Some news stories are so enormous that ordinary headlines and bold print just won't cut it. For outsized events and cataclysmic happenings, newspapers for decades have resorted to what came to be known as "Second Coming type." That is, a style and size of lettering that jumps of the page, grabs a reader by the throat, and says READ ME !
Second Coming type has been used to announce such major events as the Allied victory over Hitler. It was even used in one of the biggest blunders in American Journalistic history, when the Chicago Tribune announced Thomas Dewey's "defeat" of Harry S. Truman in the 1948 presidential election.
At the end of 1999, the Associated Press ranked the top 100 news events of the 20th century. Most of these did not warrant, according to the newspaper editors, the use of the Second Coming Type. Some of the century's biggest stories, according to them, were:
1. The stock market crash of October 28, 1929,
2. The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941,
3. The Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963,
4. Man walking on the moon on July 20 , 1969.
But the number one story of the century, according to the AP was the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 - an event that essentially brought an end to WWII, and unleashed the atomic age.
While all these stories are incredible, the greatest news event of all time is yet to occur. I'm speaking of Jesus' return to earth. Talk about a front page story. In the last 2,000 years, there has never been such an event as this one.
Why would they give a special class of type the name "Second Coming type?" Why not just call it "Big News type" or "Major Event type" or "Can You Believe This type?" The reason, of course, is that there IS no bigger event than the second coming of Christ. Even the most irreligious journalist at the most liberal newspaper, in the most ungodly city in the world knows it.
Ironically, when He comes, the Second Coming type probably will sit unused on the presses. Why? Because there will be no time left to put out a flash street edition to announce His return.
As we look around at all the violence and ungodliness in our world today, it might be easy to get discouraged as a Christian. As the old poem says:
God's plan made a hopeful beginning,
But man spoiled his chances by sinning,
We trust that the story
Will end in God's glory,
But, at present, the other side's winning.
The only hope for us and the rest of the world, is the knowledge that Jesus Christ, the one who died for the sins of the world, and rose triumphantly from the grave, has promised to come back again.
The Bible is truly an amazing and wonderful Book. And one of the things that makes the Bible so unique is that it tells us in advance about things that are going to happen. To say it another way, the Bible gives us the headlines in advance -- sometimes very much in advance. No book of any other major world religion can make such a claim. And history has consistently taken the stand as a reliable and authentic witness to the accuracy of Bible prophecies.
Consider for a moment these statistics.
The coming Messiah as King (in what Christian call the 2nd Coming) is mentioned 1,845 times in the Bible. (1,527 times in the OT, 318 times in the NT)
Out of the 260 chapters in the New Testament, there are 318 references to Christ's second coming.
This subject is given prominence and discussed in 23 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
This amounts to a prophetic reference to the 2nd Coming being found, on average, more than once in each chapter in the N.T. If God talks that much about this subject, it sounds like He thinks the 2nd coming of Christ is an important subject. Today, I want to spend some time discussing this great event - the 2nd Coming of Christ.
Yes! The Bible is an amazing and unique Book. And one of the things it shows us is that God has a timetable for everything. He has had one ever since the creation of this world. But, in His Word, He has given us a glimpse of some of the details of this timetable. Some of the things in God's timetable have already occurred.
For instance, Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV) says;
4 In the fullness of time [according to God's timetable], God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.
5 In order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
All of us have broken that law and sinned. So God sent His only Son to pay the penalty of that broken law - which was death. What's more, He didn't just set us free and forgive our sins, but He adopted us as His sons & daughters. I am sure glad God put that event on his timetable. Where would we be without Jesus?
Yes, the Bible tells us that God has a very detailed plan and timetable all worked out, and everything is going according to His schedule. He is going ahead with it whether you or I believe it or not. He won't cancel the whole thing just because some people deny it. This was all part of God's timetable from the beginning.
9. God's secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure.
10. And this is his plan: At the right time [according to God's Timetable] he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ - everything in heaven and on earth.
These verses tell us that part of God's timetable was the soon coming of Christ, where everything in heaven and earth will be under his authority. Although it may look like it sometimes, at no time in the history of the world has God ever lost control. He has a plan - a timetable - in place, and his plan is not finished yet.
When we are frustrated at the apparent success of the wicked, the Lord, according to Psalm 37:13, "….just laughs, for He sees their day of judgment."
