The Bible talks about Christ’s second coming or His return and how it will relate to believers, the church, which is His body, and those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming again to uphold the church and judge the enemies of God. It is a vast and deep subject! I invite you to search out the Scriptures concerning His second coming for yourself. Remember, it is at hand, near and He is coming soon (which can mean quickly or unexpectedly), but the time is unknown (Matthew 24:33, 36; 1 Peter 4:7; James 5:8; Revelation 22:12).
I will generally discuss these subjects that pertain to His second coming, signs of the times, and the judgment of God. In the end, my main point is that you can be ready and waiting for Christ’s return, knowing that you will spend eternity with Him! Christ’s victory is final, and those who follow Him, overcome and endure to the end will be with Him forever (Matthew 24:13; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26 – 28; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7). We need to live our lives as if eternity matters because it does. What we do now and the choices we make will impact eternity and determine our destiny forever. We matter to God. He loves us and wants to spend now and forever with us!
Because we are spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23), everyone’s spirit and soul live forever, whether in heaven or hell, when our body dies (Matthew 10:28). No one ceases to exist when he dies. There will be a resurrection of the dead, some to eternal life and some to eternal suffering and punishment (Revelation 20:11 – 14). How do we receive everlasting life? It is not something that begins when you go to heaven. Eternal life is knowing God intimately and is something that you can have right now through Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 5:24).
Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will spend eternity in heaven with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear death because Jesus defeated death, hell, and the grave and gives us everlasting life. We will spend eternity with Him (1 Corinthians 15: 20-28; 50-58; Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 1:18). To be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
But those whose names are not found there or are blotted out will be cast into the lake of fire, the second death, and tormented in hell for eternity (Revelation 20:14 – 15; 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 13:42, 50; 25:41, 46). God created the lake of fire for the devil and the angels that fell with him. Those that choose to follow Satan will be sent there as well (Matthew 25:41). Blotting out a name occurs when the believer has permanently turned from God and faith in Jesus Christ (James 5:19 – 20; Proverbs 21:16; 1 John 5:16; Hebrews 6:4 – 6).
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 (NKJV)
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 (NKJV)
And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 (NKJV)
Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Stay with me to find out how to be sure your name is there!
Jesus is Coming Back
After Jesus ascended into heaven, two angels told the disciples that in the same way Jesus went up into heaven, He would also return (Acts 1:10 – 11). During His ministry, Jesus had told His disciples about going to the Father and coming back again. (John 14:1-4). His second coming will not be in secret, but everyone on earth will see the glorious return of our blessed hope (Matthew 24:4 – 5; 24 – 27; 30 – 31; Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:7). He will physically return to the earth with His saints and establish God’s kingdom as King after conquering Satan (Zechariah 14:4 – 5, 9; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Revelation 11:15; 16:15 – 17; 17:14). He is coming as a thief in the night for those who are not watching and waiting for His return. This Day should not overtake us as a thief because we are sons of light and sons of the day, not of the night or darkness.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you, yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “peace and safety!” then suddenly destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1 – 11 (NKJV)
Why is Jesus Coming Back?
The first time Jesus came was to save the world, and the second time will be to judge the world and repay everyone for what he has done (Matthew 16:27; John 3:17; 12:47; Romans 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 20:12-13). Why is He taking so long to return? He is allowing everyone to repent, to change their mind about God, and to turn to Him from their sin. His longsuffering is for our salvation (1 Timothy 2:3-4). It also delays His return when we don’t preach the Gospel and carry out the commission He gave us (Matthew 24:14; 28:19 – 20).
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8 – 9 (NKJV)
When is Jesus Coming Back?
Jesus said that no man would know the hour of His return, but we can know when it is near because of the signs of the times and season (Matthew 24:32-36; 25:13). It will be as the days of Noah were before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. (Matthew 24:37 – 44).
At the beginning of sorrows, there will be many who will come in His name to deceive, saying, ‘I am the Christ’ (the anointed one) and false prophets who will arise and deceive many. We will hear of wars and rumors of wars and nation will rise against nation. There will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All countries will hate and kill His followers for His name’s sake. Lawlessness will abound, and the love of many will grow cold.
We are in the last of the last days. The Greek word translated pestilence also means a plague. We can see this through the plague of locusts occurring in Africa earlier this year, and the COVID – 19 virus pandemic. But there is good news! All the world will hear the Gospel as a witness to all the nations. and then the end will come (Matthew 24:4-14).
Before Christ returns, there will be a falling away among believers, and in these latter times, some will depart from the faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1). We are to keep His commandments that show we love Him (John 14:15, 21-24; 1 John 5:3; Deuteronomy 13:1-3) and keep our love fresh (Jude 21). We do not need to be fearful. He can save and keep us as we walk with Him. . He who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).
