HOW shall Christ Return?

Please read the preceding post, regarding the timing of the rapture first: WHEN Comes the Return of Christ, and The Rapture?.  (I’ve actually been working on an end times series that is broader than the rapture, which begins more or less here.)

The resurrection, or the ‘rapture’ is too broad a topic to complete at just one post – I’ve done this one for a bit more clarity on Christ’s return, and will do at least one more speaking of how to be in the best situation possible for the tribulation (there are biblical teachings on how to prepare, and it is essential that we heed them.  We must first be aware that we will be in the earth for the tribulation, or we will not take them as seriously as we need to.  There were five wise, and five FOOLISH virgins – both will be present at the end of days.  Be sure you are among the wise, beloved.)

The Gospel does not change in the latter days.

Heb 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

God is with His children.  Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled to God, He took the just penalty for our sins – in return we receive Immanuel: God with us.

We, as a church become easily dissuaded from the Gospel, and all of God’s promises.  God does not.

Malachi 3:6
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

In my last post I discussed the resurrection of the dead, or the ‘rapture,’ as it has come to be known, and its timing.  According to the plain statement of scripture – out of the mouth of Jesus Christ, and affirmed adamantly by Paul the Apostle – the resurrection of the dead takes place AFTER the tribulation of the end days.  As I pointed out, there can be no ‘rapture’ of living saints prior to the return of Christ, and the resurrection of the dead, for as Paul declared: ‘The dead in Christ shall rise FIRST.’  (1 Thess. 4:16)

According to the book of Revelation, when Christ returns the antichrist kingdom (the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1) (or the abyss (17:8)), and the antichrist person, himself (the ‘false prophet,’ (20:20) or the beast from the earth (13:11)) will both be cast alive into the lake of fire (20:20).

Paul also affirmed this, calling the antichrist (or ‘the Wicked’ as Paul says) he: ‘…whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING.‘  (2 Thess 2:8)

The return of Jesus Christ to the earth (which signifies the time of the first resurrection of the dead – the resurrection of the Just) will be no secret event.  When Jesus Christ returns, it is said that: ‘…EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, and they also which pierced him, and ALL kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.‘  (Rev 1:7)

These things line up perfectly with the parables that Jesus, Himself used when describing His second coming:

Matt 24:27 & 28
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

(The second parable is a little more ambiguous to most readers: ‘wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.’  In the wilderness you readily know that a dead carcase is nearby because of the birds of prey who fill the skies.  This parable affirms the first – His coming will be blatantly obvious, like the sky filled with birds of prey.)

Let there be no mistaking that when the bible speaks of the return of Christ, and the resurrection of the dead, it speaks of a literal, visible, PHYSICAL (if we can apply the word ‘physical’ to the spiritual resurrection body!) return of Jesus Christ .  This fact was affirmed by angels in the book of Acts:

Acts 1:9-11
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he [Jesus] was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 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.

When Jesus returns – according to Himself, and the witnesses of the apostles John, and Paul – is the first resurrection of the dead: the event which has come to be known as the ‘rapture.’

1 Cor 15:51-52
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

This statement, here, is perfectly aligned with the resurrection Truths we have already discussed.  Notice what Paul says here: ‘at the LAST trump…’ if the resurrection of the dead were before the tribulation, why would Paul declare it occurs at the LAST trump?  Think about what the sounding of trumpets mean – or rather, what it meant in the days the bible was written.  Trumpets were blown, generally, for one of two reasons

1.  To announce a royal proclamation – the trumpet was sounded to silence all other voices, and to arrest the attention of the people before a royal decree was read.

In this case, however, the trumpet sound probably denotes the other major reason that a trumpet was generally sounded in royal kingdoms.

2.  To rally ranks of soldiers for warfare exercises.

In either of these cases – whether the ‘last trump’ of God is for the ‘LAST proclamation,’ or for the ‘LAST battle,’ it remains the LAST trumpet – there is no pre-tribulation rapture.

1 Thess. 4:14-18
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, EVEN SO THEM ALSO WHICH SLEEP IN JESUS WILL GOD BRING WITH HIM.  [Here Paul declares that the dead in Christ are raised, and immediately come with Christ to the earth – this is in holding with the written testimony of John the apostle, in the book of Revelation who declares that the martyrs of the last days will live and reign with Christ a thousand years (Rev 20:4-6)]

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain [those saints who have survived the tribulation – yes, there will be survivors, glory to God!] unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [Again, no pre-trib rapture – the dead rise first.]

16 FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 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.  [AFTER the dead rise, the saints who have survived the tribulation (as Paul uses the terminology ‘we which are alive and remain’) ‘we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…’ (1 Cor 15:51 & 52) and we will ever be with the Lord.  Thus the rapture happens, we are changed instantly into immortal bodies (after the dead), and meet Christ as He descends from heaven.  Christ’s destination, when He comes is the earth – He comes to finally make an end of those who oppose Him.  If we shall ever be with the Lord, we come down with Him.]

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

This literal, visible, PHYSICAL return of Christ comes not only by Himself, but with a great host – the multitudes of saints, changed into their resurrection bodies.

Rev 19:14
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Jude 14 & 15
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Into what manner of bodies will we be made, and return with Christ?  This is a mystery – it remained a mystery to the apostles, as John said in 1 John 3:2

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.

Whatever Jesus is like at the resurrection, that is what we will be like.  We know that it will be a spiritual, immortal body, rather than one of flesh and blood.

1 Cor 15:44
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

 

Link to next in series: How to Prepare for the Tribulation, pt. 1

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