The Gospel Works

Dedicated to God's glory.  Believing God's word as it is written.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Home      Beliefs      Contact Us      God's Love     When Death Comes     Faith Alone      Spirit or Wisdom?      Spirit or Tradition? 

  Jesus' return different views part 1      Jesus' return hermeneutics part 2      Jesus' return history of 1st advent part 3      

Jesus' return part 4       Who is Your God?      Christ or Caesar?       Will God Accept You?      Audio Recording     Church Music

©2019 - 2020 thegospelworks.org  All rights reserved

The return of our Lord

One day the trumpet of God will sound, the voice of the archangel will be heard, the heavens will burst forth with the glory of God and his angels will gather his elect when the resurrected Christ, our living head, returns in the clouds with power and great glory to complete the redemption of his people whom he has purchased with his own blood. (Philippians 2:7 – 8), Jesus “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He has saved us from our sins, sealed us with his Spirit and when he returns in the clouds the elect will be resurrected and be given new glorified bodies like his.

This same Jesus whose name is above every name will appear a second time not with humility as a lamb to be slaughtered but with power and great glory to gather his elect and reign as king. He will destroy the Antichrist at his coming and reign with his glorified saints upon the earth. Every knee in heaven on earth and under the earth will bow before him and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9 – 11)

In a study of the Lord’s return it is appropriate to begin with the words of Jesus himself on the subject. Consequently Matthew chapter 24 beginning with verse 3 will be used as the main text. From verse 3 through the remainder of the chapter Jesus gives details of his second coming. Verses 1 and 2 of that chapter acquaint us with the setting for this discourse.

Arrangement

The entire chapter will not be quoted at one time. Subject headings in bold print will be followed by a verse or verses immediately below the heading. Quoted verses will be followed by relevant exposition including quotes and explanation from other related scriptures. This will be the pattern through the entire chapter beginning in verse 3 through the end of the chapter.

Keep your Bible open to the main text and available to read other scripture references given but not quoted. In this manner you can maintain a coherent orientation as the study progresses and be able to check my comments for accuracy.

As a believer you can comprehend the scripture as well as any other believer because you have the Holy Spirit to guide you. Before beginning this study please pray for guidance and understanding as you study. Some might be more apt to teach but all believers can understand.

The Question

3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

The disciples asked in plain understandable language when and what will be the sign of his coming and the end of the age. Some believe the “end of the age” means the end of all things on earth but that is not what is said. It is wrong to insert meaning not supplied in the context. The end of the age and the return of Christ are the same. One does not need a method to understand this.

Warning about impostors

4 And Jesus answered them, See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray."

He began his answer with a warning. The command to his disciples was to not let anyone lead them astray but warned them that many would come calling themselves the Christ and many would follow them.

Many in the past 2 millennia have claimed to be Christ, the Messiah, and many false teachers have claimed to represent him. Why will they follow a fake?

(2 Timothy 4:3 – 4)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Some use the name of Jesus but deny his word and his works. Their message is God wants everyone to always be happy, healthy and wealthy; God is eagerly waiting to give them whatever they imagine. Their motive is money to fund their lavish lifestyle. Their modus operandi is to speak soothing but false words to their hearers. They omit the message of true faith in Christ; repentance from sin is necessary and persecution comes to all whose faith is genuine.

(Luke 13:3)
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

(2 Timothy 3:12)
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”

(2 Peter 2:18 – 19)
18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error.
19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

Their end is foreordained and certain.

(2 Peter 2:1)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” Their destruction will arrive swiftly and they will join others in the lake of fire.

(Revelation 20:15)
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

All who follow false christs will be overcome by Satan.

(John 10:12)
He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

(Revelation 13:5 – 8)
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,
8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”
It is not necessary to know who or what is the identify of the “beast” in order to understand that he will hate Christians and kill many of them.

False indicators

6 "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains."

As pains precede birth so will these events precede Christ’s return. History is replete with the constancy of war among nations. Killing of others began with Cain and continues to this day. Countless millions have died in battle and yet there is no peace on earth only more wars and rumors of war.

Some believe this present age is the reign of Christ on earth and will be characterized by increasing peace and righteousness. Evasive and deceptive theological tactics cannot dismiss or alter the plain language Jesus used. No peace.

Some appear to savor the news of war or rumors of such between nations thinking this heralds the imminent return of our Lord but the Lord said, “but the end is not yet.” Jesus warned his disciples that wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes do not presage his immediate return.

