Four Core Truths about the Second Coming of Christ

Alistair Begg: The second coming of Jesus Christ is absolutely foundational to the Gospel, which concerns not only the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of God the Son but also His return. This event and the doctrines that surround it are integral to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Though Christ’s return is both a main thing and a plain thing in Scripture, enough views on the second coming have circulated over the years to cause confusion and, indeed, to induce conflict among those who share convictions about Scripture’s inerrancy and the event’s imminency. This meditation is intended not to cut through that conflict and assess these various views but to point out what is irreducibly true about Christ’s promised return. Four Certainties Concerning the Second Coming For all the disparate viewpoints regarding Christ’s second coming, what does Scripture help us see clearly? 1. The day is secret. First and foremost, the day when

read more Four Core Truths about the Second Coming of Christ

Joy to the world: Far as the Curse is Found

  Al Mohler: Many Christians would be surprised, and perhaps even disappointed, to learn that the song often cited as our favorite Christmas carol is not actually a Christmas carol at all. The famed hymn writer Isaac Watts published “Joy to the World” in 1719. Millions of Christians sing this great hymn at Christmas, celebrating the great news of the incarnation and declaring “let earth receive her king.” “Let every heart, prepare him room, and heaven and angels sing.” At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation of Christ, the coming of Jesus in Bethlehem. But “Joy to the World,” though sung rightly and triumphantly at Christmas, is really about the Second Coming of Christ. Watts led in the development of hymns in the English tradition, drawing many of his hymn texts directly from the Psalms. “Joy to the World” is based upon Psalm 98, which declares creation’s joy when the Lord comes to rule and to judge. When we sing “Joy

read more Joy to the world: Far as the Curse is Found

Living in Light of Jesus’ Return

Jason K. Allen: “There are two days in my calendar: this day and that day,” quipped Martin Luther in reference to Christ’s second coming. We have come a long way since Luther’s statement, with most believers erring dramatically in one of two directions. Second coming sensationalists are the most egregious, and widely lamented, offenders. They predict the timing of Jesus’ return; but, of course, they do so in vain. Jesus stated no man knows the day or hour of his return. The most infamous prognosticator in recent years has been Harold Camping, who on multiple occasions has predicted the specific date of Jesus’ return, thus embarrassing himself—and the name of Christ—before a watching world. As irresponsible as Camping and his ilk are, one can argue the greater danger facing the church is not hyper-expectancy about Jesus’ return, but a slumbering church that acts as though Jesus isn’t returning at all. This seems especially to be the case [today]. Twenty years

read more Living in Light of Jesus’ Return

Between the Advents

Duke Revard: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6 Six and Seven year-olds massacred in Newtown, CT. Others randomly shot in a mall in Oregon. Dozens of other headlines highlight less spectacular bloodshed in your hometown newspaper. It appears there is no end in sight. Random wickedness and brokenness are also your problem in your otherwise safe pocket of the world. Evil is local and apparently sustainable. It seems to be everywhere and affecting everything. Though the topic

read more Between the Advents

Will Christians be secretly raptured?

  Jeramie Rinne: This past weekend the eschatological thriller Left Behind opened in theaters. It joins a flood of Christian movies this year including Exodus, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real, andNoah. Okay, let’s not count Noah. Yet Left Behind stands out among this surge of Christian films, not just because it stars Nicholas Cage, and not just because it’s based on the wildly successful Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Perhaps more than the other films, Left Behind captures believers’ imagination because it portrays a future, world-changing event: the secret rapture, that moment Jesus suddenly snatches up all Christians to himself years prior to his visible second coming. As producer and writer Paul LaLonde put it, “It’s a Bible-based movie, it’s a biblical story, it’s a true story—it just hasn’t happened yet.” As a result, it can cause us to wonder, What will it be like when all the Christians suddenly disappear? How close

read more Will Christians be secretly raptured?

How We Know for Certain That We Are Currently Living in “The Last Days”

  Justin Taylor: The New Testament distinguishes between “the last day” (that is, the coming day of salvation and wrath; see 1 Thess. 5:1-11) and the “last days” (the period of time we are now in, between Christ’s death/resurrection/ascension and his second appearing). In addition to “last days,” this present-day category can also be called “the last time/s” (Jude 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:20) or “the last hour” (1 John 2:18). So when asked if you think we are living in the last days, you can assure the questioner that we are: we are living in between the two comings of Christ. But we do not know—indeed, cannot know—the day or the hour of the last day itself (cf. Matt. 24:36). You can see the references for last days/times/hour below: “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1

read more How We Know for Certain That We Are Currently Living in “The Last Days”

