In our Last Things series, we have thus far seen that every member of the church, whether living or deceased, will be lifted from the earth and given a glorified body in an event called the Rapture. At some point after the Rapture, the Lord will bring judgment upon the earth during a seven-year period of time called The Great Tribulation, which the prophet Daniel described as a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time (Daniel 12:1), and which the Lord described as a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will (Matthew 24:21). During this period, the Lord will destroy every ungodly human institution, and all who will not repent will be killed. Multitudes from all over the world will repent in response to the preaching of 144,000 Israelites, and multitudes from among that multitude will be martyred. In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will claim divinity, prohibit all Temple worship, and engage on a campaign to destroy every believer still alive, every Jew, and even the Lord Himself. His persecution of the Jews will continue almost until the end of the seven years by which time he will succeed in killing two-thirds of them. (Psalm 2:2; Jeremiah 31:33-34; Ezekiel 20:36-38, 36:22-27; Zechariah 13:8; Matthew 24:15-28; Acts 4:26; Romans 11:26-27; Revelation 12:1-17, 17:14)
We'll review our AMC Statement, and then pick up from there.
Excerpt Relevant to The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
We believe in the personal, bodily, visible, and pre-millennial return of the Lord Yeshua. (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:24-27; Ezekiel 20:33-40; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Romans 11:25-27)
"Second Coming" is not a term that is found in Scripture. For that reason, a theological definition of the term cannot be found there. It is a term whose meaning must be agreed upon by those engaging in conversation about the event or events that they have in mind. Unfortunately, many use it to include two significant future events, and many use it to refer only to the second, breeding confusion.
There are at least three good reasons for viewing the coming of the Lord in the air for
the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and the actual feet-on-the-ground Return of the Lord to Earth, as two aspects of the Second Coming:
1. The Lord comes to the earth in each event, though only into the atmosphere in the first.
2. The word coming is used in reference to both. For the Rapture: 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1. For the feet-on-the-ground Return: Malachi 3:2; Matthew 24:27, 29; 26:64; Luke 21:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 1:7; 3:11; 22:20. In 2 Thessalonians 2, notice how Paul uses coming twice in the same context; once in reference to the Rapture (verse 1), and once to the Lord's feet-on-the-ground Return (verse 8).
3. The Rapture and the feet-on-the-ground Return are as bookends to the Great Tribulation, and relevant to it. With the Rapture, the Lord rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). With His Return, He brings the Great Tribulation to a close.
Dr. Chafer takes this view:
"Thus it may be seen that this period of unsurpassed trial upon the earth, when the blasphemous claims of Satan and man are to be proven and God's testimony is to be vindicated, is bounded by the two events in the Second Coming of Christ: when He comes for His saints (I Thes. 4:16, 17), to gather to Himself His heavenly people, and when He comes with His saints (Rev. 19:11-21) to be the complete fulfillment of all the covenants of God with His earthly people."2 (Italics by N. Manzon)
There is also good reason for viewing only the second of the two events as the Second Coming because it is the only event of the two in which the Lord will actually touch down on earth as He did for His first advent. It also conveniently distinguishes it from the Rapture.
For clarity's sake, then, let it be known that for this study what will be referred to as the Second Coming will solely be the actual feet-on-the-ground Return of the Lord.
It is not the intent of this study to parse every scripture relevant to the Second Coming. However, we will examine its prophetic placement, situational trigger, manner, location and significance. We will also do some comparisons and contrasts between the First Coming, Rapture and Second Coming.
With the Law of Moses, the Lord chose to highlight seven epochal events from the cross to the Kingdom in the seven annual prophetic feasts of Leviticus 23, namely, Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. The first four have been fulfilled by the crucifixion, the sinlessness of the sacrificed Lamb of God, the Lord's resurrection, and the formation of the church on the Day of Pentecost. Yet to be fulfilled are Trumpets by the Rapture, the Day of Atonement by the Great Tribulation, and Tabernacles by the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom.3 Inasmuch as the Lord's Return will bring the Tribulation to an end, it will, of necessity, be "pre-millennial," as our Statement declares.
We have seen that the Lord will Return very near or at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation; but what specific event will be His cue, the "trigger," for His Return?
