“THE SECOND COMING AND MILLENNIAL KINGDOM”
“I know Jesus is coming again!” How do I know? I know because we sing a song here at church entitled “Jesus Is Coming Again.” So it must be true. But someone is sure to say, “Wait a minute. You can’t base your theology on the words in a song.”
“All right, but I still know Jesus is coming again.” How do I know? I know because the Lighthouse Bible Church Statement of Faith says so. So it must be true. Listen to it…
LBC Constitution – Statement of Faith: ARTICLE IV; Section 14 – The Second Coming
“We believe in the ‘Blessed Hope,’ the personal, imminent, pretribulational, and premillennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His
subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His Millennial Kingdom.”
But again, someone is sure to say, “Wait another minute. Just as you cannot base your theology on the words to a song, neither can you base it on the words found written in a church’s Statement of Faith.”
“All right, but I still know Jesus is coming again.” How do I know? I know because the Bible says so. In fact, Jesus Himself says so. Speaking to His own disciples about the Rapture (when Jesus takes His church to heaven), He said…
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; (you) believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for 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 to Myself, (so) that where I am, there you may be also.”
Regarding His Glorious Appearing (when Jesus brings His church from heaven), He said…
*Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
32 “And 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;
33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right (the sheep), ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (as for those on His left (the goats) Jesus says…)
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…
46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Now let’s try this one more time. “I know Jesus is coming again.” How do I know? I know because the Bible says so. I don’t know that Jesus is coming again because a song, a statement of faith, or anything, or anyone else says He is. The reason that I know Jesus is coming again is because the Word of God says He is. Period!
Both of these yet future events – the Rapture of the Church and the Glorious Appearing of Christ – constitute the “Blessed Hope” that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Titus 2.
11 For the grace of God has appeared (Jesus’ first coming), bringing salvation to all men (both Jew and Gentile),
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. (His second coming)
Let’s go back to the LBC statement of faith for just a bit. It says, “We believe in the ‘Blessed Hope,’ the personal, imminent, pretribulational, and premillennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His Millennial Kingdom.”
We need to be clear here. It isn’t that the Bible agrees with our statement of faith; it is that our statement of faith agrees with the Bible. In that statement there are three words that we don’t often use. They are “imminent,” “pretribulational,” and “premillennial.”
The first of those words is “imminent,” meaning that we expect the Rapture – when Jesus comes for His church – at any moment. There is nothing on the prophetic calendar that needs to take place before the trumpet sounds and He calls us. Therefore, we believe that the Rapture is imminent. In fact, Jesus could call us home before this service is over.
The word “rapture,” is from the Latin “rapturo” meaning to be “caught up.” Although that word is not found in Scripture, the fact of the church being taken to heaven most cer-tainly is. In NT Greek the word translated “caught up” is “harpázō” meaning “to snatch away, to seize with force, to take to oneself.” Therefore, the last generation of Christians on this earth will not die. Rather, they will be taken alive to be with the Lord Jesus.
*1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
17 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.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
The true Church of Jesus Christ is looking for the Rapture. That is our “blessed hope.”
The second word in our statement of faith that is rarely used in every day conversation is “pretribulational.” It means that Jesus will take His church from this earth (rapture us; snatch us away) before the tribulation described in Revelation 6-18 even begins – before God judges this earth and its people when He pours out His wrath during the seven year tribulation period. Speaking to the church at Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul says…
*1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9
1:10 (We) wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The third word in our statement of faith that we don’t use every day is “premillennial.” It simply means that God is going to Rapture the church and unleash His judgments upon this earth and its inhabitants before the thousand year Millennial Kingdom begins.
Then Jesus’ Glorious Appearing will bring an end to the tribulation and mark the begin-ning of the Millennium. When He appears He will redeem Israel, establish His throne in Jerusalem, and rule over this earth for a thousand years. To the church this thousand years is the Millennial Kingdom. To Israel it is the Messianic Kingdom.
So Jesus’ coming is imminent, pretribulational, and premillennial. It may not happen for a long time, but it may happen before we leave this room. Jesus could come for us at any moment. That is the beauty of the doctrine of imminence.
Listen, if we believed something else had to happen before the Rapture could take place, we might be tempted to live our lives as we pleased while waiting for the next event on that prophetic calendar. But God has not given us that option. The Rapture is the next event on that calendar! God wants us to know that and He wants us to be living our lives in the sure knowledge that Jesus could come for us at any moment. Are you ready?
So we know the church’s future. But what about Israel and the Jews? Do they even have a future? If so, what’s on their prophetic calendar? That is to say, what happens next?
