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New Testament Descriptions Of The Second Coming Part 1

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(Christ’s Coming… One Event, Many Aspects)

 

 

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.     (Acts 1:9-11)

 

The literal, personal second coming of Christ to the earth is a very clear doctrine presented to us in the Holy Scriptures.  In our text, we can see this truth presented in the following verse…

“…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Please note in this text, the following basic truths are very evident …

  1. “this same Jesus” – it will be Christ Himself
  2. “will so come in like manner” – Christ will physically (bodily) return
  3. “as ye have seen him go into heaven” – Christ will descend from heaven to earth

This event is of such importance to the Christian that the Word describes it as “the blessed hope” for the Christian…

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”  (Titus 2:13)

Because of the certainty and importance of this event, I would like to take some time to study what will be involved with this second coming of Christ to the earth.

One of the most significant areas of this study involves coming to an understanding of the words and phrases that the Lord used in The New Testament to describe His second coming. In doing so, we will learn much about the nature of this great event that we all eagerly await.

 

 

 

THE STUDY:

Our Lord’s second coming is described in three different ways in the New Testament:

 

  1. “His Appearing”

It is described as “His appearing” because His return will be in a bodily fashion, and therefore we will be able to see Him with our physical eyes…

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”   (1 John 3:2)

 

  1. “His Coming” –

It is described as His “coming” because He was absent from the earth (while in heaven) and will “come” to the earth, and be present, once again…

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.”   (John 14:2-3)

 

  1. “His Revelation” –

It is described as His “Revelation” because, although we can understand much about Him through His Word, because He is now in heaven, He is “hidden” from us.  However, at His second coming, His person, attributes and workings will be clearly presented…

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”   (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

 

Not only can we learn from these NT descriptions of His second coming but also we can learn much from the original languages translated by these descriptions:

 

  • “His Appearing” – is translated from the following Greek words…
    1. apokalupsis – to be revealed, to be presented, to take the cover off (1 Peter 1:7 etc)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s appearing will be like the removal of a cover, presenting Him in His fullness for all to see.
    2. optanomai – to gaze at with wide opened eyes, to experience, to discern clearly (Hebrews 9:27-28)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s appearing will result in mankind being able to see Him visibly and discern Him clearly
    3. phaneroo – to shine, to declare, to manifest (1 John 3:2)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s appearing will be accompanied by a manifestation of His greatness and glory.
    4. epiphaneia – brightness, conspicuous   (1 Timothy 6:14-16, 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Titus 2:11-14 etc)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s appearing will clearly, conspicuously, stand out from all other earthly events, much like a light that shines in the midst of total darkness. 

 

  • “His Coming” – is translated from the following Greek words…
    1. apokalupsis – to be revealed, to be presented, to take the cover off (1 Corinthians 1:7-9)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s coming will be like the removal of a cover, presenting Him in His fullness for all to see.
    2. erchomai – to appear, to bring, to arrive (Matthew 24:29-31, John 14:2-3)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s coming will involve Him arriving upon the earth resulting in His physical appearance to all mankind.
    3. heko – to arrive, to be present  (2 Peter 3:10-13)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s coming will involve Him arriving on the earth enabling man to be in His presence.
    4. parousia – arrival resulting in presence, near, to be at hand (Matthew 24:25-28, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-182 Thessalonians 2:8James 5:7-8, 2 Peter 3:3-7)
      1. This helps us to understand that at Christ’s coming results in Him being brought near to mankind. He will be “within arm’s reach”, no longer living in a “country far away”. 

 

  • “His Revelation” – is translated from the following Greek words…
    1. apokalupsis – to be revealed, to be presented, to take the cover off  (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, 1 Peter 1:13, 1 Peter 4:13 etc)
      1. This helps us to understand that Christ’s revelation will be like the removal of a cover, presenting Him in His fullness for all to see.

 

Some important points to note concerning the Greek vocabulary that is used:

Please note that the Greek word “apokalupsis” is translated by all three English descriptions of His second coming (His Coming, His Appearance, and His Revelation).  This helps us to understand that all three of these descriptions are describing the same event, not two or three separate events.

In other words, His coming IS His appearance which IS His Revelation.  All of the above Greek (and English) descriptions are referring to many aspects of one, singular event… Christ’s second coming.