The Lord made a covenant with Israel that has come to be known as the New Covenant.
31. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house
of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My
covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,"
declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34. "They will not teach again, each
man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will
forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
~ Jeremiah 31:31-34 ~
The New Covenant was not made with mankind in general, but specifically, with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, that is, with all Israel. Even after the crucifixion and the formation of the church at Pentecost, Paul spoke of my kinsmen according to the flesh who are Israelites, to whom belongs - present tense - the covenants . . . and the promises (Romans 9:3-4). Though God opened the door of salvation and membership in the body to individual Gentiles as Paul explained in Ephesians 2:12-13 and 3:16, there can be no question that, in Romans 9:3-4, that same Paul was speaking specifically of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.
There is a promise in the Jeremiah passage that God has not extended to the Gentiles in general or to any Gentile nation: they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, which Paul reiterated in Romans 11:26-27:
26. and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB." 27. "THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS" (cf. Isaiah 59:20-21).
Speaking specifically of Israel, Paul declared to the Romans believers in the next verse, From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
Why were they, at that late date, still beloved for the sake of the fathers? Verse 29: for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable - speaking specifically of Israel.
To sum up, there is a promise that God made solely to Israel that He has yet to fulfill: they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. See also Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:25-29.
Mark 1:14-15: 14. Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15. and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."4
Both John and Jesus announced to Israel that the Kingdom is at hand, or as other
translations have it, is near.
a. The Nature of the Promised Kingdom
The kingdom that they preached at that time was not the kingdom that is within (Luke 17:21, KJV) or among you (NASB). The only prophesied kingdom that Scripture had revealed until that time - and copiously, at that - was the earthly, physical Kingdom of God on earth that Israel was looking forward to, where Israel would be delivered of her enemies and during which
2. Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the
house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. 4. Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them
afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
~ Micah 4:2-4 ~
It was this literal, physical Kingdom of God on earth that John and Jesus preached to Israel, and it was offered to Israel on condition.
Matthew 3:2: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mark 1:14-15:The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
Jesus offered to establish His Kingdom if only Israel would receive Him as their Messiah. This is brought out clearly in Matthew 23:37-39 in His rebuke to the spiritual leaders of Israel:
37. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often
I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39. For
I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!"
~ Matthew 23:37-39 ~
They were unwilling to allow Him to gather them, and their house, their temple, their heart and hearth of national life, would be left desolate until they receive Him as Messiah, saying, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!" And indeed, instead of Jesus establishing His Kingdom, He allowed the Romans to destroy both the Temple and the political nationhood of Israel in the dual military blows of 70 and 135 AD.
What did Peter say to Israel in his sermon shortly after Pentecost?
20: Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order
that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20. and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21. whom heaven must receive until the period of
restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
~ Acts 3:19-21 ~
He called upon Israel to repent of its sin of having rejected Jesus so that their personal sins may be forgiven in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, that is, so that the Kingdom would be established for which purpose God will send Jesus . . . whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things, that is, until it was time for Him to establish His earthly Kingdom. However, Israel as a nation did not repent. Chapter 4 begins with the priests and the Sadducees arresting Peter for preaching Jesus.
The condition for the Lord's Return is brought out again in Hosea 5:15, where the preincarnate Son prophesied, I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face.
To sum up, the condition that Israel must meet for the Lord's Return to establish His Kingdom is the acknowledgment of their guilt in rejecting of Him, and in their plea for His forgiveness and favor.
c. When Israel Will Meet the Condition
The full Hosea 5:15 passage reads, I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
In their affliction. During the terrible time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7, ASV) - they will earnestly seek [His] face.
In mid-Tribulation, Antichrist will launch a furious campaign to annihilate all Jews once and for all, and will succeed in killing two-thirds of them. They will be the rebels of Ezekiel 20:36-38 who will reject the spiritual insight that the Lord will offer in regard to the seven-year treaty of protection that Antichrist will propose to make with Israel. They will successfully lobby for its passage in the Knesset (Parliament) and, in mid-Tribulation, take the number of the Beast (Antichrist). The remaining third will receive the insight that the Lord will offer, lobby against the treaty, though unsuccessfully, and will refuse the number of the Beast. Whereas the Lord will allow Antichrist to kill the rebels, He will protect the non-rebels from Antichrist's slaughter, and will, near the end of the Tribulation, reveal His messiahship to them, and they will believe in Jesus. They will acknowledge Israel's guilt in their rejection of Him at His first advent, and will earnestly seek [His] face. (Ezekiel 20:36-38; Zechariah 13:8-9; Matthew 24:22. Also, The Great Tribulation.)