The Second Coming of Christ is not a peripheral doctrine

  Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.  Article IV, The Thirty-Nine Articles “The return of our Lord Jesus Christ is not a mere doctrine to be discussed, nor a matter for intellectual study alone.  Its prominence in the New Testament shows the great importance of the truth, for it is referred to over three hundred times, and it may almost be said that no other doctrine is mentioned so frequently or emphasized so strongly. Baptism is mentioned nineteen times in seven Epistles, and in fourteen out of twenty-one is not alluded to.  The Lord’s Supper is only referred to three or four times in the entire New Testament, and in twenty out of twenty-one Epistles there is no mention of it.  The

read more The Second Coming of Christ is not a peripheral doctrine

Living in the light of the end of all things

Sam Storms: It is widely reported (but may not be true) that the great 16th century Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, once said: “If I knew for sure that Jesus was coming back tomorrow, I’d plant a tree today.” Luther wasn’t trying to be cute, nor did he think that his words were contradictory. He was simply pointing out that no amount of speculation or confidence or doubt or belief about when Jesus might return should ever undermine the fulfillment of our basic ethical obligations or lead us to abandon the routine responsibilities set forth for us in Scripture. Sadly, many Christians through the centuries have taken an altogether different and unbiblical approach to this problem. Convinced that Christ was to return very, very soon, they abandoned their daily tasks and embraced a form of hyper spirituality that served only to bring reproach on the name of Christ and disaster to their own lives. How often have we heard and seen

read more Living in the light of the end of all things

Set your hope fully

Michael McKinley: …Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13 ESV) The character and object of a man’s hope determines almost everything that’s important about him. But look at what the apostle Peter says about our hope: Notice the verb he uses. Our hope is something that we must “set”. It’s not a passive process, but we must actively choose to locate our hope and place it in something. Our hope can be set to greater or lesser degrees. It can be “fully” set on something or it can be set half-heartedly. Hope looks to something we don’t have right now but that will be brought to us, namely, the fullness of grace (the amazing blessings!) that will be brought when Jesus is revealed. Pastoral ministry and the Christian life in general are often marked by (a sometimes holy) discontent. We are constantly aware of deficiencies,

read more Set your hope fully

Jonathan Edwards on the Second Coming

Jonathan Edwards, preaching on Sept. 19, 1746, at the ordination service of Samuel Buell, the dear friend of David Brainerd: In that resurrection morning, when the Sun of Righteousness shall appear in the heavens, shining in all his brightness and glory, he will come forth as a bridegroom; he shall come in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels. And at that glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, shall the whole elect church, complete as to every individual member and each member with the whole man, both body and soul, and both in perfect glory, ascend up to meet the Lord in the air, to be thenceforth forever with the Lord. That will be a joyful meeting of this glorious bridegroom and bride indeed. Then the bridegroom will appear in all his glory without any veil: and then the saints shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,

read more Jonathan Edwards on the Second Coming

The Church’s blessed hope

  The Lord shall come! The Church in the early ages took up the subject as of profoundest and most pressing interest, ‘looking for that blessed hope.’ It was no minor hope to the primitive saints. It cheered them at parting with their Lord, and it comforted them at parting with one another. It upheld them in evil days; it nerved them for warfare; it gave them patience under persecution; it animated them in their work; it kept alive their zeal; it enabled them to look calmly round upon an evil world, and to face its mustering storms; it showed them resurrection and glory, fixing their eye upon scenes beyond the deathbed and the tomb; it ever reminded them of the day of meeting, when Jesus will gather all His own together, and those who have slept in Him shall awake to glory, honor, andimmortality. — Horatius Bonar The Revelation of Jesus Christ (HT: Of First Importance)

The Second Coming and the End of All Things

  I agree with James Grant‘s concerns about holding to a premillennial eschatology regarding Christ’s return. “One reason,” he writes, “was that I thought the premillennial position diminished the significance of the Second Coming.” Sam Storms captures this sentiment in a precise way over at his Enjoying God Ministries Blog. He explains: One of the primary reasons I am not a Premillennialist (neither Historic nor Dispensational) is because of what I read in the NT concerning the Second Coming of Christ. To be a Premillennialist of any sort, you must believe that physical death and the curse on the natural creation will continue to exist beyond the time of Christ’s return. You must believe that the New Heavens and New Earth will not be introduced until 1,000 years subsequent to the return of Christ. You must believe that unbelieving men and women will still have the opportunity to come to saving faith in Christ for at least 1,000 years subsequent to

read more The Second Coming and the End of All Things

Judgement Day Today? – The Pastoral Challenge and Opportunity When the Rapture Doesn’t Happen

