He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:20
I grew up hearing that only two things in life are certain; death and taxes. But there is something more certain than death and taxes. According to the Bible Jesus Christ is coming back soon to redeem His Church, execute judgement and rule and reign over the earth.
The Two Comings
The coming of the Lord is in two stages. The first coming is when Jesus comes for the Church to remove it out of the world before God pours out His wrath on the world in judgement. This is commonly referred to as the Rapture. The second coming occurs seven years later when Jesus comes back to earth with the Church to end the seven year Tribulation period and usher in the millennial kingdom.
What or Who is the Church?
There are essentially two different “Churches” in the world. The first Church is what I refer to as the “pseudo Church.” It consists of millions around the world who are “Christians” in name only, those who claim membership in the body of Christ yet have no real personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The second is the real Church, the one that Jesus is coming back for.
The Church that Jesus is coming back for has no recognizable name. Its members come from many different denominations and groups around the world. Although there are many differences among its members, they all have one thing in common – they have all called upon Jesus Christ for salvation. It’s not where you go on Sunday morning that determines your membership in the Church. Rather, it’s your relationship with Jesus Christ. If He is your saviour then you are a member of His Church.
Shock and Awe
At the coming of the Lord two things are going to happen that will shock the pseudo church that is left behind. First, there will be many left behind who thought they would be taken to heaven with the Church. Secondly, there will be those taken to heaven whom the pseudo church considered unworthy of heaven.
During the 1970′s there was a strong sense among Christians that the coming of the Lord was imminent. As such the Church pumped out volumes of sermons, songs and movies depicting the Rapture and the subsequent horror on earth for all those left behind. Their warnings were graphic and shocking, but I suspect that the actual Tribulation coming in the near future will be more horrendous than anyone can imagine. Jesus described it as:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Matthew 24:21
The Bible and history records the horrors that have, at times, engulfed the world. We read in Genesis of a time when sin was so rampant that God had to literally destroy every human being on the face of the earth, with the exception of Noah and his family. We have records of horrible diseases that have mutilated and killed millions upon millions. Since the beginning of time wars have raged all over the earth brutally and sometimes savagely killing millions of human beings. Yet Jesus describes the coming Tribulation as something worse than any horror that the earth has witnessed in the past.
A Blessing and a Curse
No doubt that some will see the Coming of the Lord as a curse. Within moments of His first coming the façade of the pseudo “Christians” and their pseudo “Church” will be lifted and the world will see them as they really are; whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness (Matthew 23:27). All the clerical prattle trying to explain away the sudden disappearance of millions of Christians will not change the fact that the true Christians have been removed from the earth and judgement has begun for those left behind.
On the other hand, the Coming of the Lord will be seen as a blessing, not only by those taken up to Heaven, but all of God’s creation (minus, of course, the humans left behind ). Seven years after the first coming Jesus will return and reign over the entire earth for 1,000 years after which the earth will be cleansed of sin and the effects of sin that have accumulated in the earth over the past 7,000 years. All of God’s creation will be redeemed and we will live eternally with Jesus and all of God’s children under a new Heaven and on a new earth.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.