The sad fact is that much of today’s professing church argues that God is through with Israel and the Jews. They say that all of God’s OT promises to the nation and its people have been transferred to the church. Therefore – they say – Israel and the Jews have no future. They are finished.
There are many forms of such thinking, but they all represent what has come to be known as “replacement theology.” It says that God has replaced Israel with the church. But there’s a major problem with replacement theology. The NT does not teach it!
In Romans 11 Paul makes it clear that Israel will be redeemed. When will they be re-deemed? They will be redeemed at the Glorious Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How do I know that? The Bible says so. Listen to the Apostle Paul.
*Romans 11:25-27 (writing to the Christians in Rome)
25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written (in the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah), “The Deliverer will come from Zion. He will remove ungodliness from Jacob (Israel).”
27 “And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
That is Israel’s future. I don’t see any “replacement theology” in that, do you? Today devout Jews are still looking for their Messiah. His coming is on their prophetic calen-dar. They expect Him. To them it will be His first coming. But to the church it will be His second. Listen, Israel wants their Messiah to come today just as it did two thousand years ago. But when He came they refused to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the One. They thought He was a fraud and they had Him crucified. Listen to John…
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12a But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become child-ren of God…
So Israel expects her Messiah. They just don’t expect it will be Jesus, whom they cruci-fied. Can you guess how they will react when their Messiah comes to this earth and the Jews come face to face with Jesus and realize what their ancestors did? Well, you don’t have to guess. The Prophet Zechariah has already told us how they will react.
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jeru-salem, the (Holy) Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look upon Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
11a “In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem…”
Clearly, Jesus’ return is of eternal importance for both the church and Israel. But among Bible-believing Christians there is much confusion about His return and the events sur-rounding it. Sadly, in today’s church there’s scant knowledge of The Book of Revelation or prophecy in general. When it comes to Revelation I’ve heard believers say things like, “Revelation is too confusing. I don’t even try to understand it.” Or, “I don’t want to think about what’s in Revelation. It’s just too horrible.”
It’s not surprising that Revelation is so poorly understood when it’s so seldom taught. But what do you do with this? Revelation is the only one of the sixty-six books in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who will read and study it.
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Believe me when I say the pastor who ignores prophecy and the Book of Revelation is doing his congregation no favors, especially now at the beginning of the twenty-first cen-tury. Even a passing understanding of biblical prophecy would be of great help to Chris-tians for coping with the times in which we now live. But instead, confusion reigns. One of the greatest areas of confusion regarding Jesus’ return to this earth stems from the failure to distinguish between the Rapture of the church and the Glorious Appearing of Christ. But one distinction is clear.
• In the Rapture, Jesus comes for His church and brings us to heaven.
• In the Glorious Appearing, Jesus comes with His church bringing us from heaven.
It is during the seven years between those two events that God’s wrath will be poured out upon this earth and its inhabitants. The Bible divides that seven-year period in half; the first three and a half years is the tribulation, and the second three and a half years is the Great Tribulation. Jesus was speaking of the second half when He said…
21 “…for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.”
It is from all of that that the church will be preserved and protected. A few minutes ago we read from Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica wherein he said that the church is not destined for the wrath to come, and would therefore be delivered from it. Have you come to saving faith? Are you a Bible-believing Christian? Then you are a member of the true church and you will not undergo God’s coming wrath. Paul confirms that for all Christians in his letter to the church at Rome.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
It is the Rapture of the church that will preserve us from that coming wrath. But what about the Glorious Appearing?
At Christ’s ascension two angels told the apostles what to expect about Jesus’ return. This took place on the Mount of Olives just outside the eastern gates of Jerusalem.
9b …(Jesus) was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them;
11 and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
The angels were telling the apostles that Jesus’ Glorious Appearing would be visible; His descent to this earth would mirror His ascent to heaven. But there was even more. Jesus’ return from heaven would be to the very same spot from which He ascended. He will descend to the Mount of Olives just outside the eastern gates of Jerusalem. Zechariah prophesied this over five hundred years before Christ.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
When the apostles watched Jesus ascend into heaven He was alone. But when He returns He will not be alone. The Bride of Christ, the church, you and I, will be with Him.
11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages
12 And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself.
13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called
The Word of God.
14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty.
16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Who are “…the armies which are in heaven…” in v. 14? They are identified in vv. 7-9.
7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride (the church) has made herself ready.”
8 And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9 And he (the angel) said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
These armies returning with Christ also include the OT saints and the tribulation saints.