Some are captivated by such rumors as they pertain to the present day nation of Israel. They view political Israel as distinct and different from the church and wrongly apply scriptural passages clearly meant for all who belong to Christ. Wars and rumors of war in the middle east are not indications of the Lord’s immediate return rather these and other events are only the beginning of events prior to his return.

Persecution of believers

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake."

For over 2000 years believers throughout the world have been persecuted and killed for their faith in Christ. In my lifetime (1943) there has been a pronounced increase in the hatred of Christians in the USA where previously we were well tolerated. Religious radicals in many places are enslaving and killing Christians today. The description the Lord gives is a solemn warning for believers living on earth and it certainly is at odds with those who believe the present era is Christ reigning on earth. Neither does it fit with the idea that the world will become more righteous before the Lord’s return.

(2 Timothy 3:12 – 13)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

The world is not getting better during these last days? The hatred of Christ and his church is growing. Evil is increasing and deceived impostors abound in deceiving many.

Betrayal of believers

10 "And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.”

Many fall away because the gospel message falls on those whose eyes are blinded by Satan so they cannot believe. Some cannot develop root because they have only an emotional experience of the flesh but have not received the gift of faith. Some hear with joy but are not willing to take up the cross and follow Jesus through persecution and death thus they fall away.

Those who belong to Christ have a good root in the vine which is Christ the Lord. We will live forever in the glorious presence of the Lord. Physical death to the believer is only a joyfully entrance into Christ’s presence.

Jesus used symbolic language to teach the truth that not all who hear the gospel will be saved.

(Matthew 13:18 – 23),
18 Hear then the parable of the sower:
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,
21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

(John 15:5)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

The use of a parable does not mean that the truth taught was not genuine truth. Jesus used a simile or analogy so those who hear would understand clearly the truth presented.

Today entire denominations are betraying Christ, other believers and the faith once for all delivered to the saints. This includes evangelical and reformed. They deny and reject scriptural teaching that homosexuality is an abomination to God and under divine condemnation. Some homosexuals claim to be Christians and those church organizations who receive them give succor to those whom God has condemned.

(Romans 1:32),
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

These denominations have perverted the gospel and Bible truth in general. They continue their decline into apostasy by welcoming and comforting those whom God calls an abomination and who live under his condemnation. They will continue to fall all the way into the fire of eternal damnation.

God will judge both, the homosexuals and those who give them a covering of religious and cultural respectability.

(Romans 2:8)
but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”

True believers should turn away from such people and institutions as commanded by Paul.

(2 Timothy 3:5)
having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

These evil individuals and institutions actually hate Christ and all who remain steadfast in their faith and in defense of sound doctrine. Their god is fashioned from within their own sin filled mind after their own likeness. The god they worship is not the God of Abraham. The redeemed of the Lord are hated and rejected when they speak the truth of the living God.

False prophets

11 "And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray."

(1 John 4:1)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Some today say they have a revelation from God, a word of faith. They make statements such as “you have the same DNA as Jesus”. As Satan’s servants they speak and do his will.

(Genesis 3:4),
But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.”

God said to Adam, you will die if you eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan added “not” to what God had said and completely changed the meaning God intended. The account of Adam’s sin serves as a stark warning to all who purport to represent Christ but change the plain meaning of God’s word and make it seem to mean something else; who claim to know the mind of God while they are awash in the devil’s work. It also serves as a solemn reminder to those who actually do teach God’s word. Changing the meaning of God’s word to agree with a particular theological position is to mimic Satan and endanger one’s soul.

(2 Timothy 2:15)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

False teachers are leading and accompanying the spiritually dead to eternal death. They claim to be ministers of God but live in obscene luxury when Jesus declared that he, the son of man, had nowhere to lay his head. They falsely use the name of Jesus Christ to enrich themselves with worldly goods and enjoyment rather than seek the righteousness of God in Christ. Jesus said they have their reward.

Christ has been given all power thus he will sit in judgment while they occupy the defendant’s dock. Mercy will only come to those whose names are written in the book of life.

(Matthew 6:31 – 33)
31 "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’"
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Not included among “all these things”, are large lavish homes filled with luxurious furnishing and fine art or garages filled with luxury autos or a private airport with personal jets.

(Psalms 37:1 – 2)
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.”

We should not be anxious regarding them for their judgment is certain and their false teachings and claims that they do God’s work will not save them.