Even when the Tribulation hits full stride, and the night is at its darkest hour, the dawn will break with ferocity and glory as the most anticipated event in human history finally arrives -- the long-awaited second coming of Jesus Christ.
CAN YOU QUOTE OR READ TO ME SOME SCRIPTURES WHICH SHOW, WITHOUT A DOUBT, THAT JESUS IS COMING AGAIN?
John 14:1-3 (KJV)
1. Let not your heart be troubled; Ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 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.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Acts 1:10-11 NIV
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Hebrews 9:28 NIV
28 So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Matthew 24:44 NKJV
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
I believe the most significant single truth in all the Bible - both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, is the certainty of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. While there may be some disagreement as to when the second coming will happen there exists absolutely no disagreement among fundamental believers that Jesus is coming again. It matters not whether a person is a Pre-millennialist, A-millennialist, or a Post-millennialist when it comes to the Second Coming. They all believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to earth some day.
While we do not know precisely when this event will take place, we are given some clues that indicate that it is close. It could happen within the hour, or be delayed 5 to 10 years or more. But it will happen. And we can never take the chance that we are not ready for when He comes.
Let me ask you a question. It is a very general question, and I want you to think of your answers in the broadest of contexts. I want to take several minutes for you to tell me everything you can think of, that the Bible says, relative to this event.
WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE, WHEN JESUS RETURNS TO THIS EARTH.
To help, here are several other questions that may prod your memory.
WHAT IS ITS TIMING RELATIVE TO OTHER EVENTS?
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR IT?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE 2nd COMING?
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF HIS COMING?
WHAT ARE THE GEOGRAPHICAL SURROUNDINGS?
WHO COMES WITH HIM?
In the next 2 or 3 lessons, we are going to answer these question, and many more.
Let me ask you another question. How many of you here have children? Have you ever taken a trip and had your 3 or 4-year-old ask: "Are we there yet?" or "How much farther?" It is an almost impossible question. How do you explain time and distance to a child that doesn't yet understand time and distance. You say, "It's about 250 miles." You may as well have spoken in a foreign language, so the child asks, "What is 250 miles?"
At this point, most parents get creative. "250 miles is about as long as it takes to watch your favorite video about three times." That seems to help for a few minutes, but sooner or later they ask it again. And sooner or later, we say what all parents eventually say, "Just trust me. You enjoy the trip and don't worry about the details. I'll make sure I take you to grandma's house safely."
And we mean it. In effect, what we have said is, "We'll do the taking, and you do the trusting," although we may not have said it so bluntly. "We'll do the taking, and you do the trusting."
Those words might sound familiar because Jesus said the same thing to his disciples just as He was about to take a trip. Just prior to his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples that he would be leaving them for a while.
In John 13:36, Jesus tells them, Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.
Peter was the first to speak, and he asked Jesus, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? (vs. 37) Jesus' reply reflected the tenderness of a parent to a child. He said,
1. Don't let your heart be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me.
2. In my Father's house are many mansions. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I go to prepare a place for you.
3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to be with me so that wherever I am you can be with me.
If you could reduce that paragraph to a single statement, it would be the same as a parent says to a small child when they ask, "How much farther?" Jesus said, "You do the trusting and I'll do the taking." Verse 1 says, "Don't' be troubled, trust God and trust me."
To bring this introductory lesson about the Second Coming to a close, I want to mention what all this means for Christians like you and me. In the following two lesson, we will study the second coming in greater detail, as well as understand the purposes for Christ's coming to earth. But the one I will close this lesson with pertains to what this all means to the person who is a child of God.
Revelation 21:4-6 NIV
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
Think about what it is going to be like for us, when Christ comes for us as He promised in John 14:1-3.
Think of a place where there will be no sin, no sorrow, no quarrels, no misunderstandings, no hurt feelings, no pain, no sickness, no suffering, no death. Our bodies are going to be changed. We will be able to do things we didn't dream of here.
In Rev. 22:3, near the end of the Bible, John wrote, "……and his servants [that's us] shall serve him."
Think of working forever at something you love to do, for the One you love with all your heart, but never getting tired. We will never know weariness in heaven.
Revelation 22:5 NIV
5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
We could go on and on about what it is going to be like when Christ comes to take us to the place He is building for you and me. As I stated at the very beginning of this lesson, God has a timetable, and Christ's coming will be right on schedule. And I am looking forward to that day.