This week, Pastor Ted Wilson talks about the second coming of Christ, the subject of the twenty-fifth fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventists.
Prophet Isaiah describes this glorious event, "And it will be said in that day: 'Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation'" (Isaiah 25:9). In connection to this, "Our God shall come and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him" (Psalm 50:3).
While on earth, Jesus told His disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2,3).
He repeated this promise with urgency in Revelation 22: "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book" (verse 7). "And behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me to give to everyone according to his work" (verse 12). "Surely I am coming quickly" (verse 20).
When Jesus ascended in a cloud, angels assured the disciples that "this same Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
It will be a visible return. "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him" (Revelation 1:7). And it will be heard by everyone. "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God" (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Ellen White describes this glorious event in Maranatha, page 98, "Christ is coming with power and great glory…While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ's followers will rejoice…To His faithful followers, Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact in constant communion with God…They are prepared for the communion of heaven for they have heaven in their hearts."
The Seventh-day Fundamental Belief #25 states, "The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour's coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide."
It continues, "When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ's coming is near. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times."
While His followers will be overjoyed, the wicked "will mourn" as they "see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).
Now, when is Jesus coming?
Jesus said in Matthew 24, "Learn this parable from the fig tree. When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!" (verses 32-33). But no one knows the exact hour and day, "not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (verse 36).
The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation make it clear that we are at the end of time. But there are still some who doubt that the second coming of Christ is near. Nevertheless, we should not be surprised as the Bible says in 2 Peter 3:3-4, "Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'"
In verses 8 and 9, Peter instructs and encourages us, "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."
He also urges us to be "in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless" (verse 14).
Finally, "do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 'For yet a little while, and He Who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.' But we are not of those who draw back to perdition but of those who believe to the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:35-39).
Let us claim this promise of salvation as we anticipate the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Learn more about the second coming of Christ at www.adventist.org/second-coming.