The Awesome Second Coming of Christ
The Return of the King
from the New Testament and Mark 13:24-27
What are the biggest events in the last century? The market crash of 1929. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 that resulted in America’s entrance into World War 2. The Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963. The moon landing on July 20, 1969. Mount St. Helens exploding on May 18, 1980, the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986, or the terrorist attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001 . . . incredible events. But all of those moments pale in comparison to the biggest, front page, never to be forgotten event in all of history–the return of Jesus Christ.
Back in 1997, US News and World Report wrote this startling statistic–60% of Americans, including a third of those who never attend church, say they believe that Jesus will return to Earth someday. I’m sure that statistic has changed today, but the Spirit of God promised that every person alive intrinsically knows they are unrighteous because of their sin, and they will be judged by God. And Christ is coming again in glory to judge all humanity, then to rule this planet as the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords–the one supreme ruler over all. There will be no congress, no senate, no voting, no democracy, no United Nations–only Christ as King, the perfect, all-powerful, sovereign, totally just dictator.
This coming is different than the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture can occur any moment, initiating the beginning of the Tribulation–Christ will be in the air, snatch away his chosen bride in the twinkling of an eye to be with Him forever. But the Second Coming is when Christ physically touches down to Earth at the end of the Tribulation–when Christ, who is seen by every being on Earth, returns in glory with all His saints.
Is Christ’s return certain? What do you think? Jesus’ return is explicitly referred to 1,845 times in the Bible. The Second Coming of Christ is mentioned in 23 of the 27 New Testament books. Out of 260 New Testament chapters, there are 318 references to the Second Coming. Jesus’ Second Coming is mentioned eight times more than his first coming. For every one mention of the atonement in the Bible, there are two of Christ’s return. Jesus Himself refers to His own return 21 times in the Gospels. And . . . believers are exhorted over fifty times to get ready for the Second Coming.
So, before I exposit a biblical description of Christ’s Second Coming from Mark 13, let me take the bag off the lamp, and shed some light on this glorious event.
HOW will Christ return?
Read these passages with me, since the Bible is very clear.
*Christ will come PERSONALLY, literally and visibly
Christ will not send an Instagram, an email, or make a phone call–Christ Himself will personally come back to Earth to take over. He came as the Lamb to be slain for the sins of the world the first time, and now He returns to rule this world. Christ veiled His glory at His first coming. But when He returns, He throws that cover off and you will see Christ in all His majesty. He will not be in disguise, there will be no mystery, there will be no question–it’ll be God in a glorified bod. It will be Jesus, not someone else–not an archangel, not an Old Testament prophet, but the God-man, but Christ Himself.
Revelation 19:11, “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” Revelation 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”
*Christ will come SUDDENLY, Dramatically, Gloriously and Triumphantly
Matthew 24:27, “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Lightening is sudden, unexpected and Matthew 24:29, “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 the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” There will be signs with the sun, moon and stars; and on Earth. Matthew 24:30, “…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
This will be greater than any special effect in any movie at any time. I have watched impressive movie earthquakes, but nothing can compare to me personally watching an earthquake wave travel through the wall of a building, spin a hanging lamp like it was a yoyo on a string. This will be dramatic glory and all power. As Jesus returns as the King of all kings and the Lord over every lord, returning on an incredible white stallion in order to conquer.
Revelation 19:19 and 21, “I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” Jesus takes care of the beast and false prophet, and verse 21, “And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.” Just one word from Christ and all the armies of the world are destroyed.
Victorious generals in the Roman army rode white stallions after great victories to signify their great conquests after the battle. But Jesus rides a white stallion before the battle to declare He will be victorious–nothing will stop Him. His victory is certain even before the battle. Jesus will win–hands down, no contest. All the armies of the earth will be amassed to meet Him in the final battle of the Armageddon war. Yet amazingly, there is no struggle recorded in the Scripture. The Lord Jesus just speaks and they all die–no contest. The Second Coming will be so spectacular, it is difficult to even imagine. Nothing this world has ever seen or imagined will even come close. But it will happen, and each of you will be a part of it–if you are His child.
Who returns with Christ at His return?
