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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 24

All About Christ’s Return
 

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We invite you to pray with us:

O Lord, 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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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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In our previous two lessons, we saw that the Bible assures us that Jesus will come a second time. According to the signs of the times as revealed in the Scriptures, this event is very near!

Now, let’s try to discover:

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




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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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First, Jesus was straightforward about the moment of His return: the day and hour of this great event is known only by the Father.

This fact alone is vital information when considering the confusing times that lie ahead.




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Acts 1:6,7

[The disciples] asked of [Jesus], saying,

«Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?»

And He said to them,

«It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.»

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Jesus warned us against the inclination to fix the date of His glorious return: that way, we will have no other choice but to be watchful.

Nevertheless, many have not followed Jesus’ advice and have suggested one date and another: all have failed.

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 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 the return of Jesus 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 the return of Jesus Christ 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 universal, visible event, not secret or local.

Never forget this very important point.




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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 it will be a universally visible return.




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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, our last question is: «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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Revelation 11:18

The nations were angry, and Your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should give reward to Your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.

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As we have studied in our Bible lessons, God has set up a plan of salvation for each of us.

God is Love, offering us this plan of salvation and leaving us free to accept it.

But God is also Justice, and therefore each one of us will have to bear the consequences of his choice.




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John 14:3

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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Matthew 24:31

And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

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Jesus offers us complete salvation, and a place in His eternal kingdom.

He will grant us this place at His glorious second coming.




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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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The only hope of the Christian is the return of his Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, Jesus Christ.




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Daniel 7:27

The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.

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In a future lesson, we will discover that the most wonderful thing that we could desire is to inherit eternal life, to live forever by Jesus’ side in the glorious city He is preparing for us: the New Jerusalem.




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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, the study of the Bible is essential, in order to know what God expects from each of us.

In fact, this is the reason for this Bible 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 pounds, Jesus clearly expressed that, while 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, in order to enthusiastically spread His message throughout the world.




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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?




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Let’s thank God for His help:

Our Almighty God,

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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