"The Second Coming of Jesus"

by Larry White

January 7, 2007

    One elementary principle of the faith that is widely misunderstood, and has been for a century the opportunity for abuse and charlatanism, is the time of the return of Christ, his “parousia” or presence, and what most people call "The Second Coming", even though that term cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.


    Many so called, "Fundamentalist Christians", have a belief that Jesus is going to come again to earth in a physical form and set up a Throne in a reconstructed Temple in the now "restored" state of Israel in the present day Palestine. This belief is not only inconsistent with Judeo-Christian history, but is in flat contradiction to what those who first received God's revelation in the first century believed and what they recorded in the letters of the New Covenant scriptures.


    Confusion and errors in the foundation can only result in disaster, and at best a skewed and distorted view of what Christianity is about in the structure and faith of modern churches. In short, their faith is not based on the Bible, therefore what they are expecting is an illusion.


    Most denominations today believe and teach that Christ's coming is yet future and over the last century there have been several embarrassing predictions as to just when the day or hour of his return would be. The fervor and zeal for this coming can take on frightening proportions as people are whipped into a frenzy of expectation by their power hungry leaders. If people expect a third World War, then they will be more likely to get one.


    However, if the return of Jesus is yet future, as most believe, then you have the problem of all the Apostles of Christ and even Jesus himself being mistaken in what they said and wrote about his coming. Most people do not much care about what the scriptures say, nevertheless having your expectation and hope contradict the clear statements of Jesus is quite a big deal.


What Jesus actually said.


    Jesus said that his coming and the accompanying portents before his return would happen in the generation then living, the one who heard him prophesy. It would be in their life time. Referring to the destruction of the Temple and his coming Jesus said,
Matthew 24:34;
"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place."


    If you take exception to that clear statement, there is another one that is even more direct. Jesus said that some people standing there with him that day, would see before they died, the kingdom of God come in power when Jesus came in the glory of His Father with all the holy angels. It would be in their life time.
Matthew 16:26-28;

26"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the son of Man will come in the glory of his father with his angels, and then he will reward each according to his works. 28Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Mark 8:38-9:1;
38"For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the son of Man also will be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels.” 9:1And he said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will by no means taste of death till they see the kingdom of God having come with power.”

    His coming would be before the Apostle John's death.
John 21:23;

"Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"


    His coming would be before the Apostles' work would be finished in the area of Palestine.
Matthew 10:23;
"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."


    Jesus told the High Priest that was examining him, that he would see him coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 26:63-64; Mark 14:62)


    It would be immediately after the destruction of the Jewish capital.
Matthew 24:29-31;
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers
of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

    All these statements of Jesus are both accurate and happened as he said they would before that generation died out - a space of about 40-60 years; either that or Jesus, the Son of God, was not just mistaken, but deceived the people. Or, a third possibility is that Jesus didn't mean what he appears to be saying and words don't mean what they say. 


    Sadly, this latter ad hoc position has been the untenable refuge of many Bible students for the last 100 years. Before that time there were very few who held the Futurist view of the Book of Revelation. Frederic W. Farrar said, "The second of these schools - the Futurists - has always been numerically small, and at present may be said to be non-existent." [The Early Days of Christianity: 1882 - London] So all of the present day hype about "Left Behind" and Jesus' "Second Coming" is a fairly recent and new doctrine. It's development in the U.S. is parallel to our recent dumbing-down of scholarship in our schools in the last 100 years.


    The word "generation" that Jesus used for his time indicator means all the people who are members of a contemporary age group who are living during their average life span. "This generation" could only mean the one then present, the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus. (Matthew 24:30-34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:31-32) That would make "the end" happen in the first century somewhere between about AD 30, when Jesus spoke, to about AD 100, when John, the last Apostle, died.


What those who heard Jesus believed.


    The Apostles and those who believed their testimony, in turn looked for the end to be in their life-time. They confidently entertained this expectation on the authority of Jesus. They used expressions indicating something imminent, “coming quickly”, “standing at the door”, and “at hand”, which means so close as to be able to touch it.

    They were expecting the end of their age and the beginning of another.
1Corinthians 10:11;
11"Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come."

    They were expecting Jesus to come before some of them had died, just as he said he would.
1Corinthians 15:51-52;
"Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

    Again, they expected some of their number to be alive and remaining on the earth when Jesus came.
1Thessalonians 4:15-18;
15 "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words."

    They let the near approach of Jesus' coming determine their behavior.
Philippians 4:5; "Let your forbearance be known to all men. The Lord is at hand."
James 5:8; "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."
1Peter 4:7; "But the fulfillment of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers."