White linen is used throughout Scripture as a symbol or righteousness. Leviticus tells us the priests (who represented believers) wore it in the OT. Revelation tells us the martyrs of the tribulation will wear it as well. So Revelation 19:7-9 pictures all of God’s people returning to earth at Jesus’ Glorious Appearing. We will all be with Him.
So with that we’ve taken a very quick look at the Rapture of the church and the Glorious Appearing of Christ.
But what about the Millennium? What about that thousand year reign of Christ on this earth? What about the Messianic Kingdom God has promised to Israel and the Jews? Where is it? Is God finished with His chosen people? Could replacement theology be true after all? No! Absolutely not!
At the Glorious Appearing – when Jesus returns to this earth with His church from hea-ven – we will have been resurrected and will be alive in our eternal and glorified bodies. But why are we coming back here with Him? For what purpose? Well, for one thing the church will rule and reign with Christ in the Messianic Kingdom.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; (but) if we deny Him, He also will deny us;
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.
6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death (eternal death) has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Did you know that we often speak indirectly of this time when we take communion?
28 “…this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for for-giveness of sins.
29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;
18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now until the kingdom of God comes.
This is what Jesus tells the apostles at the last supper. They will be the founders of the church. We will “commune” with Jesus in the Millennium. We will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom. What an amazing and truly awesome thing that is!
Our communion service not only remembers His death, it also anticipates Jesus’ return. But there is much more. We will live forever in His presence. The future holds blessings for the church that are thrilling beyond words. Here are just a few…
1. We will see Jesus in all His glory.
1 John 3:2
2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
2. We will be resurrected and given glorified (eternal) bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:53-55
53 For this perishable (body) must put on the imperishable, and this mortal (body) must put on immortality.
54 …when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and (when) this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
3. We will be eternally safe and secure.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principal-ities (demons), nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to sepa-rate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And beyond all that, we will be rewarded for faithful service, we will partake of unbro-ken fellowship and joy, and we will be loved eternally. This is the Christian’s future. What can man do to us? And so, as Paul told Titus, (We are) looking for that blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
What will the Millennium, the Messianic Kingdom, be like for Israel and the Jews? The NT doesn’t say much about it at all. The details are found in the OT where God’s cove-nants with Israel were made and defined. They will all be fulfilled in the kingdom.
1. The Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled. This is for the land God gave Abraham.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates…”
Today that includes about 20% of Saudi Arabia, 25% of Egypt, 50% of Iraq, 60% of
Syria, all of what is now called Israel, all of what is now called Palestine, all of Lebanon,
and all of Jordan. God reconfirmed this covenant with Isaac and again with Jacob.
2. The Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled. This is for the throne of David in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16
12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers,
I will raise up your descendant after you who will come forth from you (Solo-mon), and I will establish his kingdom.
13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
16 “And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
3. The New Covenant will be fulfilled. This is for Israel’s forgiveness and salvation.
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…
33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
34 “…for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Not only Israel but the whole earth will be blessed during the Millennium because all things will be in subjection to the Lord Jesus. He will rule from the new temple in Jeru-salem. Ezekiel prophesies God’s glory returning to the temple.
Ezekiel 43:1-2, 4-5, 7a
1 Then (the Angel of the Lord) led me to the gate, the gate facing toward the east;
2 and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east.
4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east.
5 And the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
7a And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the sons of Israel forever.”
To this day many Jewish Christians begin their services by looking to the east in anticipa-tion of their Messiah’s return. During the Millennium the glory of God will be seen in all the earth. The effects of the curse will be lifted. (the lion and the lamb) There will be right-eousness, peace, and joy. Illnesses and infirmities will be healed. There will be long life, abundance, social order, true justice, and safety.
After God’s promised one thousand years, the Messianic Kingdom on this earth will come to an end. But this will not be a cause for sorrow or sadness. On the contrary, it will be a cause for great joy because God will create new heavens and a new earth.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them,
4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning or crying or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
“These words are faithful are true!” Think of it! God will accomplish every last detail of every last prophecy. In light of all this, how should we respond? How should we live? Let me close with three things we should all be doing.
1. We should all be glorifying God in our lives.
16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
2. We should all be telling others of what God has done for us.
1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
3. We should all be living expectantly, praying for Jesus’ soon return.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Jews and Gentiles),
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for that blessed hope and the appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
~ Pray ~
“Revelation – Overview and Outline” “Revelation – A Chronology”
“The Rapture and The Glorious Appearing – How They Differ” “The Millennium”
Pastor Jim Timms
Lighthouse Bible Church – Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – 262-949-1007 – www.lighthouselakegeneva.com