Immediately following Hosea 5:15 is 6:1-3:
1. Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us,
but He will bandage us. 2. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. 3. So let us know, let us press on to know the
LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.
~ Hosea 6:1-3 ~
Also Zechariah 12:10:
I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
And their lament shall be
2. For He [Jesus] grew up before Him [God the Father] like a tender shoot, and
like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3. He was despised and
forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4. Surely our griefs He
Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was
crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has
turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
~ Isaiah 53:2-6 ~
He who spared them physically from the wrath of the Beast will now save them spiritually.
In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity (Zechariah 13:1).
He will save every last one of them: "for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"; and He will return.
Let us return to the Zechariah 12:10 passage. The clause, they will look on Me whom they have pierced implies that they are looking on the Lord's physical Person, meaning that He had already returned. But the Lord said He would not return until after they repent - so how could they look on Him before they repent? The answer is in the translation of the word often translated on (as in the NASB) or upon (as in the King James). Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out that it should be translated unto,5 which does not necessitate His presence on earth; and indeed, that is how the acclaimed American Standard Version and the Revised Version have it: they shall look unto me whom they have pierced. Also Young's Literal Translation: they have looked unto me whom they have pierced. The Jewish Publication Society Bible: they shall look unto me because they have thrust him through. The Complete Jewish Bible, the Easy to Read Version and the International Standard Version render it they will look to me, which also does not necessitate His presence on earth.
Thus, the "trigger" that will move the Lord to return to earth will be the national repentance of Israel for having rejected Him at His First Coming, and their longing for Him to return and be reunited with Him. He left when they rejected Him, and He will return when they embrace Him. They will look unto Him in repentance, and He will return.
Manner is a rather tame word; yet it is used in certain translations of Acts 1:11 to describe certain aspects of the Lord's Return. However, the word lacks the drama and the passion that so many passages exude when describing His Return. Manner, though, seems to be the best English word to cover all the bases. In our use here, it will certainly include the "mechanics" of His Return, but my prayer is that, by the grace of God, through the descriptions of His Return in the passages presented, the reader may be captivated by those intangible aspects of Scripture that theological studies often fail to convey. May this presentation impress upon the reader the dignity, the deportment, the regality, the glorious bearing, the divine demeanor of the Lord upon His Return. May we not smother ourselves in the dry nuts and bolts of this amazing event and render ourselves impervious to its vigor, its vibrant life and its fiery spectacle. The anticipation of the Lord's Second Coming should move us to our core. Grasping the "mechanics" of the Lord's Return is important. It's like locking oneself into a roller coaster. As one must not allow himself to be thrown out of a roller coaster, neither must he allow himself to be thrown out of the safety of sound theological thinking. For this, the nuts and bolts are important. Yet, one rides a roller coaster for the enjoyment of it. As servants of the Lord our priority is not enjoyment, but service. Nevertheless, Scripture does say, for the joy set before Him [He] endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Therefore, in our effort to grasp the "mechanics" of the Second Coming, let us also be swept above the mundane cares of our present world system by the drama and the passion of the Lord's Second Coming and by its song of hope.
Before the Lord's Ascension, He met with His disciples on the Mount of Olives and gave them their final instructions before His departure.
9. And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way [manner] as you have watched Him go into heaven."
The Lord will return from Heaven in just the same way that His disciples saw Him ascend into Heaven.
In what way (or manner, ASV, KJV, etc.) did He ascend?
He ascended in a real body with substance, not as a spirit or in some wispy, spirit body.
After His resurrection, He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to [His disciples] over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
He appeared in a body of flesh and bones, as He Himself stated, one capable of eating physical food (Luke 24:39-43). He also proved His bodily presence to Thomas by bidding him put his hand into his side (John 20:27-28). If there were no substance for Thomas to feel, how would he have been convinced?