I was once afraid of being deceived in these latter times and walking away from the Lord. The Lord reassured me that by staying in His Word, the mature would be able to distinguish between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). The Word is truth and light (John 17:17; Psalm 119:105), and when you hide the Word in your heart, truth reigns there, and you will be able to know the difference between good and evil and truth and the lies of the enemy. The enemy tries to deceive with partial truth. But as believers, we have the Holy Spirit within us, and He is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). Ask the Lord for wisdom, and He will guide you (James 1:5; Hosea 14:9).
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. Jude 24 – 25 (NKJV)
There will be great tribulation, and then Jesus Christ will come (Matthew 24:3-31; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Revelation 19:11 – 21). We are to be watching and looking for the return of Jesus (Matthew 25:1 – 13). The devil is seeking to distract humankind from understanding the signs and closeness of His coming.
Before Jesus establishes His kingdom on the earth, He will come for His church. There is a difference between the coming of Christ to Rapture the church versus His coming to the earth to reign. Those who are alive will be caught up together in the clouds with those who have fallen asleep and meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever. The bodies of believers, whether dead or alive, will be resurrected and glorified. The word “rapture” refers to this event but is not in the Bible. It is translated from the Greek word, harpazo, meaning to seize, caught, away, up (Strong’s concordance #726). The Rapture is different from when Jesus returns and steps foot on the earth at His second coming.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this, corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51 – 53 (NKJV)
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this, we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18 (NKJV)
There are different theories and interpretations of Scripture when the Rapture will happen. Some believe it could happen before or after the tribulation or before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth. Pre-tribulation is before it starts (Daniel 9:27). Post tribulation is at the end of the age. The Rapture of the church occurs then immediately comes back with Christ to the earth. Prewrath would mean in the middle of the tribulation during the persecution by the Antichrist – (Matthew 24; 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 13), and before God’s wrath is poured out on the earth during the last three and one-half years called the Great Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4 & 5; Revelation 7 & 14).
I believe the church will be taken away and caught up to be with the Lord before the wrath of God comes upon the earth (1 Thessalonians 1:10). We have already escaped God’s wrath related to sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, who took the judgment and wrath of God upon Himself on the cross (Romans 5:9 – 10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). He paid the price and took our penalty. God, the Supreme Judge, has already declared “Not Guilty” for those who put their faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus will keep the faithful church who perseveres from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 3:10 – 13). So, we must persevere, endure, and overcome until the end!
I don’t know for sure when the Rapture will happen, but I do know that no matter what we go through, Jesus is with us as He promised (Matthew 28:20). We are not to be afraid of world events, but to look for the coming of our King, and continue to be good and faithful stewards by occupying until He comes by sharing the Gospel and bringing the kingdom of God to the earth (Luke 19:12 – 26).
What Happens After His Return?
After Jesus returns, there will be the Great White Throne judgment, where Christ will judge all those who rejected Him as their Savior during their life (Revelation 20:11-15; John 12:48 – 50; 5:22; Hebrews 4:13; 9:27; Romans 2:2, 16; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He is a just and righteous judge, and His decision is final (Psalm 7:11; 9:7 – 8; Isaiah 11:3-5; Daniel 7:9 – 10; Revelation 19:1 – 21)! You can only enter heaven if your name is in the Book of Life. Christians will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be judged for what they have done and receive their rewards (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 Corinthians 3:11 – 17; Revelation 11:18).
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21 – 23 (NKJV)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31 – 34, 41, 46 (NKJV)
There will be a new heaven and new earth when Christ establishes God’s kingdom. God will dwell with His people, be their God, and make all things new (Revelation 21:1 – 27).
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13 (NKJV)
Are You Ready for His Second Coming?
We must be spiritually prepared and watchful for His return (Philippians 3:20). The Bible is clear. Where a person spends eternity depends on how they view Jesus Christ. We must be born again to receive everlasting life to enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3 – 8; Matthew 22:1 – 14). God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him. Remember that heaven is heaven because God is there, and there is no unrighteousness allowed (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Psalm 1:5-6).
We can’t save ourselves or enter heaven through our works because they aren’t good enough, but only through the blood of Jesus and His finished work on the cross (Titus 3:5). Then we receive His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:9). We can’t keep the law, but we receive God’s gift of salvation by His grace through faith in Jesus (James 2:10; Ephesians 2:8 – 9). Jesus paid the price. We give Him our lives, and He becomes our life (John 1:4; 6:33, 48, 54; 10:10; 14:6; Romans 5:18; 1 John 5:11 -12). We are to count the cost of being His disciples (Luke 14:27 – 33). We are to lay down our lives and confess Jesus is our Lord (2 Peter 1:2 – 4). His grace empowers us to do this. It does not permit us to walk in sin but is the power to keep us from sinning (Romans 6:1-23).
