confessed to all those who were hurt.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16 NLT
2. Avoid Using the words, “if” “but” and “maybe.”
Say “I hurt you.” Not, “If I hurt you.” Say “I was wrong.” Not, “I was wrong but so were you.” Say, “I know I made a mistake.” Not “Maybe I made a mistake.” Don’t shift, minimize or excuse your guilt.
People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13 NLT
3. Admit Specifically Where you were wrong.
Don’t be vague.
Forgive me for shedding blood…Psalm 51:14 NLT
4. Acknowledge the Hurt.
You can even ask, “Do I understand how much I’ve hurt you?”
When Saul sinned, the throne was taken from him, because he was only sorry about what his sin had cost him personally. David sinned an even greater sin, but kept the throne, because He was truly sorry about what his sin had cost God.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; Psalm 51:4 NLT
5. Accept the Consequences.
Genuine repentance accepts any due penalties.
Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Luke 19:8 NLT
6. Alter Your Behavior.
You are not really sorry if you keep willfully repeating the same offense. Ask people to hold you accountable. You may even put your plan for change into writing. One of the reasons I am writing about this topic is to reinforce it in my own mind.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Ephesians 4:28 NLT
7. Ask for Forgiveness (and allow time)
If it took you a while to confess, it may take a while for the other person to forgive. Don’t push it or rush it. If you are sincere and genuine in these 7 steps, most people will be quick to forgive.
Often when we try to place the blame on others, they will turn around and place the blame on us. On the other hand, when we accept full responsibility for our actions, others will often accept responsibility for their actions.
I have attempted to simplify and paraphrase the ideas in Ken Sande’s book, to reinforce them for myself and to help others to make reconciliation. When we find ourselves being oppressed or treated unjustly it is easy to just run away or attack back. When mankind rebelled against God, God neither ran away or attacked back. Instead He presented Himself as the peace offering for our offense! Genesis 3 to Revelation 20 deals mainly with God’s attempt at reconciliation. This tells me reconciliation is very important.
It may seem hard to make confession and reconciliation. It may seem easier to run away. It may cost us our pride to make reconciliation, but that is a small price considering it cost God His dear Son. If reconciliation is worth God’s Son, then it is definitely worth anything it would cost us.
Here is the sermon I had prepared to share with the Homosassa SDA Church this morning, before church was cancelled.