When you look at a photograph, the first thing you look for is yourself, to see if you are there and if you look perfect, presentable, plastic, pale, or appalling. Well take a good, hard look at this picture, Christian–because you are in it, and you look better than you’ve ever looked your entire life. Zechariah 14:5, “The Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!” Matthew 25:31, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” First Thessalonians 3:13, “ . . . at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Jude 14, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.” Revelation 19:11 and 14, “I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” You do not have a one-way ticket–each Christian here has a round-trip ticket. You will go to Heaven, but you will come back with Christ to rule with Him on Earth.
When Jesus Christ returns from Heaven to destroy the antichrist, judge the nations and establish His glorious kingdom on Earth, He’ll be accompanied by a great multitude. The mighty army following in His train, will be made up of both angels and redeemed human beings. Anyone who was raptured (living or dead) before the Tribulation will return with Jesus back to Earth at His Second Coming at the climax of the Tribulation. Can you imagine what it will be like for you to sit on your own white horse, following the King of kings and Lord of lords when He comes again? We will be in the midst of a vast angelic and saintly army, as Christ in all his glory, blazing with fire through the clouds, does some amazing things.
What Will Christ do when He comes back?
Several unique events we already saw in Revelation 19.
*Christ will defeat the antichrist and destroy all the armies of the earth
for scorning the one true God.
*Christ will regather and restore faithful ISRAEL
Romans 11:26,”and so all Israel will be saved.” One of the most repeated Old Testament promises is that one day God will regather and restore the nation of Israel. Jeremiah 33:7 to 9, “‘I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. 8I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. 9It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.’”
The regathering of Israel may have begun in 1948 when the modern state of Israel was born. This regathering may continue until the Second Coming of Christ. During the Tribulation, Israel will be scattered, but at the Second Coming, Christ will gather the believing Jews together and restore them as His chosen nation.
*Christ will JUDGE the living
When Christ returns, all Gentiles and Jews alive on the earth who survived the Tribulation will appear before Him to determine if they can enter His Kingdom. This is the sheep/goat judgment. Matthew 25:32, “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Those believing, the sheep will go into the Kingdom–those unbelieving, the goats will be taken away to torment.
*Christ will resurrect the DEAD
After the Second Coming, Christ will resurrect the Old Testament believers and the Tribulation saints. They will be raised, rewarded and will reign with Christ in the Kingdom in glorified bodies. The believing Church already has their glorified bodies and will enter the Kingdom to rule under Christ.
*Christ will BIND the devil
One of the first things Jesus does after His return is bind Satan. Revelation 20:1 and 2, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” A mighty angel will seize the devil and cast him into the bottomless pit for one thousand years, after which time he will be briefly released.
*Christ will establish Himself as KING of the Earth and Heaven
Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Christ comes to sit on His glorious throne and reign over the earth. Daniel 2:44, “In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, … it will itself endure forever.” Matthew 19:28, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”
The return of the King is not just the third movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy–Jesus says, “I’m coming for you.” Next to the cross, this is the greatest event in all of history. Turn to Mark 13:24 to 27 where the Lord through the gospel writer describes His magnificent return to rule planet Earth. “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”
These verses make three declarations about the Lord coming back. The Lord will permanently return to planet Earth—1) in the midst of chaos, 2) in power and glory, and 3) it will be for His own. In Mark 13, after the prediction of the Jerusalem Temple’s devastating destruction, as a type of the coming Tribulation devastating destruction in verses 1 to 4 . . . and after the prediction of today’s troubles, the birth-pangs of war, famine, earthquakes and persecution in verses 5 to 13 . . . and after the midpoint abomination of desolation in verses 14 to 18 . . . and after the atrocities right before the coming of Christ in verses 19 to 23. Now the gospel writer Mark describes the return of the King! Mark gives us three signs of the Second Coming. Jesus says . . .
#1 I will come in the midst of CHAOS
Verses 24 to 25—hang on as you read. This is difficult to believe. “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.” Whoa! This is a cosmic crisis. The universe is spinning apart! Sun darkened, lightless moon, stars falling, heavenly powers shaken? Scientists say these cosmic events will tear this world apart–volcanos will erupt, mountains will spring up, lakes will empty, canyons will form, oceans will flood, forests will burn, hurricane winds will blow and the sun will scorch.
Christ will come in the midst of chaos–yet this is not new. The disciples were not shocked by the Lord’s words here–no! The language in Mark 13 is seen throughout the Old Testament. Signs in the heavens are linked to the Second Coming of Christ. Isaiah 24, “The earth is split through, … shaken violently. … reels to and fro like a drunkard … the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts will reign …in Jerusalem.” From the Old Testament, the disciples already know that Jesus will return in the midst of world-wide chaos.