When we know and have a revelation of what Christ has done for us through His death on the cross, it is easy to give our lives to Him. When we receive His love and forgiveness, we can extend love and forgiveness to others as well. Take all you are and have and lay it at His feet!
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24 – 27 (NKJV)
That if you confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9 – 10 (NKJV)
If you have never asked Jesus to forgive your sins and to be your Savior, you can do that right now. You can experience God’s love, peace, and reconciliation by the blood of Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him. Pray this suggested prayer out loud right now. You can also pray in your own words. Remember, it is not words or prayer alone that will save you. Prayer is a way to reach out to the Lord and must be done in faith (completely trusting in Him to save you). Christ will save you if you pray these or similar words in faith.
Your Word says that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. I ask You to forgive me for my sins. I repent of my sins, turn from them and turn to You. I am calling on You and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead, and He is alive today. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your healing power in my life. I now belong to You. Help me to live for You and obey You all the days of my life.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
If you prayed the prayer for salvation in faith, you are now a child of God, are in His family, and your name is now in the Lamb’s Book of Life (John 1:12; 3:36). Go to my website and check out some steps on how to grow in your relationship with Him! https://alexiscarucci.com/welcome-to-gods-family/
Jesus told us that we must be ready because we don’t know the exact hour when He will return (Mark 13:32; Luke 12:40; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). We are to stay awake, be wise, and to watch for His return (Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 3:3; 16:15).
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34 – 36 (NKJV)
Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and follow Him. No one can take them out of the Father’s or His hand (John 10:27 – 29). However, we can choose to walk or turn away from Him (Matthew 24:12 – 13), causing the removal of our name from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). There were followers and disciples in the ministry of Jesus that walked away and didn’t follow Him anymore. Judas, one of His chosen twelve, betrayed Him (John 6:53-71). Jesus said if we deny Him before men that He would deny us before the Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).
Only Jesus truly knows the heart of a man (1 Kings 8:39; Psalm 44:21; Psalm 139:2 – 23; Proverbs 21:2; John 2:23-25). He looks at the heart, not at our external actions (1 Samuel 16:7). But we should be able to see transformation as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Galatians 5:16 – 25). The renewing of our mind through the Word transforms us, and we are changed into His image by beholding His glory (Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 4:12). We should bear good fruit (Matthew 7:17 -20; John 15:1 – 8).
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)
We must guard our hearts because out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23; Psalm 19:14). We safeguard our hearts by hearing and acting on the Word of God (Romans 10:17; James 1:22 – 24). Don’t let your heart become hardened (Mark 4:13 – 20) or deceived (1 John 4:1; 1:8; Colossians 2:8; Romans 16:17 – 18; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 10 – 11; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 5:6) and leave your first love for the Lord (Revelation 2:1-7). Our first love is the love that Jesus gives us for God and each other (1 John 4:6 – 19; Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22). We are to be good stewards of what Christ has given us to do and to do the will of the Father (Matthew 24:45 – 51; 25:14 – 30).
I want to encourage you to get into the Word and hide it in your heart. Draw near to the Lord and spend time in prayer, worship, and fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Listen to the Holy Spirit and following His leading. Jesus tells us in Revelation chapters 2-3 to repent, return to our first love, do the first works, and don’t fear the things we are about to suffer. Don’t compromise with the devil and those following him. Strengthen what remains so that it doesn’t die, and buy from Him gold refined in the fire, white garments to clothe us and eye salve to anoint our eyes so that we may see.
Read through chapters 2-3 in Revelation to see what Jesus has promised to those who overcome! We are overcomers! He has given us the victory through His shed blood and the finished work on the cross! The power in the blood of Jesus and His resurrection belongs to us!
Jesus is coming back for a glorious church, His Bride, without spot, wrinkle or blemish but holy (Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:7 – 9; 21:2, 9 – 11), His Bride. He is preparing her, and we are longing to see our King! Not too long ago, I thought this didn’t seem like a possibility since there are so many things wrong with the church today. So much of the church looks like the world! But during this time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, I can see God doing a work in His body and drawing the church to repentance for the healing of our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
“Behold I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19 – 20 (NKJV)
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters and whoever loves and practices a lie. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright, and the Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:12 – 17 (NKJV)
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who called you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – 24 (NKJV)
Next week we will look at the Holy Spirit.