    They had already seen the antichrists come in their day in the first century and knew that the time was short.
1John 2:18;
"Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour."

    They knew that the Apocalypse of John was close to being fulfilled.
Revelation 1:3;
"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near."

    Jesus consistently says the same thing throughout the scriptures, that he was coming soon.
Revelation 22:7, 10, 12;
7 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

10 And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
12 "And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every one according to his work."

Then, where does that leave us?

    The teaching today about "The Second Coming" of Jesus in A.D. 2012 and the "End of the World" at that time, is simply more doomsday blather and 666 hysterics from people who did not get their information from the scriptures. It is just not going to happen - because it already happened. The Zionists are not God's people, and there are many more reasons to realize that than what I am presenting here. Click for more info. They should not be countenanced or listened to by anyone. The Hasidic Jews come close to the truth on this matter when they freely admit that God has destroyed their Temple and acknowledge the severity of what that means.  But like Paul the Apostle said, if they will turn to the Lord the veil will be taken way from their eyes. (2Corinthians 3:12-18) Not surprisingly, these Hasidic Jews are suffering persecution from their power hungry Zionist brothers.

    Most religious people do not believe or teach what the Bible actually says, for that would mean that the writers did not know what they were talking about, since it was not fulfilled and Jesus did not come again in the first century, or so they think.

    The answer to this confusion is in the way you view the scriptures and indeed your whole world. Either the nature of Christ's coming in his kingdom determines the time that he comes, or the time that he comes determines the nature of his coming and his kingdom.

    If you think carnally, and you think that Jesus will come physically back to Earth and reign on a physical throne in a rebuilt temple in Palestinian Jerusalem, then it could not and did not happen in the first century as Jesus and his Apostles all predicted it would. So, people will swallow the embarrassment and contradiction they think they see in the scriptures and conclude that it must be for a different time and therefore look for another physical fulfillment in the future. Then they will do everything in their power to make that happen, like calling the European Commonwealth the reestablishment of the Roman Empire, or shipping some red heifers from Texas to Palestine for sacrifices or supporting the power-crazed Zionists in their plans of world domination; because they think that God will redeem his chosen people which they mistake to be physical Israel.

    But if you believe the words of the Son of God about the time, and believe the revelation of the truth delivered by his Apostles, then Christ's coming did indeed happen in the first century just as they said it would and the nature of Christ's return and his kingdom is spiritual and eternal. Then suddenly all the scriptures start fitting together.

    There was a dispensational resurrection of the dead out of Hades around the time of the end just like Daniel said there would be. (Dan. 12) The "End" in that context is referring to the last day of the nation of Israel and the Age coming to a close. Jesus did indeed come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory and destroyed all those Jews who would not have him as a ruler over them. (Luke 19:11-27) He did that in the year AD 70. The kingdom is here now and has been for the last 1900 years. (Colossians 1:13) The dawn has risen and the true light now shines. (1John 1:8) The day star has risen in our hearts and we can now see God face to face. (2Peter 1:19) Those who believe now have eternal life and will never die. (John 11:26) The physical nation of Israel is not God's children or chosen and have not been since he rejected the physical nation in AD 70, and told his faithful children to come out of her. (Revelation 18:4; Luke 21:20-24) The Israel which is of God is everyone who obtains spiritual life in Christ, both Jew and Gentile - and "so all Israel will be saved". (Romans 2:28-29; 11:26) We now live in the new heavens and the new earth. (Hebrews 12:26-29)

    Those who are of the flesh, both carnally and physically minded, cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8) As that was true for the Israelites who did not turn to the Spirit and who rejected Christ in the first century, so it is still true for all those who reject his word today both Jew and Gentile, for with God there is no difference between them. God has brought his spiritual kingdom to the world through the promises made to Abraham and has offered it to anyone on the planet who has faith, coming to God through a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. (Romans 4)

    What Christians expected in the first century did indeed happen in their lifetime in the first century and is still our inheritance today - which many do not understand or enjoy because they believe it has not yet come to pass or been fulfilled. But there is ample evidence from the Lord and those who heard him that all that he promised then has already been fulfilled and we can now appreciate the results in his eternal kingdom which is a reality today.

    “Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.”


    For more information on the developing resurgence of believers who understand the truth according to the Præterist view of the scriptures, please click Præterist Central or do the search on the Web for a whole library of study materials for those who seek to understand what the Bible actually says.

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