Look at the beginning of verse 24, “But in those days”–the adversative “but” tells us this is a new phase of the end times. Jesus is contrasting the false Christs of verses 21 to 22 with now in verse 24–this is the true Christ. So don’t be fooled by anyone saying here is the Christ, “He has come.” No, when the true Christ comes, there’ll be no confusion. Everyone will know this is the true Christ. There will be no uncertainty over the Second Coming of Christ.
Jesus adds a double statement in verse 24, “But in those days and after that tribulation,” explicitly telling us the timing. When is Jesus coming again? Here’s the date–write it down. June 22, 20—NO. Here, after the great tribulation just described for us in verses 19 to 23. And how can we be certain Christ is returning? The four signs in verses 24 to 25.
Verse 24, 1) the sun will be darkened, and 2) the moon will not give its light
Verse 25, 3) the stars will be falling from heaven, and 4) the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken
This passage promises Christ will literally return, so we can assume these signs are also literal–not symbolic. They are not metaphorical. How will the people on the earth react to this? Luke tells us in 21:25 and 26, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth… dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves 26men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Underline the words dismay, perplexity and fainting. The people on Earth are going to go into shock–dismay means anguish and terror. Perplexity means confusion–people won’t be able to comprehend this. Fainting actually means they’ll die. It means to breathe out–to die. Humanity will be scared to death. Their fear will be lethal. The emotional trauma will cause rapid pulse, changes in blood pressure, and finally cardiac collapse. So Jesus comes in the midst of chaos–yet in the middle of all of this, Jesus says . . .
#2 I will come in power and GLORY
Verse 26, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” Here He comes–it’s the World Series, bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, down by three runs and Jesus hits a towering home run! All of God’s elect will go crazy! This is it!
The first Greek word in verse 26, “Then,” tells us in the midst of all this heavenly trauma, Jesus comes. Jesus calls Himself here, “Son of Man”, which is the same title Daniel gave to the promised coming King–Son of Man, pointing to the incarnation, the God-man, Son of Man. Jesus will return in the same manner in which He left. See the phrase in verse 26, “coming in the clouds.” Psalm 104:3 pictures Christ riding the clouds like a chariot. And though they could be natural clouds, this is probably a reference to the supernatural glory cloud that represented God’s presence to Old Testament Israel.
Like the Shekinah glory, the Lord’s return will be jaw-dropping majestic–as if the Lord Himself were continual, non-stop lightning! Matthew 24:27, “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” When Jesus returns, it’ll not be a secret–it is not veiled like His first coming. It will not be a symbolic return. No–as we already discovered from God’s never wrong Word, Christ will literally, visibly, and personally return in full glory. Mark says in verse 26, “They will see the Son of Man.” Revelation 1:7 says, “Every eye will see Him.”
The Greek word see the Son of Man is physical sight and full perception. Everyone in the world will know this is Jesus Christ, the Creator-God, returning to judge. And verse 26 adds, “with great power and glory.” Power means strength, ability, might, all power. And in glory–that’s the summation of all His attributes. Glory is also a majestic, radiant light that displays the overwhelming perfection of all God’s character.
When our Lord returns, He’ll also give salvation to His elect and slaughter all Christ-rejecting unbelievers worldwide, and easily overpower Satan and completely stop millions of demons. And restore a devastated Earth and set up His righteous rule. Remember, Jesus is not merely coming in the midst of chaos, nor merely coming in glory and power, but the Lord says . . .
#3 I will come for My OWN
Verse 27, “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.” This is the definition of awesome! Picture it–returning with Christ are the angels. Won’t that be a sight to see? Matthew 16:27, “The Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” Matthew 25:31, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
The angels are coming back with Christ. Angels are a supernatural race of beings created to serve God. They are powerful and cannot die, but they’re not equals to God, but creations of God. Even the chief one, Lucifer, who rebelled against God becoming Satan, who convinced a third of the angels to rebel with him–those fallen angels are now demons. So Satan and his demons are now unholy fallen creatures, but they are created.
Well, the holy, unfallen, good angels have returned with Christ. And Christ will send forth (literally commission) them to gather His people. I love this–the angels are the ones who assemble people to stand before Christ. Matthew 13 tells us they gather unbelievers for judgment. And here in Mark 13, they gather the elect for glory. Matthew describes the unbelievers in Matthew 13:49, “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.” But Mark focuses on the elect–chosen believers God elected to salvation, those owned by God. These include . . .