 

The three main Greek words compared:

 

Main Subjects Related To His Coming Parousia (Coming) Apokalupsis (Coming, Revelation, Appearance) Epiphaneia (Appearing)
Christian’s Preparation For His Coming:
Need For Holy Living /Faithfulness 1 Th 3:13, 1 Th 5:23, 1 John 2:28 1 Pet 1:7, 1 Pet 1:13, 1 Pet 4:13, 1 Cor 1:7-8 1 Tim 6:14
Need For Patience While Waiting and Watching James 5:7-8, Titus 2:13 (looking for)
Signs Of His Coming:
Asked By Apostles Matt 24:3,
Similar To Noah Days Mat 24:37-39,
Mocked By Lost Men 2 Pet 3:4
Nature Of His Coming:
As Lightning / From Heaven Mat 24:27 2 Thess 1:7
Events Caused By Coming:
Saints Resurrection / Gathering To Christ 1 Cor 15:23, 1 Thess 4:15, 2 Thess 2:1, Roms 8:19, Titus 2:13 (blessed hope)
Judgment / Rewarding of Saints 2 Tim 4:8
Judgment / Punishment of Wicked 2 Thess 2:8,9 Roms 2:5 2 Thess 2:8,9, 2 Tim 4:1,
Manifesting God’s Eternal Plan for Mankind 2 Tim 1:10
Heavens and Earth Melted/Dissolved By Fire 2 Peter 3:12

 

As you can see from this short summary… all three of the main Greek words describing the second coming of Christ touch upon many of the same main subjects concerning His second coming.   Once again, this helps us to understand that the second coming is one event that involves several different aspects to it.

The second coming should NOT be looked upon as two or three separate events.  The parousia, the apokalupsis and the epiphaneia are all describing the same event.

 

One final point… the word “rapture” is not found in the KJV Bible.  There are some that believe it began to be used in Latin translations of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  In that text, the word rapture may have been used to replace the phrase “caught up”…  “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.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

In any case, to my knowledge, the phrase “the rapture” is not found in any Christian literature prior to the 1800s.

 

Finally, we need to look at the titles “The Day Of The Lord” and “The Day Of Christ”, and “The Day Of The Lord Jesus” which are three other titles given to the second coming of our Lord.  Once again, a comparison of all the texts that use these titles helps us to see that they all speak of the same future event… the Second Coming Of Our Lord…

 

Aspect Of The Second Coming Described In Each “The Day of Christ” “The Day Of The Lord Jesus” “The Day Of The Lord”
Nature Of Second Coming
As A Thief (Unannounced, Unexpected) 1 Thessalonians 5:2;2 Peter 3:10
Events Caused By His Second Coming:      
Saint’s Resurrection / Gathering To Christ Philippians 1:10-11;2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 1 Corinthians 5:5;2 Corinthians 1:14 1 Thessalonians 5:2-10
Judgment / Rewarding Of Saints Philippians 2:16 1 Corinthians 1:8;
Judgment / Punishment Of Wicked 1 Thessalonians 5:2-10;Acts 2:17-21 (symbolized by Titus Invasion of 70 AD)
Renovation Of Heavens/Earth 2 Peter 3:10

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In this lesson, we have pointed our attention to the different titles (or descriptions) given to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Based solely on those descriptions we have seen that:

The second coming involves:

  1. His return will be in a bodily fashion, and therefore we will be able to see Him with our physical eyes…
  2. He was absent from the earth (while in heaven) and will “come” to the earth, and be present, once again…
  3. Although we can understand much about Him through His Word, because He is now in heaven, He is “hidden” from us. However, at His second coming, His person, attributes and workings will be clearly presented…
  4. Christ’s appearing will be like the removal of a cover, presenting Him in His fullness for all to see.
  5. Christ’s appearing will be accompanied by a manifestation of His greatness and glory.
  6. Christ’s appearing will clearly, conspicuously, stand out from all other earthly events, much like a light that shines in the midst of total darkness.
  7. Christ’s coming will involve Him arriving on the earth enabling man to be in His presence.
  8. Christ’s coming results in Him being brought near to mankind. He will be “within arm’s reach”, no longer living in a “country far away”.
  9. All three English descriptions of His second coming (His Coming, His Appearance, and His Revelation). This helps us to understand that all three of these descriptions are describing the same event, not two or three separate events.  In other words, His coming IS His appearance which IS His Revelation.

May we all, with thankful hearts, be encouraged this day.  As Christians, we can know that our Lord is coming again someday to perform many marvelous works on our behalf!

 

Please visit…

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Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

 

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”


4 Comments

  1. Michael Snow says:

    Of course, actually studying the Bible won’t sell books like the ‘Left Behind’ theme of modern invention. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/second-coming-rapture-vs-scripture-christian/

    Blessings

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