ACTS 1:10-11: “They were staring into the sky as he departed. Suddenly, two men in white clothes stood near them. They asked, “Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking at the sky? Jesus, who was taken from you to heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Is Jesus Christ ever coming back? We have heard the promises of His Second Coming so many times. Well known preachers have set dates that have come and gone. Others have spiritualized the Second Coming to say that Jesus Christ has already returned and we are living in the millennium. Who is right? Is Jesus Christ ever coming back? And when He does, how will the world know?
Jesus spoke very clearly about His Second Coming. The Second Coming is quite different from the “gathering” of the saints, or what is commonly known as the rapture. Paul speaks of this “gathering” in the book of I Thessalonians.
- “We are telling you what the Lord taught. We who are still alive when the Lord comes will not go ⌊into his kingdom⌋ ahead of those who have already died. The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet ⌊call⌋ of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. So then, comfort each other with these words!” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 GW)
This time of “gathering” will be experienced only by those who have believed in Jesus Christ. It is the period of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which precedes the Second Coming. The “gathering” is for the faithful, the Second Coming is for judgment and the establishment of Christ’s Millennial Reign! One is only visible to those who believe in Jesus Christ, the other is visible to all.
When the angel spoke to disciples he was referring to the Second Coming. They had asked Jesus the question of when He would restore the Kingdom. Jesus assured them that the time when this would take place was in the Father’s hand. Jesus then directed the disciples to focus on proclaiming the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit – and then He arose into heaven. The disciples gaze remained upon the clouds that seemed to swallow up Jesus. He had ascended, He was gone, when would He return? I can’t help but think as they heard the words of the angel that they also remembered the words of Jesus.
- “Listen! I’ve told you this before it happens. So if someone tells you, ‘He’s in the desert!’ don’t go out ⌊looking for him⌋. And don’t believe anyone who says, ‘He’s in a secret place!’ The Son of Man will come again just as lightning flashes from east to west. Vultures will gather wherever there is a dead body. “Immediately after the misery of those days, the sun will turn dark, the moon will not give light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the universe will be shaken. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. All the people on earth will cry in agony when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in the sky with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:25-30 GW)
Make no mistake about it, Jesus’ Second Coming will not be a secret! It will not be hidden! All people on that earth will see the Son of Man coming in the sky with power and great glory. And for many – it will be too late.
- “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. The people of every nation will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right but the goats on his left…These people (those who did not believe)will go away into eternal punishment, but those with God’s approval (those who believed) will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-33, 46 GW)
So what should we do now? Do we keep gazing at the clouds as the disciples did?
The believer should take comfort in the promise of His gathering of the saints and be compelled to share the Gospel with as many as he can before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The unbeliever should hear the call of the Holy Spirit to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and escape both the coming tribulation and judgment that is coming upon this earth at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Behold, now is the acceptable time! Behold, today is the day of salvation. If one waits until he “sees” Him – it might just be too late!
- “Make sure that you don’t become drunk, hung over, and worried about life. Then that day could suddenly catch you by surprise like a trap that catches a bird. That day will surprise all people who live on the earth. Be alert at all times. Pray so that you have the power to escape everything that is about to happen and to stand in front of the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 GW)
Lord, I pray that all will place their faith in Jesus Christ, receive the power to escape everything that is about to happen, and to stand in front of the Son of Man to hear these blessed words – “Well done good and faithful servant..enter into the joy of your Master!”
In Jesus Name!