(Matthew 7:22 – 23)
22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?
23 And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Wickedness increases

12 "And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
13 “But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

The world is now lawless and will become more lawless instead of better. To say that Christ is now reigning on earth is to deny the very words of Jesus. Satan is now the god of this world. Demas was an example of those who love the world more than Christ.

(2 Timothy 4:10)
For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”

(1John 2:15 – 17)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

We are living in the “last days” according to Acts 2:16 – 20. The last days are characterized by Paul.

(2 Timothy 3:1)
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.”

The word translated “difficulty” implies fierce or furious times in the last days. The KJV translates it as “perilous”. The word is used twice in the New Testament. In Matthew 8 it is translated fierce. These are fierce times in the last days. These days are not filled with righteousness and peace.

(Matthew 8:28)
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.”

The love of some will conform to the coldness of the world and draw away from the warm embrace of the savior’s love. Those who continue and abide in Christ, by God’s grace, are those whom God has chosen and called to be his. God’s elect will endure.

(John 6:37)
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

(Hebrews 5:9, KJV)
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”.

(Hebrews 12:2, KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus is both the beginning and the end of our eternal salvation. God created salvation and he will complete it. Romans 8:31 – 36 teaches us that we cannot be separated from the love of God.

End of the age comes

14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."

Compare the words spoken by Jesus to those written by John.

(Revelation 14:6)
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.”

Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom must be proclaimed in the whole world then will come the end of the age. John wrote in Revelation that an angel will proclaim the eternal gospel to every nation, tribe and language.

Is this “eternal gospel” the same as the gospel we know? The words of Paul.

(Galatians 1:8, KJV), “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

The gospel which Paul preached, the gospel of the kingdom which Jesus preached and the eternal gospel proclaimed by the angel in Revelation 14 are references to the one and only gospel. Dispensation theology wrongly claims the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of God are not the same. When the gospel is proclaimed throughout the whole world then the age will end.

Certain visible, real and notable events will occur before Christ returns. Thus his coming is not immediate.

The “end” in verse 14 is contextually related to the question of when is the end of the age” in verse 3. It does not say the end or culmination of earth but “the age”. Some believe this means the present earth and heavens will be destroyed by fire at the time of Christ’s return. The Bible does teach that the heavens and earth that now exist will be destroyed by fire. This passage does not say this destruction will happen at the time of Christ’s return in the clouds. To add meaning not supplied in the context or change the meaning of words and violate context is wrong. Even worse it is fraught with eternal danger for those who practice it.

Abomination of Desolation

15 "So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,
18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!
20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath."

(Daniel 11:31)
Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate.”

Some believe the Roman general Titus was the fulfillment of the prophesy in Daniel and Titus’ destruction constituted the “great tribulation”. Titus’ legions did in fact lay waste to the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD. The view that Titus’s destruction was the great tribulation is based primarily on the writings of Josephus, a Jewish historian who recorded the destruction of Jerusalem. The writings of Josephus are not God breathed scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) and should never be used as the foundation of doctrine.

Titus’ destruction was definitely not the “great tribulation” as we will see later in verse 29 where Christ’s return is "Immediately after the tribulation of those days”. Since Jesus’ return is after “the tribulation of those days” and Jesus did not return after Titus’ destruction of Jerusalem then “the tribulation of those days” did not occur in 70 AD and was not the “great tribulation”.

Avoid any method of interpretation that confuses these clear plain words regarding the correlation between the great tribulation and the return of the Lord. There is no allegory here.

Paul wrote to warn of those who lie about the coming of the Lord.

(2 Thessalonians 2:1 – 12)
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,
2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Paul writes to clarify “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him” and dispel the lie that the Lord Jesus had already come. “the coming of our Lord” in verse 1 is contextually the same as “that day” in verse 3. Paul clearly says “that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” The day of the Lord’s return will not happen until the rebellion and the son of destruction are revealed. Clearly Paul expected his hearers to witness these events. If these events have not occurred then Jesus hasn’t returned. The man of lawlessness, the son of destruction is opposed to Christ.

Some insert a third individual, the Holy Spirit, into this text and claim he is restraining the Lord’s return. They contend the church must be removed so that the indwelling Holy Spirit won’t continue to hinder. They claim the church will be removed by a secret rapture thereby removing the one (Holy Spirit) who hinders. This ignores plain reading and adds meaning and words not supplied in the text. This is nonsensical false interpretation. God the Holy Spirit and God the son are not at war with each other. The Holy Spirit does not restrain Jesus Christ the son of God. To believe this is to believe a lie.