1) the 144,000 Jewish witnesses and their converts during the Tribulation–all those who responded to the Gospel from every nation are present
2) the Old Testament saints, resurrected Old Testament believers–gathered out of their graves and united with their redeemed immaterial spirits will be included in this great multitude of people gathered around Christ
3) the glorified saints of the bride of Christ, the Church–that’s you and that’s me, have returned with their groom and are present at this amazing assembly
We’ll be with Him, because Revelation 3:10 says, “We’ll be kept from the hour that comes to try the whole earth.” We will be preserved from the Tribulation. First Thessalonians 1:10 adds, “We will be delivered from the wrath to come.”
You ask, “Chris, does that mean we won’t get to see all this?” Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed”—meaning, when Christ returns and appears to the entire world, “then you also will be revealed with Him [where?] in glory.” When Christ appears, all who know Him and love Him will appear with Christ in glory. You’re not down here–you’re already up there in glory. But when Christ comes in glory, you will appear with Him in glory. You come to Earth to watch this victory take place.
Jesus is saying in verse 26, no one is left out. Look at verse 26, He says He “will gather together His elect from the four winds.” Gather from the four winds means the same thing as when we say, from the four corners of the globe–everywhere. No one is left out. Jesus says at the end of verse 26, “from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.” Literally, the Greek is from Earth’s extremity to Heaven’s extremity, describing space in all directions. There is no spot in Heaven or on Earth where any of the elect will be overlooked.
None of the elect are missing. Jesus says no genuinely saved, chosen by God elect believer from the past, or present, or future is going to miss the Kingdom. All the elect have gathered before Christ, the goats are judged and condemned to Hades in Matthew 25, then the elect will enter into the awesome, righteous Kingdom, ruled by the perfect, all-powerful, all-loving, all-just King above all kings. Are you excited? Come, Lord Jesus—come now! Today, do not merely hear about the Second Coming of Christ, but live Second Coming truth.
A Trust Your Savior to KEEP His promises
Christ has promised to return. He mentioned His return over a thousand times in the Bible. Like Zechariah 14:5 and 9, “Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! 9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” Don’t you love that? He’s the only one! This is all going to happen just as the Bible promises–believe it. Bank on it. Hope in it. The Savior who took your punishment for sin will be King of all.
B Be sobered by the JUDGMENT of God for sin
Christ will return to judge the world. There is too much sin, too much injustice, too much rebellion, too much wickedness, and too much evil for our holy God to not judge this world. Read these sober words in 2 Thessalonians 1:7 to 10, “When the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.”
Sin must be judged. If you are in Christ, your sin is already judged on the cross. You can stand in God’s presence because your sin was placed on Christ and He gave you His righteousness so you can go to Heaven, only because of Christ’s perfection. But if you’re not in Christ, then your sin must be judged and judgment will fall upon you. You have no substitute, you have no imputed righteousness, you can’t stand in God’s presence. You’re doomed. The need for judgment for sin requires Christ to return.
C Grow in your LONGING for Heaven
Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” You have a home you’ve never been to. We belong there! Citizens keep focusing on things above in all you think, do and say. Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Pray more about Heaven, think about Heaven, talk more about Heaven. As you do, the grip and struggle of this world will lessen.
D Plead with those who are facing TORMENT
Only those in whom Christ dwells are saved. Only the elect enter into the Millennium and go to Heaven. Let me plead with you–it doesn’t matter what decision you made or prayer you prayed. What matters is Christ in you, which always shows (how?) by you wanting to please Him and follow His Word! Is that you?
Plead with those who don’t want to follow God’s Word. Oh, they show up to church, they may sing, have a Bible, and have a “Not of this World” bumper sticker. They could be sitting here, but they don’t serve, don’t give and don’t interconnect with God’s people–why? Because they’re not one of God’s people. All true Christians want to obey God’s Word and prove they do by following Christ. Faith without works is dead. Faith without a heart desire to obey Christ is phony. Stop messing around. Cry out for Christ to transform you by giving you a heart to turn from your sin in repentance and give you a heart to follow Him by faith. Share with all so-called Christians to follow Christ or to stop calling themselves Christians.
E Rejoice, give thanks, sing praise and CELEBRATE
Why? Jesus Christ is coming back–for good. Let’s pray.