It was a flesh and bones body that He rose in, and it will be in a flesh and bones body that He will return in.
He ascended in a flesh and bones body, but in a heavenly, glorified, immortal
flesh and bones body.
20. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are
asleep. . . . 42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43. it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in
glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44. it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual
body. . . . 49. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:20-57 ~
The Lord will not be returning in any allegorical, symbolic or figurative sense. His Return will be "personal, bodily, visible," as our Statement reads, but in a glorified, imperishable, heavenly, flesh and bones body.
He ascended gradually, that is, slowly enough so that His disciples were able to observe His ascent.
He ascended gradually, and will return gradually. In fact, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7).
A cloud received Him out of their sight. Surely this cloud must have been a cloud of the Shechinah Glory of God as a number of the passages describing His Return speak of His Coming in great glory. (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27)
One thing to note is that the passage makes it clear that the Lord ascended from the Mount of Olives, but it does not say that He will touch down on the Mount of Olives. It merely says that He will come in just the same way. He will, indeed, stand upon the Mount of Olives, but it will not be the location at which He will touch down. Where He will touch down will be examined shortly.
The following passages will be presented in groups. At the end of each group comments will be made.
2. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. 3. He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.
The Lord will come for the purpose of fiery purging and purification. One of the objects of His purifying fire will be the members of the tribe of Levi, those Levites who are among the non-rebel survivors at the end of Jacob's Trouble, so that when the new order of Temple worship is instituted in the Kingdom, the Levitical priesthood will be in place to serve. (cf. Isaiah 66:20-23; Ezekiel 40:1-46:24)
27. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. . . . 29. But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
~ Matthew 24:27, 29-30 ~
25. "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26. men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27. "Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.
~ Luke 21:25-27 ~
Revelation 1:7: BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be.
In the midst of terrible and fearful cataclysms in nature, both earthly and celestial, the Lord will come SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, meaning, with the full authority of God the Father. All the holy angels will be in His train. All of them. A countless number. Revelation 5:11 describes the number of angels around the throne of God as myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands.
His entry will be as dramatic and obvious as a flash of lightning across the sky, and it will capture the attention of everyone on earth. Every eye will see Him as He will be coming with power and great glory in a cloud of the Shechinah Glory of God that will fill the sky around the planet. This all-pervasive, overwhelming cloud of glory will be the sign of the Coming of the Son of Man. It is no wonder that All the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him - not in repentance (Revelation 16:9,11), but in perplexity and fear of the great and apocalyptic judgments He will yet bring. One "tribe" alone will mourn in repentance, even those who pierced Him - but their mourning triggered His return. According to the passage, they will yet be mourning, though their mourning will, no doubt, be overtaken by joy.
16. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.17. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done." 18. And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 19. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 20. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21. And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.
11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." 17. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18. so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great." 19. And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
1. Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
From the vantage point of Antichrist's will, it will be he who will gather the world's armed forces on the vast plain known today as the Jezreel Valley near Mount Megiddo (Hebrew: Har-Magedon), some sixty miles north of Jerusalem (Revelation 19:16), and it will be for the purpose of destroying the Jews; but from the vantage point of the divine will, it will be God who will gather Antichrist's forces (Zechariah 14:2), and it will be for a different outcome altogether. It will be God, not Antichrist, who will orchestrate the outcome. The Lord will come as a conquering king to strike down the armies of the nations gathered against Israel and Himself. He will be coming not only with the entire company of the holy angels, but with His raptured saints, as well: And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. Though myriads of angels and saints will accompany Him, Scripture provides no description of them assisting Him. There will be no "contest" between the combined forces of puny man and the omnipotence of God, and He will handle Antichrist like a rag doll. He will slay him with the mere breath of His mouth. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. He will resurrect Antichrist, and throw him and the False Prophet alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. He will rain down great hailstones on human populations to the accompaniment of lightning and thunder, and will strike the planet with an earthquake so great that the cities of the nations will be leveled. Jerusalem itself will be split in three, and Antichrist's world capitol, Babylon the great, was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. When the forces of Antichrist are vanquished, the Lord will ascend the Mount of Olives in victory.