The Lord Jesus Christ and the son of destruction are the only two individuals mentioned in the context. The antecedent for “he who now restrains” in verse 7 is “the man of lawlessness - - the son of destruction” in verse 3. Therefore the restrainer is the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction whom Christ will destroy upon his return. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this text. Wrongly inserting new words and meaning into a context will produce a false conclusion. No human wisdom needed here only a simple plain reading of the text aided by the Holy Spirit.

(John 14:26)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

In his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul addressed the lie proclaimed by some that Christ had already returned. Paul reminded the Thessalonians that the day of Christ’s return wasn’t past and not immediate because certain events must precede his return. There will be recognizable events preceding his return and believers will see these and know his coming is near.

Tribulation unequaled in all history

21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be."

For” (because) “then” (at that time) is contextually directly connected to verses 15 through 20 which begins with “When you see” in verse 15. The appearance of the abomination of desolation precedes the great tribulation. Titus can be characterized as an abomination for the utter destruction he brought to Jerusalem but his 70 AD destruction does not fit the time line given here therefore someone other than Titus is meant. Someone far worse than Titus is coming. This time line agrees well with the “man of lawlessness” “the son of destruction” of 2 Thessalonians 2.

The severity of this tribulation has never been known before nor will it ever be known again. The local destruction by Titus was extremely severe but it cannot be compared in scope or severity to the great tribulation. When attempting to support the idea that Titus’ destruction constituted the great tribulation some forget that the communists under Mao Zedong killed a minimum of 40 to 80 million people including more Christians than the total number killed by Titus’ legions. Imagine killings on a scale larger than Mao Zedong and you can grasp the severity of the great tribulation. This tribulation will be worldwide.

The great tribulation will be a time of danger and death for Christians. A great multitude will die for their faith in Christ but physical death is not their end for God shall receive them.

(Revelation 7:13 – 14)
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?
14 I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

(Revelation 20:4 – 5)
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.”

Tribulation will be cut short

22 "And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."

The great tribulation will be cut short otherwise no human would survive but for the sake of God’s elect those days will be shortened. This plainly demonstrates this to be worldwide tribulation not just Judah and Jerusalem. It is also plain and evident that the elect are still on the earth since it is cut short for their sake. The elect have not been secretly “raptured” as some falsely teach.

Christians will go through the great tribulation and many will be killed during the time.

(Revelation 6:10 – 11)
10 They cried out with a loud voice, O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

Notice their body had been killed but they remained alive in heaven. The body dies but the spirits of those who believe in Christ will never die. This is not an allegory as assumed by some and no method of classification or interpretation is needed to understand this other than plain reading and acceptance of scripture.

Warning about false reports of Christ's return

23 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it."
24 "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect."

“Then” connects this verse with the verses before which teach us of the great tribulation. False messiahs and prophets will be present during this time and will perform great sighs and wonders that will lead astray those who are not elect. The elect cannot be led astray because God preserves them. The elect will recognize these false wonder workers. There are many following such people today and without the grace of God they will perish along with the false teachers.

(Revelation 13:11 – 17)
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.
13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,
14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,
17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.”

Fire from heaven also occurred in the book of Job. I include this so you won’t think Revelation is an isolated event and hard to believe.  Satan destroyed all Job had including his family. Fire came from the sky and burned up his sheep and the servants who attended them.

(Job 1:16)
While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

The account in Job was a literal event as are the verses quoted above from Revelation. Satan works wonders and so will his false prophets. The purpose is to lead the unbelieving world astray. I do not subscribe to mystic imagination in understanding scripture.

Warning about a secret return of Christ

25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.

Everyone will see Jesus return so there will not be a need to tell others that he has come or point to his location. Some teach a secret return of Jesus for his saints.  Jesus said when he comes he will not be found in the inner rooms which indicates a private or secret place.

Not a single word, verse or passage of scripture teaches a secret coming of Christ. He came visibly and openly in his first advent and so it shall be with his return. Jesus said, do not believe it.” The writer in Hebrews expressly declares that Christ “will appear a second time” to save those who eagerly await his coming. He will appear visibly not secretly.

