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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 80

The Return of Christ
 

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We invite you to pray with us:

Our Father,

What a wonderful hope You have given us through the promise of the imminent return of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Please help us, by Your Holy Spirit, to understand when, how and why this event will take place, so that the enemy may not deceive us in the last days.

May Your Word always be our only guide. In the precious name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 16:12,15

And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. (...)

«Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.»

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In our last lesson, we have seen that, when the seven plagues are poured out on the world, the people of God will go through a period of trouble and distress.

Fortunately, this period of distress will come to an end shortly after, at the return of Jesus.

What does the Word of God teach about this glorious event?




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John 14:1-3

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

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When Jesus told His disciples that He would leave them soon, they were greatly saddened.

However, He gave them this wonderful promise: one day, He will come a second time to gather His people!




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Numbers 23:19

God is not a man, that He should lie, neither the son of man, that He should repent.

Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?

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In fact, the first coming of Christ happened exactly as the prophets of the Old Testament had foretold.

So we can understand why the disciples never doubted the promise of their Master: the second coming of Jesus is truly as certain as the first one!




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The message of the Bible in three points




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Luke 17:24,25

For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven, so shall also the Son of man be in His Day.

But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

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The Old Testament contains many prophecies about Christ’s first coming, marked by His sufferings and death.

It also contains many prophecies about His second coming, marked by His glorious return.

The Jews did not understand this distinction, believing that at His first coming, Christ would deliver them from the Roman yoke, and establish His eternal kingdom.

This partly explains why they rejected Him.




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Let’s look at a few testimonies about the hope of Jesus’ return:

The testimony of Job:
«I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at the latter day on the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.» (Job 19:25,26)

The testimony of Enoch:
«And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all.”» (Jude verses 14 and 15)

The testimony of the psalmist:
«Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. “Gather My saints together to Me, those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”» (Psalm 50:3-5)




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Still other testimonies about the hope of Jesus’ return:

The testimony of Isaiah:
«The hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants, and His indignation toward His enemies. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.» (Isaiah 66:14,15)

The testimony of Daniel:
«At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which stands for the children of your people. (...) And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the Book.» (Daniel 12:1)

The testimony of the angels:
«Why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.» (Acts 1:11)

The testimony of Paul:
«The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire.» (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8)




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The disciples were hoping for this return, confirmed by Jesus Himself!

The testimony of James:
«Be you also patient. Establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.» (James 5:8)

The testimony of Peter:
«The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.» (2 Peter 3:10)

The testimony of John:
«And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.» (1 John 2:28)

The testimony of Jesus Himself:
«Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.» (Matthew 24:30)




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And the book of Revelation contains many references to Jesus’ return:

«Behold, He comes with clouds. And every eye shall see Him.» (Revelation 1:7)

«And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever!”» (Revelation 11:15)

«And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud One sat like to the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.» (Revelation 14:14)

«And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. And He that sat on him was called Faithful and True.» (Revelation 19:11)

«Behold, I come quickly. (...) And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (...) Surely I come quickly.» (Revelation 22:7,12,20)




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Matthew 24:3,4

And as [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying,

«Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?»

And Jesus answered and said to them,

«Take heed that no man deceive you.»

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So, the Word of God assures us that Jesus will come a second time.

Now, let’s try to discover:

- when Jesus will return;
- how He will return;
- and finally, why He will return.




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Daniel 12:12

Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

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Matthew 24:36,42

But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (...)

Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.

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As we have seen in the lesson «The 1335 Days», this prophecy from the book of Daniel, once understood, can reveal the year of Jesus’ return.

As for the rest, Jesus was straightforward: the day and the hour of this great event are known only by the Father.

Only the future will tell what God plans to do with the knowledge of the date of Jesus’ return.




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2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to Him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the Day of Christ is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means.

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In the time of the apostle Paul, some people were so anxious to see the Day of Jesus’ return that they assumed all the signs of the times had already been fulfilled...




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2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means.

For that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

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... but the apostle Paul cooled down the heated believers by reminding them that some events still had to take place before the return of Jesus.

Moreover, the signs of the times were far from being completely fulfilled yet.




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2 Peter 3:3,4

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying,

«Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.»

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At the opposite extreme, the Christian Church sank into an apathetic and indifferent attitude which will persist until the very last days.

People begin by doubting the reality of Christ’s promise to return, and soon no longer feel the need to prepare themselves for this great event.




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Luke 18:8

[Jesus said,]

«Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall He find faith on the earth?»

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Here is some food for thought.

Many Christians waited for Christ, but died before His return. Yet now that He is so close to coming, very few are truly waiting for Him.

And while some Christians imagined the signs of Jesus’ coming in Paul’s day, now that these signs surround us, very few seem to see them.




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Luke 21:28-31

«And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.»