Thus, with the outpouring of this last series of Tribulation judgments, the Great Tribulation comes to an end. Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done," a cry that is reminiscent of the Lord's final cry on the cross: It is finished (John 19:30). Though the Greek words are different, the basic concept is the same: In each case, the Lord declares the completion of an epochal work for which He had waited and prepared for millennia of earth time. Indeed, the first purchased the second, and the second will constitute a major portion of the fulfillment of the purposes of the first.
We are now in a position to examine where the Lord will first touch earth upon His Return.
To the east of Israel across the Jordan River is a long series of mountain ranges that extends far beyond Israel's northernmost and southernmost points and passes through the territories that touched Israel's eastern biblical border, namely (from north to south), they are Bashan, Ammon, Moab and Edom. In regard to the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Lord warned, But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains (Luke 21:20-21). It was to these mountains that the Judean believers fled in 68 AD during a break in the Roman siege of Jerusalem, specifically to Pella, a city of the biblical Decapolis in northern Jordan, between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. In a manner similar to which He warned that former generation of Israelites, the Lord also warned the Tribulation generation through His apostles,
14. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a
testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15. Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in
the holy place (let the reader understand), 16. then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
~ Matthew 24:14-16 ~
It will be to these same mountains to which the Judean non-rebel Jews will flee for refuge from Antichrist, but it will not be to Pella. It will to be to a place called, in Scripture, Bozrah. It is known today as Petra, in southern Jordan, half way between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Eilat (Israeli name) or Gulf of Aqaba (Arabic name). It is here to which the Lord will return to save the believing Israelites from the hand of Antichrist. (Isaiah 34:1-7; 63:1-6; Habakkuk 3:3; Micah 2:12-13 and Judges 5:4-5)
Three major points come to mind.
Since the Fall, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Satan has been the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4); but the Second Coming of the Lord will mark the deliverance of this world system with all of its grievous evils from the hand of the evil one. When this happens it will be joyously declared, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).
With the Lord's Second Coming, God will prove to be a keeper of His promises to Israel, to the church, and to every believer from Adam to the last believer in the Millennium.
His Coming will prepare the way for the establishment of His thousand-year Millennial or Messianic Kingdom on Earth, for the form of this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31).
1. Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 ."Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!" 4. He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. 5. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, 6. "But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain."
7. "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9. 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'"
10. Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. 12. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
~ Psalm 12:1-12 ~
He who testifies to these things says,
"Yes, I am coming quickly."
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord
Jesus be with all.
~ Revelation 22:20-21 ~
1. The entire We Believe statement of the Association of Messianic Congregations may be found at http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.
2. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer. Satan (1909: In the Public Domain), Chapter 8. http://readcentral.com/massappealnews//chapters/Lewis-Sperry-Chafer/Satan/009
3. See author's study, The Prophetic Feasts of Israel.
4. Matthew's kingdom of Heaven and Mark's kingdom of God are one and the same: the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom. Mark took the liberty of using "God" as he was writing to the Romans, but that was a liberty that Matthew couldn't take as using "God" would offend the Jews, to whom he wrote.
5. Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, p. 310. Also Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah, p. 12.
By Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
1. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. Many consider Footsteps a landmark work in the piecing together of end-time prophecy.
2. Messianic Bible Study 002: The Jews and the Tribulation
3. Messianic Bible Study 003: The Basis of the Second Coming of the Messiah
4. Messianic Bible Study 004: The Campaign of Armageddon
5. Messianic Bible Study 010: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
6. Messianic Bible Study 017: The Messianic Kingdom
7. Messianic Bible Study 018: Israel and the Messianic Kingdom
8. Messianic Bible Study 028: The Olivet Discourse
9. Messianic Bible Study 034: The Bible and Divine Revelation
10. Messianic Bible Study 038: The Sequence of Pretribulational Events
11. Messianic Bible Study 039: The Rapture of the Church
12. Messianic Bible Study 062: The Feasts of Israel
13. Messianic Bible Study 067: The Seventy Sevens of Daniel
14. Messianic Bible Study 075: The Resurrection of the Messiah
14. Messianic Bible Study 084: The Four Women of Revelation
15. Messianic Bible Study 113: The Jewish Wedding System and the Bride of the Messiah
* All of Dr. Fruchtenbaum's publications are available at Ariel Ministries in various formats, many for free listening and reading.