(Hebrews 9:28)
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

The secret rapture belief results from being shackled to a system of interpretation. The same is true of those who say the thousand years of Revelation 20 really does not mean thousand and refuse to accept the first resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the wicked dead are different events. Both are chained to a system of interpretation that causes them to reject what is plain and obvious. Both think themselves to be correct. Both insert mystic imagination into their view of Christ's return. Both base doctrine upon their assumptions. Their wrong assumptions lead them to wrong conclusions. 

Amillennialism is nothing less than saying God did not mean what he said to John; that when John wrote "the revelation of Jesus Chris" he did not mean what he said.  Dispensational millennialism is a misunderstanding of the nature of the new covenant that has replaced the old covenant.  Also they misunderstand who are the true descendants of Abraham who inherit the promises made to him.  I can relate to misunderstanding but simply cannot relate to nor accept denying God's word.  I do not know everything about events which occur from the time when Jesus returns in the clouds to gather his elect and when the new Jerusalem descends from heaven.  However I do know that those who deny God's plain words are liars who cover their lies by saying they use "a different method of interpretation".  Satan used a "different method of interpretation" when he changed the meaning of God's words and lied to Adam and Even and he is still using it today.  Dispensational millennialism is a misunderstanding.  Amillennialism is a lie.

(Proverbs 21:2)
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

(Acts 1:9 – 11)
9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
11 and said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Why would anyone believe in a secret return given the weight of scripture which plainly declares otherwise? Complete submission and obedience to a system of theology or method of interpretation causes blindness. Avoid the blindness by simply believing the plain truth of God’s word.

Jesus was visibly and bodily taken up into the clouds of heaven. He will return a “second time” with power and great glory visibly and bodily in the clouds of heaven.

Christ’s coming will be visible to human eyes

27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."
28 "Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."

The coming of Christ will be as visible as the lightning which lights the heavens. It will be as noticeable as a group of vultures who gather to feed upon a corpse. It will not and cannot be hidden or secret.

Christ will return after the Tribulation

29 "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 heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, 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."

Some interpret verse 30 allegorically. They change the son of man coming into the coming of the church. This is adding and taking away from the text on a grand scale. This view ignores the plain meaning of the words Jesus himself, “immediately after the tribulation of those days __________they will see the Son of Man coming”. Nothing in the language or context warrants an allegorical interpretation of these words. It is plainly stated that “they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” How much clearer and plain can it be? To believe otherwise is to deny the words of Christ. Blind adherence to a system of theology or method of interpretation can cause blindness and is fraught with eternal danger.

the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” The sun moon and stars are sometimes used to symbolize real people and real events. Remember Joseph's dreams.

Luke 21:25 – 28)
25 And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

When Christ died, rose and ascended the following literal events occurred.

(Matthew 27:45)
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.”

(Matthew 27:50 – 53)
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

(Mark 15:33 – 37)
33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, Behold, he is calling Elijah.
36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.
37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”

(Luke 23:44 – 46)
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! And having said this he breathed his last.”

(Luke 24:1 – 7)
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

(Acts 1:3)
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”

(Acts 1:9), “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”

Strange, visible recognizable events occurred when Jesus died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.

When he died there was darkness over the whole land for several hours; the earth shook and rocks were split in half; the curtain that covered the entrance to the most holy place in the temple was torn in half from top to bottom, some saints were resurrected and appeared in the holy city. These events symbolize religious changes but they were actual literal events.

When Jesus rose from the dead unusual and visible events were experienced by some.

When Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1 visible events were seen by many.

When Jesus returns unusual events are foretold described as “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken”.

These words could symbolize the death of the son of destruction, the end of his rule and with him will go his minions and Satan’s powers will be shaken and he will be bound and placed in the bottomless pit but not yet cast into the lake of fire (sun, moon and stars). Unusual events will take place such as the events at his death, resurrection and ascension.

But more than just symbolic events are indicated in Luke 21:25 – 26.
25 And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Unusual events in the heavens will cause anguish and hearts failing on earth because of the roaring of the sea and the waves. This indicates literal disturbances causing fear among people about what is coming on the world.

If you look to me or anyone to give you an absolute and complete understanding of all these things then you will be disappointed because I am unable and neither can anyone else. We know the antichrist will be revealed before Christ comes and Christ will destroy him and his government and the devil will be bound. From Revelation we see much distress among the inhabitants of the earth and the earth itself. When Jesus comes we will know completely.

The gathering

31 "And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

When he comes “immediately after the tribulation of those days” his elect will be gathered to him. Paul’s account is remarkably similar to the Lord’s description.