Some wise words from Eric Landry: We must be very careful about how we respond. Will we join our friends at the “Rapture Parties” that are planned for pubs and living rooms around the nation? Will we laugh at those who have spent the last several months of their lives dedicated to a true but untimely belief? What will we say on Saturday night or Sunday morning? History teaches us that previous generations caught up in eschatological fervor often fell away from Christ when their deeply held beliefs about the end of the world didn’t pan out. While Camping must answer for his false teaching at the end of the age, Reformational Christians are facing a pastoral problem come Sunday morning: how can we apply the salve of the Gospel to the wounded sheep who will be wandering aimlessly, having discovered that what they thought was true (so true they were willing to upend their lives over it) was not? If

read more Judgement Day Today? – The Pastoral Challenge and Opportunity When the Rapture Doesn’t Happen

Standing on the brink of eternity

Christians stand on the very brink of eternity. Jesus Christ, the last Adam, has completed the work of the first Adam and entered the new creation. Because Christ did this for us, we now belong to him and share in the rights and privileges of the world-to-come. We have been ‘justified by his grace as a gift’ (Rom. 3:24) and made ‘fellow heirs with Christ’ so that ‘we may also be glorified with him’ (Rom. 8:17). We have been ‘raised with Christ’ (Col. 3:1) and thus our ‘life is hidden with Christ in God’ (Col. 3:3) and our ‘citizenship is in heaven’ (Phil. 3:20). Because Jesus has ‘passed through the heavens,’ we today may ‘with confidence draw near to the throne of grace’ (Heb. 4:14, 16), having ‘confidence to enter the holy places’ (Heb. 10:19). We eagerly await Christ’s return from heaven when he will ‘transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body’ (Phil. 3:21) and we will

read more Standing on the brink of eternity

Spiritual Dehydration

From Rick Ianniello: C.J. Mahaney asks some direct questions in his post, The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Spiritual Dehydration. Do you sense that your affections for the Savior have diminished recently? Has your appetite for Scripture weakened? Does your soul seem dry? Does God seem distant from you? And then answers how we should respond based on Jude 1.20-21. To begin with, “keeping ourselves in the love of God.” is a command. As Mahaney points out, it is our “responsibility and it requires effort …” Jude provides guidance to accomplish this. I’m not suggesting this list is comprehensive but it is a good start. 1. Remind yourself of the gospel (“building yourselves up in your most holy faith”). The “most holy faith” is the gospel. And the first way we keep ourselves in the love of God is to grow in our understanding of the gospel and to remind ourselves of the gospel each day. There is no more effective way

read more Spiritual Dehydration

We Will Be Glorified for the Glory of God

From John Piper: Someday, at the coming of the Lord Jesus, all who are in Christ will be glorified. Those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30) The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:21) That is, we will be glorious. The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:43) But our glory will not be our own but the glory of Christ who is the image of God. We will be glorified with his glory. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:14) The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19) The result of our being glorious with the glory of God is that in the end God will be glorified by our glorification. Your people

read more We Will Be Glorified for the Glory of God

Living for the Future

by Sinclair B. Ferguson Posted by Chris Larson at Ligonier Blog. (Quoted in John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology, p. 40-41) It is commonplace today in Reformed theology to recognize that the Christian lives “between the times” — already we are in Christ, but a yet more glorious future awaits us in the final consummation. There is, therefore, a “not yet” about our present Christian experience. Calvin well understood this, and he never dissolved the tension between the “already” and the “not yet.” But he also stressed the importance for the present of a life-focus on the future. Calvin sought, personally, to develop a balance of contempt for the present life with a deep gratitude for the blessings of God and a love and longing for the heavenly kingdom. The sense that the Lord would come and issue His final assessment on all and bring His elect to glory was a dominant motif for him. This, the

read more Living for the Future

The Consummation of the Ages

“The apostles were conscious of standing at the consummation of the ages and were vividly aware that the events that precipitated this watershed in history were the incarnation, obedience, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth. The coming Messiah fulfilled ancient promises and age-old longings for deep redemption and an eternal Ruler who would reign in holy justice and in mercy. It filled up and filled in previous patterns and shadows in Israel’s communion with her covenant Lord, and this filling process also entailed a transformation of ancient institutions into new forms better suited to more intimate interactions between the King and his joyful subjects.” Dennis E. Johnson, Him We Proclaim (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2007), 16-17. (HT: Of First Importance)