And [Jesus] spoke to them a parable,

«Behold the fig tree, and all the trees. When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now near at hand.

So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand.»

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Although we cannot know the day and hour of Christ’s return, He invites us to recognize the signs announcing the imminence of this glorious Day.




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Hebrews 10:37

For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

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Therefore to the first question: «WHEN will Jesus return?», the Bible answers:

No one knows the day and hour, but by observing the signs of the times, we know that Jesus will return very soon.

Now, let’s look at our second question: «HOW will Jesus return?»




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Acts 1:11

This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.

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John 20:27

Then said [Jesus] to Thomas,

«Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.»

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Thomas did not see a ghost, but Jesus in the flesh!

Now, the angels tell us that Jesus will return exactly as He left.

So, the first characteristic of Jesus’ return is: a return in the flesh, personally and bodily.




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Luke 21:26,27

For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

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2 Thessalonians 1:7,8

The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire.

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The second characteristic of Jesus Christ’s return is: a glorious event, noisy and spectacular.




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Matthew 24:26,27,30

Why if they shall say to you, «Behold, He is in the desert!», go not forth; «Behold, He is in the secret chambers!», believe it not.

For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (...)

And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

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The third characteristic of the return of Jesus is: a universally visible event, not secret or local.

This point is really very important. Let’s never forget it.




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Revelation 1:7

Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him.

And all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.

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Revelation 6:16,17

And [they] said to the mountains and rocks,

«Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great Day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?»

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These verses confirm that the return of Jesus will be a universally visible event.




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1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

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.

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.

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Let’s note this: at His return, Jesus won’t touch the ground. His people will be caught up «in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air».

However, when Satan imitates Jesus’ return, he will come down on the earth among men.

This point alone would be sufficient to unmask this final deception of Satan.




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Luke 21:34,35

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that Day come on you unawares.

For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

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Finally, in addition to being a personal, corporal, glorious, noisy, spectacular and universally visible return, this great event will happen unexpectedly, suddenly.

This is why Jesus invites us to be always watchful.

And now, let’s look at our last question: «WHY will Christ return?»




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Daniel 2:44

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.

And the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

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The main goal of Christ’s return is the «restitution of all things» (Acts 3:21).

He will then establish an eternal kingdom which will be based on love and justice, where evil will be no more.

The Day of His return will truly be earth-shattering!




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Matthew 16:27

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels.

And then He shall reward every man according to his works.

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Revelation 22:12

And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

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When He returns, Jesus Christ will put an end to the disorder prevailing here on earth.

To do so, He will reward each one according to his works.

What, exactly, does Jesus mean by «rewarding every man according to his works»?




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Romans 2:6-8

[God] will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: but to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.

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God is Love, but He is also Justice.

His greatest desire is that each one of us inherit eternal life.

However, He can grant this reward only to those who follow Him with perseverance, and remain loyal to His will, putting their lives into His hands.




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Mark 13:35-37

Watch you therefore: for you know not when the Master of the house comes, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.

And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch.

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It’s not enough to know when, how and why Jesus will return: we must now seriously prepare ourselves for this great event.

To do so, studying the Bible is essential, in order to know what is the will of God for each one of us.

And this is the reason for this Bible prophecy study guide.




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2 Peter 3:11-13

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening to the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

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The apostle Peter understood the importance of a serious preparation, in order to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ.




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1 John 2:28

And now, little children, abide in Him, that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

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Conscientiously, prayerfully studying the Word of God, and then putting into practice what we learn, will keep us safe in Jesus Christ, so that we may not be deceived by the enemy’s snares.

For Satan always tries to lead us away from the truth.




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Luke 19:13

So [the nobleman] called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said to them,

«Occupy till I come.»

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In the parable of the minas, Jesus clearly expressed that, as we are waiting for His return, we must not remain idle!

On the contrary, we must seek to put our talents to use in God’s service, to enthusiastically spread His message of salvation throughout the world.




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Hebrews 9:28

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.

And to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation.

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2 Timothy 4:8

From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love His appearing.

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As we are working with perseverance in God’s harvest, the Bible invites us to cherish this glorious hope: the return of our Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, Jesus Christ.




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Matthew 24:44

Therefore be you also ready.

For in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.

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We want to be ready for the glorious Day of the second coming of Jesus Christ. How about you?

Before closing this section about the last days events, let’s draw a chronological table showing the sequence of these events, based on what we have learned so far in the Bible.




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Prophetic chronology of the events of the last days




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Let’s thank God for guiding us:

Our Lord,

You have given us clear indications about the return of Jesus, so that we may not be deceived in the last days.

But You also desire that we be ready for that great Day: this is why we thank You for offering us the help we need to properly prepare ourselves, and we know that in You, we will have victory.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.


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