(1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18)
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

There is a sequence of events detailed in this context. “will not precede” and “Then” indicates a chronological sequence of events. First those dead in Christ will be raised from the grave. “Then” those alive in Christ will be gathered. One event is after the other event. If one disbelieves the first and second resurrection as detailed in Revelation 20 and instead believes in a single or general resurrection then the wicked dead are raised to life before living believers are gathered at Jesus’ coming. The Bible refers to those who are blessed in the “first resurrection” but “the rest of the dead” are resurrected after the one thousand years so there will be two separate resurrections.

(1 Corinthians 15:23 – 24)
23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.”

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul discusses the resurrection of the dead. You can read the entire context. In verse 23 Paul explicitly (remember the Spirit speaks expressly or precisely) declares there is an order or succession of events in the resurrection. First Christ was raised, then those who belong to him at his coming. The rest of the dead will be resurrected after the one thousand years of Revelation 20 and then comes the end.

The resurrection of the wicked dead is not mentioned in Matthew 24, 1 Corinthians 15 or 1 Thessalonians 4. The dead in Christ will be resurrected first as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The first resurrection of Revelation 20 is of those who are his at his coming. Remarkable agreement between these different contexts.

Also note that Christ will bring with him those who have fallen asleep (died) in him before his coming. The dead in Christ will rise first and their spirits which are with the Lord will be joined to their glorified body. Jesus said those who believe in him will never die because their spirit will live with him even though their body has died. Therefore it is stated “God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

When the elect are gathered to their Lord our salvation with all the promised blessings bestowed will be complete and our eternal home will be with him. We shall never want nor suffer again throughout eternity.

(John 5:28 – 29)
28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

Jesus taught all dead humans will come from the grave. However he drew a distinction between the the resurrection of life” and the resurrection of judgment” “The” and “and” plainly indicate a distinction or difference between the two. We see in Revelation a separation of the resurrection of life and the resurrection of the rest of the dead and that appears to be what Jesus indicated here in John 5. Remember Paul’s explicit statement in 1 Corinthians 15 that there is an order or succession of events in the resurrection.

I believe these texts are related and there will not be a general resurrection of all the dead at one time but two distinct and separate resurrections. According to Revelation 20 there will be one thousand years between the two resurrections. This was the view of the early church and was taught by early church fathers and recorded by John. Assuming that there will be a general or only one resurrection does not prove the assumption to be true. False assumptions produce false conclusions.

(Luke 14:14), “and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

In this passage Jesus was a dinner guest instructing his host about who should be invited to a feast. Jesus refers to “the resurrection of the just.” as distinct. This agrees with the plain reading of the dead in Christ will rise first.” in verse 16 of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and (Revelation 20:5), “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” Assuming that “the thousand years” means something other that “the thousand years” does not prove the assumption to be true.

It is wrong to add words or remove words from the text. Changing the definition of words to give them a completely different meaning is equal to adding or removing words. It is a very dangerous practice and those who practice it live in danger. It is always wrong to assume facts not in evidence. False assumptions produce false conclusions.

(Revelation 22:18 – 19)
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

Below is a description of the first resurrection by one who holds the amillennial view.

(https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/838/what-is-the-first-resurrection) “The "first resurrection" refers to a spiritual resurrection in which the martyred saints come to life in heaven to reign with Christ during the present age.” This statement is nonsensical. The writer refers to “saints” so evidently he is speaking of Christians who have been killed.

To “come to life in heaven” is a contradiction of the words of Jesus. The person quoted assumes Revelation 20 is allegorical. He then assumes upon his previous assumption that a spiritual resurrection occurs during this age. Assuming on an assumption is really really bad theology but it does fit his view of the end times which is a system of theology to which he is chained and imprisoned.

(John 11:25 – 26)
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

You must believe the words of the Lord Jesus or those of a person who changes the word of God to fit his preconceived views of Christ’s return. Believe Christ.

Those who believe in Christ never die so how could they “come to life in heaven”? Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The body dies but the spirit remains alive and goes to be with the Lord. So how can a living spirit “come to life” or have a “spiritual resurrection”? A spiritual resurrection (passing from death to life) is necessary before a person can enter heaven.

(I John 3:14)
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

How can a person who has already experienced a “spiritual resurrection” die physically and their spirit goes to heaven and there experience a second “spiritual resurrection” and in what universe could this be called the “first resurrection”?

