Monday, May 27, 2013

Jesus’ Second Coming

60 Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t You going to answer these charges? What do You have to say for Yourself?” 61 But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah (the Christ), the Son of the Blessed One (God)?” 62 Jesus said, “I AM (Exodus 3:14). And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1) and coming on the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13).” Mark 14:60-62 (NLT) see parallel references at Matthew 26:63-64 and Luke 22:67-69.
As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was falsely accused and then arrested. Jesus' first trial began at the home of Caiaphas, the high priest. This trial was a mockery of God’s true justice system. Caiaphas asked Jesus two questions. To the first question, Jesus remained silent, calm, and courageous. Then, Caiaphas asked Jesus a second question and this time Jesus boldly declared His true identity and mission to the people. Jesus declared He was God, the “I AM” (Exodus 3:14; Mark 6:49-50) and stated He is the Messiah (the Christ or Son of Man) (see also Mark 1:1). Jesus declared a powerful role reversal. One day, Jesus would return as the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven to judge the world (Matthew 24:30; see also Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 20:11-13). The clouds of heaven portray Jesus as Divine. Throughout the Holy Bible, clouds represent God’s glory, majesty, and active presence (see e.g., Exodus 16:10; Exodus 19:9, 16; Daniel 7:13-14). In fact, God's glory appeared in a cloud at the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:9). 

During Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus concealed and hid His identity as the Messiah and God’s true Son. However, God the Father knew Jesus’ identity (Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7), Jesus’ disciples knew Jesus was indeed the Messiah (Mark 8:28-30), and evil know Jesus’ true identity (Mark 1:24; Mark 3:11; Mark 5:7). At the trial with Caiaphas, Jesus publicly announced for the first time that He was indeed the Messiah and the Son of God (Mark 14:60-62). Jesus goes on to announce that He would sit in the place of power at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; see also Acts 2:33-36). God’s right hand represents Jesus’ authority, power, and benefits. Though He would be falsely accused and crucified, Jesus told the world of His coming resurrection from complete death and return to heaven with God. Even more, Jesus declared to the world that one day He would return in His full glory on the clouds of heaven to judge the world (see also Isaiah 26:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). 

Jesus’ second coming to earth is referred to as the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13). In the upper room with His disciples, Jesus told them He was going away but He would come again one day (see e.g., Matthew chapters 24 and 25; Mark 8:38; Mark chapter 13; Mark 14:25, 60-62; John 14:1-3). At Jesus’ rise into heaven, the two angels standing with Jesus’ disciples also declared that Jesus would return (Acts 1:11). The Holy Scriptures clearly state that Jesus will return to earth (see e.g., Isaiah 26:21; Micah 1:3; Zechariah 14:4, 9 16; Philippians 1:6, 10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8). Jesus’ second coming will be visible, triumphant, and glorious (Matthew 24:27, 30, 44; Acts 1:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 1:7), but also sudden and unexpected (1 Thessalonians 5:2). At His second coming, Jesus will come down from the clouds of heaven just as He ascended into the clouds of heaven after His death and resurrection (Acts 1:8-11). The apostle Paul also teaches that Jesus’ second coming will be signaled by a trumpet fanfare, a shout, and the voice of God’s angels (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; see also Matthew 24:27-31).

Nevertheless, God wants everyone to use Jesus’ second coming as a motivation to do good works, remain holy, and share God’s message of love (Matthew 25:14-30; John 13:34-35; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 John 3:3). God wants everyone to be ready for Jesus’ sudden return (1Thessalonians 5:2), not standing around "looking into the sky." While patiently waiting for Jesus’ second coming, the apostle Paul encouraged people to work hard, share God’s love to others with good deeds, love God with our whole hearts, and flee sinful choices (Titus 2:12-14). 

The exact time of Jesus’ second coming has been speculated for years by biblical and non-biblical scholars. However, NO ONE knows the date and time of Jesus’ second coming. Neither Jesus nor the heavenly angels know the date of Jesus’ second coming. Only God the Father knows this precise and sudden date (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32-37; Acts 1:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3:4-12). We should not speculate about the date of Jesus’ coming (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). God is sovereign and He wants everyone to come to Jesus to find God’s love and salvation (2 Peter 3). Jesus’ second coming will be sudden and swift (Matthew 24:40-42).

As we wait, God wants everyone to live patient, loving, and honorable lives as we reveal God’s love and mercy to the world and flee evil (Galatians 5:22-23; James 2:8, 13; James 4:7-9; 2 Peter 3:11-12; 1 John 4:7-21). God’s purpose in telling of Jesus’ return is to stimulate hope and not predictions and calculations about the date (Matthew 24:44). Like Job and the prophet Elijah, we must practice faith, patience, humility, perseverance, and continual prayer while waiting on Jesus’ return (James 4:10; James 5:11-17). Even more, we are to love one another and worship God as we wait and not live recklessly — sitting and waiting, doing nothing (Matthew 22:34-40). When Jesus does return, He will reward all of God’s faithful children (Jews and Gentiles) with eternal life, everlasting joy, and peace (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 21:4-5).  

Life Application Study Bible. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2005.
NLT Study Bible. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 2008.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. New York: Zondervan, 2008.
Packer, J. I. Concise Theology. Carol Streams, IL: Tyndale House Pub., 1993.
Butler, Trent C. Holman Bible Dictionary. Holman Bible Publishers, 1991.


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