This interpretation results from using a method invented by the pagan Greeks who created and used the allegorical method to find hidden meanings instead of the actual meaning plainly given in the text. This method of interpretation was used to arrive at this bizarre conclusion and should be avoided because it nullifies plain reading and invents absurd meanings other than normal meaning.  This pagan method of interpretation is wrong and should never be used.

How twisted and confused an interpretation can become if one invents a hidden allegorical meaning to construct dissimilar parts to fit into the jig saw puzzle that constitutes one’s own complex theological view. Mixing different methods of interpretation brings nonsensical results. Using the normal method of interpretation on all scripture will yield a consistent, understandable and accurate result.

(Revelation 1:5 -7)
5 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

The lesson of the fig tree

32 "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.
33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."

Jesus said to learn. He used an analogy of the fig tree to teach that his coming is near. The fig tree becomes tender and puts out leaves then you know that summer is near. The nearness of his coming can be known from events that will occur prior to his return as you know summer is near when the fig tree puts on leaves. If these events have not happened then his coming is not yet. When the events described by Jesus happen then his coming is imminent or “at the gates”. This is an analogy not an allegory.

Christ says “this generation” will not pass until all these things take place”. Some teach the generation spoken of by Jesus was the generation in which Jesus lived while on earth therefore all these things have already happened. This interpretation avoids the obvious plain reading of the text by ignoring the context especially the words immediately preceding. The words “this generation” is that generation “when he is near, at the very gates”. The generation living when his coming draws near will see the fulfillment of all these events. Any other interpretation is misleading at best an a lie at worst. The events Jesus described to his disciples will occur within one generation; that generation living as his return draws near.

The day and hour of Christ’s Return is unknown

36 "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,
39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

These verses follow the lesson of the fig tree which teaches that events portend the time of his appearing is near. Verse 36 begins with “but concerning that day” to distinguish “near” from “that day and hour”. The nearness of his return can be known; “he is near, at the very gates” but only the father knows “that day and hour”.

Benjamin Creme predicted that Jesus would return on Monday, 21 June 1982. It didn’t happen. Harold Camping predicted Jesus would return May 27, 2012 but when Jesus didn’t appear he set May 18, 2013 as the new date. It didn’t happen. Avoid anyone who says he is coming on a certain date for these people are false teachers and liars. Also avoid those who claim his coming can be expected at any moment because they ignore the very teaching of Jesus about events leading up to him coming.

Jesus said that society at the time of his coming will be like that in Noah’s time. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark” The cultural activities of the world continued without interruption until the day entered the ark. Sin will be pervasive.

Noah preached righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) for at least 100 years yet no one except his family believed his words. Society ignored the continued warnings of Noah and remained “unaware” until Noah went into the ark, the rains began and everyone, except those in the ark, were destroyed by the flood.

Such will be the circumstances of the world at the day and hour of the Lord’s return. It will be life as usual for the world. The elect will know Jesus “is near, at the very gates” but not the day and hour of his coming. The world will be caught “unaware” as if by a thief in the night because they haven’t believed the truth of God’s word. It will be a complete shock to a world that hates Christ and his church and has ignored those who preach righteousness.

Some taken others left

40 "Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.
41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left."

God’s elect will be resurrected and taken up to be with the Lord. Nothing in this context mentions the resurrection of the wicked dead. It will be a glorious time for the elect but devastating to those left behind on earth.

His coming should engender believers to be alert and faithful.

2 "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."
43 "But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into."
44 "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?"
46 "Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes."
47 "Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions."
48 "But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’"
49 "and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards,"
50 "the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know"
51 "and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Our Lord will return as he promised. Christ commands that we “stay awake” for we “must be ready” as faithful servants when he returns. He will reward the faithful. Are we faithful servants who will be found awake and ready when he returns?

(2 Peter 1:10 – 11)
10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

(Revelation 22;7 – 14)
7 And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,
9 but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.’
10 And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.’
12 Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.”

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Charles Wesley 1739

Home      Beliefs      Contact Us      God's Love     When Death Comes     Faith Alone      Spirit or Wisdom?      Spirit or Tradition? 

  Jesus' return different views part 1      Jesus' return hermeneutics part 2      Jesus' return history of 1st advent part 3      

Jesus' return part 4       Who is Your God?      Christ or Caesar?       Will God Accept You?      Audio Recording     Church Music

©2019 - 2020 thegospelworks.org  All rights reserved